(The First Half Hour)
Spit, spit, One, Two,
Here we sit at the top of the food chain at the top of the twentieth century.
Taking our pick of the flora et fauna.
We decide who lives, who dies.
Pit against each other in the arena of capital.
Bringing you down with a system so vast even the minions can erase you…
And yet there was still a hole in the middle of the world between Bell and Battery and Second and Third. I lived there in the year of 101 consecutive nights of rain and nine other years linear up and down in the final decade of that aforementioned century. A tiny splattered signal of electronically irradiated eather rang just barly out of reach of our puny receptors, faint yes, but there. Rain-walk head down I plow left out of my fluorescented adiction store Dan and Ray’s. Not making eye contact in Crack Park quickening with my half skipping gate that is in direct contrast with the flurried mist raining down upon everything that is already wet. Dodging left I stop before crossing Bell to the dopplered hiss of a passing infernal combustion vehicle. (Missed me, fucker) Five spitting steps to cross the street and into the black alley punctuated with pirouetted skirts of dim yellow Orwellian light (Home). Very little traffic tonight as if the city was hunkered way down to protect it’s self. I could hear Louie’s hammer before I made it to Speakeasy’s back door, which only meant we wouldn’t be able to do any of the drops I had lined up that night ‘til later, much later.
Shit, here we go again.
The cold, wet voice in my head is always naked and standing in the rain like I’m gladly living through some test of my humanity’s endurance but the voice speaks in the stoic as if on the verge of a yawn. In that modulated, tuneless internal voice I say to myself, I did Dickhead-Dan and the Drunkies yesterday. Hospital Dave did D.J. Distructo with girlfriend Liz today, so who’s left? A-ha, Basil the Second?
“Fuck Da Man, Feltch Dunderhead.”
Me, I said, “D’Mong, what’s up? Couldn’t you get the key?”
“No, I’m just fucking with you man. I’m catching a little of this movie at Speakeasy before I come up to the station.”
“You should come into Studio #2 and record a drop for your show when you get off later. I mean, if Louie stops before midnight, that is.”
“’Get off’, you make it sound like it’s a job, man, a job or a trick” D’Mong said, exhaling what seemed like a huge amount of smoke into the mist with a hiss as the butt connected with that November’d, alleyway.
“Job, what’s that, trick, I’ve got nothing up my sleeve?” My outer stoic replied, moving my body with a barely noticeable sway in and out of the dim light of the back entrance to the Speakeasy café, my face cut in half with a grin made longer by the yellowing florescent shadow of the inner doorway.
“Feltch you should never work 24 hours in a row. It don’t look so good on you,” he said, creasing the side of his face in what I thought to be a smile. Then slowly he turned and walked away with twin tornadoes of blue nicotine smoke swirling behind him.
D’Mong somewhat defined the shadowy figure. In another year much like aforesaid year of tripple-digit rainy nights, D’Mong got caught in his mother’s infernal combustion vehicle as it slid off the side of the road and burst into flames on 99 between the bridge and downtown. His mother died on top of him and his face, chest, and hands were turned into a beautiful combination of scar tissue and all-to-often-mistaken expression. He spun Mingus and Miles and Coltrane and Dizzy deep into the night and his voice would rumble with emotion as he would read from the Life and times of Fredrick Douglas or Toni’s Song of Solomon. He knew the music so well that his fades were slick to the point of seemlessness. De’Mong was a DJ that always kept his vinyl clean and in alphabetical order, the most important thing in the world.
“Work, what’s that?” I said to the back of his head, then barked, “D’Mong, we’ll see you later I hope.” It’s raining harder but not louder. Am I going deaf? Stoic says fuck it.
Run? Shit, I don’t run unless I’m being chased (Yawn, shiver).
Ting-Ting, Ting-Ting, ting, ting…
A black and white figure in fedora, trench coat, and buzzing, low voltage illumination stepped out from Crispinells studio. Oh God, please save us all from James Crispinell, the evil antiart-fag of Belltown.
“Oh Feltch, hey!”
“Well if it isn’t Basil the Second. How are you tonight my friend?” I pictured a wide-angle perspective smoothly but dramatically swinging to the lower left corner of the studio exit and looking back at me as if I where a tall, gaunt, wet cat bent by the angle of view and caught in the rain. The black over-sprayed red brick wall behind me came into Basils’ view, leaving me for a passing moment as another shadow amongst the halide splattered backdrop of the inner-ally.
“Just fine. Listen Feltch, I was thinking even though Louie’s working tonight and I know it would be somewhat difficult I’d like to record the radio drops for my show anyway if we could. I mean, if that’s ok with you,” Basil said offhandedly, leaving his animated world and falling in step next to me into the darkness.
“There’s no problem with giving it a try. I’ve got the studio all set up for a one-on-one session. It’s just that Louie’s hammer in the distant background has always sounded like shit when we’ve tried to record over it in the past. The key is isolating you from any kind of syncopated background noise. When that syncopation is a giant wooden drum that is actually the building you’re recording in…It’s a bit of a technical issue. I don’t know, maybe we can try recording your voice outside on the roof or in the bathroom. We’ll figure it out.”
“That’s almost exactly the same thing Hospital Dave said, only he left out the ‘We’ll figure it out’ part. He made it sound like a threat somehow. Is he mad all the time?”
“No, quite the contrary. Sometimes when Hospital Dave and I are alone in the studio together late at night he can be quite delightful.”
Blinking twice Basil droned, “That thought disturbs me more than I care to go on thinking about.”
“What? Basil, listen,” I said in Carney voice. “You’re one of the only DJs Dave actually likes. That’s why you get such special treatment.” We stop at the entrance to “The Loft” just long enough for me to drop my keys with a splash in front of the door.
“Fuck Da Man!” said Amy McArbitrary, in her lowest, best false bass voice, standing in the now-opened, darkened doorway from the alley. She was the most remarkably intuitive person I’d ever known. Her knee-jerk reactions to artistic people, situations, and endeavors were legendary and infamous among the urban dwellers of Belltown all throughout the final decade of the twentieth century. From casting Hollywood films to the critical analyses of Russian Theatre, she had her hands in it if it was an artistic venture in that latitude or there-abouts. Amy was the true matriarch of that place and time and loved her dignified non-self-appointed role as such.
Her half-shadowed, half-human, furry bundled-up arm grabbed me into the hallway as I opened the door.
“Feltch, let’s go to Speakeasy and drink lots of coffee!” Amy said with well-feigned, back-of-the-hand-on-her-forehead, Shakespearean desperation.
