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Bad choices made, constantly

Sorta Like Heaven

Whitestrat

“So did we ever…you know?”

“Umm, no we never did that”

“Why not?”

(Are we really having this conversation?)

“Well because you said you were good friends with your landlord and felt weird having sex in her building”

(I mean also because the first time you kissed me was three minutes after we finished a half-drunk game of Yahtzee. Well, you were half drunk. I was drinking Sprite. You had your hand in a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips that you had been snacking on throughout the night. If I know potato chips, they leave behind a lot of remnants in one’s mouth. So I still have vivid memories of that first kiss, where I was transferred some of the remnants of said sour cream and onion potato chips. The landlord thing was certainly part of why we never had sex, but I didn’t want to bring up the chips while you and your friend were coincidentally sharing a basket of tortilla chips)

“Oh okay, I wasn’t completely sure”

(How do you not remember who you’ve had sex with? Also, in retrospect, that’s kind of an insult! I can remember the women I’ve been with, fooled around with once, dated briefly or for years. A good chunk of those women, are connected to The Cure and my history with that band so it was no surprise a random girl I dated for a month almost a decade ago would pop back into my head the night of a Cure concert)

My friend Michelle sent me a message a few days before this show saying she may have an extra ticket and if so I can have it, and if I’ll drive. Deal. I tend to never get tickets when they go on sale at this point. There’s no real reason to, especially with all the buying options out there, and friends on social media going. If you can’t find a ticket to a concert the week of in 2016 you’re not trying. Also, I’m never dropping however much money people spend on beer and drinks at shows so I’m willing to pay a bit more for a ticket if I need to.

Michelle and I got to the venue early and grabbed dinner nearby. We’ve been friends for a few years online, met once in person while I was working the door at a bar six months ago but never hung out so it was nice to be able to drive and chat and sit down to dinner and chat instead of meeting up at a show and not having time to talk. She is similarly minded as me I think, and is hilarious in person as she is online. It’s good to have friends like this.

There was a woman sitting to my right alone who at one point ordered two drinks. At one point I look up and approaching the table is a girl I recognize immediately as the sour cream and potato chip girl. I have no idea what her name is at this point. I struggle with the guilt of this lapse in memory later as I judge her for forgetting if she had sex with a particular person. When I realize forgetting someone you played Yahtzee with isn’t that big of a deal I move on. Emotionally. We exchange pleasantries, she even says her name for some reason, probably sensing my lapse. I introduce her to Michelle

“This is my FRIEND Michelle”

When it’s time to leave Michelle is well ahead of me and pretty much outside when she stops me and asks

“So did we ever…you know?”

We get to the venue and of course run into Yahtzee woman and her friend again who are sitting in THE SAME SECTION AS US. That’s the last interaction we have with them.

Just as that is happening the band is suddenly on the stage and you can hear some sort of noodling around on stage for a few minutes. I think it’s maybe some sort of pre-recorded thing playing and then realize they are opening with “Open” from 1992’s Wish. I posted about them hopefully opening with this on Facebook earlier in the day so that was exciting. I mean not really but it was a tiny personal victory I celebrated inside my head alone in a venue surrounded by thousands of people.

They followed Open with five songs from what may be my favorite Cure album, The Head on the Door. It was the first record I heard by them, it’s short and has catchy pop songs and just enough darkness to at least place it in the top five essential albums in their catalog. When I first heard the record I was heavily immersed in the hardcore scene, especially what was happening there with all of the new more metal sounding bands like Corrosion of Conformity and D.R.I. The Cure was a quirky thing for me at the time. I wasn’t married to hardcore and metal, I grew up loving The Beatles and later on Squeeze and Joe Jackson and The Clash so the Cure was kind of natural for me. I think this era of the Cure is right before they would get the badge of being that band you put on a mix tape for the girl at the book store, or the band you were a sad sap for listening to. That wouldn’t start happening until the next record, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

This was also around the time I was dating my high school girlfriend I was with for about two years. After getting burned by my first girlfriend in junior high I was a slightly paranoid boyfriend. I was one of those dudes. It was early in life and I’m not even remotely like that at this point, but yeah I could get jealous.

My brother got tickets to see them at the Orpheum in October of 1985. October 25th to be exact. My girlfriend mentioned a party her and her friend were going to the same night as the show. The party they were going to was being hosted by a boy her and her friends thought was cute. I can still remember him. He was that weird quiet misfit kid. Like the one in that movie American Beauty who films the grocery bag. I was bummed she would be going to this party so I tried getting out of going to the show but couldn’t. And of course nothing happened aside from me being able to be that obnoxious guy that says things like “Oh, cool, yeah I saw them in 1985” Hanging out with that high school girlfriend years later she did admit that her and the weird quiet misfit kid had sex after she and I broke up which was a horrible thing to tell a person.

Back here in 2016 they follow the dark and brooding Sinking with three songs in a row from Disintegration (Pictures of You, Closedown [like on the album] and Fascination Street) and then on to Hot Hot Hot !!! from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (God I’m sick of typing that out over and over. Wish they played more from Wish, or Faith) was a soundtrack of a whole crush I had on a girl who turned out to be my cousin. I swear I can explain. She was a cousin as her aunt married my mother’s cousin. This would have been around a year after Pretty in Pink came out (February, 1986) The Cure album with too many words in it came out in May of 1987. Me and, I’ll call her Elizabeth became friends when my uncle introduced me to her at a family event. When I found out she wasn’t related by blood it was over. She became Molly Ringwald. Had red hair, wore those hats, may have even had “The Rave-Ups” written on her book cover (doubtful) for all I know. We spent many nights driving around Swampscott and Nahant, Ma parking and listening to that album. I was a scared baby with this kind of thing so I never made any kind of move at all. Neither did she and we just remained friends.

A couple of years later we would go to a Cure show together, it was the Disintegration tour, well “The Prayer Tour” I had seen them a couple of more times and was going to both nights. She went with me one night and I went with another friend or maybe my brother another night. The night we went at one point in the show I was yawning and my eyes got all watery. I consciously thought that if she looks at me she’s going to think I’m crying. And low and behold the next day she told one of her friends about it and they told two friends, and so on and so on…I get told by a friend “Hey dude Elizabeth said you were crying at that Cure show”

I hope I didn’t reply “Boys don’t cry”

The band bounced around their immense catalog of music throughout the remainder of their thirty-one song set. Once you get rid of any kind of disappointment you may have if they don’t play a particular song, seeing The Cure is always an amazing treat live.

I was hesitant seeing them in a hockey arena as the last place I saw them was in a nice old theater in Los Angeles (performing their first three albums and a host of other rarities) and it was probably the best time I’ve ever seen them. I was by myself at that show, thousands of miles away from seeing anyone I know, far away from Molly Ringwald and Yahtzee girl. This show here in 2016 was just as important, and if it ends up being the last time I see them it at least has an amusing bookend to it running into that girl, and spending the time with a good friend, meeting a few new people and seeing other friends.

Also, because of how we were sitting (me on the inside, and Michelle on the seat closer to the aisle, with me facing the stage and her essentially behind me) she didn’t see me get a little misty in the eyes during Just Like Heaven.

Chew Gum. Complain (More Awkward Dating Stories)

 

  


In my last entry here I talked about how horrible and awkward dating in your 40’s can be. Then I remembered how I was as a teenager…and how I was in my 20’s…and how I was in my 30’s. I feel like I might over-dramatize that I am awkward with women. I’ve had a number of long term relationships, and with all of those relationships I have remained very good friends with all of them so I can’t be that weird and awkward with women. And then I remembered these stories. All true stories. I changed the names of the women even if I am still friendly with some of them.

My second girlfriend, who I was with for a good chunk of high school was two grades above me. I was good friends with one of her friends named Julie. Julie and I lived next door to each other as kids, I was friends with her brother and her. At one point she tells me that this girl Tina likes me. I get Tina’s phone number from her. At this point I’ve maybe spoken to Tina in person zero times, but probably closer to a negative amount of times. That night I call Tina’s house (I still remember the phone number) and her mother answers.

“Hi is Tina there?”

“Yeah one second. Who’s calling?”

“It’s Chris, from school”

“Hello?” it’s Tina’s voice (I guess?)

“Hi Tina, it’s Chris Campagna”

“Hi Chris”

“Will you go out with me?”

“Yeah”

“Okay, see you tomorrow at school” and I hang up

Tina and I are now boyfriend and girlfriend, and remain so for well over a year. Everything is great, we spend every day together walking around Swampscott and getting mosquito bites from hanging around in the cemetery sitting on the grass listening to music. I was one of those kids that carried a boombox around. I’m just remembering that this second as I type this. Ewww.

My first girlfriend, Olivia she lived right behind me. That relationship started at Fantasy Island in Salem, a staple for first dates for any teenager in Swampscott and ended near Captain Pizza over by the train station. What a horrible metaphor. At one point Olivia told me she wanted to see other people along with me though. Fourteen year-old me was okay with this for about three days. Until I watched them make out in front of me. That ended but we somehow remained friends and I would often stop by her house and hang out on the porch talking to her. This would also be the first time I create a web of lies in my head to get out of something that wasn’t necessarily that bad to begin with.

I stopped by Olivia’s house while dating Tina once and Olivia’s dog came to the door and bit me on the leg. I didn’t have a dog, nobody I hung around with had a dog. When I saw Tina later that night I would have to explain to her where I was that a dog bit me. Olivia had come to the door in a bathrobe so I already felt guilty being there. I came up with some story in my head that a neighbor’s dog chased me while I was on my skateboard.

The mark the dog left on my leg went away within three hours and Tina never found out I was bit by a dog that day.

