wasn’t so bad," I tell Wendy as we exit the Continental airplane that
just flew us from Newark to Portland, OR. Wendy just stares at me.
I admit, "there was some turbulence."
P.J. did kinda bark under the seat in front of us," I concede.
would you know?" Wendy finally says. "You took two Xanaxes and only
woke up for two minutes to swallow your dinner."
she’s right, as usual, and suggest that on the way home she should take
some pills as well. She says she’ll think about it.
As we wait
for our suitcases and AeroBed and shit we talk with Wendy’s younger brother,
Derek, and his firstborn daughter, Tess. Who’s in her terrible twos. His
wife Bernadette and his second daughter Brooke are home. Asleep.
were searching everybody," Wendy explains to her brother, "even little
children. Yet they didn’t even look twice at us."
curse myself for not sneaking on that tiny pile of drugs a friend had given
me for the trip.
didn’t even take my tweezers," Wendy proudly proclaims, "and
there was a big sign at Newark that said, among other things, NO TWEEZERS."
asks Tess, who is finally feeling brave enough to poke her head out from behind
Derek’s bluejeans. Her eyes are as blue as the ocean and her hair blonde
as the sun. Obviously there’s some Jew missing there.
get our bags and start the short drive home as P.J. jumps excitedly around the
floor of the Volvo looking for kiddie crumbs.
mind stopping at a supermarket?" I ask Derek.
got everything you need at the house," he replies.
I say, "I just need a few things."
So we stop.
I don’t want to tell Derek what I really need, but he tells me he needs
a sixpack. Of Bud.
As I enter
the supermarket, I notice it’s the size of an airplane hangar. As are most
stores outside of New York. I run my cart up and down each aisle, sometimes
passing two carts on my right, picking up my prunes, my figs, my prune
juice and my fiber laxative pills.
plugs me up.
It was either
these natural remedies or a coffee enema. And I hate all that caffeine. Not
to mention being filled to the rim with Brim.
I find the beer aisles, next to the liquor aisles. Then I go to the cashier
and give her my credit card.
eye day," she says.
Oregonian, I tell her she’s holding my credit card.
eye day!" she says again, louder.
eye day?" I ask.
eye day?" I ask again, totally confused.
she yells. "Ya ned eye day!"
ned eye day?" I ask, even more puzzled.
she fumes, "ya ned eye day!"
need ID," I finally say to her.
shit," she says, in perfect English.
into my chain wallet and retrieve my driver’s license.
York?" she asks as she looks at me with my bleached blond hair, my black
punk-rock jacket, black women’s stretch jeans and sneakers.
real," she tells me.
I kind of scream at her. It was a long flight and the Xanax was wearing off.
gonna have to git the manager," she tells me.
the beer," I tell her, "just gimmie the other stuff, okay?"
of saying anything to me she grabs this big black microphone in front of her,
pushes a button and says, "Manager to eye-L three, manager to eye-L three."
seems to be the trouble?" the manager asks the idiot.
explains that "taint no way" I’m the age it says I am on my driver’s
license. The manager looks at my license and tells her she’s right, and
thanks for bringing it to his attention, and what a good eye she has, and how
she’s a hard worker and stuff.
me sir," this horn-rimmed idiot then says to me. "Do you mind coming
to my office?"
I tell him
I do, that I am the age that it says on my license, that I’m old enough
to buy beer, as well as needing to buy prunes and fiber pills, and to
leave me the fuck alone.
no need for that kind of language," the manager tells me as he begins to
walk away with my credit card and eye day.
me back my fucking cards," I say to the guy, "please?"
tells me if I want them back and don’t want to be arrested, I should come
"arrested" kind of bothered me, so I followed him.
back to his little office, which was located somewhere behind the deli section,
kind of near the bakery, but not quite where the produce was. He had me sit
down while he turned on his computer. While he’s doing this, I know
Wendy and Derek are wondering where the hell I am.
says the manager.