“Amy, it’s nine o’clock at night,” I condescended, patting her poor frozen hand on my arm.
“Your point being?” she said in venom-voice, then continued, “I’ve got a script to finish and you’re going to be up all night again as well. You have DJ’s standing in line up in the big room.”
“Are they all behaving themselves?” I asked with a full body wince.
“Of course. Go-Go Bob is entertaining everyone with his collection. I love that man,” she said, pulling my arm closer to her body and shivering from the cold. “Shit, is it never going to stop raining.”
“Go-Go Bob has over 3,000 33-and-a-3rd, 12 inch wax recordings. He’s not just a DJ; he’s a fucking musicologist,” I said looking upwards as if I could see through the wooden structure of the building.
“Bullshit! He’s more of a DJ than any of those Wicky-Wicky jack-offs you’ve got swarming around you till all hours of the night, that’s for sure. He knows the music he loves and he plays what he loves to hear on the radio. That’s a DJ, right, ‘Disk-Jockey?’ (She actually used finger quotes) And my god, he has the sexiest voice on the planet! Coffee!” she trilled, then scurried into the rain and the dark and the wind and the ting-ting-tanging.
Presently the crunch, crunch, crunching sound of an ancient wooden staircase being battered and descended buy Doc Martins. Skidding through the doorway leading from the stares a large, blond half-tattooed man in a sleeveless T-shirt that proclaimed SICKO across his chest and “Clean Your Room” on the back between his shoulder blades and ragged shorts over a torn up set of REI thermal bike pants appeared. He stretched into a hoody that spelled “The GITZ” in a white oval with red lettering in the center of a dirty black field. He then boomed, “Feltch goddamnit!”
When I say half tattooed that’s exactly what I mean. The right half of his face was done up in a series of thick black lines and dots, a kind of gentrified, pseudo-Maori design. Although New Zealand was a place he’d never been, the art and culture were things of great mystery to him. The right side of his chest and back were Yakuza take-offs (he felt the same about Japan as he did about New Zealand but he’d never been there either) while his right leg had a very detailed collage of all three of the first Star Wars movies and his right arm had a metal-head, hot rod, big-titted devil’s-pitch-fork-girl motif. He told me the right side of his cock had a snake that was tattooed onto him while his cock was hard so it would coil up when he was flaccid. I never actually saw the snake but I had no reason to believe he was lying. Partly because every time he bent over to fix a cable or plug in a mic, he’d give everyone a sneak peek of Darth Vaders shiny black helmet poking out over the elastic of the right side of his dingy Fruit of the Looms.
“Dave!” I gulped.
At that time Hospital Dave was undeniably my best friend he was also my bees-wax partner for “Minimum Wage Productions”, our low-fi aboveground recording studio. Dave was by far the best studio mixer I had ever heard when it came to drums and percussion and that was the primary reason we worked together or at least that’s what I thought. His actual rational for working with me in that capacity was the myth that he firmly believed in that I was going to somehow make him ultimately very rich.
His level of understanding when it came to sound wave compression was almost mystical and his unbelievably quick response on any brand of EQ was simply, musical. Daves’ ex-wife, who’d left him for another woman, (a woman who truly thought everyone was gay) entertained the thought that Hospital Dave and I were lovers, she was wrong.
“Come on Dave!” She would say with a wink.
“Shut the fuck up.” He would reply as he gave her every last dime he had as child support for his then five year old daughter.
The breeder Hospital Dave and I met at a club called the “Weathered Wall …And the purity remains” (no shit that was really the name) in the early part of the last decade of the 20th century. He was the front of house sound engineer and designer of the clubs beautiful Carver driven, McCaully loaded 17,000 watt sound system. A system way over powered for that 4,200 square foot room. I watched him design and build that system custom on the spot for the owner of the club, he just had a feel for it. What he didn’t have a feel for was Bees-Wax! He under-cut the Clubs existing sound company by 40% thus making that first year we knew each other a skinny one for Hospital Dave. At that time I was working the door at the place but playing in a little percussion/vox duo on the side called “American Standards” with my girlfriend Snatch. One of my best friends booked the Wall so I could play there about three nights out of pretty much any week. The dude (Dave) blew my mind the first night he mixed us in that room with his seemingly natural ability to bring out the best in my congas and an odd assortment of auxiliary percussive toys, a very tall order to my spoiled ears. I couldn’t believe it, someone that could actually mix the front of house and the monitors the same and make it sound perfect with in seconds right out of the gate. That kind of shit just didn’t happen in a club. He thought the pile of crap that I played presented a bit of a technical challenge and our micking arrangement was way off the over beaten (GTR, GTR, Vox, Bass and kit) nightclub music trail. He also thought that Snatch had the most powerful voice in Belltown at the time, he was right.
When Dave was 7 years old he had the fantastic notion that he would be the inventor of a new super-fuel! So, as any good scientist would do he went on a seven-year-old hyperactive freaks research extravaganza.
He came to the conclusion after hours, (or hour) of intensive thought on the mater that if he mixed gasoline and Drain-O together with low heat his new Uberfuel would make him and his loving parents very rich and happy. The resulting explosion nearly blinded him and it surly would have if Dave hadn’t been so thoughtful as to ware a great big set of adult safety glasses while mixing his concoction in an honest to god laboratory beaker on a Bunsen burner. The safety glasses where painfully splattered and melted to his seven-year-olds prodigy face but only a tiny amount of glass was actually removed from both his eyes. Subsequently Dave spent a lot of time in a hospital after that and most of the rest of his childhood was spent in always broken and taped, tragically fashion-less coke-bottle glasses.
Outside of his sometimes terrifying but always imposing appearance I only had two substantial problems with Hospital Dave the sound guy.
1) He was brutally rude and,
2) He made everything he did look hard on purpose for the sake of confusing everyone around him. I never quite understood that special part of Hospital Dave.
Ultimately it was I that drove an axe through our friendship by stealing the one time love of his life and sailing around the world with her in a 50ft wooden sailboat called Sovereign Nation. Her name at the time was Mischievous.
“Basil goddamnit, why in the fuck are you back?!” Hospital Dave proceeded to loom over the unflinching Basil the Second.
“Dave, come on man you know this is the last weekend we’re going to have open to do the radio-drops for any of the D.J’s for the next three months, be cool to the guy.”
“It’s just that everybody’s up there already and it looks like Luies working on a huge
Project. He could go all night!”
“Who’s everybody?” I asked with dubious introspection.
