Monkey Strong! (But too dumb to hang with the jocks) Life in the Burbs

IMG_2629When my generation was young everything was a constant rush and we could barely contain ourselves, beer was any 12 pack and food and sleep were never even a consideration in the constant chase of the next rush. Music was an ever present high, throwing giant house parties, going to shows, meeting new people everyday and going to strange places was stimulating and exciting, sex was a constant rush, music and the people we knew seemed so much more important. However, it was the need for chaos that we were attracted to.
Today’s teens seem to be a little different. The entire world is already laid out in front of them. They don’t need to travel to the city, action is everywhere and it bothers them. They seem so much more mature than we were. I was talking to another dad about how well behaved the high school kids in our neighborhood are. On a Friday in the park, instead of listening to metal or getting drunk in the bushes like we used to do, they are running around the park, doing cartwheels through the sprinklers, and they are all so super nice to us old folks that it’s almost disconcerting. The other dad said to me, “That’s because they are all high on pills!”

The executive vice president at Apple who changed my life forever

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When I was in college a guy named Hiroki Asai brought some records over to my dorm room. Come to think of it I think he also gave me my first Charles Bukowski book so this guy really changed my life. The record I remember the most was Sewer Trout “Songs About Drinking” it came with a comic zine that I thought was fantastic. It introduced me to a new type of attitude and humor that I had never seen before. There was also the Yeastie Girlz “ovary action” 7” that I loved, some Black Flag records, and my new theme song “Alcohol” by Gang Green. Drinking beer back then was the epitome of fun but at age 21 the idea that someone would rather drink than fuck was so absurd to me that it made this song hilarious!

In 1989, when I started going to shows, I had a big fluffy mullet! I was a happy suburban douchebag when I crossed over into the punk rock world.

The “art on my wall” segment for this post is the blank spot on the wall in my garage where the show poster that Kurt Cobain gave me used to hang. It’s been missing for about 12 years now. I got it after a show at Bogart’s in Long Beach I saw a small pile of screen prints sitting next to the drums. At that point Mr. Cobain was done selling t-shirts and was sitting on the edge of the stage. I said, “Hey, are you selling those posters?” He got up and walked over to investigate, picked one up and brought it back to me.  When I asked how much he smiled lazily and waved me off. It should have a been a nice moment that ended there but I said, “Oh, can I get one for my roommate too?” He rolled his eyes at me and shuffled back over to get another. I could tell he was a little annoyed so I said,  “How much for this one?” He shrugged and said “a buck?” and I gave him dollar. Hopefully Todd still has his poster. When we first moved into this house my roommate Craig converted our garage into a recording studio and quite a number of bands came through. After Craig cleared out his studio I cleaned out the garage top to bottom and painted all of the walls. I probably just misplaced it at some point. Hopefully I didn’t throw it out by accident.

The “art on my wall” segment for this post is the blank spot on the wall in my garage where the show poster that Kurt Cobain gave me used to hang. It’s been missing for about 12 years now. I got it after a show at Bogart’s in Long Beach I saw a small pile of screen prints sitting next to the drums. At that point Mr. Cobain was done playing and was kneeling at the edge of the stage. I said, “Hey, are you selling those posters?” He got up and walked over to investigate, picked one up and brought it back to me. When I asked how much he smiled lazily and waved me off. It should have a been a nice moment that ended there but I said, “Oh, can I get one for my roommate too?” He rolled his eyes at me and shuffled back over to get another. I could tell he was a little annoyed so I said, “How much for this one?” He shrugged and said “a buck?” and I gave him dollar. Hopefully Todd still has his poster. When we first moved into this house my roommate Craig converted our garage into a recording studio and quite a number of bands came through. After Craig cleared out his studio I cleaned out the garage top to bottom and painted all of the walls. I probably just misplaced it at some point. Hopefully I didn’t throw it out by accident.

The mullet photo at the top was taken in 1990 when I was 23. I’m glad the photo exists because my shirt is off and you can see I was ripped. If that photo didn’t exist I wouldn’t even bother telling this story. Several years ago the wife didn’t believe me when I told her that as a sophomore in high school I could grab a basketball rim. She tried to explain that it must have been a low hoop or something. I got indignant, “No! I could do it on any court, all the time!! I could stand directly under the basket, jump up and grab the rim!” She had met me in my 30s after I had five summers of truck driving over my belt so I forgive her for doubting me. I’m only 5’ 10” but at one time I had monkey strength!
I never played sports in high school because my grades were too low. The football coach tried to get me on the team, talked with my math teacher so I could start going to practice, but then I failed other classes too. What I really loved was baseball though, I would watch practice everyday after school even though I couldn’t play. After a few weeks the baseball coach, who was also the school custodian, made me “team manager” so I could travel with the team. The last game of the season he gave me an injured players uniform and sent me up to pinch hit. I was walked on four pitches.