In my twenties I was again friends with two girls who were good friends. Renee and Cara. We would hang out together, talk on the phone and do shit teenagers probably do. Chew gum. Complain. Split pizzas. Order mozzarella sticks. Not know anything about anything whatsoever, etc. At one point I developed a crush on Renee. We would talk on the phone late at night about who knows what. At one point I was going to just tell her but wanted to do it in person. I made the mistake (well in retrospect not a mistake) of telling her I had something I wanted to tell her. We were going to hang out the next day anyway.

“So what did you have to tell me?” Renee asked a few hours into us driving around aimlessly

“Oh, ummm, yeah, nothing. Forget it” I chickened out

“Come on” she insisted

“Nah, it’s nothing”

“You can’t do that”

“Okay fine, I think I have a crush on Cara”

Cara and I date for a few years off and on. We had a great relationship. That was my first real “one that got away” thing when that ended. That relationship coincidentally ruined Let it Bleed for a few years for me as she was also a big Rolling Stones fan. The fact that it started falsely never really troubled me until I think about it.

In my 30’s at the beginning of the Internet (for me anyway) there was a Yahoo! Penpals thing. It wasn’t really a dating thing but maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t even called Yahoo! Penpals. Some bullshit chat thing on Yahoo! You look it up. I met a woman on there who was a jazz singer and teacher. She was the same age as me, maybe a year or two younger. We dated for a brief couple of months. It got to a point where I liked her enough that I lent her to CD’s a Coleman Hawkins CD called The Genius of Coleman Hawkins and Discs 3 and 4 from the Miles Davis Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel Box Set which is some of the best live jazz you can ever hear in your life. So you definitely want to always be in possession of all seven discs. At one point she took me to see Patch Adams (GOOD LORD WHAT A SHITSHOW), that was the second to last time we would hang out.

The last time we hung out she needed help moving a rug from one room to another in her apartment. On the way over there I decided to break up with her. I had lost interest and we didn’t have much in common besides jazz music. Music compatibility isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. As we pulled up to her apartment I asked

“Do you still want help with that rug?”

I don’t think I’ve seen a more mortified look on a person’s face since. Oh well. Who didn’t suck in their 30’s? Oh yeah, most mature people.

A year or so goes by and I decide one night I’d like to hear Disc 3 of The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 by Miles Davis box set. It’s not there. I need to get that disc back from Terry. There’s no possible way she wants to talk to me as a friend at this point. I devise a plan. Terry is a pretty accomplished singer and vocal teacher. I’ll call her and sign up for vocal lessons and at some point ask about the CD. According to her ad in the Phoenix she charges $30 an hour lesson. I’m a complete pussy for even doing this so it will end up costing me at least $150 to get those discs back from her.

I had recently started my band Presley and wanted to attempt to actually sing so I did want to learn how to sing, so this was some sort of weird, lame excuse to do that.

I called her out of the blue and she was fine, water under the bridge. She’d be glad to teach me and would be happy to see me she explains. The lessons take place in her apartment her at a piano and me standing there singing. It was interesting and fun. I even have tape recordings of me singing things like “My Funny Valentine”, “The Night We Called It a Day” that I really should just hold a giant magnet over if I have any nerve. At the second lesson I spotted the discs on her kitchen counter lined up among twenty or so more of hers.

“Hey I just remembered something…you don’t still have my Miles Davis discs do you?”

“Oh I don’t think so. I thought I gave those back already”

“Oh okay yeah maybe you did” and then I did that thing only a true asshole would do

“Oh wait, is that it right there?”

I got the discs back and had ten or so more lessons until I realized I wasn’t learning that much from the lessons. Perhaps a better appreciation of vocal jazz.

Last summer, while broke in Los Angeles and hungrier more than a few days a week I sold the Miles Davis Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 box set on eBay for around $100.

This is also my official announcement that I am starting a Kickstarter campaign to buy me another copy of the box set. Click the link below and donate what you can. I really need another copy of this box set. I’m kidding, there’s no link to click. You’re fine.

Dating in Your 40’s: Keep Calm and Wear Flip-Flops

 

 

“So, you’re 50 right?” I asked the woman sitting across from the pizza we were splitting

“Nooo, 48” she replied

“Oh, my bad…this pizza is pretty good though huh?”

This is just one of many awkward exchanges I’ve had with women I was trying to date or date while in my 40’s.

 

Dating in your 40’s is one of the worst experiences I’ve had to deal with, which is mainly a result of my neurotic personality, but also because at this age, especially late 40’s everyone deals with loneliness in a different way. Some deal with it by going on a number of dates with people they’d never associate with in “normal times”, some deal with it by just seeing if they can arrange a date with someone and then canceling at the last minute. Like some sort of crack highesque self-esteem boost. I feel like I have fallen into both groups.

I wrote about actual specific dates in this blog a while back which went over pretty well. I imagine some of the stories both horrified and amused anyone who read them. Aside from a three-year long relationship, a one-year long distance thing and a six month one I’ve been single for most of my 40’s. I actually don’t mind the periods when I’m single. Not having to text someone trivial shit like “I just left”, and multiple “How’s your day going?”’s every day is a key to a less cluttered mind. Having to worry about saying the wrong thing all the time. It’s not like when I’m in a relationship I dread this kind of stuff or are even conscious of it, but the absence of it glares pretty bright.

The two main ways to meet women for me have been 1) Online dating sites, 2) mutual friends introducing you, or having a friendship turn into something else. The second one seems to be the more successful one. When things start to escalate it can be a little overwhelming in a nice way at first, once things start REALLY escalating is when you have to be careful and take note of things you normally wouldn’t think of. I love tits, any size really. But if a woman sends me a picture of her tits and I can see a prescription bottle in the background, the first thing I’m doing is zooming in and making sure whatever it is doesn’t start with the letters K or X. This doesn’t really happen to me as much as that little scenario might make it sound like, but the background of these pictures is just as important as the “business” For instance if a woman’s profile has two different pictures that are clearly in hotel, sorry motel rooms you probably want to keep moving. When your profile has pictures of you and your two sons who both look like Mike The Situation, I probably am never coming to your house. I don’t know if those pictures are just a proud parent showing off her children or some sort of passive aggressive “you don’t want to cross me” thing. Either way, I’m not interested. True story: A woman had multiple pictures of her son in one profile and in every one he sported a crooked baseball hat and an ICP “Hatchetman” necklace. Sorry I don’t want my penis anywhere near something that made a Juggalo. Is that so bad?

Dating outside your comfort zone is okay for a little while, but ask how okay it is when you’re getting a blow job in some woman’s condo across from a framed picture that says “Keep Calm and Wear Flip Flops” Believe me, it’s surreal. I’ve always thought having a ton of stuff in common was overrated. Like music, one of the biggest parts of my life, since I was a kid, it’s framed who I am, led me to meet most of the lifelong friends I’ve had and always been there for me. Accent on ME. I don’t really want to date a woman who loves my favorite band The Rolling Stones. I don’t want to potentially ruin Sticky Fingers because it suddenly becomes me and my girlfriend’s “album” On the other hand if I met a woman not into The Stones and she wants to learn about them I may point her in the wrong direction on purpose. “Yeah so you’ll want to start with Emotional Rescue, their best album” Let her ruin one of those records (FTR I like a good chunk of Emotional Rescue, maybe I should have said Voodoo Lounge or one of those later ones, except their last one, a Bigger Bang which was great. People seem to like Steel Wheels and Bridges to Babylon but I’m far past them at this point and will probably never even give them a chance. Also for years I always thought Tattoo You came out before Emotional Rescue because it’s such a good record. Like how great would that run of albums looked if they had been in a row, Beggars Banquet through Tattoo You. Oh wait Black and Blue is in the middle. Okay so take out half of Black and Blue and half of Emotional Rescue and fuck what a run of great music they had. Your favorite band pales) You can also ruin meals if you go to the same place for dinner all the time or get take out from the same place. Anyone else ever cry over a chicken sub years later they used to get with their significant other? I’ve never done that, come on.

Dating in Massachusetts seems to be a little easier than dating in LA was when I was briefly there again last year. I went out with a couple of women who I somehow convinced dating an unemployed broke guy who lives on his father’s couch was a good idea. The first woman I went on a couple of dates with was Mexican, a very nice girl, definitely girlfriend material. Didn’t smoke, do drugs or drink. All great traits in a woman. I left out that I had one of those medical marijuana cards, but it never caused a problem. The first time we went out we went to one of the many nice public parks in Los Angeles and talked for hours. At one point she asked if I knew any Spanish and I replied “The only Spanish I know is what’s on Mexican food menus and what they say in Cypress Hill songs” My slight racist comment got a chuckle anyway. The next time we hung out she invited me over for dinner. She was cooking for her niece she was watching for the night. We’d spend time alone later when the child’s dad (her brother) came home. The anticipation driving to East LA from the valley was high. “An actual Mexican person is going to cook me dinner. This is going to be great” So she cooked turkey Hamburger Helper, boxed scalloped potatoes and some dry Jiffy corn muffins. We hung out a few more times and always had a good time, but I moved away so that ended.

I went out with another woman twice, once to a bar where I had maybe $11 in my bank account. She “forgot my debit card” and was trying to figure out how to pay, or have me say “oh I’ll pay” She was a regular there so the bartender told her she could come back the next day, but the fact that I couldn’t just pay the bill was embarrassing for both of us. She owned a house with a pool and I got to swim in the pool one day, and that was the last I heard from her. Holy shit that pool ruled though, it was in the 100’s that particular week so it was nice to just sit in the water for hours and talk about my ex-girlfriends. Which is what I realized I was doing when I was driving home at 9:30 PM

I wasn’t ready for a relationship, and realizing I was wasting the time of any woman who came into contact with me got to me so I took my online dating profile down and stopped.