“Well, in the big room you’ve got Putney Swope, Tod-One, Scooter-D and Go-Go Bob. In the radio station it’s Pussy-Cock-Juice with Azer-By-Jane and um, DJ Snatch with Captain Saturday doing some pretty cool sound-scape stuff, he’s just twisting knobs really. Chris and James from the Ottoman Big-Wigs are in the green room to do some kind of “Pre-Show interview” that you set up with ‘em and Jim Page is here for your show as well.”
“Tod-One and Scooter-D, we did the drops for the Hip-Hop Drunkies last night what the fuck are they doing here?” I said shedding my own soaking wet hoody and hanging it on a rickety old wet clothing rack behind the massive steel door.
“Those two guys are here to drink Bones’ beer and lay down some tracks on Putnies drop. I’ve already got ‘em set up and they know what they want to do they’re just chill’n out with Bones until I get back from my lunch break, they’re cool don’t worry about ‘em.”
“Oh shit, My show? I just ran into D’Mong in the Ally and I was talking to him like his show was tonight.” I replied growing more and more agitated by the second, the stoic eking out my pores, oozing from my slowly clenching jaw.
“No, His show is on Fridays from 10 to 12 tomorrow and Demerol Naked, that’s your show is on Thursday from 10 to 12 and that’s tonight in less then an hour!” putting on his prick grin he glances back at Basil the Second.
“Where the fuck do you think your going?” I asked, eyes widening with impending stress.
“Go-Go Bob kicked me ten bucks for his drop session so I’m going out for some smokes and a burrito at Mama’s before they close up”
“Ten bucks? It’s not going to take two hours to record his drop, more like twenty minutes.”
“Yeah well Go-Go Bob is cool like that and we already did his session, it turned out cool as shit and you’re wrong it only took 15 minutes because I’m cool like that. He’s just hanging out to add wax where needed. Listen bitch, don’t you dare touch the mids on the 3208, I did the sweeps myself and they’re perfect for Putneys 1200’s, shit mother fucker it’s fucking raining like shit!” Dave grumbled ducking his head in to his hoody, through the door and in to the rain.
So Scooter D says to me he says, “Dude, where’d you get that fucked up name?”
It’s Finnish. In the old country it’s pronounced “Efeltch Doondarhed”. I was named after my Grandda Efeltch whom in 1932 tried to sail to the US in a 26-foot Open Pram of his own design. The journey took him only 13 years to go from Helsinki Finland to Falmouth Main. Along the way he stopped in Greenland after a terrible storm that all but destroyed his tiny ship called “Artu” named after his great-grandfather on his mothers side, the man that taught him at the age of 6 how to sail but unfortunately not how to navigate under sail.
He ended up running aground on a rocky reef in Ultima Thule and stayed there for the next 4 years working for a crazy old electrical engineer/inventor named Jacob Isabelle who taught him how to build radio transmitters. He fell in love with Jacob’s daughter, Electra who convinced him to re-fit “Artu” for a journey to the United States where they would settle down in Falmouth and build their own Radio Station for Finnish/Inuit speaking Americans. The two of them were lost at sea for almost a year and ended up having to eat Grandda Efeltches left arm just two days before they were “rescued” by a lost and very off course American Aircraft carrier just 4 miles off the coast of Main. My Grandda was drafted by the US Navy on the spot (bloody stump and all) and immediately dispatched to the South Pacific after fixing the Carriers broken radio and brand new radar equipment with one good arm and Electra by his side. Grandda whom, as it turned out, had a gift for languages among other things and learned Japanese between the time they were rescued and their next landfall a 43 day journey around Cape Horn to the northern most Polynesian Island of Midway. He then went to work on a secret radio building/code-breaking project on that lonely little Island in the South Pacific. Grandma Electra volunteered to be Grandda’s radio construction assistant and together they built the largest high frequency broadcast receiver/transmitter of that time, a whopping 970,000 watts of broadcast amplitude modulation. The year was 1942. After the war in 1945 The U.S Navy deemed my one armed Grandfathers radio experiments “Un –Classified” and shipped him and my Grandma Electra back to the US to their original destination of Falmouth, Main. Just 13 years after he started his journey there.
Grandda Efeltch died of a heart attack just five years after making landfall in Falmouth while building his radio station. He died in front of my Grandma Electra as she struggled with his heart attack medicine’s child-proof pill bottle lid.
Grandma Electra still lives in Main and does the morning show on Falmouth’s WFLH 89.1fm, she’s 104 years old and jogs 5 miles every day at 0400h before her show.
“Wow, is that true?”
No. Truth, what the fuck is that? I mean let me ask you a question; how many times have you burned your tongue so badly that you couldn’t taste something for the rest of the day?
“Ummm, more times then I can count.” Scooter-D replied
Right, well every time you burn your tongue that bad it slightly changes your perception of taste and every time you look at the Sun , it doesn’t matter for how long it slightly changes the way you see colors, details and your depth perception, every single time.
“So, what’s the point.”
My point is, every single person on this planet has burned their tongues a different amount of times, right?
And every single person has looked into the sun a different amount of times and burned their skin in the sun and bumped their heads and stubbed their toes and done a million things that have changed their perception of the world around them. Right?
Therefore how can there possibly be a standard for truth when everybody sees a different version of reality?
“Fuck all that reality perception shit I just wanted to know if your grandmother really ate you Grandfathers arm.
(Hospital Dave tells a story about Feltch in First person prose)
With feigned difficulty he turns his mass in a red and black restaurant chair with an obvious Southern Mexico motif attached to it. There are four pictures of Elvis on the wall behind him in different phases of his stardom from sneering 19 to sweaty in Vegas. The air is swimming in yellow low wattage incandescence, the sound of a blender making margaritas shatters the scene for ten long seconds. Dave then faces you and exhales hard as if he’s about to lecture a recalcitrant child or an ex-lover. You’re trapped in the booth by yourself next to him sitting at the little table for the, “just one please” guy/girl. You think his breath is powerful in a way that you can’t quite describe in words you think he could understand and just the fact that the funk made it all the way over to you so quickly blurs your vision.
He says to you or rather, at you, “One night on a three day bending tour I asked him to tell me a story about his childhood and he said…”
I was absolutely happily hypnotized by television when I was a kid, (OceaderMakesYourLifeEasier…), the television and David Reynolds’ Dad. Tom “Shit, call me Tom” Reynolds was undeniably the biggest man in the neighborhood. My hand would always get lost when shaking his hand and it made me feel like I was the “wet fish guy”, I’m never the wet fish guy, I hate the wet fish guy, ug.
