Saturday, July 16, 2005

Return of the Fly

So lately I've been looking for something to direct my mania know, something to collect? I had tried dabbling in collecting comics but was a little intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the subject matter, & the assholes you invariably run into at comic book stores (it's not quite so bad at HiDeHo in Santa Monica actually, but that's a lotta gas when you drive an American-made truck). SO...I tried narrowing it down to just a few titles. Man, what a great feeling! When I dug up the individual issues of Peter Bagge's "Hate" (yep, they were at HiDeHo) that comprised the out-of-print "Fun With Buddy & Lisa" trade-paperback, it was a magical feeling. I felt like I was a lil nipper finding that last Star Wars trading card, you remember how the backs made up a big picture of Dath Vader?

Well anyways I was feeling a bit despondent. I mean, I can collect Daily Racing forms but it doesn't quite have the same pop. That's more of an intellectual pursuit. Dodger paraphernelia? Hey, I'm not made of money. Star Wars toys? Fuck no! Don't you read this blog?!

Well anyaways I was looking for some snappy new duds, since I'm officially in need of size XXL, aka 2XL, aka "big-boy" size t-shirts now, seeing how my sixe XLs are starting to look more & more like spandex on my boyish figure, & size L affords passers by a disturbing view of my navel. So what did I chance upon? A Misfits shirt. I was looking through the merchandise on their website & thinking how terrible the new incarnation is, with only one original member who's balder than me & yet still insists on trying to maintain the old devilock that I obediently mimicked in high-school. I mean, the new guitarist may have once, briefly, played for Black Flag, but that was back when I collected Star Wars cards, & having met him when I lived on top of Al's Bar, I can't recall having met a more vacuous dolt more undeserving of this kind of cult status.

So I stopped by Vinyl Fetish on Cahuenga, (no more trips to Amoeba...don't be fooled, young folk; they're wolves in sheeps clothing...the Clear Channel of record stores) & I picked up the Misfits Collection II. I was kind of annoyed when I remembered, after sticking it in the CD player, that the "Walk Among Us" tracks are actually re-RECORDED by Glenn Danzig, not re-MASTERED. And they suck. Yeah I guess there's some dispute with the original record company or the ex-members of the band...I won't bore you with the details. Well I was kinda bummed over that, I mean it had the only available CD versions of some of the tracks off of the "Beware" EP, which is cool, but now I wanna pick up "Walk Among Us". There was also something there called "The 12-inch Compilation", which it turns out I shoulda bought...

...which brings me full circle. Isn't this what I spent my allowance on when I was a snot-nosed kid? Isn't this what I obsessed over happily for years? Isn't this what brought me indescribable joy back then? It had all the key ingredients...a) it was collectable, since they were never widely distributed, b) it was music, Odin's gift to humanity, and c) the subject matter matched my personality to a T; don't you know about the Misfits? Haven't you seen Plan 9 from Outer Space?

Well here it is, then...something to quietly direct my mania towards. All those old records are on CD now. I even heard that the much-hyped "lost album", 12 Hits from Hell, is available if you know where to look. I mean, I didn't even know it existed until recently. Now I'd cross the Sahara to get my greasy mitts on it. Once again, I have something to look forward to.

Yeah, it's a shame that some idiots have to make an embarassing spectacle using the same name (just goes to prove my theory that everything is being ruined these days, be it Kojak or Star Wars), but since they have the rights to the merch, aka bad-ass shirts, I guess we'll have to peacefully co-exist. These are the moral compromises one must learn to accept in this crazy world we live in.


If you've never listened any Misfits records& don't plan on doing so in the near future, you can always check out the B-movies that inspired them instead.