I’m (mostly) settled right now and recently single again. I briefly thought of doing online dating again, put my profile on again and met a couple of women in person. The first one was literally standing in the parking lot of a Subway where you could smell that bread. You know how when you walk into a Subway and it just smells like yeast and mayonnaise? So I met this woman outside, we were going to just talk and go from there. Right before I got there a car sideswiped a motorcycle, right in front of her while she was waiting for me. So the entire time we were talking, two hours or so, there was a guy on the ground with EMT’s around him, a smashed car, overturned motorcycle, just disaster. So that was a surreal first “date” She assured me she wanted to see me again and I never heard from her again. The second was someone much older than me and who when I didn’t reply to her text message in a certain time frame she sent me a message that said “Hey Christian just wanted to let you know I’m gonna move on. Take care” Move on from text messaging each other for two days? That was also my cue to move on. Step away from looking for nothing. I love coming home to my new place alone. Not involving myself in trivial daily games with someone. A bitter jaded view of love and relationships? Sure, but what else is there? Someone always comes along and saves you again every few years. For now I’ll continue to enjoy Sticky Fingers by myself.

(Note: Sticky Fingers while an amazing record front to back, is not my favorite Stones album. In the slight chance a future girlfriend is reading this I’d like to keep that information confidential)

Las Vegas: The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life

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Las Vegas is easily the most disgusting place in the world I’ve ever been to. I’ve been three times now and absolutely love it.

 

I left Flagstaff filled with breakfast and a couple of grand ideas. I found that Public Enemy and The Cult were both playing in Vegas this night. On the same bill. Tickets were around fifty dollars, which seemed reasonable considering I would at least gamble fifty dollars away and not get it back. I love both of these bands. Public Enemy were one of my favorite hip-hop groups as early as their first album when I fell in love with the beat in “My Uzi Weighs a Ton” The Cult were also a favorite, so much that I actually have two Cult themed tattoos on my body but that’s a whole thing for another day. And no it’s not a “Fire Woman”

 

The drive there was unremarkable for the most part, mainly because my patience for driving was getting low. As a result of my detour to Austin I was well over three thousand miles at this point. I do love this little stretch from Flagstaff to Las Vegas. There are a lot of those moments where mountains in the distance take so long to reach you a sigh of frustration easily falls out of your head every time you see a new mountain range in the distance you know you have to reach. It’s the ultimate test of patience, this stretch. It’s pretty much your last day of long driving, and going to Las Vegas is literally a gamble. Every time I’ve been I’ve enjoyed myself until I got back to my room and contemplated what it was like. Imagine the entire customer base of Wal-Mart mixed with the cast of the Jersey Shore.

 

It was Saturday night and I was getting nervous, as hotels in Vegas are extremely cheap. NOT ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY THOUGH. I finally found a relatively cheap hotel off the strip (The Palms) I had a nice view of the fun part of Las Vegas from my twelfth floor corner room that was much nicer than the price seemed. I almost didn’t want to leave the room, but that was mainly because it felt like it was about two hundred and five degrees outside. I think it was two hundred and two. The woman checking me in half apologized to me that there was some sort of “pool party weekend” thing happening. Just then I noticed women walking around in bathing suits everywhere. I didn’t want to sound creepy and say, “That won’t be a problem” but I said, “That won’t be a problem” I mean really, I was on the twelfth floor and wouldn’t be going to the pool hoping for some sort of solitude.

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So the pool was pretty much right outside my window and the fucking bass from the DJ playing dance music was loud and impossible to avoid. My room was filled with all sorts of bonuses, snacks, drinks and an “Intimacy Kit” which was basically condoms, KY Jelly and I don’t know, a flash drive with a bunch of Marvin Gaye on it maybe? Who knows? The bathtub in my fancy Las Vegas hotel room had jets so of course I immediately go in, but not before I took out the marijuana grain alcohol thing and took more than I had taken the day before in Roswell. I had visions of walking into a casino like Johnny Depp playing Hunter S Thompson, crooked and wobbly, lights everywhere. I had already stopped my brief couple of days with the disposable vape-cigarette thing so I was allowed this (I think?) I would not be taking advantage of the free drinks waitresses bring you when you gamble aside from some coffee and soda. I almost fell asleep in the mini hot tub in the bathroom. I put on Steely Dan as loud as I could to drown out the pool party folks below. Not the ideal band to block out sound but you know, it was a long day and Motorhead as much as it would have been the most appropriate band wasn’t an option for what my brain needed. Certain music helps me unwind at certain times. A lot of times it is loud metal and that kind of thing just not this time. Okay.

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I took a little more of the weed cocktail thing and decided I would head down to the strip. I texted my friend who gave me the concoction in Texas and wrote

 

“So I’m going to up the dose for Vegas I decided”

“As your spirit guide I back this idea” he replied

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I discovered there was a shuttle bus to take you to the strip from this hotel. I got on the bus with a half dozen or so guys drenched in cologne. It was early still, probably about five or six more hours of sunlight. Bright Nevada sunlight. I can’t remember the last time I saw a tree. In this tinted windowed/air-conditioned caravan of douche I wondered how going to Vegas with a group of dudes works. I’ve always come here alone and it works for me. I gamble a little, eat a little and go back to my room. No alcohol or hooking up with women and that kind of thing. You know, stuff that’s just bad for you in general. When these guys meet women that are also traveling in a group how does that work out logistically? Sounds like a nightmare and a half. Speaking of nightmares, while daydreaming about the bros in the shuttle bus I start to feel the marijuana juice hit me. Thankfully it’s air-conditioned and a brief drive over a bridge and down a couple of blocks. It’s then I realize I have left my sunglasses in the hotel room. It’s so bright outside it looks like the sun, and although I don’t plan on walking around outside much, I need them to avoid eye contact. Just as it is on Hollywood Boulevard near all the bullshit, people are constantly trying to sell you something whether it’s a photo op with some unrecognizable cartoon character, or strange pussy for sixty dollars. I always make it a point to have sunglasses on the rare occasion I am down there. In Las Vegas you can at least slip from casino to casino without much contact with the sun. I just wanted my fucking sunglasses, is that okay? Especially as I started to feel like I was a little too high to be doing this. As we all exited the shuttle bus underneath Caesar’s Palace we were told there is a bus every hour on the hour and they end at 1:00 AM. I got out and immediately walked into the crowd of a casino in the afternoon. That familiar hum of slot machines, a light cigarette smoke odor and horrible people everywhere I looked. I lasted all of about thirty minutes before turning around and leaving and waiting outside for the next shuttle. Defeated by Las Vegas in less than an hour! It must be a record.

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The bus came rolling in a few minutes after the hour. For the journey back I was joined by a couple in their 60’s presumably heading back to their room to have sex; just kidding, presumably going back to their room to take a nap before going to the buffet later. I made my way back up to my room like a paranoid freak in a Black Sabbath shirt should be. I immediately took another bath in the tub with the jets in it. I waited until the sun went down. The two views in my room were west and north, the west view was blocked by a building so I did not get to watch the sunset over the mountains or anything spectacular like that. Once the sky was black and half lit up with Las Vegas I would go back out. My plans were to eat something horrible and disgusting for me, and then sit in a Keno parlor and drink coffee and maybe win a few hundred bucks. I did two of these things anyway.

 

I discovered that just across the street at the Gold Coast casino, which is kind of old and shitty looking, there is a keno area. I won’t have to get back on that shuttle bus and deal with remembering what time it is and that kind of thing. How convenient! I’m still pretty high as I leave the hotel after taking a bath and talking to a friend on the phone for a little while. I somehow forget that I was just going to walk across the street to the casino with the keno and then walk home and get back on the shuttle bus. The evening customers are a little more hardcore. About seven of us total on this bus. All men and one woman. All dressed like you assume people in Las Vegas dress. I’ve also remembered my sunglasses this time. Unfortunately it’s the evening and I now have to carry these stupid things around all night. I find an area where there is a bunch of different food and of course find the Chinese restaurant and order some rice. That’s it, vegetable fried rice and a cup of water. Not a glass, a cup of water. I take a few hundred dollars out of the ATM and make my way to the casino and immediately lose a third of that money. Bummed, I hit up the frozen yogurt place and get something that I immediately cover with shit like cereal and whatever else. I decide to leave the area and head back to my hotel again so I can walk over to the Gold Coast and play keno. It’s easy, uncool and more my speed as a seven hundred year old man.

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The Gold Coast is great, off the strip. Not too crowded, and the crowd that is there are mostly people with a good amount of grey hair on their head. I find the Keno area and pretty much stop here for the rest of my night. The waitress is quick with the soda and coffee refills and I’m fine giving her a buck each time, especially since I’m pretty much losing money by the minute just being in this casino. The folks in the Keno area are a rugged bunch. There’s me and my whole situation. A couple of women in their fifties whose husbands show up every half hour or so and hand them money, a couple of mysterious Asian men, and a handful of elderly men and women. Nobody in the keno parlor is getting laid tonight and that’s fine. I have a big day tomorrow; I’m on my last day of this long road trip where I am going to settle in California for the rest of my life. It’s going to be great.

 

 I walk back to the room, broke and feeling a little pathetic as I have every time I’ve come here. Thankfully I fall right asleep under the far away glare of the strip. I have a dream of the glare of light at the end of this trip; the final resting place, just out of reach. I’ll never take one of these long road trips again once I stop. I’m tired, torn and frayed, but yeah California will be waiting for me tomorrow when I get there. Life is just getting started.