Mr. Tabb," he says, "it seems you are indeed who you are saying you
are. And your age is correct."
shit," I say.
New Yorkers," he replies, almost laughing.
When I get
back to the car and Wendy asks what took me so long, I tell her that supermarkets
in Portland have better security than any airport I’ve ever seen.
Derek just stare at me.
P.J. is giving Tess kisses, and she squeals in delight. Over and over.
10 bowel movements later, my best friend for 22 years arrives in Portland. He’d
moved there years ago, and was now working in the San Francisco area while keeping
a place in Portland. He thought he could come visit earlier, but got tied up
was okay. I spent most of that time just hanging out with Bernadette, Derek,
Wendy, Tess, Brooke and P.J. Brooke was just 10 months old and learning to walk,
and Tess was learning that the word "no" can be used almost as much
as I use the term "punk rock."
P.J. was learning that babies drop lots of food, and they are not to be humped.
Wendy was learning that the term "cold" meant a whole different thing
in the Pacific Northwest, and I was learning that this town has the highest
number of strip clubs per capita of any city in the United States.
these strip clubs are all-nude. And they serve alcohol. And they allow 18-year-olds
to strut their stuff.
literally reeked of pussy.
comes to town and asks what I want to do. Of course I tell him I want to go
to the strip clubs. He tells me that that’s stupid, that there are museums,
art galleries and great punk clubs like the Satyricon, which I remember playing
back in the 80s with the False Prophets. I remind Aaron that I live in New York,
that we have museums, art galleries and punk clubs as well. What we don’t
have is 18-year-old girls putting their vaginas so close to your face that if
she’s untrimmed her pubic hair could poke out your eye.
agrees to take me to "those places." On the way to one of them, he
finally admits to me he’s gay. Something I’ve known for 22 years but,
obviously, he didn’t. So I offer to go to gay strip clubs as well, if he’d
And he takes
me up on that offer.
we hit the straight ones.
Union Jacks, is by far the best. It could almost be my home away from home.
As soon as we walk in the door we see a punk chick dancing onstage to Iggy Pop.
After taking a good long look at her, I glance at the bartender, who says, "Hey
George, what’s up?"
For a moment
I feel that Twilight Zone thing where I think I’m falling off the
side of the Earth. Then I realize I know the guy from New York. I look around
and see other punk rockers I recognize, as well as drunk old men who I don’t.
I exclaim to Aaron. "This place is Mars Bar with naked girls!"
more punk chicks dance to the Ramones, Dead Boys and even Black Flag. It almost
makes me want to move to Portland.
guy I know from Mars Bar gets me really high. And that almost makes me want
to move to Portland.
hot stripper chick who looks like Bettie Page sits next to me and asks if I
like her body. Having just seen it as close as a gynecologist could, I tell
her I do, especially her pierced clitoris. She tells me she’s 18.
I say, "Eighteen?
And you dance to the Dead Boys? How did you even hear of them?"
me her father turned her on to them.
to feel kind of iffy about the Northwest.
tells me who her father is.
And I decide
that I don’t want to live in the Northwest.
our days of Johnny Appleseeding the punk rock across America had sprouted. And
its blossom was beautiful. But knowing who planted it kind of ruins the whole
So I grabbed
Aaron, we said our quick goodbyes and got the hell out of there. Before anyone
could call me Daddy.
night and the next one Aaron and I hung out at a place called Silverado, which
had a big sign inside that read "Cruising Mandatory." It also had
naked guys onstage flopping their dicks around like wounded salmon, and a barrel
full of condoms that disappeared faster than a free line of cocaine at a glam-rock
and I hung out, we talked about his coming out of the closet and how tough it
was. We talked about the available men in Portland. Aaron told me he knew most
of the guys in the bar, and it was just a gay thing to pretend that he didn’t
notice them. Or them him. I looked around and understood why.
them looked like Bill Gates.
me that’s just how gay men are in Portland. Most of them aren’t into
being flamboyant or radical, but just want to live out their lives in peace.
