Facebook Post: 2019-06-30T13:58:35

I picked up a job this morning from a friend of a friend, and it was pretty easy work: hauling boxes. I still have good legs / back / arms (for now), so I was not only happy find out it was books – hey, I’m into books – and even better, bound pulp magazines. Very cool! I’d be into that kind of stuff.

So, I get to the job, and yes, it’s a lot of work. But the job is happening at a gentleman’s home who had an amazing collection of the coolest stuff. Old pulps, novels, posters, Records, drawings. A true collection; well displayed, selective, and well kept, in a room for just that.

Anyway, I was there to work, so I set to moving the boxes, but I snapped two photos – two of hundreds I wanted to take – of the kinds of things I would love to indulge in. The first is an original Pogo strip I had never read before and is beautiful in person, and this photo barely does it justice. The other is some creature that was tucked away in a corner.

I felt like I left too soon, and while I was happy to be paid, part of my wanted to live in that room forever.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-30T08:17:37

I had a moment of energy depletion last night. I admit, I have a hard time taking breaks or relaxing. It’s not my style. I do my best and nap and try to eat as needed, but sometimes the chemistry is just off.

So with about two hours left in Marla’s gig, I hit a wall and knew I needed to be home, in a quieter place with food and fewer people. And as soon as I started walking home in the night air I started feeling a little better.

I love people and socializing and I’m usually game with planning and a nap, but I mismanaged my resources yesterday. If anyone else tried to talk to me, I had nothing left to give.

There’s something about walking at night that is soothing and familiar. I’m sure it’s bad for me, but the sobering walk home is always reflective and slow, a meandering wander through old thoughts and familiar paths. All with comfort and home on the other end.

I wish I had more to give some days. But hopefully what I have to offer is enough to get us home, when we both run out of things to say to each other.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-27T09:19:41

There’s a pretty wild weekend coming at you, and there’s a million cool things going on. Why not start your weekend right with a healthy dose of local radio, and live performances. First we are bringing you a rare appearance by Le Petit Sac, who will be taking over Mid-Valley Mutations with Mini-Mutations in the co-pilot seat. This promises to be a truly excellent night, so please, tune in on KMUZ.org. 10 PM PST, Sharp. Audience Participation will be in effect: 503-990-6101. Interact with the show as it is happening. See you then!

Facebook Post: 2019-06-26T13:25:55

I think about this song at least once a week:

A bird on the bass.
A tongue, what a face?
At best the music could be described as lame.
Sure we look disgusting.
But whose chops are we busting?
In a year, maybe two
we’ll seem tame.
And three years down the track
we’ll be a Las Vegas lounge act.
We’ll be back,
we’ll be back
cause we’re the Boingers!

Jimmy dropped his pants,
and Ozzy dines on bats,
and Hendrix played guitar with his teeth.
The Dead Heads got their Jerry,
and mom’s got her Barry,
and Ronnie listens to guys like Falwell and Meese.
But if you don’t know by now,
Bill bit the head off a cow.
That’s no lie.
That’s no lie,
’cause we’re the Boingers

Was Bowie ever a fairy?
Was Debbie ever hairy?
Was Elvis ever the King?
Let’s not be reflective.
Does Barbra wish she was goy?
Is George really a boy?
Is filthy ever divine?
It’s all subjective.
The answers to all this
lie with their psychoanalysts.
Just relax.
Just relax.
I can’t relax!
Cause I’m a Boinger.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-24T17:43:43

Had another driving lesson today. Due to my own poor thinking, I accidentally found myself almost turning out on a city street. A part of me almost felt perfectly okay with this possibility. We switched seats so we could get the car back in our “practice” lot.

But after today I could totally see myself driving around Salem from time to time. You have been warned.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-24T13:58:54

I grew up on Bronze and Silver age mainstream comics, but finding Shade The Changing Man was instrumental in my teen experience. Initially it was a straight DC title with a “mature readers” banner on the book, but when Vertigo launched, Shade was brought into the fold (along with Swamp Thing) and Vertigo was my gateway to indie and self-published comics.

While I totally get why they are doing this, I’m sad to see it go. Hopefully kids these days have there own Vertigo to suffer from. I know I needed it.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-23T15:00:42

I don’t know what to say. I’ve been getting so much incredible love from everyone who has been keeping this dream alive, that I don’t know how to put it into words. Thank you. It’s cool to know this sometimes isn’t an awful world. Or as awful as it can be.

With that in mind, many items are now out! I’m waiting to reprint ‘zines, and a few other items are very low. It you would like a record, I would order one soon. We are getting low on stock and I’m not sure how many more versions there will be. It comes packed to the brim with goodies, and I had made everything but the vinyl, which was cut by hand. This is DIY in every way.