Roswell to Flagstaff: The Vapes of Wrath


I left Roswell feeling like shit again. Not physically, but not sure what I was doing. I was going to drive to Flagstaff today, not before hopefully stopping in Albuquerque and taking some photographs. This stretch of the drive is tough, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of this particular route but when you’ve already been driving for a week you kind of grow numb to it. “Oh, the earth shit out another mountain, great” The drive west to east allows you to experience that part of the country with a fresh pair of eyes and an empty brain.


I arrived in Albuquerque and my first order of business would be to find some Breaking Bad filming locations. I found two within a few minutes (the car wash and Saul’s office) I needed lunch. I pulled over in the Saul’s office strip mall and posted the Breaking Bad pictures on Facebook and then got a few suggestions around town where I should eat. Per usual, because I was by myself I decided I would get Chinese food. In New Mexico. For the second time in my life. The food was pretty good and I will stand by that decision as a good decision. It erases that first time I did this a few years ago or eating it in Oklahoma a few days before.



So I quit smoking cigarettes in 2009. June 15th, at 1:40 PM. I remember the date and time. I never went back ever. I even tested myself that summer by driving across country one and a half times and taking a train halfway across the country without nicotine of any kind. Six years later I never even think about it, people smoke around me, and although it’s horrible and disgusting, I don’t mind it that much. If anything it reminds me of why I don’t like smoking cigarettes anymore. On previous vacations cigarettes were your best friend on hours long drives. You could by a carton for real cheap on a Native American reservation and smoke as many as you wanted. One every hour, three in a row, there was no limit to the amount of cigarettes you could smoke. The main way I stopped smoking was I taught myself to dissociate cigarettes from boredom among other activities (post –meals, in between songs at band practice, etc). So they were useless on road trips. They didn’t improve any situation, they never did, ever. Vaping might have though. At a truck stop to get a beverage I decided to by one of these disposable e-cigarettes and “vape” I had spent the better part of a year making fun of vaping culture on social media, but I was out in the middle of nowhere no nobody would see me vaping. I was also confident going into the experiment I would not get hooked back on nicotine, and I can proudly say I haven’t vaped since or had a regular cigarette. I assumed I would try this for a day and just never tell anyone about it at all. I do all sorts of things in life that I never tell anyone about. Everyone does, right?


The one I bought cost me around ten dollars and promised me 500 puffs or something like that. I took it out of the package and took a drag off of it. I only tasted a little and it was pretty disgusting. They had flavored ones, just like the big boys vaping “mods” where you can get all sorts of flavors that a person should never vape. Even these small e-cigarettes have flavors but I just went with “tobacco” I guess it tasted like tobacco, and for the two days or so I used it I was “addicted” to it. Not in the physical case where I needed it, but I did keep pulling the thing out every hour or so to take pulls off of and blow little clouds of vapor in my Hyundai and perhaps just to have that feeling of smoking a cigarette in the car.

  
Because I left a little later than normal, I imagine as a result of the marijuana juice the evening before (Who am I?), I got to Flagstaff after the sun had gone down. It was a long uneventful day through a lot of beautiful mountains and long long long stretches of nothing. I try to get lost in either music, or someone talking on the radio, every once in a while just the sound of outside. Once the sun goes down and it cools off a little I start to get tense. It started raining when I got to Flagstaff. I pulled over and searched for a good price on a hotel, found one within a minute and booked it over the phone. I always like checking into these random places, seeing these generally friendly people at front counters that turn into new faces in the morning when you leave. After I checked in I walked to my car to get my luggage and “high ticket items” to be brought into the room as well as a hot cup of coffee I grabbed at a gas station. The rain started coming down so hard I was immediately soaked before I got to the car. I decided to get in the car and drive to find dinner which lasted all of about four minutes before I realized I could barely see out of the windows so I retreated back to the room, falling asleep to hammering rain on the window.


 I feel like any time you wake up in one of these places surrounded my mountains is an amazing experience, especially if you arrived post-sunset the night before. Flagstaff early in the morning is a glorious place. Bright, blue and green everywhere, mountains that are usually capped with snow but not in June. Today it was bustling. It was a Saturday morning so all of the breakfast places were leaking people into the sidewalks and streets waiting for a table. At this point in this trip I just want to get there. I don’t care about stopping and seeing things, or eating at better places than Denny’s or random fast food. This morning though, I decided to eat a better meal than Denny’s or a random sandwich from a gas station mart. I found a spot (I swear I would never say that out loud. It looks nice in writing, but if you ever talk to me in person and I recommend “a spot” you can punch me in the face or throw a drink in my face) on Yelp and headed there. There was a parking space right in front and because of me being alone there was a spot, err, seat at the counter. The counter is your friend in a diner. The waiters and waitresses are on top of your coffee at all times and you can make eye contact with the guy making your food. The food was great, it was still early and my next stop was Las Vegas. I was well full and ready for the long drive through the desert, long stretches with mountains on either side of you that go on for hours. Beautiful and endless views in every direction make for an intense drive until you start getting back inside your head. Miles away from where I just left with no actual plan. This is certainly no way for a grown man to be at this point. Las Vegas should be fun. It’s very hot out.

The Three-Day Snowbound Hermit Blues

(I originally wrote these over a couple of days “trapped” in the house during a snowstorm in Massachusetts last winter [January, 2015] I’ve gathered them into one thing which is a bit long. Anyway.)

  

 Blizzard 2015 Pt. 1 (Might As Well Be Spring)

January 26th, 2015 9:00 PM – Marblehead, MA

 

Since I haven’t been writing at all much lately I figured I’d document this time stuck at home since it’s currently illegal to go outside for the most part. I suppose I could take a walk and not get arrested or pulled over but why would I do that when I have a warm house, a dog, a cat and Ray Romano to keep me company?

 

Went to the supermarket straight from work and it wasn’t as hectic as I thought it would be. I needed some essentials: mushrooms, a yellow highlighter, some rice cakes, one yellow onion, corn, eggs and a loaf of bread. I imagine the girl that rang me up didn’t notice everything I bought was either yellow or a light tan color as I did. My debit card went through but then she informed me I still owed $3.48 somehow. After a brief panicked “which one of those things will I end up putting back, and fuck that woman behind me put the stuff on the belt in quite an aggressive manner I bet she’s going to be pretty angry if we start canceling items and calling managers over” incident inside my head and two other debit cards later I was free to go with my yellow and tan groceries.

 

I stopped at the empty coffee shop around the corner and the nice young man who yesterday boasted like the US Postal Service that they would be open regardless of the weather informed me they would definitely be closed tomorrow. I didn’t really plan on leaving the house tomorrow, and that sealed that for me.

 

I pull into driveway and the crazy neighbors who live above garage at the end of the driveway have parked their gigantic white Cadillac in a place it’s never been before, in a position where if I park where I normally park it will be blocking them. I decide to just block them in and shrug it off. There is a note on the door

 

They say in times of stress you should bake. I think they say that. Someone does. Women? Grandmothers? Do grandmothers get stressed? They seem like they’re always pretty happy about stuff, I mean unless their husband of sixty-two years dies and they are destined for a lifetime of imminent lonely fish dinners. Well I’m not stressed. I don’t really mind snowstorms, unless of course the power goes out and I am stuck eating yellow onion sandwiches and rice cakes for three days. I’m excited at the thought of not going to work tomorrow. I have this book I’ve been reading and a yellow highlighter to highlight the important stuff to deal with tomorrow and did I say I don’t have to go in to work? So yeah, not stressed. I decided to bake when I got in, something easy: mushrooms stuffed with breadcrumbs and egg and shredded cheese and cayenne pepper and mushroom stems.  I put them in the oven around 5:30 and they were done before 6:00.  I ate the meal and watched what seemed like about six hours of news about the storm. I have this thing when I watch weather on news where I just kind of zone out and not hear anything they are saying, sort of like when I meet a new person and they tell me their name and I immediately forget it, or if someone gives me directions and inside I’m saying “okay I’ll probably just look this up on my phone as this guy is really confusing me but I’ll keep nodding and make pretend I get it” Three or so hours after I cooked the mushrooms I went into the kitchen to grab get a drink and notice a red light on the (thankfully electric) stove. “Oh, left the oven on ”Opened the oven and this wave of heat came out burning the tips of my green dreadlocks just a tiny bit. I mean heating up my face like when you step out into the sun in the August after being inside too long, not burning my green dreadlocks. I turn the oven off and remember this is now the third time I’ve done this. The first two times I did this I was high as a kite on marijuana; tonight I was completely sober. Still alive and well over here.

 

Maybe it will actually start snowing soon. I hear plows but outside looks the same as it did four hours ago. I’ll be back.

 

“I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm,

I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string,
I’d say that I had spring fever,
But I know it isn’t spring”

  

  

Blizzard 2015 Pt. 2 (Everything Happens to Me)

January 27, 2015  8:51 AM – Marblehead, MA

 

So it’s 7:30 AM and I am looking out the window and all I see is white, which is pretty much what it’s like when you look out the window here any time of the year. Whenever I have one of these types of days off I have all of the grand ideas to clean, organize, read, write, play music, cook or do something productive. Let’s see how that pans out.

 

An hour later our new governor is on TV telling us things we already know like how it’s going to snow quite a bit today and to stay off the roads so the plows can do their jobs. This new governor, Charlie Baker, a Republican; I don’t know if it’s what he looks like or how he carries himself but he looks like your girlfriend’s dad from when you were 15.

 

“Hi Chris, what do you do?”

“Well sir I’m 15 so I go to school, listen to Iron Maiden and have acne”

“Very nice, make sure she’s home by 10:30”

“Yeah, keep calling me Chris dude”

 

I don’t think I’ve ever called anyone sir in my life now that I think of it.