“Gentle Men,” ShitcallmeTom would boom, “These are your streets, when you’re riding down your streets spread out a bit so’s people can see ‘ya and if some asshole in a car should come up ‘a-honk’n give ‘em one of these,” and Shitcallme would stick his giant middle finger right in my ten year old face. We’d all bust up laughing and he’d always send us away with a parting thought like, “You men are the future, ‘n people ‘round here gotta respect that, now shut up and eat yer sugar! Boom, Boom, Boom he would laugh and turn away whilst his socked feet would boom, boom, boom into another part of his home. In late July in Austin the only time you can ride your bike is in the late evening from 1800 till dark around 2100 or so. Summer in Texas is hell so what is there to be done in the mean time between 1000 when you roll yourself out of bed and bike time? Like most ten year old all boy brat packs trapped in those environs in the 70’s we’d load up on as much sugar and stupid late sixties (OneAdam12) and flop early 70’s (RunForYourLife…) reruns, pass-out around 13:30 in the afternoon and come-to too early for star treck. So we would scream at each other all day long in a language that only we understood and purposefully laugh at all the sad scenes on T.V until at last, we could go ride our bikes on Our streets as Men of the Future!
“OceadarMakesYourLifeEasier, Oceadar makes your life, doo-doo-doo” all six of us were singing as we took our road up the Choquette hill from the dusty trails in the Aroyoseca. “…makes your life, doo-doo-do!”
Yo-Yo we got motors a-stern, we gots to moses or Nova with the back 60’s s’gonna run us flat. So we parted our red sea of bikes (all six of us had red bikes) and the red-neck in the red 1971 Chevy Nova with the tires that measured 60 centimeters wide on the back with twin 78.9mm front rubber drove through our fearless pack as we sang “OceadarMakesYourLife, doo-doo-do…”
“Stupid fuck’n assholes!” Said redneck said.
“Yo-Yo, looks like dudes gotta have, …one of these!” And six little middle fingers shot up as the Red Nova screeched to a dead silent stop.
“BMX Grenade, explode!” My friend Albert yelled and we all shot off in six different directions as the Novas tires squealed in smoke and reverse.
I took off through the back ally of the Church of Christ at the base of Choquette street and headed South, South, West up Roth avenue, cut du-south up the hill through the Presbyterian Church parking lot, shot across Grover through the Baptist Churchs’ foyer’, through the playground behind the Catholic Chapel and finally jumped the fence with my bike to the “Holy Faith Revisited” Methodist churchs’ back lot. The whole way I could hear the screaming of the Nova’s tires as it roared though our streets in hot pursuit of… Me! Why me? Out of the six of us why does he have to chose me. I’m not the slowest, everybody knows Danny’s the slowest. Wait a second, I’ve seen that car in the garage of the guy that lives next door to Albert Allen. Alberts ‘ol man’s a cop so of course the dudes not going to fuck with him. My poor ass family lives four doors up and across the same street so I’m the only other kid he knows, he’s coming after me!
As that very thought process dawned some where deep inside my scull I was lifted by the hair up and over the privacy fence I was trying to silently hide behind. Staring into the shit brown eyes of an incredibly strong, Texas bred, lightly educated adult male completely covered in a hot summer days worth of engine grease I was truly scared shitless.
“You cayn’t out run my car you little dumb fuck!” He/It/(fuck that hurts) said to me as he held me just off the ground by the hair with my back to the splintered, cedar fence.
“Yer coming with me”. He said and completely punched my lights out with his free hand.
I awoke too soon with a scream and as much fight as I could muster being dragged to the red Nova. He tossed me rag-doll style into the front seat of the Nova into the arms of another man whose size and body odor was truly astonishing. The second man grabbed me and held my face firm against his fat greasy blue jean covered thigh until I passed out again.
“Ow, that little shit kicked me in the nose!” the fat man said as the three of us sped through the neighborhood in a supped-up ’71 Nova. “Where are we taking him anyway?”
“I’m taking him home to his mama and I’m gonna tell the bitch she better start raising her kids right or we’ll do it for her.”
“Fuck you, you big dumb red-ne…” And the fat mans fist busted my lip wide open with a squirt all over his big ‘ol disgusting Wranglers.
Presently the Nova slides to a halt in front of my Moms house and both men struggle to get in a few good punches before they drag me out of the car, roll me into my front yard and boot-party my already limp body right there on the lawn.
“Now, let’s see what yer mama has to say about you.” The smaller of my two Texas torturers says as they both haul me to my feet and drag me towards my family’s shining, infamous front door. The fat man punches me in the face two more times with his free hand before we reach the door and then all hell in the heavenly form of my mother broke lose.
The front door on our house at 1407 Choquette, Street in Austin Texas was a formidable site indeed. Made in the late fifty’s by the homes original “Nuke-Paranoid “ owners it was a solid piece of Texas White Oak completely covered in a giant, seamless reflective Tin coating that would surly repel any “Red Army Rain of Terror”. That door used get so hot in the summertime that you couldn’t even touch the thing, it was also slightly too big for it’s frame and opened out with a loud metallic tarring sound when it was heated up and fully expanded in high summer.
My mother kicked the front door of her home opened with loud tin screech and the seamless corner of the massive door caught the fat man square in the middle of the forehead knocking him out behind the door dropping him with a sick splat.
“Get your hands off my son you big bully!” My Mother said behind gritted teeth and from inside the foyer closet she donned her terrible weapon. A small powder blue asymmetrically cut Oceadar brand house broom with the plastic “DustGard, for your protection!” at the base where the bristles meet the handle. She held her weapon firm “baseball bat” style, choked up on her end to just miss her torso with her first swing.
“Now hold on a second lady, this little shit was in the middle of the street and he flipped me off.”
Whack! My mothers perfectly placed first blow shattered the pretty little blue plastic
“DustGard, for your protection!” all over the right side of the rednecks face taking a chunk out of his right ear lobe. He lets go of me to put up his right arm for defense but mom had already switched hands for the left shot, upper-cut. With a loud, Whack to the other side of his head the redneck hit the grass with a flop and gush of red drool right next to my shocked and lifeless form.
“I don’t care what he did,” Whack! “He’s just a little boy!” Whack, whack.
“You don’t hit a little boy!” Whack.
“You don’t beat up a little boy” Whack, whack.
“Ow, you bitch stop hitting me!”
“And you don’t cus in front of a little boy!” with those last words my five foot, two inch mother unloaded on him. She hit him until all the bristles broke off of the broom then beat him with the broom stick until it broke in half but continued to whale on him with a broken broomstick in each hand until he finally stumbled back to his car and sped away. He stopped two houses down the road to pick up his fat ass buddy running down the street holding his head with one hand and his dirty pants up with the other.
