Punk Rock Jihad, with My Head on the Mars Bar
"Geeeee-hod! Geeeee-hod!" yells this insanely loud voice, as my forehead lies firmly on the hand-carved wooden trim of the bar at Mars.
"Geeee-hod!" it repeats over and over as I try to keep my eyes closed as tight as possible, and also keep all the Jose Cuervo, Rolling Rock and vodka and cranberry down below my teeth.
"Geeee-hod!" the man yells louder, as the words echo and bounce around inside my already-fried brain, filled with images of the Twin Towers crashing down outside my window, five short blocks from my living room.
Inside my brain I hear Wendy yelling, "Oh my God! Oh my God! A plane just hit the tower!" I look out the window after hearing a screaming noise so loud that pictures of our deceased parents have fallen off our walls and shelves. Sure enough there's a hole in the building, which begins to burn like the top of a cigarette.
"Geeee-hod!" the voice echoes, as I remember watching people jumping from the heat and smoke to their untimely deaths. Couples holding hands. Women and their children. Men on fire.
"Geee-hod!" as a second plane hits, and no one knows what to do.
"Geee-hod!" as Wendy, P.J. and I flee, and a cloud larger than Godzilla chases us up Broadway.
"Geeee-hod!" as I found myself back at Mars Bar, about two months later, still trying to make sense of, well, anything.
I think it was the blowjob that started it all. A very natural act. A nice pair of firm Jewish lips around the penis of some guy. Some guy who just happened to be the president of the United States.
When caught, he lies about it.
For this, he's not only tried and convicted by both Congress and the media, he's impeached. The president. Impeached for a blowjob.
I remember Nick, my stepfather, as well as my brother Seth telling me that this was a very important time in history. One that we are lucky to live through, so we can tell our grandchildren. Remembering Nixon's resignation speech, I nod my head and say nothing. It was a blowjob.
Then there's the presidential election. Two scumbags running against each other. One of the scumbags, the now fat and occasionally bearded one, has a wife who really screwed with freedom of speech back in the 80s, and helped land me in the slammer a few times. The other guy, if put in a leather jacket and sunglasses, could pass for the Furious George monkey on the cover of any of my albums.
So they run against each other, and the counting of votes takes weeks. It all comes down to the Satan State itself, Floriduh. A place that long ago should have been severed from this country and given to Cuba in exchange for the legal import of better cigars.
Again, Nick tells me this is a very important time in history, and something I'll likely never see again. My brother says the same thing, as do the media and everyone I meet on the street.
"Can you believe an election has come down to this?" they'd ask.
I was still thinking about the blowjob.
Then comes Sept. 11. Awakened by a screeching whine, Wendy screaming, the dog barking and a tremendous blast, I see my worst fears come to life. When I moved to Tribeca more than five years ago and noticed that the Twin Towers stood like two monoliths from 2001 right outside my window, I thought to myself, "It would really suck if those things fell. Because, if they did, they'd land on our heads."
Later I told Wendy and Nick my fears. They both thought I was being paranoid as usual. That I should increase my Prozac. I did. But the dreams continued. Dreams of mass destruction. Of trying to find my way out of my father's house to my building. Which was near these two giants that could one day crush me.
Then, that morning, they almost did.
Again, Nick tells me that we've just witnessed a major event in history right as we arrive at his home in the West Village covered in white dust and who-knows-what.
Hours later I cry.
"Geeee-hod!" yells the voice again at Mars Bar as I keep my head plastered to the comforting wood."George," says a faraway voice, "Chet's on top of the bar yelling. He's just whipped out his dick."
I nod my head ever so slightly.
"Geeee-hod!" yells Chet, as I begin to think how it all started with a blowjob and came down to this. How it had now been more than three months since I started drinking daily and taking whatever drugs I could get my hands on.
I wanted to forget. About the blowjob. About Florida. But mostly, about the dead people I breathe in daily. The dead people who I can still hear crying every night. The dead people I see covering the cars, the sidewalks and windows of New York City. The dead people I see covering the faces of those I love.
"Geeee-hod!" Chet yells again, as I peer through half-open eyes and see the guy standing on the bar amongst spilled drinks, with what looks like his penis in his hand.
"Geeee-hod!" he yells once more before my stomach finally gives way and I run into the blood-colored bathroom and puke my guts out.
I return to the bar and start drinking again.
And in my head, I hear Nick's voice telling me about how I'm lucky to be living through this important time in history.
And then tears begin to well up.
History my ass.
Speaking of the Mars Bar, my pal Zach Lipez, who bar-backs there, just put out a mini-book of his poetry on Evil Twin Publications. It's called No Seats on the Party Car, and aside from being clever, sensitive and, well, so damn good, it's punk rock! What does Zach write about? What he knows. Sex, self and the subway. If you can find this, pick it up.
Again speaking of the Mars Bar, Matt, Dick Army just gave me his first feature-length CD, called Unsafe at Any Volume, on Vital Music Records. When I asked him what he though of it, he told me it was "punk rock." After listening to it, I have to agree. Sort of. It's actually more like early hardcore. Like Black Flag. Or Agent Orange. The guitars are very heavy, the drums sound like cardboard and the vocals are full of rage. Just the way I like it. While some of the songs I feel are kinda boring, there are tunes like "Company Man," "The Man on Your TV" and "The Throttle, the Bottle, and Me" that just about guarantee that Dick Army will go down in the history of punk/hardcore as being one of the greats of the 21st century. History. I hate that word.