 

The cars in driveway as a result of how they are tucked away between a wall, the house and a garage are pretty much completely visible thanks to the high winds and fluffy nature of the snow.

 

Three hours later and am I really watching the Maury show? I am resigned to TV the remainder of this stay in the house as I discovered a few minutes ago that I have LEFT MY GLASSES I USE TO READ AT WORK. Did I seriously do that knowing full well I would be here for at least a day and a half and have this book and the yellow highlighter? My work is currently moving, yesterday we spent the whole day moving things out of there and cleaning, and I cleaned my whole desk off and collected some personal things that I took home but left the glasses. I generally never forget things (which is why I’m a perfect target for the whole September 11/Never Forget marketing thing) and kind of look down on absent-minded people who always forget things or misplace things. So what a piece of shit I am for forgetting those. They are cheaters soI think I can handle reading without them, but Jesus.

 

Have not opened the milk I bought three days ago yet. Feeling like I will be stir crazy by 1:30 PM.

 

“I make a date for golf, you can bet you life it rains
I try to give a party and the guy upstairs complains
I guess, I’ll go through life just catchin’ colds and missin’ trains
Everything happens to me”

  

 Blizzard 2015 Pt 2 a (Karma)

January 27, 2015 12:54 PM – Marblehead, MA

Saying how I look down upon people who forget things in Part 2 has paid off well today. I was watching an hour-long program on the thing when the cat entered the room and proceeded to vomit on the floor and then go eat. Something I wish was socially acceptable for people. I decided to deal with it “whenever I get up” Fast forward to an hour later and I walk into other room and step directly in the cat vomit.

I guess I am taking a shower.

I’ve decided to do some shoveling, especially the stairs and around my car. I’m not sure I’ll be able to open the door to get outside and shovel, I did bring the shovel inside with me last night.

Oh yeah, I lost my gloves.

  

 Blizzard 2015 Pt 3 (One Room Country Shack)

January 27, 2015 7:30 PM Marblehead, MA

 

I’m convinced the neighbors downstairs have never seen daylight. You rarely see them but good lord do you hear them.  The main guy has a thick Massachusetts accent and just sounds like an asshole. I can’t make out exactly what he’s saying; he sounds like if some guy named Frank from Everett, Massachusetts did all the adult voices on Charlie Brown. I believe he is probably around 35. There is his girlfriend who is friendly enough when you see her even if I do a double take every time I see her because for a second I think it’s Ultimate Sin era Ozzy Osbourne in my driveway with jet-black hair. In sweatpants. Her son who I imagine is about 20 years old and wears baseball hats with the labels still on them also lives here. On occasion you’ll hear someone freestyle rapping downstairs. I have not determined if the freestyle rapper is the Frank from Everett, Massachusetts guy or the kid. I wonder if they know it snowed out today? Every once in awhile I smell marijuana coming up from downstairs in certain parts of the apartment and briefly get paranoid that I will fail an upcoming drug screening at work as a result of the smell, and then I wonder if I’m just being paranoid. Or am I being paranoid because I am getting high from the marijuana I’m smelling? Reminds me of the time I was driving on Lynn Beach near Red Rock one summer. The Massachusetts State Police would sometimes have the horses out there for kids to pet. Me and my buddy were sitting in the long traffic line smoking grass and listening to Rush or whatever and I told him to roll up his window as I was so high I thought that police horses were trained like police dogs and they might catch a whiff of the marijuana smoke.

 

I’ve just been informed there will not be work tomorrow. I am a little surprised and a little relieved. I did a little bit of shoveling today. Well, about fifteen minutes of shoveling my stairs before having to jump down on to the ground to start where I was waist deep in snow. Fifteen minutes was about as long as I could take shoveling without gloves on before I decided to walk down to the 7-11 and just buy gloves. I’m pretty sure I bought women’s gloves, at least there was a woman on the tag. Ask me if I give a shit that I bought gloves for women at 7-11 for $4.99. They did the job for the remaining fifteen minutes of shoveling I did. I looked at my car and there is a drift in front of it that looks like it will be a pain in the ass to deal with. Where the snow is light and fluffy I had planned to either just drive right through it tomorrow morning, hope someone else miraculously deals with it for me, or I don’t have to do to work tomorrow and the wind will blow it around and it will be easier to deal with Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

 

I told a few jokes and did some impressions and songs for the dog, he seemed unimpressed. I generally talk to myself quite a bit if I am in a situation where I haven’t spoken to a human being in quite some time. Sometimes I like to imagine I’ll get myself into some sort of situation where the FBI bugs my house or car and gets a kick out of my conversations with myself.

 

I’ve begun a game of “Alcohol Bingo” with my Facebook friends list that started yesterday. Every time someone mentions they are drinking a new type of alcohol I haven’t seen yet I mark it down on this sheet I have. I have yet to hear of anyone drinking white wine or tequila yet, but we’re still only a day into this storm thing. I also have a “Which one of my friends will die of alcohol poisoning first?” thing running for the last few years, but I kind of keep that on the down low inside my head.

 

Pretty sure there is some sort of creature or person running up and down the streets screaming so I fried up some chicken cutlets to take my mind off the terror that placed in my imagination.

 

 

“Sittin’ here, thousand miles from nowhere
People, I’m in my one room country little shack
I’m sittin’ here, thousand miles from nowhere
People, I’m in my own, own one room country little shack”

  

Blizzard 2015 Pt 4 (Un Poco Loco)

January 28, 2015  6:08 PM – Marblehead, MA

What a sad, sad day in New England. The storm has left us with no goodbye or anything. Left in the middle of the night while we were all sleeping.  Speaking of sleeping, the neighbors downstairs, I think they slept all day. At one point I ventured outside to do some shoveling. I noticed the creepy guy that lives above the garage was out there and thought I’d give him a hand. My car is blocking his, and the mini van (exactly) that the shit bags downstairs drive is next to my car. I shoveled a path out of my stairway, around their car but leaving a few feet of snow in front of theirs, and then around mine. The creepy neighbor that lives above the garage shoveled a good chunk of the driveway it was only about eight inches deep. Where I was shoveling it was a little deeper. About forty minutes into this, the woman who looks like Ultimate Sin era Ozzy Osbourne poked her greasy haired head out and said she messaged the landlord and the plow guy was on the way. Meanwhile the garage neighbor guy had shoveled their stairs for them. Both of us kind of shrugged, put down our shovels and went back inside. This was my second shoveling session. A plow showed up an hour or so later and pretty much just removed some of the snow. The way the cars are positioned it’s hard to really plow us out. A few minutes later I hear some commotion outside and see the son with the flat brimmed baseball hat with the labels still on it rushing outside with a shovel. From what I could gather his friends came to pick him up in some sort of Lincoln and got stuck at the end of the driveway, blocking traffic coming up our hill. I sat in the window and watched the ordeal as cars started lining up behind them, three vaped out 20somethings trying to figure out how to get a car with rear wheel drive out of the snow was amusing. I even snapped a few pics of it.  I took a shower and they were still out there when I came back. I probably could have helped them as I probably weigh about as much as all three of the crackhead looking kids combined, but also THE FUCKING BOYFRIEND OF GORILLA COOKIE FACE ULTIMATE SIN ERA OZZY OSBOURNE LADY COULD HAVE WENT OUT AND HELPED OR HEY MAYBE CAME OUT AND HELPED SHOVEL.

 

I had a great shower and fried up some cheese sandwiches on wheat bread and fell asleep watching a James Bond movie. Tough living, these blizzards.

 

At some point I hear some more commotion outside and realize the loud boyfriend is outside talking to the girlfriend of the man who lives above the garage. Her father is our landlord. She is kind of a character and kind of looks like a cross between Randy Rhoads and Dave Murray from Iron Maiden, but like 80 pounds. She’s got a raspy voice and is one of about four people in the world who I give a pass to calling me “Chris” I never look out the window to see what’s going on. The boyfriend then comes back in house and I hear him yelling about something regarding the driveway. He’s going on and on like he usually does. One of these guys that just yells and yells constantly. I mean I imagine if I was living with that woman I would probably yell quite a bit, for instance if I woke up in the middle of the night and saw her sleeping in the bed next to me, that would be cause for alarm and I would probably cry out something. I hate people who yell, people with short fuses. I have a short fuse from time to time and I hate when it comes out. I usually recognize it and try to think at how absurd the thing is I am getting upset about. “THIS FUCKING THING WON’T DO THE THING IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO” Sort of like that bit Louis CK does pointing out the absurdity of people getting mad at their smartphones.  This guy downstairs though, I can just imagine him constantly getting heated about ridiculous things and then not doing anything about it. I don’t know what this guy does for a living, I have no idea what his sleep schedule is. My basic idea of what happens in that apartment under me is: they smoke weed, yell, watch loud TV, freestyle rap, yell, yell, make gorilla cookies with that woman’s face, smoke weed and eat all the gorilla cookies. This guy had all fucking day to come out and just grab a shovel. I even positioned the third shovel in view of their window in a snow bank. You can either be a guy that sits inside and yells at a woman all day or be a man and do some work outside. I’m not the person to confront someone or tell them what to do especially in this situation. I’ve literally never even looked this guy in the eye. I think I’ve seen him once. I’d rather just be the guy that sees something that needs to be done and just do it, especially when you really have no choice. I went out a few minutes after his yelling fit and did some more shoveling, careful to still leave that little patch of snow still in front of their horrible mini van thing. It felt good getting out there a third time with the headphones listening to Black Flag and Cro-Mags and other old hardcore music and making progress on something.

 

Anyway, tonight I’ve decided to introduce them to Slayer –Reign in Blood at a good volume. I’ll let some shithead be a shithead and be the type of person that constantly needs to yell and be abrasive while I do my thing up here.