Boom, Boom, Boom. “He did what!?” ShitCallMe said grabbing the keys to his 1940 Ford coup (affectionately named the Blu-Goose) saying “I’ll show that little bastard what he gets when he beats up on children in our neighborhood. Ok, everyone in the “Blu-Goose” and keep your filthy feet off my seats!” The 351 Cleveland explodes to life and the 8 track of Linard Skinard’s greatest hits blares a southern nasal hymn as we tare off down the road in search of cold vengeance on a hot summers night.
“Well you best go get him or I’ll have to kick his ass by swinging you around in circles by yer big toe, Now Go!”
“Yes’ser!” The fat man with the huge “goon-noggin” on his forehead says as he shuffles off to find his wounded cohort.
“Yeah what do you want Mr…” The redneck mumbles as he comes to the front door of his darkened little house.
“Shit,call me Tom!” the large man says and grabs the redneck by the throat with his massive right hand and drags him out of the house and into the light of the front porch right in front of our shocked little gang.
“ ‘et me go” the redneck manages to wheeze while falling to his knees in front of the giant Tom Reynolds who holds a death grip on the mans neck.
“Well, did yo…” Tom is stopped short of his question when he gets a good look at the rednecks puffy, beaten and bruised face in the dim porch light then asks,
“ What the hell happened to you boy?”
“That kids crazy mother beat me up with a broom!” The redneck said pointing my way and you could’ve heard a pin drop in the three full seconds of silence that followed before Tom Reynolds exploded with a cacophony of laughter and saliva all over the rednecks’ swollen face. The six of us had to help ShitCallMeTom back to his car because he was literally laughing too hard to walk. I think I remember David Reynolds telling me later that he got to drive the Blu-Goose for the first time that night because his Dad just couldn’t manage.
“He told me he could still remember the wet smell of freshly cut grass intermingled with the crusty dried blood in his sinuses as he walked home that night. He could also remember feeling mad and embarrassed at his mother for making Mr. Reynolds and all his friends laugh at him when all he could feel was pain all over his battered little body.
It is said that no man is ever the same again after being tortured by another man. When a man looks into the eyes of another man that is beating him he can never again trust or truly feel in control of his own world. Unless of course that man gets to watch his torturers get their asses kicked by his own mother sporting a powder blue asymmetrically cut house broom with a ‘DustGard, for your protection!’ at the base where the bristles meet the handle. That’s different, that,”
…makes your life doo, doo, do.
You ask, “What’s a three day bending tour?
“Fuck you asshole.” Dave says then turns to stare down the barrel of a cold burrito.
Ting-ting, Tang, Ting-ting, Tang…
“Hey Basil, what do you think of bringing a mic down to Luies Shop and mixing in a little of Louie-the-Blacksmith at work with your radio drop?” I said touching the wall feeling the kling-klaning of the blacksmiths hammer through the wood of the ancient structure around us.
“Feltch my good man I think you could very well be on to something with that budding bit of technical brilliance. Can you put some effects on his hammer and pump it through the head phones?” Basil asked shaking off his trench coat and fedora to reveal a perfectly fitted, tailored and pressed English barristers suit (sans wig) upon his fine fit frame. I don’t mean the faggoty-ass ‘ol fashioned kind, I mean the modern, I’m coming after you legally, kind of suit.
“Absolutely.” I replied heading up the long dark flight of stairs leading to the loft over the Rendezvous in the ally between Battery and Bell and Second and Third.
The door at the top of the stairs burst open with a blare of smokey warmth and a large goatee’d tragically balding young man stood at the top of the stares.
“Fuck, Feltch you’re here, cool!” He said
“Scooter-D, what’s up dude!” I said sliding to the left of the stairs to avoid a falling man if needed. It wasn’t needed yet, that was good.
“Fuck, dude, Go-Go Bob is so fucking cool dude!”
“Word.” Was Basil the Seconds’ reply and the three of us forged in to the incredible 1,900 square foot expanse of the “big room” of the Belltown Artists’ collective loft. Scooter-D and Basil the Second headed off in the direction of a small crowd of people huddled around a man with a guitar to the right as we walked in. The echo in that room was a wash of humanity.
“Well, if it isn’t our Mr. Feltch Dunderhead.” Said DJ Go-Go Bob through the most perfectly manicured, exquisitely shaped, biggest, best fucking mustache that any of our numbers had ever seen. His thick brown mop was perfectly bed-headed and his towering frame bore a warm smile at the top. Go-Go Bobs smooth rumbling voice intoned a kind of boiling glee so I smiled back and shook his huge, gentle hand.
“Go-Go Bob, where are you going?” I asked half scanning the room.
“I’m out,” He said, “my show went great Azer-By-Jane and Snatch are at the decks with special guest Captain Saturday and they’re spinning some crazy shit and having a blast, I’m going home to listen to your show on the radio and then I think sleep is in order.”
“Hey mam thanks a lot for kicking down on Hospital Dave I don’t think that guy has eaten in 3 days.” I said glancing over my shoulder at a growing crowd around the man with an acoustic guitar, Jim Page. The group gathered at the front of the huge room by the wall of windows that overlooked the dimly lit ally-way.
“Are you kidding, you see this?” Go-Go Bob demanded jerking my attention back by holding up a Memorex Gold DC90 cassette tape. “ My mouth watered. “This,” he continued, “Could be the best recording I’ve made to date and it only cost me ten bucks, a deal at ten times the price! I kicked Hospital Dave a ten-spot just ‘cause I feel so good and it paid off just to see the guys reaction.”
“Can I have a copy?” I begged rubbing my hands together in greedy anticipation.
“Your copy is sitting on the mixing console in Studio #2.” Go-Go Bob grinned with one raised eyebrow.
“Come on Bob this place is going to get fucking crazy tonight are you sure you can’t hang out for just a little while? Basil and I are about to mix it up with Louie downstairs for at least one of his radio drops and then we might do some “into the night” mixes with Captain Saturday and DJ3 after Demerol Naked. We could always use your input on any or all of those little epics.”
“I’m Sorry my friend but tomorrow I get to brew more beer then you will drink in your entire lifetime and I will begin that process at six thirty in the morning. So I really must say goodnight unless of course I’ll be seeing you later.” Go-Go Bob said, eyebrows raised looking across the massive room to the windowed radio station studio booth. I followed his gaze to the two women behind the glass of the control booth. DJ Azer-By-Jane and my German genius, on-again-off-again best friend and “primary lover”, DJ Snatch. The two were both donning headphones, screaming and laughing at the same time in to the same mic and I will always remember how truly beautiful they both were at that moment.
