Ugly scene at the punk show. Gurz and I wound up going at it. Savage exchange. Dude fights dirtier than me. Beat me to the salt shaker. Then beat me with the salt shaker. Right there on the dance floor. While the band played on. I thought I’d met my match, but remembered a move called Monkey Steals A Peach. That took the proverbial wind out. Cops showed up and arrested us both for felony assault. Essington posted our bail. We paid him back by stealing his car.
Hmm. It’s a good start for this piece. I mean I really like it. Right away we’re up to our elbows in action. The writing is snappy and scrappy. Lean and tough. I get to work in a salt shaker and Monkey Steals A Peach reference. Getting busted is rich. The evil burn there at the end, too. The whole paragraph is so me. We’re talking signature shit.
There’s only one little problem. It’s a balls-out lie.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just that Gurz or Essington might yap. Then everybody will think/know I’m a liar. Which would suck. And oh yeah, I’m supposed to try to be as honest as possible, in order to help stay sober.
Fucking staying sober. Always tripping up my game. Saving me from humiliation.
You want the truth? You think you can handle it? Well handle this-
I went to the show and had an okay time. Got along with Gurz and Essington. Nothing crazy happened. Was asleep in my motel bed by 2AM. Had a nice breakfast with Brisa and Dennis the next morning. Came home. The end.
After all that build up, that’s all you get. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. No drinking. No drugging. No fist-fights. No stage-diving. No strippers. No hookers. No cops.
Not so hot on the truth now, are you? Yeah, it’s easy to pay it lip labor, but another thing to have to endure listening to it. Or in this case, having to read it. It could set you free, but the truth just might lull you to sleep. Like a bellyful of antihistamine-fed turkey, cold hard facts can be quite soporific. Plain old boring truth.
Here’s some more boring truth- I hate writing music reviews. Mostly because I suck. I’ll write “they sound alright, like some band I can’t remember the name of, only more hoppy-boppy,” or “the chick playing bass looks like someone my buddy went out with, back in Santa Fe, during the 90’s. A real clingy, emotionally needy, pain in the ass. The girlfriend, not the bass player. I don’t know what her story is.”
I’m no Lester Bangs. And don’t want to be. First off, he’s dead. Second off, I recognize my limitations as a writer.
Add that to the fact that nothing amazing, funny, or insane happened at the show, and you’ll know why I dragged ass getting here. This thing became a book report I couldn’t find the Cliff Notes for. I kept putting off writing about the show with a Part One, Part Two, Part Three, hoping I’d find some angle to make it interesting. Well, the angle never came. That’s when I decided to try to lie my way out. Like a cornered rat.
Sure, lot’s of uninteresting things happen to me, all the time, and it’s never stopped me from writing about them. But there’s usually some internal component, some gleaned insight or entertaining thought process to report. Not this time. The only thing I remember thinking was, “this music is okay, but I’m ready for it to stop now. It’s starting to hurt my ears.”
Not much to hang your hat on. Even for Lester Bangs.
Thank God, Michael Essington was there. He can write about music. Or anything else. He’s prolific. Smart. A natural writer. Very readable. In real life, a solid down-to-earth character. No posturing or posing. And that comes through in his work. I wish we could have talked more that night, but the music was…too loud.
Anyway, while I hemmed and hawed, waiting for some God Machine to descend from the sky, he banged out a review of the show. You can read it here.
Okay. That gets me off that hook. No need to review the show. And that should be lesson to all you kids out there. Sometimes procrastination pays off. So don’t put it off.
I’ll will add that while Essington was jumping hurdles trying to get to the show, I saw the whole thing. 13 Scars and Reagan Youth managed to tap into the wellspring of youthful angst and delivered the notice. Especially noteworthy, since both bands are made up of generally older dude types. It was good to see middle-agehood could still shred shit up. Good for morale. A mighty hammer blow struck against the evils of ageism.
But like I said, at one point my ears just gave out. It wasn’t the musicianship, or even some age-crisis induced introspection, but the physical discomfort of decibels relentlessly beating against the skull that made me ready to bail. But I didn’t. I clung on to the bitter end.
And am a better man because of it.
If you read part one of this saga (and my stats show that’s not likely) you’ll know that I went primarily for the book-signing, Essington and Gurz were doing for their joint effort, Under a Broken Street Lamp. It was good to finally meet Gurz. A deeply troubled individual. Dangerously deranged old punk. Ex-con. Ex-heroin junky. Street survivor. You’re just not going to find a more subterranean creature. If I had a stick that night I would have poked at him, just to watch him claw and hiss, the madness and menace glinting in his eyes. A fascinating specimen of Demonous Nocturnous.
And all that comes through in his work. But lots of other stuff too. Sinister resume aside, Dave is a sweetheart. Intelligent, funny-as-fuck, and–oh, he’s gonna kill me–sensitive and caring. That’s right. He’s what is known in folklore as a Noble Scoundrel. Standard archetype, really. What the turn-of-the-century criminal, Jack Black, called “a good Yegg.”
Anyway, we’d been corresponding and talking on the phone for over a year before this, so it was great to actually meet in person. And not be able to communicate. But hang out anyway.