Like Wendy’s brother and wife are doing. Most of them don’t have the
desire to live in a big city and change the world. Or even fight for their rights.
They just want to exist.
the weather is the most important thing. It tops the news there every day.
I left Portland
a few days later feeling very mellow. I had had a great time with the family,
as well as with my friend Aaron. I began to realize that maybe I shouldn’t
always try to swim upstream, but sometimes just go with the flow.
I to change the world, anyway? Maybe it is just about the music, the
beer and the good times. Maybe those Eastern philosophies are right. Maybe it
would make me healthier.
was running through my head as my pal Dave drove us back into the city from
Newark in one of his bitchin’ muscle cars. As soon as we got through the
Holland Tunnel, Wendy and I got a good whiff of the remnants of 9/11.
wanna make those motherfucking terrorists pay," I snarl, "and the
fucking lying EPA and our landlord as well."
says Wendy, "time to kick butt."
As I felt
my blood pressure rise and my prostate go into spasm, I just look at Dave and
home," he replies.
Ramones, Ramones. It’s all about them now that they’re in the Hall
of Shame and Joey and Dee Dee have died. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon
saying how great they were. Never mind that these same people never saw a show
in their lives.
true fans are starting to pay their respects too, and Ramones Forever: An
International Tribute, out now on Radical, is really putting its money where
its mouth is. Comprised of 23 tracks, this CD features lots of bands from overseas
that play Ramones covers, well, weirdly. Some try hiphop, some reggae, some
even try that Sonic Youth noise stuff, while others just rock out with their
cocks out. But whatever they do, all the bands on this thing understand where
their covers are coming from. My favorites here include "We Want the Airwaves"
by 5¢ Deposit, and Club Diana featuring Neef doing their very eerie "Here
Today Gone Tomorrow." Also, I gotta admit digging the lounge version of
"Somebody Put Something in My Drink" by Daan, and Skunk’s "Pet
Semetary." Fuck it. I like this whole album.
Ramones tribute comes to us from trend is dead! called Ramones Maniacs.
It’s the Ramones Mania album redone with many different musical
acts. I like this whole thing as well, and am really impressed by Dee Dee and
Youth Gone Mad’s version of "Blitzkrieg Bop." Also, the tracks
by Blanks 77, Hammerbrain, Cletus and the Vapids rock. However, there’s
a cover of "Pinhead" by Furious George that sucks. Sorry.
of the Ramones, I met this guy Evan years ago, who was a friend of Johnny Ramone’s.
He’s got a band up in Beantown called the Nines, and he’s just self-released
a CD called Junk Food. With songs like "Laura’s a Liar,"
"Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda" and "Bad Thing," you get the idea.
1 2 3 4!
is this old punk/oi band that played CBGB recently. They also just put out a
CD-EP called Hell 2 Pay on TKO. I like the band, but the name of the
record shoulda been "Hell Toupee." Take a look at them and you’ll
understand. Anyway, rockin’!
on TKO is the Riffs’ new CD Dead End Dream. Not only do these guys
look like the L.E.S. Stitches, they sound like them too. Well, they also sound
like the Sex Pistols. And a lot of other punk bands. Including New York’s
next big band, the Kick. Anyway, the Riffs play old-school punk and the production
here is clean and good. The singer is really snotty and I love the tune "White
Line Kids." They go!
& the Hunns have a CD called Wayward Bantams on Disaster. For those
of you who don’t know, Duane was like this rad skater from years ago who
did all those gnarly tricks on his board and practically invented a new vocabulary,
as well as a new fashion, dude. Anyway, complete skate rock here, like all that
other stuff from Southern California that ends up usually being on Epitaph and
doing the Warped Tour. Good, if you’re into that sort of Left Coast stuff.
But if you ask me, it’s the sun that’s fucking them up.
I got the Spunk Lads’ new CD called Paddington Station on Triage.
These guys claim to have been around in 1976 in London.
I may know their kids.