“I don’t think so, Snatch and I aren’t getting along so great now-a-days.” I said quickly looking in the opposite direction.
“Enough said,” he said, “I’ll see you soon then, goodnight,” and he picked up his milk crate of vinyl and ducked his tall head through the door. Not only did Go-Go Bob keep all of his records emaculentlly clean and in alphabetical order he had each record in a plastic outer sleeve and his subcategories were always in order of genre, a powerful statement against static, the worst thing in the world. Shit, Go-Go Bob was the man that gave us our call letters, F.U.C.C.
“Look over there, it’s the host of ‘Demerol Naked!’” Proclaimed a lean and blocky man with thick, tight blond curls dreading on his head.
Me I said, “Putney Swope,” the two of us shook hands low at the belt then met shoulder to shoulder.
“Feltch what’s up my man, you’ve got to get me into this space, it’ s beautiful, man it’s fuck’n perfect!” Putney said close to my ear but not really hard for the rest of the room to hear.
“I told Amy you wanted that empty space but she’s had a lot of offers and in the end she decides, I did what I could do.” I shrugged with my hands open and up.
“Hey while Hospital Dave’s gone let’s set up a mic down stares in Black Dog and instead of sitting around doing nothing until Louie knocks off for the night lets mix his hammer in with Basil the Seconds radio drops.” I nodded Basilward as he stepped up beside me.
“Hey Basil, what’s up dude?” Putney and Basil Slapped, shook, het-shoulder bumped. “Dude I love your threads, is that English silk?”
“Thank you Putney Italian silk rather, but cut in London.” Basil remarked folding his gloves while panning the room with a sweeping gaze that landed with a twitching smile for Putney Swope.
“Respect.” Was Puntnies reply.
“Putney, can you do me a favor and go in to Studio #2, get one of the AKG’s and a floor stand, pick your favorites and two of the fifty foot XLR’s? I’ll go ask Louie if we can set up a mic somewhere unobtrusive.”
“Do you want to go stereo?” Putney.
Me, “Why not?”
Putney, “C3000 it is then.”
Ting-Ting-Ting, Tang-ting-ting, Ting- Ting-Ting…
“…I don’t care just don’t get in my way. Your not going to make any money off of it are you?”
“It’s micro-radio Louie, no money just sound, well that is if you don’t count the five bucks an hour Basil has to kick in to pay the studio rent.”
“You charge a minimum of one hour?”
“Crude… Ok, you can set up over there in the corner closest to the window. Now I’ve got a deadline to meet so please don’t bother me any more, ok?” Louie the Black Dog Blacksmith said with a cordial smile that seemed younger then his years and impeccably trustworthy somehow. He put his safety goggles and hearing protection back on, grabbed his hammer and resumed his phenomenal labors.
Louie the Blacksmith was and is a legend in the Belltown underground. He was gloriously thanked on Tchkungs first album, Shit he was even in Re-Searches Modern Primitives. His forge was directly over the heads of a young practicing Pearl Jam. I think they might have had it even worse then we did when it came to Luies hammer but then again they turned into millionaires and all bought fancy-schmancy recording studios out side of the sonic influence of Luie the Blacksmith and his Black Dog Forge. The forge was named after the late giant Lab/Rotwieler mix that diligently protected the ally for many years and sadly died during my tenure in Belltown. Louie also had an uncanny knack for attracting beautiful women to his forge to come work with metal and their work like Luies was flawless. The man just knew his medium well and how can you not learn from a master. The precision and detail of his art was truly masters work although he would never admit to such bullshit. Not only was Louie a great artist and a sexy woman magnet he was also an awesome DJ and a good friend. So unfortunatly I’ll have to change his name for this telling so’s I won’t make any money off of him when I get rich for being a troubadour. But hey, that’s ok people who know will know who the fuck I’m talking about the rest will know there’s someone really out there like that.
Ting, ting- Tang, Ting, tang, Ting, tang…
“I brought two fifties and a twenty five footer just in case.” Putney said dropping the cables on the wooden deck at the top of the spooky old staircase.
“Thanks, we’re going to need it. I replied,” We can run the twenty five footer from the mic to this point on the second floor. We’ll use the 1202 as a pre amp for the C3000 in Louies shop then run the two fifty footers from here back to the 3208 in Studio #2. Let’s not use any of the channels that Hospital Dave set up for you, what the fuck, We’ll plug Louie direct into channel 13, he’s a Johnny Cash fan I’m sure he’ll get a big kick out of that.”
Presently, sitting in front of the Mackie 32 channel 8 bus mixing console in Studio #2 (AKA my bedroom, AKA the poo-poo-room) talking into the Sure 57 microphone in my hand with a set of, worn out at the muffs AKG headphones on my ears.
“Ok, send me a feed from the 1202 main, ok, ok, ok stop, that’s perfect leave it there. Tod-One, listen to this.” I said handing the headphones to him as he stuffed a cigarette out in the stinky overfilled ashtray. I turned to my left and wound ½ inch tape through the heads on the TEAC.
Holding the headphones on his head with both hands he too loudly exclaimed, “Holy shit, that sounds like the hammer of the god of thunder and rock and ro-oooo-ol. Oh my god, it’s Thor, Louie is Thor, that so makes sense!”
“Let me hear!” Scooter-D said, ripping the headphones off Tod-One’s head and quickly putting them on over his own ears. “Fuck yeah dude!” Scooter-D yelled, “Crank up the effect on the 990 just a cunt hair, no too much, there! Oh my god dude, now listen!” He then handed the headphones back to me.
“Wow, that’s perfect. Tod-One give Basil a five count on my mark, ready… Mark!”
Basil the second was standing on the toilet in the bathroom with a towel draped over his head and a microphone an inch from his lips on a fully extended mic-stand.
“5…4…3…2…” Tod-One silently signed.
(The red light outside Studio #2 read)
The hammer against the hardening steel is digitally slowed down almost beyond recognition. *Clang-sh*
“Desire, Passion, Beauty and Immortality,” Basil said into the mic.
The Omni-directional, stereo, cardiod condenser mic on the floor in the corner of the concrete and wooden forge picked up everything from the shuffel of Luies feet to the ambient ring of all the completed pieces of forged steel around the mic itself.
*Tang-kugh* Hammer and steel drenched in digital effects.
“Truly the elixirs that quench the parched soul in our man made desert of technology.”