Hollywood Babylon

"Walk Among Us":
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Invaders from Mars
Night of the Living Dead

"Earth A.D.":
The Monster from Green Hell
Die, Die, My Darling

...any of Ed Woods' later horror movies will do in a pinch, though.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Two if by sea

You know I remember this one time when I was living up in Portland; it was a quiet night & the roomies were at work so I thought I'd kill some time by grabbing a bite to eat & stopping by the record store. Little did I know the horror that awaited me! The first ominous portention of impending doom was the stomach cramps I started getting while I was waiting for the bus. I shrugged them off & caught a ride over to a diner I'd been going to. At the counter, looking over the laminated menu, the 'special" caught my eye, written in day-glo marker on a black dry-erase board over the kitchen door..."fish & chips". It never occurred to me that a cheap diner off Burnside wouldn't exactly have the freshest fish. Stupid, huh. So after the greasiest meal I've ever eaten, I got back on the bus for the record store, I forget the name now, but it's the one nearest Powell's City of Books.

For some strange reason, my fetid dinner did very little in the way of easing my stomach problems. "I'll go to the bathroom whan I get home, " I told myself. Well, I was half right.

I didn't exactly shop around liesurely when I got there, I felt like doubling over right there in the used CD aisle. Maybe the intense physical discomfort affected my judgement; instead of picking up the old Bathory album I'd been meaning to add to meager collection, I ended up getting Metallica's "Master of Puppets" on cassette. I still remember the look the cashier gave me when I went up to the counter, she made this face that was both withering & dismissive, like I was a strange & repulsive insect that had crawled in from the wet streets outside. I imagine she had ample opportunity to hone that look to perfection, working in an independent record store.

Well by now, "using the facilities" was rocketing toward the top of the list of priorities. The bus ride back was the longest, bumpiest bus ride I've ever had, with the most stops. When I finally got off I was in a cold sweat. I lurched off into the night, with my new tape playing in my headphones. It was a haunting soundtrack only fitting for what was to come. I remember it was towards the end of side 2, during "Damage, Inc", that I pulled the headphones off in desperation, realizing it wasn't really helping me stay calm in this time of crisis. I cut across a couple of alleys & it was then, rounding the corner that led to the apartment building I was staying at, that the terrible thought that I might not make it in time came creeping into my head.

When I got to the back door of the building, by the laundry room, I wasted precious seconds fumbling through my camos looking for the damn keys (we all had to share one set so they were never in the same place twice, it seemed), then I was up the stairs like a bat out of hell. I shoved my way past a bewildered tenant coming down fromthe 2nd floor, not daring to look back, like some crazed, metalhead Orpheus, sprinting away from Hades.

It was zero hour. Unlocking the door to the apartment seemed to take an eternity. I knew it was going to be close, much much closer than I would ever want. Luckily the apartment was tiny, even for a studio, and the bathroom was only 3 steps from the front door.

If only it had ben 2 steps instead.

I'm not going to lie, I totally shit my pants. It was a terrible, helpless feeling, and my cramped sprint turned into a stiff lumber in mid-stride. I won't bore you with the gory details but let's just say that when it came to my wardrobe, nothing below my spiked belt was spared. Socks & Vans hi-tops joined the tiger-stripe camoflauge pants as undeserving casualties. I'm still thankful that no roommates were home, only a startled cat.

Into the shower I went, fully clothed, my face still frozen in a silent scream. But when I turned the water on full-blast, only a dribble of water dripped out. "This can't be happening," I thought, "I'll wake up at the bus stop any second now." But it was all too real. I unscrewed the shower head & shook out the opaque deposits that were blocking the water flow, & proceeded to hose myself off as best I could. It was a somber time spent waiting for the clothes to finish the wash cycle in the basement laundry room, & I still ended up throwing away the pants. Bad mojo.

It wasn't long after that I decided maybe Portland wasn't the place for me, & got on a Greyhound for downtown LA, where I had come from inthe first place, & where I had never soiled myself. To this day, I get that creepy feeling when I hear that stupid Metallica song.

Dealing out the agony within
Charging hard and no one’s gonna give in
Living on your knees, conformity
Or dying on your feet for honesty
Inbred, our bodies work as one
Bloody, but never cry submission
Following our instinct not a trend
Go against the grain until the end

Blood will follow blood

Dying time is here

Damage, incorporated