 

Before this blizzard started I dreaded it. Probably like the neighbor downstairs did. I realized today it’s not really a big deal, snow. You go out, shovel it and that’s the worst thing about it. I mean, unless of course you lose your power or something horrible happens to your home. For the majority of us though it’s nothing. It’s tiring, but I know anytime I shovel snow I always feel better at the end, like I accomplished something. You can go stir crazy sitting in the house for multiple days as I have a little. I don’t go out as much anymore so being at home isn’t that big of a deal but when you feel trapped in like this it does something to your head which is why I needed to fix it. The guy downstairs, I imagine he just lets things heat up inside his head until they blow for no good reason. I never want to be one of those guys. I never will be. Here’s hoping their car doesn’t start tomorrow morning.

   

 

 

Steers and Fears: Texas and Roswell, NM


I really wanted to see the folks at the small coffee shop before I left but I also wanted to get the fuck out of Oklahoma and into Texas. I made my way to the gas station across the street from my motel and bought myself a steaming hot coffee and a horrible and disgusting breakfast sandwich that I ate all of. Most of my food experiences on this trip so far (and ahead as I will talk about) have been dismal. When I don’t have another person saying “I’m going to take you to this spot, you’ll love it” I generally fail at eating meals on the road. And when you have hip friends that call places “spot” you know you’re in for quality. Just as my good friend Mike in St Louis hooked it up with the meals each time I’ve visited, I also experienced in Austin. But that’s not for a little while.

So driving through this part of Texas, the northeast corner of it. It’s rolling hills and very un-Texas like. In fact at the end of this trip, I don’t know if it’s a result of where I drove but most of Texas was very un-Texas like. Not a single tumbleweed. No hours-long stretches of flat two lane dusty roads. Actually there were some of those. One thing I’ve discovered on this trip, I imagine by accident because my eyesight is going, wearing sunglasses doesn’t give you the 100 % experience of seeing things as they are. Since I was driving all daylight hours on this trip, generally before 7:00 PM I always had the sun behind me. Having sunglasses on dulls everything. You think of Texas as the color of sand and brown sugar but it’s colorful and bright and new if you’ve never seen it. What could be wrong with that?

The never-ending drive to Austin from Claremore, Oklahoma seemed like it took about twenty hours. In reality it was about an eight-hour drive with a couple of brief stops for gas. A good chunk of the drive was on Highway 69 so that was exciting as well. I got to Austin around rush hour and met my friend I’d be staying with at her work and then followed her to some place where she promised me “the best fried chicken ever” and it was pretty damn good. I ate too much, got a little tour of some of Austin and then we went back to her place where I met her roommate and THEIR EIGHT CATS, ONE DOG AND A BIRD, MAYBE TWO BIRDS. I had my own room to myself with an occasional curious cat coming to visit me as I read myself to sleep finally in a home and not a rented room.

In the morning I would meet another friend I only knew from the Internet, Joey for breakfast. Joey took me to a great “spot” and we had an amazing breakfast of chilaquiles and talked about playing music and living in Texas. I mentioned not traveling with marijuana on this particular trip and he suggested I try something I had never heard of called “tinctures” which is basically grain alcohol and THC. He gave me an eyedropper full of the stuff and instructed me very carefully. “Only take maybe one dropper full, usually in a shot worth of water” after that “it takes about an hour to hit you” I hid the stuff away in my car and was on my way. Years ago I never would have made the effort to meet people I only knew a little. Our interactions online were pretty minimal aside from posting in the same private forum here and there. But it’s these kinds of meetings that make traveling better. Meeting friends, familiar people and strangers make it worth the hours spent alone staring at the sky in front of you.


My host Jodie was out of work early and decided to take me to The Alamo. I had never been there, and it was a short drive south of Austin. I’m pretty sure it was about one hundred and twelve degrees out. Apparently nobody told me, guy with three shirts on, about the weather. Like a lot of famous sites around the country the place is smaller than you think it’s going to be, also it’s smack down in the middle of a city. The city itself has some beautiful old buildings I took some photographs of but the heat proved to be too much so walking around wasn’t on the agenda. We white knuckled it back to Austin and I almost had a heart attack about four times. This happens when I am the passenger in any car.

  

The next morning, after an intense breakfast with Jodie that included eggs and avocado as well as a waiter that had a handlebar mustache, dressed like a cross between Doug Henning and a mime I hit the road for my next stop, Roswell, NM. I had never been, I wasn’t expecting much really. This drive was another eight-hour drive that gave me time to take in the first half of the trip. One thing I realized was I didn’t really do much “Austin” stuff. Well I didn’t eat ribs or see live music, I did have a mustache though so there’s that. I had a few great meals and was there more to see friends than see buildings. I’ll go there another day and deal with Austin proper, for now I had this long ass drive to Roswell. I feel like this one did actually take more than eight hours but I don’t feel like figuring that out.


  
The drive was similar to the drive in the north east part of Texas for a couple of hours, filled with winding hills with a good amount of green and colorful flowers on the side of the road. This eventually turned into just flat, straight long stretches through farms. Occasionally a rusty cloud of dust would snake its way upwards like miniature tornadoes. I tried to capture it with my camera phone but I didn’t do it much justice. Every half hour or so I would pass through a small town that took thirty seconds to drive through, and then back going in a straight line for miles on end. I tend to listen to podcasts or people talking more than music at this point as it makes the time go by faster.

So here I am about ninety minutes outside of Roswell and remember my friend in Texas gave me that grain alcohol/marijuana stuff. Roswell is supposed to be UFO central, so what better way to experience it than with the weed juice? I figure if I take some now I’ll arrive in Roswell just as this stuff kicks in and perhaps I’ll see an actual UFO or an alien walking down the street. Or maybe a closed UFO themed gift shop? My friend said to just take the one eyedropper full. I realize I’m a little bigger than him so decide I should take one and a half droppers full. I don’t have water, just the last of a bottle of diet soda. I dig the stuff out and fill it once, squirt it into my mouth and it’s like when you’re 13 and take your first shot of alcohol. I haven’t had any alcohol in my system in probably three years so the taste hit me. It’s not the best tasting thing, but I also ate that whole breakfast sandwich back in Claremore, Oklahoma a few days ago after eating at a Chinese food buffet IN OKLAHOMA. I ATE SEAFOOD THERE. I fill the thing halfway and drink the rest of it. It’s pretty disgusting. About forty five minutes later I decide to blast the band Kyuss in the car thinking “yeah this will be great, Kyuss in the desert, buzzed, let’s do it” An hour has passed and nothing has happened and I’m getting closer to Roswell. I fill the dropper up completely and take it down. Cough for a couple of seconds and again, wait. Nothing. I arrive in Roswell and am surprised at how much more lived in it looks than I imagined. I imagined this tiny place with two streets, a diner and that alien museum you hear about. No, it’s a fairly sized town with a lot of modern buildings and typical suburban sprawl, just not as desolate as I had imagined. I was staying at a Holiday Inn here where, like most towns I’ve stopped in, I found while sitting on my phone in a parking lot nearby looking for the best rate. It was a Friday night so rates are generally higher. I get out of the car and at this point have kind of forgotten that I was waiting to feel high. I was sitting down in my car for however many hours driving and ingesting the weed juice. Disgusting really, the whole scene. Walking into the hotel I am surrounded by elderly people sprawled across benches in front of the hotel, one of them is wearing some sort of award on a red ribbon. She says hello to me and I say hello back and they all kind of give me that old people smiling head nod thing. Like a “yes I sense you are a nice young man” look not knowing I was just in the car blasting music about Satan and doing drugs because I’m balls deep in Mid Life Crisis Fest 2015. I think little of the scene and continue in.

 The second I walk up to the counter of the hotel two women in their 50’s greet me. I immediately think to myself “GOOD LORD I AM HIGH AS A FUCKING KITE RIGHT NOW” It all hit my brain and body right at that second. I somehow managed to get my room checked into with this woman and am also offered lemonade and cookies. I feel like I’m in a Cheech and Chong movie and I should be like “Hey thanks man, how’d you know?” The woman that didn’t wait on me pipes in, “wait until tomorrow morning, that’s when I’ll make my cookies” I say to the woman who waited on me “You hear what she’s saying about your cookies?” We have some sort of brief and completely unsexy banter about cookies and I go to the table and stand so they can’t see me take four of the cookies. Two in my breast pocket and then two in my hand, with a cup of lemonade and three bags of luggage. I somehow make it back to my room without passing out or having an anxiety attack and immediately turn the air conditioning to sixty-nine degrees. Oh yeah, there was a sign on the counter of the hotel “Rowsell, New Mexico Holiday Inn Welcomes the 2015 New Mexico Senior Olympics” Yep, I’m staying in a hotel filled with elderly Olympic athletes.

 I rest for a few minutes, it’s late in the afternoon and I need to check out the town and see if I can see “some UFO shit” I decided I should probably take some more of that stuff since I am now pretty high as it is, this will make the UFO stuff even more trippy. Yeah okay sure. I ingest another whole eyedropper full, this time mixed with a little water. I almost immediately feel it. My mission objectives are simple: Starbucks, some UFO shit, dinner.

 I find some UFO shit but it’s closed. Almost everything is closed, well aside from this Mexican bakery. I go in there and buy a couple of doughnuts to go with the four sugar cookies I ate an hour ago. I also buy something called “Mexican Sweet Bread” which is basically just colored sugar cookies, a bit fluffier and delicious. There isn’t really many places to drive around and I certainly wasn’t going to drive to the “official spot where the UFO landed in Roswell” as there’s not going to be anything there. It’s not like going to say the Giant Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, AZ, which is so immense and crazy to look at and contemplate. There’s certainly a fun kitsch factor to the whole town and the aliens painted all over the place, but I really needed a coffee and to go back to my room with dinner at this point.