That’s what this whole odyssey was about. Making the effort to connect with friends. Going against my selfish inclination for the apparent comfort and safety of isolation, and coming out to the show. Just to be there. To hang out. To talk loudly to somebody who can’t hear you, and then not hear them tell you that. To build that bond that comes from nodding and shrugging at each other. Clueless. While droplets of blood roll from your ears.
I wouldn’t trade it for all the treasure in Timbuktu.
Okay. That’s not true either.
True. Tick. True. Tick. True.
Lie. Tock. Lie. Tock. Lie.
The start of part three sounded like a misadventure hoped for and then the revelation of what you consider to be boring, well sometimes boring is less hazardous to you health. You are realizing serenity ain’t so bad, so enjoy it.
No, serenity ain’t bad at all, me friend. I didn’t mean to imply that I was bored by the non-adventure, just that my readers might be. And that’s the last thing I ever want to do to you guys. Is bore you. God forbid I should get to live a normal life. One that is not jam-packed with one hilarious horrible thing happening to me after another. How will anyone be able to laugh? What will happen to the mirth on Earth? So yeah, I take my responsibility to my reading public seriously, and try to magnetize misadventure as best I can. It’s just that now I don’t pour it straight out of the bottle. It’s more of a gentle salad toss of tumult. A few croutons of crummy here and there to add crunch. Maybe some freshly ground angst to add zip. A splash of drama-lite dressing. It’s low-cal fare, for sure. But it’s much healthier than the rich, heavy stuff.
So if it means having to rack my brain to come up with things to report, well…that’s okay by me. Having a lot to write about, isn’t always good.
Okay, jrj1701, I hope your Christmas season is joyous this year. And that all the saints, not just Nicholas, bestow their lavish gifts upon you.
Thanks for stopping by.
Kids and their damned loud music! You know me. I have a 10-pack of earplugs in my purse, just in case.
Great idea, Sue. Do you keep anything else in your purse, for just in case? Ha. Had to go there. You know me.
Anyway, I did think about bringing plugs, but then my unreasonable macho self vetoed the idea. What would the children think? “Look, that old man is trying to protect one of his vital senses!” I couldn’t handle that. So instead I went a little more deaf. But kept my cool.
I just remembered a story- Spud and I went to the California Music Festival at the LA Coliseum (my dad drove us) to see Aerosmith, Van Halen and UFO. That was, to this day, the loudest concert I’ve ever been to. It was so gnarly that we actually went around and picked up cigarette butts to stick into our ears. That’s right. Two very self-conscious fifteen-year-olds, sticking used cigarettes in their ears, and not caring what the people around them thought. That’s how painful it was. And you might remember that Spud was not exactly allergic to loud.
Wow, that’s a good memory. Sticking butts in the ear.
I should’ve done the same thing during this show, but apparently I’ve become even more self-conscious than I was at fifteen.
Something always can be, I guess.
Okay, back to looking at things from the sunnier side. Hope to see you this helliday season. Let us at least do lunch. I’ll even drive all the way up to Ventura. How’s that for selflessness?
Good for you! Awesome story, sorry it felt boring… I can relate! (I say this every time I am here! LOL!) But you know, this is life! i am finding out that normal is ok, normal is good – which is quite the opposite of everything i have ever wanted to be – me normal? – well I am still not quite normal, but i am definitely not terminally unique! I am glad you chose to go out of your comfortable zone – this is a huge growth step, doing that makes us even more open to the world and helps us make new connections which while drinking were none existent!
Well yes, good for me, but no, I wasn’t bored, Maggie. I just felt like I was being boring. Which now that I think about it, isn’t a crime anyway. So what if I’m boring? I know lots of people who are, and nobody’s rounding up a torch-bearing mob for them.
Let’s do an affirmation together. “Today, confidant that the world’s end will neither hasten nor tarry because of it, we allow ourselves to be as uninteresting as everyone else.”
Whew! That’s a load off. I feel lighter.
Now if I can only get rid of this nagging feeling that every single moment of my life has to feel like midnight at Time’s Square on New Year’s eve, I’ll be set.
Thank you for reading and writing, Maggie. I hope you have a happy and joy-laden holiday seasoning. And that you never become completely normal.
A work in progress
Noble scoundrel. Lulz. I’ll use that at my preliminary hearing Thursday for sure.
Getting to kick it with you at the show sure was a gas, even if you and Essington both totally bitched up and refused my invite to stage dive during Reagan Youth’s set. It just sucks we didn’t have more time and weren’t somewhere so fucking loud on the constant.
Good luck with that hearing. I’d write you a letter but it would probably get you sent to a super-max. Inadvertently of course.
As for bitching up and not diving, I am going to have to plead out. Guilty as is. If there was a ramp I could drive my Rascal scooter up to the stage on, I would’ve driven that battery-motorized bitch right off the ledge, in a final, desperate, geriatric, Thelma and Louise Kamikaze dive into the audience. But there wasn’t. You can testify to the fact that that stage at Los Globos, did NOT have handicap access. So. There.
Guilty by extenuating circumstances.
Hey, I know you had a lot going on that night, including road-rash from being on tour, but it was still good to see you. Sorry Auburn has been so gnarly. Good thing you’re gnarlier. Talk at you soon. Oh, and tell those people at the house who I am, and that they need to hop to it when I call. I swear. Pretending they don’t hear me. It’s the oldest one in the book.
Peeth out, mofo.