Each record comes with $10 in Mutated Money, and while you’re at it, get your currency exchanged, and have something fun to pay with the next time I play a show.
You all are amazing. I love you bunches. Help me love you more, and get a record today!

Facebook Post: 2019-06-22T23:13:05

Some outgoing mail. The first image is everything going to the post office Monday. (I missed my “Friday” prediction.) The remaining images are scans / photos of the packages themselves. Just a little something to make the mail more fun.

Tom Nicol, Lob Instagon, Jeremiah Paddock, Arvo Zylo, Jonas Juuso, Sean Royal, David Nadeau, Anna Davis (I still owe you a tape), Adam & Aimee Naworal, Tom Furgas, Rocket Morton, Barry Brusseau (sorry I missed your gig!), Jerry Kranitz and Tunacan Jones (David Camp): please check your mail sometime in the next week, and let me know when you get it. Hopefully I done ya’ll right.

Colin Hix: yours is coming a little later. Ellen Klowden: yours will be after that.

If I did not mention your name, you are not in that pile of outgoing mail. But it’s never too late to add you to the pile.

Just let me know.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-21T07:21:38

While I have to admit that this is actually very useful to know, and perhaps I’ll be tailoring my content to fit my Audience in the future, I’m still puzzled. More than the “usefulness” of this data-point, what I’m dying to know is: how, exactly, did Mini-Mutations attract an audience of women who are 10 to 20 years younger than me?

(Sidebar: what do women today want out of experimental radio and collage-style music? I used to know, but the times they are a-change-in’…)

Facebook Post: 2019-06-20T19:20:48

Edition of One: So, What Happens Next?

Cassette Tape, 90 Minutes.

Most musical art has been reduced to distributed copies of original works. A recording is made, artwork for the cover is created, and the work is duplicated – sometimes thousands, sometimes much, much fewer times – to be sold for a fairly small amount of money, all things considered.

Where one painting can go for as high as $5000 for a single work, a music recording is sometimes sold for only $5 (if we are lucky), and for a music artist to make any decent money, it requires that a thousand interested people buy the album. And, logistically, can a single person manage a thousand mail-order purchases themself? No wonder musicians get ripped off by record labels; they need the extra help just to handle getting albums into the hands of listeners.

The distribution model for music certainly favors the listener, who can usually shell out a few dollars to enjoy something they like, rather than in the world of art, where a fan may not be able to see every painting by an artist they enjoy, unless the current owner of that painting has chosen to make a print. (Which doesn’t always occur, for a variety of reasons.)

Moreover, the scarcity of the painting is what makes it valuable; it is because there is only one Mona Lisa that we consider it of some worth, in spite of the fact that there are millions of copies floating around. Looking at the original is a unique experience, in a way that hearing, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” again is not, and instead, is a ubiquitous experience. Original recordings carries no significance for a fan in the way original paintings do, but owning a copy of a recording DOES.

Certainly, scarcity plays a role in the world of music collecting. If there are a limited number of copies of a specific record, then scarcity kicks in, and the value of individual copies rise above the average value of an album. Desirability of the recording dictates how high that value can ultimately rise. This is all unconnected to how “available” a recording might be. Certainly, original Robert Johnson records are very valuable BECAUSE there are so few of them, but you or I could easily listen to the entire recorded output by Robert Johnson at any moment if we want to.

This kind of “value dissonance” (a version of cognitive dissonance) exists all over the world of art, as well as in the music world. Albums are often overpriced in stores and are incredible cheap and / or free online. Certain new bands can command top prices for new recordings – even for a CD of new material – while other established acts can hardly move a new record, even if there is fancy packaging and a gimmick behind the music. In many ways the story of late stage capitalism is the story of value dissonance. There’s not enough of anything good, and anything plentiful is often questionable at best.

It is by taking that to the most extreme degree that Mini-Mutations has begun moving forward with the first installment of a new Project: “Edition of One.” Music releases that only exist in a single copy. These releases are packaged like an album of music, contains cover art, and has original music on the media included. However, with any “Edition of One” release, the copy you hold in your hand is the only copy of that music, anywhere.

There is not a digital version. There is not another copy in a different form of media. With these extremely rare releases, there is no other version of that recording. In fact, these releases come with the rights to the material on the release, too, as explained in the liner notes. The new owner of the Edition of One can decide how they want to use that recording, if they want to share it, and how it can be used. When someone buys and Edition of One, they buy THE recording.

Now, I do keep “bootlegs” of these recordings for myself. (The source recordings.) But I do not plan to make any duplications without the expressed permission of the new owner. They have just purchased a piece of art, and with it, how that art will be curated as time goes on.