“ Welcome to, “
“The Byzantine Flower Hour,”
“A journey into the minds of the human condition,”
“Please join me Basil the Second every Saturday from nine to eleven for the Byzantine Flower Hour, a journey you will never forget…”
“ 5… 4… 3… 2… and cut!” Silence.
(The red light went out)
The studio exploded with a cacophony of cheers.
“Basil I think you better get in here and listen to this, you might have very well nailed it on the first one” I said into the 57 and hit the rewind on the tape deck.
(Counting Hours In Decibels)-
The room was lit with the 3 tiny yellow mixing board lights, the two rack lights and a myriad of red and green and yellow LED numbers. I turned the overhead florescent on to the sudden barks and grunts from a room full smoking knob twisting sound-curmudgeons.
“Feltch, goddamnit turn that fucking light off, I’ll turn on the floor lamps just please for gods sake put that fluorescent torture device out.” Hospital Dave said shielding his eyes.
Click, click, click and a red a blue hew enveloped the smoke-packed room. “Thanks” Hospital Dave said handing me the headphones and leaning back in the squeaking not-quite broken mixers chair, with his left hand he hit play.
I closed my eyes and let the sound in.
(A loop of a skip on the second cut, side 2 on Journey’s first album), (an eight bar loop of a mystery John Bonham beat)
… A sample from a radio recording, “Putneeeeee SwooooooooooP!”
(The skip and the Bonham beat match up perfectly and then the sample was looped and came back around on the one in the skip.) A work of genius produced by the gods of random sampling. I could not believe my ears. I opened my eyes and every eye in the room was poised on me ready to explode.
“Fuck!” I said and the room came apart!
“Man I just want to listen to that all night!” I yelled as the loop continued in my head.
“That’s what I said,” Tod-One exclaimed then added, “ It took us about thirty seconds to put those samples together and we’ve been doing nothing but sitting here listening to them sense you went in to Studio #1 to do your show. None of us want to ad anything to it, it’s perfect.”
“So?” I asked taking the head phones off.
“So,” Putney injected, ”It doesn’t say shit about what time or what day you should listen for my show, isn’t that the whole point behind doing a drop for your show.”
“No, I don’t think it is the point,” I replied. “The point is to fill the air waves with cool sounding stuff as much as we can, not sound like every other fucking radio station. “
“I don’t think we sound like any other radio station I ever heard” Scooter-D slowly added looking up from the floor.
“ Exactly, Every thing we do is cooler then any other station in this sopping wet town simply because it’s us doing it and not them. If you want to do another drop that’s cool but I’ll play that one just ‘cause I think it’s brilliant. Now give me that tape.” I said and lurched for the deck. Tod-One, Puntey Swope and Hospital Dave all grabbed me at once, Scooter-D almost passed out on the floor just rolled over and grunted.
“No fucking way, dude!” Hospital Dave said, “You’ll get a copy when I’m done with the master so chill out. How’d your show go anyway?”
“Hey, when did Louie stop?” I asked flopping on my creaky futon couch frame.
“About an hour after Demerol Naked got going.” Tod-One said.
“My show was great by the way,” I said thumbing through some mail I had on the futon. “The Ottoman Big-Wigs where hilarious and Jim Page was the quintessential music historian, I love that guy.”
“I don’t see how you can listen to that guy he bores me to tears” Hospital Dave said donning his beaten headphones and leaning back towards me in the chair.
“That’s because you don’t listen to him.” I said pulling back one of Hospital Daves headphones and letting it snap back on his ear.
“Hey fuck you,” Hospital Dave recoiled, “I don’t listen to him ‘cause that hum-n-strum shit bores me to death and why should it matter to you what I do or don’t like.”
“It matters to me only because that man is the very foundation of Seattle music and he was in our radio station tonight.”
“So, you dick, if it wasn’t for him there would be no real live music scene in this mud pit of a town.” I said challenging the room.
“That’s a pretty bold statement”, Said the come to Scooter-D, “how do you figure that one?” Yawn.
“No really,” I said lighting a cigarette and starting to pick up trash around the room. “ We just talked about this on my show. In 1974 Jim petitioned the city council that had passed a no-busking ordinance by playing a bunch of his songs to the city council while they were in session. It was a packed house and ultimately the city council reversed the no-busking ordinance, he did that! So because of Jim Page Seattle became a cool place to come and play, pretty much anywhere in town. After that a whole shit-load of clubs spontaneously opened up.”
“And that’s not saying shit about all that cool guitar work he did with Zeppelin dude.” Hospital Dave said rocking on his air guitar.
“Not Jimmy Page you dick.” I said faking a left uppercut.
“I heard Sound Garden was going to do a song about him.” Putney said.
I doubt that.” I said and in waltzed DJ3.
“Feltch the man, how are you? Dr. Blaze’ at the Speakeasy say’s he’s down to one key again”
“DJ3 it’s good to see you, yeah Dave has the back up key.”
By the year of 101 nights of rain in the last decade of the 20th century our little venture or rather “Minimum Wage Productions” had so many DJ’s lined up to record and broadcast their shows that we had to make it easier somehow for them to get in to Studio #1 at all hours of the day and night. At first Dave or I would have to go all the way down to the street to open the main door every time a DJ would come-a-calling, about every two hours, 8 to 12 times a day. That got so old, so quick! We resolved the issue by leaving two keys with the internet host at the Speakeasy Café, strong supporters of independent micromedia and at the time conveniently opened 24/7. A DJ in the know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) could just walk up to the counter and say the words “Fuck Da Man” and the person at the counter would give them a key to the main door to the loft in the ally along with a brushing of their forefinger along the length of their nose to be reciprocated by the receiver of the key, The Sting style. When the street level door was open a little red light in Studio # 1 would come on telling the current DJ to go and open the loft door at the top of the stares for the incoming DJ. The out going DJ would then take the key back to the Speakeasy with a wink and a brushing of the nose. The newly arriving DJ would then knock twice and say the words “Fuck Da Man” once again to enter the loft space, come all the way back to Studio #2. Said DJ would then ideally pay five dollars an hour (cash in advance) for their up-n-coming show that they could produce on excellent recording equipment in censer-free privacy and as a side perk broadcast that recording live to the Emerald City. We always had a bunch of cheap (dumpster dived from AEI on capitol hill) tapes on hand for the DJ’s to buy if they didn’t bring their own. Five bucks an hour for 24 hours a day sounds like 3,200bucks a month and that’s not including all the bands, DJ drops and tapes that we could record in Studio #2 on the side for the same price. On paper it looked like we were not only going to make a pretty good living working all the time with the DJ’s, bands and musicians that we wanted to work with. At the same time we could say what we wanted to on the radio and maintain our independent media status. Wow rebels with a cause and a budget. But the real life, sad fact of the matter was we always had equipment issues that very efficiently ate any profit we could hope for and of course we had a never ending supply of very weird people willing to trade some pretty cool stuff for Studio/Radio time. We took what we could get and by the time I sailed away from it all we had long sense broken even on the gear for the radio station. As a matter of fact the equipment that Dave and I put together at that time for the sole purpose of producing, recording and broadcasting independent media was still working for that nefarious purpose more then a decade later at the time of this telling.
