Vol. 1 No. 2 Fall 1996
Goin to the reunion show, that old punk band from way back, you know. Sneak in a beer each for me & Rick, see some old faces and lotsa punk kids. No openers so we drink and throw looks at the empty stage. They come on with a ruckus, sound’s all fucked up, can’t hear the guitar for a few songs. The guitarist is busy swearing about it, twiddling and twiddling and twiddling knobs, meanwhile the rhythm is tight at least. They get some jeers- the kids can’t thrash to it! “What the Hell!!!” somebody yells. “That’s too fast for us old farts,” sez the singer, and they do it anyway, sounds like a dumptruck rolling sideways down a steep hill, the singer making noises as fast as he can to the hardcore pummeling. Drunk punks in slam heaven flail around, yeah, yeah, yeah. “This is better than the Sex Pistols reunion,” I hear.
Somehow the guitar started workin’, now it sounds like ‘core, now they’re fucking yeah.
Song’s over, thrashers swaying on momentum, catching breath. Yells and swigs salute the band. The guitarist is done frowning about his sound and beaming, wants to keep playing right away but the drummer’s yelling something.
“Hey, HEY, ASSHOLE!” People look around, “Is it me? Is it me? What?” The singer turns wondering what the fuck. It’s him.
“What’s that shit written on your back, man, is that a WHITE POWER tattoo on your back?” Drummer climbs over his kit like he’s friggin mad, grabs the singer’s shoulder, “What the FUCK you trying to prove, fucking redneck nazi fag! Huh?” A shove. “Huh?”
Something gonna happen? No, they’re laughin’ now, drummer goes back.
Lotta stuff on the singer’s back, I try to make it out but can’t. Looks like letters, don’t know what. “What’s it say Rick?”
“Can’t see it.”
I look at the guy’s face and wonder,
what could it mean if the tattoo was that? Should I hate him? Then would that be like him winning ’cause he’s for hate and he made me hate? I interrupt the confusion with a swig, settle my stare at the stage- c’mon, play more punk!
They wanna start up again but the guitarist goes up to the mike, shit, he wants to talk. Booo! “No, no, listen, listen, will you guys just listen for a second, I wanna say something, I think it’s important. I wanna explain something about him, he’s one of these guys, you know, he’s one of these guys– when you get him drunk he’ll do anything, you know… Hey, Derek, you wanna go roll over a volkswagon? ‘Yeah sure’… you know? Hey…hey… you wanna get a white power tattoo on your back?’” He imitates some slurring, “ ‘Yeah,
Ok, sure, whatever…’ You know?” He looks around, there’s booos, impatience. More music! Someone lets out a loud ‘Let’s Goooooo!’ “No, man, no, this is serious, I wanna make sure you know he’s an OK guy, you know. Really, this is serious, OK?…” Fuck, he’s still babbling. Bass and drums start up,
they can’t wait. All the steam they built, & it’s leaking out, y’know?
They were just picking up. He’s still trying to get people to listen, but there’s no point.
Suddenly there’s a drunk punk on stage, looks young. Huh? What’s goin’ on?
I think he’s gone… now… the guitarist is standing and staring mad, staring at the crowd. Does he look pissed off! What an eye-scan!
Shit, blood’s pouring down his face from a gash over his eye. He’s glaring, stomping back and forth.
The mike stand’s on the ground, picks up the mike, I hear him “C’mon you fuck!! C’mon!!!!!” . Mike’s not working, he drops it, screams “Come back up here, c’mon, C’MON, fucking ASSHOLE!
WHO FUCKIN DID THIS TO ME! C’MON OUT YOU FUCKER!!!” Jumps off the stage, roams, people tell him to calm down, “Play Guitar!!”, band still chugging.
Back on stage, waves at the drummer to stop- he doesn’t. He puts his hand on the bass strings, the bassist pushes him back- all he knows, someone’s fucking with his bass.
The singer tries to calm him, at the same time he looks at the blood like he’s thinking maybe they should stop the show. It’s right over his eye, the gash, it’s bleeding all down his neck even. Someone goes up with a towel to wipe some away. His guitar is handed to him, he still scans the crowd, in a haze.
They try for awhile to get his guitar working, but it’s fucked again. Shit, I can see there’s a jack stuck in it, no cord. The bass & drums vamp on like background music for this improv injury vengeance play.
So much fuckin time passed, the house lights are blinking, show’s over soon. Some punks roaming around the pit holler, pissed off.
I see him stare at his guitar, looks like he’s thinking of something, looks like “fuck this CAN’T BE THE SHOW, fucking TEN YEARS fucking ARRHHH”. He jumps off the stage again, stares everyone in the face real fast walking around pissed off, “I’m gonna fucking KILL him, fucking NAZI ASSHOLE RUIN OUR SHOW”
The bass and drums finally stop, I hear a ‘hey, HEY’ from the stage, tryin’ ta reel him in. He goes from person to person through the crowd, staring people in the face, looking for that one guy, his mouth working away at curses.
A friend grabs him, tries to say soft “Now look, it’s OK”’s but has to drag him by his arm. He slides on his heels behind his friend who slowly drags him up the ramp leading up to the john beside the stage.
Still facing the crowd, sliding up the ramp like a kid off to bed, everyone’s looking at him, quiet, & he sez: “That’s why I do HEROIN! ‘Cause you’re all FUCKED UP!!!”
Guess it’s over. What to do, where to go. I go to the bathroom & see him on the floor behind the stage, crying, a friend swabbing his cut. “I came all the fuck back here to do the show, and this fuckin NAZI bashes my head with a steel bar! Fuckin ASSHOLE,” sob.
Later, shuffling out towards the door, I pass a friend and mention that I heard him say he got hit by a nazi with a steel bar. She cocks head & goes pfft. “He wasn’t a nazi. I know the guy, he was sick of hearing him talk. He wanted to slam. What’s with this steel bar.” Must’ve hit a pedal or a mike stand when he fell, that’s all.
Out in the cold, we stand around, waiting for someone to suggest somewhere to go or something to do. Someone we know comes out, followed by the guitarist. His face is cleaned up but there’s blood all on his thin t-shirt. I wonder how he can handle the cold dressed like that.
The bunch of us start walking towards the Main. We say nothing, not knowing what we can say without talking about him. He feels the tension from this, looks kinda embarassed, like he just realized that people saw him cry. Trying to turn it around and be macho, he starts saying “It musta looked bad, with all the blood, eh? It musta looked nasty, eh? Could you see it from the crowd?”
I make a face to my friend implying “what’s he doing here, walking with us?” with a head-motion back towards the hall & a lifting gesture implying “shouldn’t he be back there helping them load shit?” My friend sez (quiet so the guitarist doesn’t hear) that the band gave ‘im 30 bucks for smack to get rid of him.