Remember F.Y.P.? That rad band from San Pedro? That singer guy, Todd, who also owns Recess Records? Well, anyway, his new band is called Toys that Kill, and his new album is called The Citizen Abortion, and it's out on, you guessed it, Recess. Of course it's amazing, well-produced and punk as fuck. But it's also got more soul than past F.Y.P. albums, and, damn, am I allowed to say it actually sounds musically better? Maybe I shouldn't. I'm not sure how that will go over.
The Kick is an up-and-coming band here in New York City, and they fuckin' rock. I recently caught them at Continental, where I found myself so impressed I begged them to let me and Evan do the Dead Boys' "Sonic Reducer" with them. Later, they gave me their new self-titled, self-released three-song CD produced by the infamous Nitebob. What can I say about these guys? Besides being the nicest fuckers around, the have a firm grasp on what rock 'n' roll should be, and play it that way. Think early L.E.S. Stitches meets the Clash meets Elvis Costello. With none of the attitude.
In the world of video games, I just got Super Monkey Ball for the Nintendo Gamecube, made by Sega. Now I know you're saying, "What the fuck??" That's right, Sega now makes games for all the console systems, and while they used to compete directly with Nintendo, they are now making software for them, and it rules. Super Monkey Ball is a kiddie game that adults will enjoy as well. You can choose to be one of four monkeys (where's Furious George?) and play all these mini-games, plus this big one where you roll over 3-D squares. Sound weird? It is. But it's way fun. Plus it's better to control your monkey with a joystick rather than spank it.
For you sports fans out there, 989/Sony just released NCAA Final Four 2002 for the PlayStation2. It's got new player graphics?well, compared to the 2001 version?plus it's got this Dynasty Mode thing where you can recruit freshman and fire the surly seniors. But best of all? It's got guys named Eddie Doucette and Billy Packer doing the voiceovers. Man, just change one letter in each last name and you get Douchette and Pecker. Sorry. Gotta get my kicks somehow these days.
For the GameBoy Advance, I got Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, made by THQ. While I never saw the movie, I sure am enjoying this game. I'm getting to explore deep dark wet caves, and check out hot underwater babes in sexy clothes. Plus I can take control of my large submarine and enter into battle. Wait! This game is for kids? Eeeek!
For Microsoft's cough Xbox, I just got Shrek, made by TDK of all people. That's funny. Back in the day, when I had my first punk band, Roach Motel, we used to call ourselves "TDK Recording Artists," because their cassettes fit into our one microphone boombox. Anyway, the game looks as good as the movie. Impossible, you say? Nope. Yes sir, the technology is here and this is really the first example of the wave of the future. I guaranfuckintee that from now on, children's movies and games will be almost the same. Anyway, as the farting Ogre (which I pronounce as "Or-guh," which makes Wendy crack up like when I say "drawer") you run around collecting and doing typical game stuff. What's amazing here is not so much the game-play but the graphics, voice and feeling that you can control a movie character that looks just as good as he or she did in the original film. Cripes, I can't wait until Martha Stewart makes a movie, then a game. Where should I stick that square of butter, Martha? I know. I'm sick.
One other game I got from Sony for the PlayStation2 is Kinetica. In it you play as a hot chick in a thong that kinda morphs into a motorcycle thing. I swear you can see the stubble when she bends over. Yes!
Oh fuck, I forgot, the Dictators have a new album out on their own label, called D.F.F.D. When I first opened it in John Strausbaugh's office, I was ecstatic. The fucking Dictators. They haven't put out an album in more than 20 years, although they seem to play a lot. Handsome Dick is one of my favorite singers ever, and Andy Shernoff, the songwriter and bassist, well, just fucking rules. So anyway, I show Strausbaugh, and he kinda implies it will probably suck 'cause they're old and he's into that whole Colostomy Rock Sucks sort of thing 'cause he just wrote a book about it. I tell him I'll take it home and give it a listen. Well, Strausbaugh, you, sir, are wrong. Not only do the Dictators not suck, their new album, pretty much every song, rules! Dood! There're loud guitars and lyrics that are bitter, funny and make sense. Plus, these guys know rock 'n' roll. Songs like "Avenue A," "Who Will Save Rock and Roll" and "In the Presence of a New God" are amazing, not to mention "I Am Right," which I've heard them play many times live. Anyway, how can you say anything bad about a band that plays a song about how great we are because we eat meat and are at the top of the food chain? Dictators Forever and Forever Dictators!
Finally, in my drunken and drug-induced haze these days, I found myself wandering around some club somewhere looking for free drinks and drugs when some guy walks up to me and gives me a CD. I say, "What's this?" He says, "It's Scum." I look at the CD and it's spelled SKUM, with that little omelet thing over the U. I thank him and ask him what it sounds like. "It sounds like Scum," he says, and then just walks away. Whatever. A few days later, while looking for this football-shaped pill in my leather jacket this chick gave me, I find the CD. I pop it in and am blown away. They have a chick singer who actually has a good voice, the thing is self-released on JPM Productions and the guitars and drums are as hard as hell. Oh, and the song titles. How about "Inner Piece" and "I Wish I Had a Cock"? Or "Your Mother Sucks Cocks in Hell" or "Fags, in Wigs, on Ice"? What? That's not enough? Well, what about my favorite titles, "Pussy Power" and "Big Black Cock"? Oh yeah, then there's "I Lost My Asshole Cherry." With lyrics like, "I lost my asshole cherry to a schnauzer named Jerry/I couldn't help myself, oh his balls were so hairy," and "It always makes me blissful whenever my slit's full/There's nothing I like better then a slit full of pit bull." Or "Ass loving is so fine/Especially when it's from a canine."
Viva Skum. Oh, and don't forget the omelet over the U.
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Seniors Claim Their Street Space
The Second Tragedy of Traffic Deaths
Lifelines in the neighborhood Op-Ed
Masters at the Frick