 I found a Starbucks, stood in line and all of a sudden heard a guy behind the counter loudly say “can I help you sir?” as if he had already asked me and I was off in space. I was now paranoid thinking he assumed I was on drugs and was judging me. Especially wearing a big cross around his neck. I ordered my drink and moved along; now paranoid everyone knew I was not right in the head. As I looked around I noticed at two different tables folks studying the bible in groups. Native Americans reading the bible, I thought of that Willa Carter book Death Comes For the Archbishop, one of my favorite books. At that moment I needed to get back to my room and fade off into the New Mexico night.

Morning came and I joined the elderly for breakfast, sitting by myself. Acknowledging the elderly woman with the gold medal on with a smile and a brain full of “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” No time to contemplate crap like that though. I was on my way to Las Vegas. On a Saturday night. There was a concert with Public Enemy and The Cult on the same bill. I thought about doing that, or gambling, or relaxing or just sitting in a Las Vegas hotel worrying again if this trip even mattered.

Corrosion of Conformity Interview – August 10th 1985

In August of 1985 the mighty Corrosion of Conformity played in Cambridge, Massachusetts at The Christ Church along with Post Mortem, PTL Klub, Executioner and The Offenders who were the buzz of the hardcore scene at the time. C.O.C had been around previous to this gig. I saw them a year before with Battalion of Saints and the Outpatients at the Paradise with the four piece line up, and also as a four piece with D.OA and The Freeze even before that at the Northeastern YMCA which held a few great shows for a little while (ummm, Void, Agnostic Front, Murphy’s Law, Kilslug and Siege on one bill? Good times!) They always put on one of the most intense shows you could see around this time. Just a loud thundering wall of sound coming out of three guys. At this particular show I remember there were a number of fights, something happened with the PA at one point forcing the band to perform an instrumental version of “Loss for Words”.

Also of note were openers Executioner, one of Boston’s more underground metal bands at the time. The reason a lot of these shows were happening (metal bands and hardcore bands playing together) was a result of guitar player Marc Johnson who was booking a lot of these shows. Executioner in true Spinal Tap fashion emerged on stage as smoke machines went off which then set off the fire alarms, almost shutting the show down. Marc and Executioner really did play a huge role in the history of hardcore and metal in Boston and any discussion about “the scene” without mentioning him or his band would indicate “you weren’t there”. They certainly weren’t the best band around but their presence was huge to kids like me. Also their song Victims of Evil was pretty awesome.

I was doing a fanzine at the time called One Step Forward. I was interviewing some great bands, and even as an awkward quiet 15 year old I never felt like I couldn’t approach an artist for an interview. At one point I was introduced to Brian Walsby or became pen pals with him, I don’t remember. He may or may not have helped set up the interview but obviously at this point, I can’t remember. Also of note in the van with us was a young lady named Lisa Carver who later went by the name “Lisa Suckdog”. Her and I were pen pals and she came down to Cambridge from New Hampshire to see the show and sat in for part of the interview near the end. Her questions are, ummm, exactly as they were printed in my zine…I was 15 years old during this interview so some of the questions are obviously kind of bland.

In subsequent visits to Boston, even as late as the Blind era, Corrosion of Conformity always put on an intense show and Reed Mullin always took the time to say hello, remembered my name and was a generally great guy. They are apparently touring with this lineup soon and hopefully I’ll make it out to one of them. For more info on those new shows,  check out their website

The blurry pictures here are from the show. Once I get a scanner set up I will scan the pages from the actual fanzine.

 

An interview with Reed Mullin (drums) and some comments by Brian Walsby

OSF: Okay first off, where do you think you fit in: metal or hardcore?

Reed: Metal or hardcore? Definitely hardcore, don’t you think?

Brian: I think you’re definitely hardcore

OSF: Well, some people call you “metal”

Reed: Well look, I can’t even do a drum solo…Woody can’t play “Eruption”. I consider us more a hardcore band than anything else, lyrically and musically I think – (bassist/vocalist Mike Dean opens van door) Get out of here Mike Dean!

Mike: Huh?

Reed: Get out of here

Mike: No

Reed: Lyrically, definitely. I don’t think we have anything in common at all to do with heavy metal lyrics. We’re influenced I guess by Black Sabbath, Black Flag and Bad Brains.

Mike: I hate heavy metal

Reed: You don’t hate heavy metal, you’re just saying that to irritate people

OSF: When did COC form?

Reed: June 1982 in Woody’s basement. We just practiced a little, played parties and so on. When we started none of knew how to play so we did GBH covers and stuff like that

OSF: How would you compare this new record (Animosity) to the first record (Eye for an Eye)?

Reed: I like the first one a lot. I liked the songs, but I hated the production, the production was just really bad. It was really disappointing, and our old singer’s vocals were really bad on it. The new one, the production on side one of is a lot better

OSF: Who produced it?

Reed: The guys from Metal Blade…well we produced it, but it was engineered by them. It was recorded in a better studio. Side two was done at the same place we did “Eye for an Eye”

OSF: What do you think of Satanic lyrics?

Reed: I think they’re cool just because they open people’s minds. They irritate Christians I guess. As long as you don’t take it too seriously it’s pretty funny. I don’t know, that Satanic stuff has been so overplayed it’s cliche

OSF: Do you think you sound better as a three-piece?

Reed: Things move a lot faster because me and Mike Dean sing. All our old singers were really slow in learning lyrics. As far as live stuff, I think we’re lacking a bit. But our old singe he was a real nice guy, he just couldn’t sing. I think I like the three piece better

OSF: What do you do when no playing in the band?

Reed: I work for my dad as a secretary, and I set up all the shows in Raleigh. That’s about it, my job is nine to five.

OSF: How old are all of you?

Reed: I’m 19, our guitarist Woody just turned 20 and Mike is 20 or 21, I’m not sure.

OSF: What are you listening to for music?

Reed: Right now my favorite bands are Descendents, Honor Role, Bad Brains and Rudimentary Peni, that’s what I’m listening to most. I like millions of different things; I like Slayer, Exodus and Venom, and some reggae.

OSF: Who’s idea was it to cover “Green Manilishi”?

Reed: Well Woody was in a heavy metal band, heavy metal cover band before he was in COC and he used to do it so we thought it would be funny if we just tried it. We did it and thought it was funny so we kept doing it.

OSF: What happened last time you were supposed to play here?

Reed: Well we were ready to go, I mean everything was packed up and ready to go, and then our car wouldn’t start, and it was our alternator. We got a new alternator at the last minute  and while we were putting that if we poked a hole in the radiator.

Lisa: How did you get together?

Reed: Me and Woody went to school together for a while, and Mike Dean moved up from a southern city and we just started practicing in Woody’s basement

OSF: Do you guys like Elvis?

Reed: Which one?

OSF: Well I saw Elvis Presley stickers all over the van…

Reed: Elvis Presley was pretty cool I guess. All of these stickers are from Toxic Shock. They moved their store into a head shop and they had all of these stickers left over so we just took them

(some guy is is trying to look into the tinted windows of the van)

Brian: What the hell is this guy doing?

Lisa: Do you guys have advice for beginning bands?

Brian: Go metal, that’s where the bucks are!

Lisa: Do you get along with Boston Bands?

Reed: Which ones?

Lisa: Minor Threat

All: Minor Threat???

OSF: SSD, DYS…

Reed: I think all the Boston bands are great

Lisa: Do you have day jobs?

Reed: Woody works as a jeweler and I work as a secretary and Mike Dean works for me

Brian: It should be said that both Reed and Woody work for their own families

Reed: Brian Walsby mooches

Brian: I just mooch off of Reed

Reed: Brian Walsby’s a moocher

Brian: Hey Reed can I have some money, I’ll pay you back

Reed: I wanna go see The Offenders

OSF: Any last comments

Reed: Have a good day

OSF: Have a day

Whatever We Do, We Do As A Crew The Gallery East Reunion 8/29/10

(Previously Published in 2010 on my old blog)

In the summer of 1982 I was living in Nahant, MA about to move off the peninsula to the “suburb of Lynn”, Swampscott. In the summer we would often spend time at my great aunt Grace Barile’s house, especially around July when her son Frank would light off fireworks with the blessings of the fire department. Growing up around music in the family I was already a rock and roll kid but I was at that age where I could have gone any direction. I was leaning towards stuff like Cheap Trick, The Clash, Joe Jackson, but also had a foot planted in hard rock like Kiss, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and that kind of thing. At one of these summer cookouts my aunt mentioned to me that I had a cousin named Alan I never met that played in this band called SS Decontrol. She had a copy of the record and I took it into her house and played it. I thought it was the worst thing I had ever heard in my life. Well, not really, but I didn’t like it. Being around a father working for a major label I had no concept of DIY. The album cover, which to me just looked like Sha Na Na or extras from the movie The Wanderers rushing the State House in Massachusetts seemed silly, and the fact that there were so many songs on the album was weird to me as well. I kind of forgot about the band and didn’t even take the copy of the album she offered me to keep (it’s okay I currently have a sealed copy!).

A few months later in junior high school we had a substitute teacher, Mrs Quint a few times. She was the sweetest woman, much better than the regular teachers we would have. She would often bring in these things called “fanzines” that her son wrote called Suburban Punk for us to look at. Most of the kids were pretty dismissive of them, but I remember thumbing through them slightly interested in this whole world, and connecting the dots back to that record my great aunt let me hear. I was familiar with stuff like The Clash and Sex Pistols and wasn’t completely ignorant of punk rock music, I just had no idea what hardcore music was.