The first “Edition of One” is out, and has already found a new home. (Thank you, Rocket Morton!) It is titled, “So, What Happens Next?” and is broken into two parts. (Side A: “After Supper It’s Time To Play,” and Side B: “Mother Was A Little Worried.”) This Juneteenth performance was mastered to a 90 minute cassette in the Lava Lamp Lounge, and then put in the mail after being photographed quickly. The cover and inset can be seen below, for reference.

The album is an exploration of the paranoia of suburbia, and in many ways, comes off like a 90 minute edit of a radio broadcast. But this material has not appeared on the radio or elsewhere, and will not, either.

More Editions of One will be arriving soon, and possibly in other formats, too. (Certainly CDs.) Until then, we’ll have to wait and see what Rocket Morton does with this cassette before we find out if anyone but me can hear this.

Mini-Mutations “Editions of One.” Custom Made Music, Just for You.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-19T21:30:58

The Fictional Quality of Money EP

Ver 2.0

The first run of records made by Gorbie Lathe Cuts (thanks Barry!) have sold out! I don’t know what to say. You all are too kind. So, I had another batch made that are ready to fulfill mail orders. The first ones will go out on Friday. Order yours today!

This one is a little different than the one before. A very limited number are in clear green vinyl, as opposed to just merely clear. (Those are double the cost, so please consider.) This batch comes with yellow (instead of white) labels, a sticker that indicates the correct speed and edition number, and these covers are printed in Green, using ink and paper both found at a thrift store. (Edition 1 was also printed this same way, but on paper donated by a fan.)

The record itself is the same as before:

8″ Square Hand Cut Mono Lathe Vinyl Record.

10 Minutes of new Mini-Mutations not available in other formats, performed / edited / mixed and mastered for this release. You can’t download this stuff, so you need to get this record to hear it.

Each record comes with a unique hand-made collage on the inside of both front and back covers, created using collage material collected over the last 25 years.

$10 in Mutated Money is inside, good to be redeemed for other Mini-Mutations goods and services. (See the “Mutated Money” post from the other day.)

There are over two hours of bonus downloads included in the record, of related live performances and radio material not available elsewhere, except to people who purchase this record.

And, of course, a Mini-Mutations sticker.

The ‘zine that came with the first edition is now only available for purchase separately.

I’m really proud of this record. I put a lot of time into making it, I had a lot of fun assembling it, and I would love for you to hear it.

$10. Let me put it in the mail for you soon.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-19T07:49:13

Have I sent you something in the past? Did you buy something from me? Did you end up with a zine or a CD or something I made? I realize I’ve never been good at keeping track of this stuff.

With the record, I started keeping track of the people who bought them. But as I did that, I started to realize that I had never done this before. So when I send out packages of stuff, I’m not sure who has gotten what.

Obviously, this is a pretty ridiculous undertaking. But who knows? Maybe I can start making up for past thoughtlessness.

So: what ‘zines / music / etc do you actually have? Let me know.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-18T21:26:58

Mutated Money From Mini-Mutations.

Any use of currency clichés are bound to feel like circular logic when presenting something new, but in the case of Mini-Mutations new “Mutated Money,” you really can say that, “a penny saved is a penny got.” We’re not sure why you would say that, but who’s to stop you? Go nuts.

Perhaps a situation like this has happened to you: an artist you enjoy has work for sale that you want to buy, but the shame associated with using Currency just feels a little too condescending when it comes time for the transaction. What is a consumer of DIY goods and services supposed to do in this horrible late-Stage-Capitalism-induced awkward situation that spreads discomfort throughout the purchase dynamic?

That is where Mutated Money comes in. While Mini-Mutation – and, to a lesser extent, myself as well – will always accept currency of any kind (and from anywhere), we certainly have a preference for people who use Mutated Money to purchase goods and services from our organization. Mutated Money works just like regular money, is printed on paper just like regular money, has unique serial numbers like regular money… it’s even printed on a sickly shade of primary colored paper, just like regular money.

The only difference between Mutated Money and regular money is that ours is not backed by gold, but only by my mere belief that this currency is just as good as the kind in your wallet.

Mutated Money is currently only available in three paper denominations:

CLONES: This “one” Dollar Bill contains the charming visage of Emperor Norton himself, and can be exchanged for one dollar of another currency, or for one dollar of merchandise.

JIVES: This “five” Dollar Bill brings you eye to eye with Richard Brautigan himself, as he contemplates being exchanged for other goods or currency as part of a super short story involving a cat and some wine and a woman and an idea that comes to life so you can have a chat with it.

TINS: This “ten” Dollar Bill is our tribute to the patron saint of Mini-Mutations, Mr. Don Joyce himself, who would find all of this far too ridiculous for all parties concerned.

