A 2-minute review of my influential days in punk and hardcore bands
Right after I was born, my mom went about telling the neighbors, “Oh, yes, when Dickie arrived into this world, he was such a lovely baby that the doctor went from room to room, and showed him off to the entire hospital.”
My grandmother, who lived with us when I was born, said my mother’s story couldn’t possibly be true because I was such an unattractive baby that she would hide me in her bedroom when my mother napped and people came to get a gander at the newborn. She would claim to these visitors “the baby is resting and can’t be disturbed.”
But I was an exceptional baby and could count to 100 by the time I was 6 months old. By 2 years old I could recite complicated poetry, like Pablo Neruda. My abilities made the mothers of the other babies sigh with envy, especially Harry Rock-and-Roll’s mom, who didn’t even know who the father of her baby was. She lived across the street from us and mom always said her boyfriends were just a revolving door of lazy working class stiffs anyway.
I was born in 1970, shortly before the outbreak of a venereal disease nicknamed The Tick. Evidently it ravaged a victim’s urinary tract and caused oozing sores on the face. I was too little to realize that both of my parents had it and always thought they’d been popping their zits a bit too much. I later found out after her death that my mom caught the dreadful infection from a truck driver from Sweden and she gave it to my father.
Once my parents’ became infected (I must have been about 5 years old), they paid little attention to me and my life since then has been one of continual decline. I always had rosacea, even at the age of five, and even still do in middle-age, but back then had thick, lustrous brown hair and straight white teeth so my ruddy cheeks were generally overlooked.
I’m now bald with partial dentures, which I need because many years ago I was dropkicked in the face with a jackboot at a Minor Threat show. My skinny wife, Susie, still touches my private parts but she never looks me in the eye or even directly at my naughty bits. She mostly looks away out the window as she blankly tugs my balls and sucks the top of my cock (she won’t put it all the way in her mouth but I take what I can get these days).
What’s worse, I haven’t been able to live up to what the world has expected of me. I was a rebellious lad but could not carry my plans into effect, nor make full use of my talent, because I wanted to be a writer and there was no money in it. I needed a day job to get by but I never really was equipped to hold down an office job or be told what to do.
In 1984, the highlight of my year was when me and my boys regularly beat up a Led Zeppelin cover band. I was young but tough and angry. I’d never gone without hot food or schooling or decent clothes, but, as I said, my parents didn’t pay a lot of attention to me after they caught The Tick except to encourage me to succeed where they had failed.
Though I had always wanted to be a writer, my father, who was an insurance salesman, insisted I be in a punk band. He’d been kicked out of both The Squires and MC5 sometime in the 60s and he never got over it. He got it into his head when I was 12 that I should have a better life than his own and would be famous for changing the world’s musical tastes, although, punk rock was mostly dead and annoying by then and all I really wanted to do was jerk off to the bra and panty section in the Sears catalogue.
So, at the tender age of 13, I started a punk band, called Dead Hippies. My dad made me listen to the Sex Pistols and the Clash while we wrote songs. I wanted to write my own songs, but he said I didn’t have enough life experience yet so I wasn’t prepared to hate the rock and roll establishment in any meaningful way.
My band had hardly had any gigs when a civil war broke out. Some other bands calling themselves “hardcore” declared war on all of music, even punk rock it seemed. So, my band mates and I packed up our bags and ran away from home to the front, which was really just a squatter’s dump in New York. Here, angered by the unjustness of girls not wanting to put out (also Nickelodeon was a, you know, commercial thing and that angered some kids – although I secretly liked the channel’s Canadian show You Can’t Do That on Television, but I never owned up to it. Getting green-slimed was funny. Why wasn’t that cool anyway?)
Because we were so young and sort of handsome, my band started to get some attention from record labels (which was a bad thing technically, but we needed the money). So, we did a few tours around the U.S. but after meeting the hardcore guys in Hermosa Beach and other parts of California and in Washington D.C., we realized that we just hadn’t suffered enough in life to do what these guys did. I mean there was this creepy, beady-eyed dude named Henry from D.C. who sang things like “I’m gonna boil over inside today” and I figured I’d never actually boiled over about anything except the need to jerk off.
I wasn’t even a very good front man, always kinda turning my back to the audience when it was time for me to play a guitar solo or to scream or be sexy. Also, I didn’t like to watch the mosh pits roiling in front of the stage. All those scrawny skinheads slamming into each other smelled like gay stuff to me and I was troubled by that.
So, our little band was made short shrift of by tougher hardcore guys and I found myself writing love songs for a hair metal band with a bunch of guys from Queens. This took another four and a half years out of my life. We only made one record and only played around the Northeast at gigs like a Buffalo Wings Festival and the like. And when I moved back in with my parents at the ripe old age of 21, I was faced with yet further trials which, once again, threw me off track for a career in writing.
I had to pay rent for my room in my parents’ house so my dad signed me on with his insurance company as a salesman. At night, I did manage to write poems and even started up a monthly hardcore fanzine that was kinda popular but I wasn’t really able to go to shows because I had to get up so early in the morning for work so eventually my little magazine became inaccurate and too broad and fell into obscurity.
Susie and I didn’t have children until much later in life and now we have two pre-school kids. Thanks to the rules of punk and hardcore music, I became adept at economy and thriftiness and I have raised them to be happy with very little except Lego blocks and homemade games of Battleship. We like the Hungarian writer, Istvan Orkeny, because he wrote mostly only one-minute stories and that’s enough for anybody. To this day, because I expect no good from anyone or from the government, I am startled even when my wife’s cell phone rings or the doorbell chimes. I tell my children how perfect I was at the age of 5 and that they too will soon begin to lose their luster, they will slip and stumble and become aware of the impossibility of living up to their full potential. I have taught them to yell out “Fuck the Moody Blues” while we listen to the New York Dolls and we have fun doing that together as a family.
(Note, this story was written by a girl, Angela, so many parts of this can’t, obviously, be true, like my name being Dickie or getting my cock sucked. Also, my parents did not have any venereal diseases so far as I know.)