Fast forward to around a year later, I had since taken the “hard rock” route, was hanging out with some new friends. Kids with long hair, skateboards, acne and a love for all things that had to do with dragons and guitar solos. Oh yeah, and smoking weed. At one point we needed some weed and one of my friends had a connection, this punk rock guy Peter could sell us a couple of joints for the going rate back then, $1.00 each. Pete and I quickly became friends and once I made the connection that he was also involved in this hardcore scene I mentioned my cousin and he told me how they were one of the bigger more influential bands in Boston. Wow, I had a “famous” cousin.

Over the next few months I immersed myself in this music. Pete was friends with Mrs Quint’s son Al who took me to my first show, Channel 3 and Kraut at the Channel. Pete sent me to Newbury Comics with a list of albums to buy: DYS – Brotherhood, Jerry’s Kids – Is This My World, SSDecontrol – Get it Away, F.U.’s – Kill For Christ along with a number of other ones I picked out myself. I would listen to the Salem, MA radio station WMWM (where I was a DJ years later) to Chris Corkum, another North Shore guy who played punk and hardcore music. At one point my aunt arranged for my cousin Al to call me and introduce himself and talk about music or whatever (SSD had just released Get it Away at the time and this was at the time when they would pretty much just move forward and only play newer music from their next album, How We Rock which was generally panned by everyone for being a “sellout”. It was far from hardcore, but I liked it anyway). Over the next couple of years I would often call him and we’d talk and I can’t even imagine what we talked about, but the fact that he was nice enough to give his young cousin some phone time was great. If you know Al he is kind of an intimidating looking guy, and had a “tough” reputation. back then. Al Quint and I would remain friends for years. We worked together at Rockit Records for a long time and were band mates in Shattered Silence. If you know Al, you already know he is one of the coolest guys around with an encyclopedic knowledge of not only punk and hardcore but hard rock music, and just a general sweet guy. He was probably the first punk rocker at my high school, Swampscott High School…Peter being the next generation followed by, umm me I guess. Hey this was back when if you saw someone who looked different you knew they were probably on the same trip as you…not to get all “these kids these days”.

From 1983 to about 1988 I went to just about every hardcore show in Boston, as well as a number of shows in Rhode  Island and New Hampshire. I never became one of those “hardcore died when I stopped going” people. I stopped going as I just didn’t find it fun anymore, got into different styles of music and whatever other excuse I can’t think of. I see a number of people from that scene here and there at smaller metal related shows and that kind of thing. The main reason I am writing this long ass introduction to this write up on the show is the importance of that scene to a number of different aspects of my life now and throughout the years. I wouldn’t be friends with my circle of friends if it weren’t for that scene, which in turn lead to my last long time job, and a number of friendships I still have. Embracing the concepts of DIY and word of mouth has been an ongoing part of me for as long as I can remember.

I still listen to a good chunk of hardcore from that era, and although I came in a tiny bit late missing Dead Kennedys, Misfits and Minor Threat I got to see pretty much every great band from that scene even if it was at a later era. I saw SSD, but only performing stuff from “How We Rock” and their final album “Break it Up”.

When all of the Boston bands “went metal” they still remained vital bands. The F.U.’s probably being the best example. After having some of the best songs on the This is Boston Not LA compilation followed by two amazingly blistering hardcore albums (“Kill For Christ” and “My America”) their third album “Do We Really Want to Hurt You?” was pure rock and roll, hell their previous album closed with a pretty straight forward cover of the Grand Funk Railroad song “We’re an American Band”. In my opinion some of the band’s best work was on this album (Warlords, Killer, Shitheads, Walking Tall and of course Young, Fast Iranians). DYS was the other band that did really well progressing into this more rock based style. In retrospect, and hearing the songs from their second self titled album at yesterday’s show those songs were just as heavy and hardcore based as their first album “Brotherhood”. When listening to all of these band’s that “went metal” now, none of them really sound what you would call metal in my opinion. Gang Green and SSD also had their own brand of rock that basically was just an extension of what they were doing on their material before they transitioned. The one band (Although I’ve included SSD in this, I’m only talking about the bands who performed at the Club Lido show) that did not make this transition was Jerry’s Kids who seemed to get even faster on their second full length, KIll  KIll KIll.

When I initially heard about this “Gallery East Reunion Show” I was skeptical…Who would be in these bands? DYS, really? Do Dave Smalley and Jon Anastas know about this? Jerry’s Kids? Why isn’t The Freeze on this, they coined that “This is Boston not LA” line? Negative FX? I’ve always been a purist for the most part with this stuff. I never saw that version of the Misfits without Glenn Danzig and anytime someone who isn’t in their 40‘s tells me they saw The Misfits I immediately assume they are lying or that they saw them in 1998 or whatever with that other singer. After finding out this was a legitimate show my friend Jon picked up a couple of tickets. Jon is a few years younger than me, but we’ve known each other for a long time, he started seeing shows around the time I stopped so he saw some of those great late eighties bands like Swiz, Soul Side, etc.

To say the day and show was great would be an understatement. I ran into quite a few people from all different eras of my life and places. People I worked with, people I played in bands with, people I barely knew, friends of friends and everything in between. We arrived a little late and due to running into people outside didn’t make it inside to see the first two bands Refuse Resist and the Revilers.

The first band we saw was Slapshot. I had no idea who would be playing with the band at this point. The lineup was great though, Choke backed by long time bassist Chris Lauria, guitar player Craig Silverman who is best known for Only Living Witness drummer John Bean. They opened with Back on the Map and sounded great. Choke was his usual self, pushing some buttons with his stage banter. The highlight of the set, and one of the highlights of the whole day was their performance of Chunks by his short lived band Last Rights. They closed their set with Hang Up Your Boots which was introduced by Choke’s son.

Antidote followed. I didn’t know much about them aside from the guy responsible for putting the whole show together and the director of the film, Drew Stone was the vocalist. They were a lot of fun, fast old school hardcore, they even covered a couple of Minor Threat songs. Funny as you could definitely tell that they were from New York. I enjoyed them for the most part and obviously you have to give the guy respect for putting this whole thing together.

Gang Green was next. They were kind of a mixed bag to me. I liked them for the most part but they kind of lost me after their “Another Wasted Night” album and their whole Budweiser thing. They played a nice mix of songs from their career including their cover of Til Tuesday’s Voices Carry which didn’t have the same effect it had at the Rock and Roll Rumble in 1987. They did kill it at the show, they’re just my least favorite of all the old Boston hardcore bands.

Jerry’s Kids, who I always thought were THE best band to see in the 80’s were great, but suffered a little from some sound issues and a feedback problem that remained the whole set without being dealt with. It kind of bummed me out as they were the band I was most looking forward to seeing. Thankfully they blazed through a set of almost all of their  “Is This My World?” record, a couple from the “This is Boston Not LA” compilation and a cover of “Protest and Survive” by Discharge. Bob Cenci was only a little more subdued than the younger version of him that would often roll around on the floor not missing a note. He managed to drop to his knees, get up on the monitor and sing his signature tune “Lost”. If I remember correctly they didn’t play anything off of “Kill Kill KIll”. Ross Luongo was also on guitar and Jack Clark played drums and of course Rick Jones on bass/vocals.

The F.U.’s were the next highlight of the night. Playing an impressive set from all over their career including a Straw Dogs song (Trigger Finger). John Sox can still sing his ass off, and aside from a head of short gray hair, looks pretty much the same as he did the last time I saw the Straw Dogs which was probably in 199? Rounding out the band was originals Steve Grimes, Wayne Maestri, and I think Bob Furapples as well as Mick Cotgageorge on second guitar who I believe plays in a band with John Sox called Payload which also includes bass player Richie Rich who played the second half of the set. I saw them quite a bit in the 80’s, probably more as the Straw Dogs so as far as I remember they never played “T Sux”, “F.U.” and “Green Berets” (!) back then, so that was a nice surprise!

With all due respect to every band that played DYS could have been the only band I saw at this show and I would have been satisfied. They really brought it to a close with an intense set that hit both of their albums as well as a cover of Motorhead’s “We Are the Road Crew” and of course closing with “Wolfpack”. There was so much energy on the stage and on the dance floor for their forty five minutes, everyone there felt it and it really was a “unity ideal”. Dave Smalley was very talkative and it was great hearing him talk about passing the torch to younger bands, metal and hardcore kids mixing it up and other brief meaningful speeches that didn’t sound forced. I’ve always thought Smalley was a guy with his heart and soul in everything he does musically so it was nice to hear that stuff coming from him. With a long day spent seeing old friends and having a good time watching these bands with no fights or problems I saw it was an amazing cap to the day. A complete success in the eyes of everyone there. I can’t imagine anyone walked out of that show thinking they had a bad time.

There are a lot of words here that express what the day was about for me. A friend there said this was like a “last hurrah”. I have to disagree, this was more like opening a door to this whole history and period of my life as well of hundreds of people who were there even before me. If anything this is the beginning of another chapter in this scene. The film will be released in the spring of 2011 and judging by the clips online and the few they played on screens in between bands it should be great. I love talking about my time back then with anyone who wants to listen, and the renewed interest in the scene and the new means in technology to connect with people is making this easier. I’ve had friends say people only want to look back at things like this because they are getting old and want to hold on to this piece of their life. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks like this, they are generally just jaded people who seem to never feel satisfied or just never were part of something like this. In my mind, reflection on the past is great especially when the majority of the memories are so great. If having fun for a day with old friends and listening to great music is bad, well I don’t want any part of the miserable and cynical, or as John Sox says “F U!”.

I have more pictures I took at my Flickr account

Also, if I got any band member names wrong, names spelled wrong, etc please let me know.

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