Currently, there is only one exchange that handles Mutated Money, but you can order them online from me as well, in the event you do not run into me on a regular basis. There is only a limited supply of Mutated Money in circulation, and each one contains a unique serial number, so get yours today if you want this unique item.

Impress your friends at the next Mini-Mutations show by making your purchases with Mutated Money.

Because, after all:

Money isn’t real.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-17T00:05:36

I like to imagine that Amazing Larry had something relevant to contribute to Pee Wee’s meeting, but failed to understand just how affected Pee Wee was by the loss of his bike. Amazing Larry does not seem like someone who would act out of malice, and I’m sure Pee Wee realized that once everything returned to normal. #TeamAmazingLarry

Facebook Post: 2019-06-16T10:56:16

In the vein of, “the most beautiful song in the world telling me the saddest thing you can think of”:

Given the chance
I’ll die like a baby
On some far away beach
When the season’s over.

I’ll be remembered
As the tide brushes sand in my eyes
I’ll drift away.

Cast up on a plateau
With only one memory
A single syllable
Oh lie low lie low.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-16T08:41:56

There is something in “The Dead Don’t Die” that is unlike a lot of Jim Jarmusch’s output. Certainly, the roaming zombies are a new feature, something that is (arguably?) absent from his previous work. And the sheer density of celebrities and jokes in this film feels higher than average, for someone who largely makes indie films on the cheap with his friends. It helps that you are friends with Tom Waits and Bill Murray, but hey, for a movie that is confronting aging and death head-on, you need a few old folks to round out your cast.

If this film suffers at all – and perhaps I’m tipping my hand too much with this observation – it is from a gross mischaracterization of what the film actually is. Dressed in Romero trappings and filled with an ensemble of semi-competent small-town oddballs who are all trying to survive these monsters, this film is presenting itself as a horror movie, and fortunately, Jarmusch does have the chops to pull off some very eerie imagry. There’s a few scenes that stand out, where the town is in full dead-rising-from-the-grave mode, that are truly upsetting, gory, or both, and so many scenes could have slotted in nicely with Dawn of The Dead, or the comedic antecedent to Jarmusch’s particular sense of humor, Return of The Living Dead, which seems to have more of an influence on the vaguely sciencey explanation as to what is happening than almost anything else. (Apparently, Polar fracking has caused the earth to go off its axis, which led to the environment collapsing, causing the dead to rise.)

And, perhaps, that is the real point: it may read like a zombie movie at first, but this is a comedy about confronting death, something that is a far more difficult needle to thread. So much so that the only other example I can think of – Bubba Ho-Tep – was made by the Phantasm horror master Don Coscarelli, again a film that presents as horror but is about so much more. The Dead Don’t Die lays it all on the line in the opening scenes, where two officers are investigating a strange, gun wielding man in the woods, only to find out that is is just harmless “Hermit Bob” with a pellet gun, and the officers drive back discussing if they should ever “take him in” in spite of the fact that one of the officers went to middle school with Hermit Bob; meanwhile the other officer pontificates about the movie’s theme song.

The film is built as much on the horror elements that are sprinkled throughout as it is on a series of recurring and well timed absurdist jokes, that break the fourth wall often enough that it hopefully sets you up for a few of the stranger and more dada moments that come later. One character is in an entirely different movie than the others, so much so that to say which one sort of spoils some of the better jokes involved, but is absolutely worth it when those movies temporarily collide. The dada is so strong in this film that the two leads come off less like officers and more like the are inside a Sam Beckett play, with almost nonsense dialog following that meanders, comes back to the wrong point, skips around, addresses the script directly, and then, when they run out of ideas, even deploys a joke or two. But when taken as a whole, the comedic strangeness of their post-modernist idea of a zombie movie is so compelling that I could absolutely envision a stage version of this that would be as effective.

I must call out some decisions that I find brilliant, and are at the core of the horror at work. Rather than the tired trope of calling for, “brains,” these zombies are driven by their basest desires in life. Instead, Carol Kane cries for, “Chardonnay!” upon rising from the dead. Iggy Pop and his dead girlfriend cry for coffee, while another random zombie calls for Xanax. This is such a spot-on observation that modernizes the zombie-plague analogy in such a pointed way that you almost don’t need the scene with the zombies carrying their devices looking for Bluetooth and WiFi signals, because it seems too hack compared to the insights this change brings to the film. But the zombie dragging a keg of beer to the point that it is pulling his own arm out of its socket, or the zombie so dedicated to an idea that she poses and mutters, “fashion,” to a non-plussed Tilda Swinton, ahem, I mean Zelda Winston, suggests a horror that is more thoughtful in a very simple way. (And, in many cases, with tongue so firmly placed in cheek that I was surprised that there wasn’t a scene where there was a zombie that was just chewing on a pile of tongues.) It is this idea that, in life, we latch onto an obsession so desperately that it becomes our single obsession in death, is a perfect analog for a world where our solipsism is slowly killing us.