My introduction to punk was backwards. Normally it’s the story of the smart and quirky cool kid that was picked on by the dumb jocks. I was never picked on by anybody, nobody thought I was cool, and I wasn’t smart enough to hang out with the jocks.
Earlier this post I referred to myself as “douchebag” which initially I thought might be a little harsh. However, last night I looked at an old 1988 VHS videotape of Hiroki and I at a big party – and I was a douchebag. I wasn’t a jerk or anything but I was annoying and Hiroki was witty and likable. No surprises as to which one of us went on to run the world.pipsqueak

Beer marches on. 9 years ago the wife and I took a trip to the 21st Amendment Brewery in SF. We were on our way to a Bar Feeders show, but we stopped there specifically because they had collaborated with another brewery to brew an Imperial Red, my favorite, and at the time Imperial Reds were actually hard to find. Of course, when we got there they were out of it but we went to the upstairs bar. We had a bartender to ourselves who started handing us tasters as we came in. The wife prefers the dark beer so he suggested a new beer called Back in Black, which I appreciated for the ACDC reference. I had some fancy beers in a tulip glass. It was a really swell time. Then we went to the show and I had to elbow my way to the bar. The band was great but then we stood in a circle and talked to friends we hadn’t seen in a while and I couldn’t hear a thing anybody said. So that may have been when I started preferring breweries to shows though we’ve gone to a few shows lately too. I still like the small ones, especially if they start early, just not the big reunion gigs. Anyway, now 21st Amendment has a giant brewing and canning facility in the suburbs of San Leandro.

Beer marches on. 9 years ago the wife and I took a trip to the 21st Amendment Brewery in SF. We were on our way to a Bar Feeders show, but we stopped there specifically because they had collaborated with another brewery to brew an Imperial Red, my favorite, and at the time Imperial Reds were actually hard to find. Of course, when we got there they were out of it but we went to the upstairs bar. We had a bartender to ourselves who started handing us tasters as we came in. The wife prefers the dark beer so he suggested a new beer called Back in Black, which I appreciated for the ACDC reference. I had some fancy beers in a tulip glass. It was a really swell time. Then we went to the show and I had to elbow my way to the bar. The band was great but then we stood in a circle and talked to friends we hadn’t seen in a while and I couldn’t hear a thing anybody said. So that may have been when I started preferring breweries to shows though we’ve gone to a few shows lately too. I still like the small ones, especially if they start early, just not the big reunion gigs. Anyway, now 21st Amendment has a giant brewing and canning facility in the suburbs of San Leandro.

Get OFF MY LAWN!
The other day I was clicking around YouTube and under “suggested channels” I got really excited because I saw “Fueled By Ramen” I thought Devon Morf of All You Can Eat had his own channel! Turns out it’s a band called 21 Pilots, I already knew of them because I have a 14 year old daughter that I share an I-tunes account with. They are not Devon Morf, but it’s good stuff.

I was in Good Karma Artisan Ales before a Total Badass, Party Force show in San Jose. The guy behind the bar was playing some sort of African blues retro bla punk bla or something. I wondered if Miley’s veganry got her any fucking respect in the vegan community. I asked him if they ever played any Miley Cyrus. He looked at me like I had just stabbed a cat. Then out of thin air he doubted that she was really a vegan.

Most of the time that people post show photos or band mentions on instagram I try to look them up on YouTube or bandcamp. Even if I came across the next Nirvana or Hickey I wouldn’t know it. I’ve been going though a weird thing with music. I had a Laughing Hyenas “Life Of Crime” and a Charles Bronson CD in my car. I thought, “Why did I used to love this stuff?” I couldn’t relate at all. I thought maybe with my hearing loss it just sounded different. The only music I really listen to anymore is Pipsqueak “Fowl Hymns” and Miley Cyrus. Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 11.40.20 AMThen a few weeks ago the feeling for the old stuff came back to me again. Those CDs in my car sound great. However, for the most part I want to stick with my new daytime oriented lifestyle, especially in San Jose where everything gets turned up to 11.

I’m posting this first, but it’s actually part 2 of a longer post. I’m in the middle of a second book about punk rock in the early ‘90s and the nostalgia in my head became too unwieldy to contain in just one post.

One thought on “Monkey Strong! (But too dumb to hang with the jocks) Life in the Burbs

  1. Kids are still doing stupid shit, we’re just exactly the people they hide it from so we’re unaware. I asked Noah recently, who’s 22(!), about “partying” in high school, and he said it went on all the time. It made me both happy and concerned, which I guess is the default state of a parent.

    I remember Hiroki! Looks like he’s done well. I also remember that mullet picture. Ha.

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