So much so that it is this idea that propels the creepiest scene in the film. I guess I should give an auxiliary nod to horror-auteur Larry Fessenden’s turn as a motel manager who goes zombie. When he begins to chew on a human leg like it’s a chicken leg, and turns his eye to his three very-young tenants from Ohio, and says a single creepy word, “Cleveland,” and that alone sets up a horrific and gruesome reveal later that is very chilling and does deserve honorable mention among great moments. Jarmusch excels at things implied, and Larry’s scenes (and the aftermath of his scenes) are horrifying to consider.

But the scene I want to highlight involves the child zombies at Bobby’s Store, a scene that had the perfect mix of gore and FX on the actors and great sound design carrying it along. Each child is muttering the brand name of their favorite candies, and they tromp like dead children in a candy store, while the undead clerk – a man who turned zombie and quit his delivery driver job to finally run the candy store he always wanted – watches the kids with dead eyes this whole time. Even when we get what we want, we aren’t necessarily happy.

That single horror scene has stuck with me, and for any movie to accomplish that is certainly worth it. But as the various elements of the movie begin to wrap up, our two dada cops are forced to face the very unpleasant reality that everyone – not just the zombies, but every single person – is going to die, and our characters handle this truth very differently. It’s not that we die through meaningless accidents or uncontrollable circumstances; in The Dead Don’t Die, it will be our own desperate obsessions that will be the actual cause of death, and even then, we will become burdens on those left behind as the need to put us down again becomes increasingly difficult. One by one the cops have to actually process the death of every other character in the film – even their own – with one notable exception that is worth saving for the film to share. (No spoilers, but I’m sure you can guess pretty quickly who is the better survivor, compared to everyone else.)

Of course, its a zombie movie, so by processing death, I mean getting into a huge final shoot-out with the unholy living dead, because what better metaphor is there? But even this shootout is laden with strange layers of humor: filmed in obvious day-for-night in a graveyard, and full of more meta-text jokes and references than anywhere else in the film, the scene almost resembles a bleak 70s western more than a zombie movie. That we get to see two police officers strategically (and with little remorse) slowly put down most of a small American community is sort of the final joke. In a film with plenty of anti-government and anti-authority ironic messaging, it is hard not to see the humor is making you root for the officers who have learned to see their town as horrible middle-American monsters, and you now want them to kill all the poor working class folks that have turned against their white male protectors.

Fortunately, Jarmusch gets to have it both ways, as our officers are actually torn to pieces by angry mob justice, be it zombie-induced. It isn’t hard to imagine that the desires of that zombie crowd were, in some way, also being fulfilled, but it’s hard to reduce, “Fuck Tha Police,” into a single word a zombie can mutter, so it is much easier to show it.

In a way, even the title is misleading. It’s not that the Dead Don’t Die, but rather, the Living Are Already Dead And Refuse to Acknowledge It. I could go on and on, as there’s a lot to unpack and it is worth revisiting. But in my mind, with the fourth wall breaking, the fantasy elements, and the farcical dialog, it all leads to the idea that the movie is trying to address confronting death in as many symbolic ways as possible, so much so that the only way a film like this could end is for us to have to come to terms with how unexpected the end is. The film hints at / tries to set up a number of possible zombie movie tropes, but it all falls apart in the final shootout. But that’s life, isn’t it? We have plans and we want to end somewhere that makes sense, but other people die unexpectedly, and you need to come to terms. And, then, you die too, in a way you didn’t anticipate, and you die with the awareness that someone probably outlived you, in spite of the advantages you might have had from the start.

That’s a pretty bold statement to make for a comedy, even a horror-tinged one, and I think it’s a message we’re ready to consider. Politics are awful, our environment is collapsing, and the outside world does look like a horror movie most of the time.

But are we prepared to face death head on, or are we just covering with a dark sense of humor and a few Star Wars references?

Facebook Post: 2019-06-13T20:01:11

It’s my last scheduled day with the kiddo. I’m gonna miss her. I’ve been helping out with her since she was just over a year old, and the last three years have been amazing. I’ll see her again, and I’ll probably even take care of her, too. But this is the end of and era. I’ll miss you, little one. I hope you don’t forget about all the times we shared.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-11T18:54:11

Thanos snapped his fingers.

“…Ray Charles, B.B. King, the Four Tops, Joan Baez, Neil Diamond, Sonny and Cher, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Al Green, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, Sting, Steve Earle, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, Mary J. Blige, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent and the Roots.”

Facebook Post: 2019-06-10T09:05:27

For the last two years I’ve played NorCal NoiseFest, and in doing so have expanded my artist family in a big way. This is like Noise Christmas, and we all get together once a year to hug and trade music and see what we’re all up to now. The community around this event is incredibly excellent, inviting, friendly, and has been championing strange and beautiful music for 23 years now.

On this, the dischordian anniversary of the original event, we are trying to raise some cash to offset the costs of doing all the work. It’s not cheap to put this on, performers travel from other countries to play, and there’s a ton of stuff to prepare before October rolls around. We need your donations!

Please, consider kicking in and making this show that much more memorable. The line-up is incredible, and with Mini-Mutations on the scene, you can count on A/V that you will want to see, for sure.

If you do make a donation, and I was the one that incentivized you, message me! You will receive a Mini-Mutations care package, a simple thank you for making art and music possible.

Help us help you! Make a donation, and keep noise alive!

Facebook Post: 2019-06-10T08:44:32

I don’t recall having ever been to the Olympic National Forest, but Colin was excited to tromp around with Tar and I can never turn down a camping trip, so we drove for over six hours up the peninsula and found ourselves on the Hoh River. (The nearest town is, of course, the vampire-infested city of Forks.)

I took a million photos, and there’s a lot I could say. But: what a beautiful, wonderful place. I can’t wait to return; the photos don’t do it justice. Thanks so much to both Colin and Tar for the excellent weekend. It just wasn’t long enough for me.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-09T21:42:20

As everyone else in the world was happy to see 1991 turn to 1992 so they could finally put the Cold War behind them, I couldn’t have been less aware because the only thing I gave a shit about was the, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” video.

And in a lot of ways, it completely changed my life. The world that Nirvana presented looked so much like something I wanted to live inside of that I often STILL think about the world as pre and post-Nevermind.

Before Nirvana, I listened to hair metal, I was a fairly mundane and average teenage kid who liked NASA and comic books and writing Sci-Fi / time travel stories. And then Nirvana swept through my like like a Who-chord ringing out through the years, a touchstone for my for my entire youth that feels like it still resonates here and now. So much so that it is sometimes hard to listen to these songs anymore, as they do fill me with a lot of incredibly complicated feelings that are wrapped up in my life in those years.

What sealed the deal was winning the album on cassette from a phone-in contest on KZEL, along with a Guns ‘n’ Roses tape. Listening to Nevermind all the way through, deciphering the lyrics, obsessing over every new video. This was a band that was singing to me, about me, for me.

How was this possible? Music was… background, on the radio. It was between the DJ and VJ banter. Some of it was clearly better than others; I liked guitar solos and Eric Johnson was clearly the best, but most music was about girls and partying and neither were familiar to me. So I just always kind of thought that the best you could get was The Doors, if you wanted something “deep.”

But relatable? Something that felt new and current and for a kid from small-town Pacific Northwest? How did this happen?

The next two years I considered myself the biggest Nirvana fan you could ever imagine. I wrote letters to Kurt Cobain that I never sent, I memorized every song and collected every maxi-single and weird bootleg I could find. I spent his death day sobbing and watching / taping MTV, I convinced band members to cover their songs… I could go on and on. There was something in this band that felt like my everything for that two years, and when he died, I really felt like I lost a family member. That these songs that said it so well were gone… how could the world continue?

There was something in their music that made me wanna make music and zines. It led to me obsessively tracking back every band that they mentioned in interviews. It was the catalyst for me to question everything and not trust adults or government or almost anything, turned me to the library to keep researching, and made me love music, and want to make it.

In 1997 I finally got my shit together, and was no longer living on basement floors and barely working, and started renting a real place, and maintained a real full time job. I started in radio and I didn’t really play much Nirvana, and as radio and ‘zines and bookstores and college became my new life, this thing I fused with so hard when my life was in shambles seemed inappropriate for this new phase of my life.

There’s not a lot of nostalgia I have for that music. I haven’t wanted to listen to them, when I see the CDs on my shelf I don’t want to put them on. I haven’t felt the pull towards them in ages, so much so that it almost didn’t register when Colin suggested we should pop in and visit the bridge in Aberdeen on this trip up to the Olympic Forest. It scratched such a deep itch in my mind that it took me a full minute to really parse what he meant.

We were short on time, but that was fine, as there’s hardly anything to it. And, true to what you probably imagine, it’s gross. It’s a filthy underside of a bridge, like hundreds and thousands of other bridges, where hundreds of other people have had to take up residence out of desperation. There’s the tiniest little “park,” a few super-corny plaques and artsy statues, and a polite sign that the house adjacent to it has posted, suggesting that, perhaps, some people aren’t exactly thrilled that this is a tourist stop. And it was probably for the best we left; on our way out, three other groups showed up to check it out, one guy who motorcycled from Arizona to see it.

And while there are a million pointed things I could say about all of this, for some reason I can’t. The Nirvana phenomenon was not tailor made for me, according to the Geffen execs who had predicted the album would at least go Gold before the world really knew who this band was. There was a corporate hand sewing the seeds of my rebellious youth, and this park is similarly ridiculous, a city-decision to try and create a tourist attraction for a town with nothing else to show for it, with a ham-fisted attempt at making a gross and shitty bridge something Americans would want to come and see.

Part of me thinks Kurt Cobain would have found this hilarious. Part of me wonders if, perhaps, he wanted people to think he lived under that bridge, only so he could laugh at how far he could make his corporately-earned fanbase go to prove they were, absolutely, dedicated fans.

I mean, it worked on me.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-07T10:09:49

As much as anything else, the Coleman lantern is the sym­bol of the camping craze that is currently sweeping America, with its unholy white light burning in the forests of America.

Last summer, a Mr. Norris was drinking at a bar in San Francisco. It was Sunday night and he’d had six or seven. Turning to the guy on the next stool, he said, “What are you up to?”

“Just having a few, ” the guy said.

“That’s what I’m doing,” Mr. Norris said. “I like it.”

“I know what you mean,” the guy said. “I had to lay off for a couple years. I’m just starting up again.”

“What was wrong?” Mr. Norris said.

“I had a hole in my liver, ” the guy said.

“In your liver?”

“Yeah, the doctor said it was big enough to wave a flag in. It’s better now. I can have a couple once in a while. I’m not supposed to, but it won’t kill me.”

“Well, I’m thirty-two years old,” Mr. Norris said. “I’ve had three wives and I can’t remember the names of my child­ren. ”

The guy on the next stool, like a bird on the next island, took a sip from his Scotch and soda. The guy liked the sound of the alcohol in his drink. He put the glass back on the bar.

“That’s no problem,” he said to Mr. Norris. “The best thing I know for remembering the names of children from previous marriages, is to go out camping, try a little trout fishing. Trout fishing is one of the best things in the world for remembering children’s names. ”

“Is that right?” Mr. Norris said.

“Yeah, ” the guy said.

“That sounds like an idea,” Mr. Norris said. “I’ve got to do something. Sometimes I think one of them is named Carl, but that’s impossible. My third-ex hated the name Carl.”

“You try some camping and that trout fishing, ” the guy on the next stool said. “And you’ll remember the names of your unborn children.”

“Carl! Carl! Your mother wants you!” Mr. Norris yelled as a kind of joke, then he realized that it wasn’t very funny. He was getting there.

He’d have a couple more and then his head would always fall forward and hit the bar like a gunshot. He’d always miss his glass, so he wouldn’t cut his face. His head would always jump up and look startled around the bar, people staring at it. He’d get up then, and take it home.

The next morning Mr. Norris went down to a sporting goods store and charged his equipment. He charged a 9 x 9 foot dry finish tent with an aluminum center pole. Then he charged an Arctic sleeping bag filled with eiderdown and an air mattress and an air pillow to go with the sleeping bag. He also charged an air alarm clock to go along with the idea of night and waking in the morning.

He charged a two-burner Coleman stove and a Coleman lantern and a folding aluminum table and a big set of inter­locking aluminum cookware and a portable ice box.

The last things he charged were his fishing tackle and a bottle of insect repellent.

He left the next day for the mountains.

Hours later, when he arrived in the mountains, the first sixteen campgrounds he stopped at were filled with people. He was a little surprised. He had no idea the mountains would be so crowded.

At the seventeenth campground, a man had just died of a heart attack and the ambulance attendants were taking down his tent. They lowered the center pole and then pulled up the corner stakes. They folded the tent neatly and put it in the back of the ambulance, right beside the man’s body.

They drove off down the road, leaving behind them in the air, a cloud of brilliant white dust. The dust looked like the light from a Coleman lantern.

Mr. Norris pitched his tent right there and set up all his equipment and soon had it all going at once. After he finished eating a dehydrated beef Stroganoff dinner, he turned off all his equipment with the master air switch and went to sleep, for it was now dark.

It was about midnight when they brought the body and placed it beside the tent, less than a foot away from where Mr. Norris was sleeping in his Arctic sleeping bag.

He was awakened when they brought the body. They weren’t exactly the quietest body bringers in the world. Mr. Norris could see the bulge of the body against the side of the tent. The only thing that separated him from the dead body was a thin layer of 6 oz. water resistant and mildew resistant DRY FINISH green AMERIFLEX poplin.

Mr. Norris un-zipped his sleeping bag and went outside with a gigantic hound-like flashlight. He saw the body bring­ers walking down the path toward the creek.

“Hey, you guys!” Mr. Norris shouted. “Come back here. You forgot something.”

“What do you mean?” one of them said. They both looked very sheepish, caught in the teeth of the flashlight.

“You know what I mean,” Mr. Norris said. “Right now!”

The body bringers shrugged their shoulders, looked at each other and then reluctantly went back, dragging their feet like children all the way. They picked up the body. It was heavy and one of them had trouble getting hold of the feet.

That one said, kind of hopelessly to Mr. Norris, “You won’t change your mind?”

“Goodnight and good-bye,” Mr. Norris said.

They went off down the path toward the creek, carrying the body between them. Mr. Norris turned his flashlight off and he could hear them, stumbling over the rocks along the bank of the creek. He could hear them swearing at each other. He heard one of them say, “Hold your end up.” Then he couldn’t hear anything.

About ten minutes later he saw all sorts of lights go on at another campsite down along the creek. He heard a distant voice shouting, “The answer is no! You already woke up the kids. They have to have their rest. We’re going on a four-mile hike tomorrow up to Fish Konk Lake. Try someplace else.”

Facebook Post: 2019-06-04T09:24:40

Since I’m playing a show with the immortal Sword of Kahless in October, it’s time to brush up on my Klingon. Here’s a few phrases I looked up so I will be prepared:

What kind of gear do you use?
“mIwqoqvam’e’ luch yIlo’ SoH?”

That set was honorable.
” ‘e’ HIjmeH quv.”

We do not have Gagh. Is there something else we can get you?
“gagh wej, lajtaHmeH. tu’lu’ vay’ latlh SoH laH wej?”

Yes, Rurik the Damned was a great warrior.
“HIja’, Rurik Damned tIn SuvwI.”

Facebook Post: 2019-06-02T18:14:32

In the summer of 1994 I was briefly dating a girl who was quite bad for me. This was already a pretty bad time for me, where I was working in fast food and at supermarkets, living on my own, making ‘zines, not entirely happy and completely aimless in life. Like you do when you’re just out of High School.

This girl suddenly bought tickets to a Metallica show* one day, and suggested I should get tickets, too. So I did, and we didn’t even last as a couple another week. I was single when the show came up.

I coaxed a friend to join me, and we went, only to be very underwhelmed by the first two acts. Suicidal fuckin’ killed, and I was feeling a little better about the money I shelled out when Metallica came out.

In short, I was not ready for how great they were. This was them on the precipice of their downfall; they were riding the high of how successful the black album had been, and there was a fair amount of the old material in the set. But the beginnings of the load that they would quickly turn into was also present, and while the show was amazing, they set me up for a major disappointment with their next, ahem, “release.”

I had been separated from my friend almost immediately, so when the show ended, I couldn’t find him. I went to his car, no dice. So, I went to look for some paper, and a pen, to leave a note for him. I scored at the diner near his car. I slipped some register paper under his windshield wiper, with bold letters telling him to wait, and then retraced my steps back to the show. My thinking was that he was trying to score with some girl, so maybe I would see them among the throng I was seeing between the car and the show.

As I get back I see a large group of folks having a good time next to the stage. I go to look for my friend, and realize very quickly that the band is hanging out with fans, and that I shouldn’t be there without a VIP pass, which I did not have. I turn around, only to be blocked by a security guard. He says I shouldn’t go anywhere until the regular crowd has cleared out. So I stay put, with Lars chatting up two major fans next to me.

I grab a water, see the whole band around eating and chatting up girls, and try to figure out what to do. I realize I have some cash register tape and a sharpie in my pocket from the diner.

Lars was happy to sign something, so I said, “You were great,” and he thanked me, which was something we both said without really meaning it. But as I turned to James Hatfield he gave me a look that seemed to indicate, “where the fuck is your Backstage Pass and who the fuck are you?” So I noticed that the security gent had stepped aside, and used this opportunity to quickly exit the area before anything could happen.

My friend was smoking a joint on the hood of his car when I got back, asking where I had been.

“Getting into trouble. Let’s go.”

* 20 July 1994 with Fight, Candlebox and Suicidal Tendencies.

Facebook Post: 2019-06-01T08:40:03

I spent a lot years watching both of these films growing up, and they were family favorites. But I spent ages not watching them, to become re-aquatinted with both in the DVDs from the library era of entertainment. (Bands, drinking and girls sort of distracted me for too long.)

But, for some reason, I never copied / bought my own versions. (Or, perhaps I did copy them and lost them?) Occasionally I would see them pop up on streaming temporarily, only to see them both disappear as I would prepare to tuck in for a viewing.

So, I was delighted to find both for $2 each at a thrift store yesterday, with Clash of The Titans still sealed in plastic. Now I can avoid those library fees and nerd out.