“Mr. DJ3 I knew you were going to be here but no one told me why, I mean your show is tomorrow at noon, doesn’t that seem kind of early?” and we shook hands firm and steady.
“I’m covering for Phorest-Gump he’s playing a party tonight so me and Captain Saturday are going to cut shit up for awhile, who do I pay?” He asked setting his 75-square record case down on the hard wood floor and pulling out his wallet. “Early, late who care as long as I get to twist that wax on the aether, I’m an addict you see. Hello, my name is DJ3 and I’m addicted to Pirate radio…”
DJ3 was originally from Warsaw, Poland but moved to the states at a very early age. There was a slight European-ness to his accent that you couldn’t quite place and he played it off with a cosmopolitan nonchalance that greatly impressed the mess of us. His taste in global music was an inspiration, simply put DJ3 was pro through and through.
“I’ll take the cash and I’ll have you know we don’t say Pirate around here,” Hospital Dave said opening up a desk drawer and taking out a small gray metal box marked on the lid “FUCC 89.1fm with a scull and crossbones over the letters. Dave took DJ3s ten bucks with a smile and silently mouthed “thank you.”
“That’s right, the word Pirate implies something is being stolen and the air belongs to us all so how can we possibly steal what we already have.” DJ3 whined with his tongue firmly wedged in his cheek.
“That’s right but the F.C.C believes that you can only electronically broadcast on the airwaves if you have lots of money and wattage so anyone not sanctioned by them is considered a Pirate of the airwaves, right?” Tod-One
Me “Right but by who, by them! Fucc them!”
“And the people that believe the F.C.C. is good.” Hospital Dave added
Scooter-D, “Or god.”
“I don’t think the F.C.C. is inharently evil, I think someone should monitor the airwaves but they shouldn’t have the right to shut anybody down.” Me.
“No fuck’n way dude I don’t think anyone should monitor the airwaves.” Putney.
“I don’t mean for content, I mean for technology glitches, you know lose or roaming signals or not enough compression so the frequency sounds splattered, that kind of thing. Anything other then tech is censorship.”
“What do you think the F.C.C should be empowered to do.” DJ3 challenged.
“Well, if a little neighborhood station is bleeding all over the dial the F.C.C should triangulate on that signal, find the station and show them how to effectively focus their signal on the frequency the station wants to broadcast on.”
“I don’t think that could work. I mean just think of the resources that would take!” Said a very impressed Tod-One
“Bullshit, it could totally work, Radio is technology driven and most people are scared shitless of anything they have to more then plug in. The people that want to do it will do it anyway and those people should be shown the right way to do it by the people that know how.”
“But what would the F.C.C. get out of it.”
“Shit the fucking F.C.C. already get our tax’s but in trade for their great technology the F.C.C. could demand that the new clean signaled radio station be turned into a public radio forum for a minimum of 20 hours a week. Shit, that should subsidize any taxable expense the F.C.C. would have put into it and make the new radio station very popular with the locals.”
Putney, “But what if the radio station doesn’t comply?”
“Man, counter insurgency is cheap, easy and fun when it comes to good technicians shutting down hack technicians.” I said.
Tod-One, “Oh yeah, how?”
“Well, they could build a tiny inexpensive micro transmitter with a good annttenna and the same power output as the non-complient, set it up somewhere within eyesight of the crackpots antenna, turn it on with a test signal and walk away. A lazy fuck’n hack will give up in a week, tops.”
“But I like being a pirate”. Said a sad looking Scooter-D
“Yeah I know, it sounds a hell-of-a-lot better then “micro-radio-activist”.
“ Hey listen DJ3, you should take the good Captain some water and some munchies he’s been in that little room for well over 14 hours just doing freaky back ground sound effects with the cd players and the 808. He hasn’t even come up for air for most of the day but nobody seems to mind very much. The ambient feedback loop that he had in the background of my Ottoman Big-Wigs interview was perfect. Chris, the lead singer of the Big-Wigs just got the biggest kick out of it and ended up playing with it, it was great.” I said crushing my cigarette out and exhaling my death towards the floor.
“I heard the whole thing on the radio all the way down here from Capitol Hill, the signal seems allot stronger on 89.1 megahertz sense Louie built that base for the antenna.” DJ3 said putting on the set of headphones we had set up with the radio station feed. He stood there for a second moving his head to the beat then took the headphones back off. “I better get in that studio if I want to play anything at all, it sounds like our Captain Saturday is starting to take over the turntables as well” Grabbing his record case he took off through the door.
“Captain Saturday, I hate that fucking dude. Hospital Dave said biting a wet cigarette between his teeth and putting on the radio headphones himself, bopping his head. “It really does sound a shit load better with Louies antenna.”
Scooter-D began to snore.
Hospital Dave got up to go take a piss and strike the mic-stand that Basil the Second used in the wash room. I jumped in the still butt-warm mixing chair and donned the radio station headphones. I brought the radio station feed up on the NS10’s in the room just enough to fill the space with the sound of a deep and powerful heart beat that was then the only thing you could hear. The thick thumping of a live human heart in a chest. Once again I brought up the effect on the Yamaha SPX990 through the primary buss on the radio channels output signal then softened it up with a wet-coat of delay from the midi-verb on buss #2.
“Welcome to FUCC, this is mankind coming through the aether free and clear at 89.1 on your frequency modulated receivers. You’re listening to Strawman, enjoy.” And a sound-scape was built from that heart beat to an industrial clamber over the course of 45 minutes ever so slowly increasing in intensity. Sometimes during the mix there was spoken words off in the distance by the deep voice of Captain Saturday while DJ3 built a seemingly chaotic dynamic wall of sonic disturbance that could very easily be mistaken for music. In the recording studio I mixed the live mono feed from the radio station mixing board on channel 18 of the 3208 console before compressing the signal and broadcasting it out over the airwaves. In some places I bussed in the effects as subtlety as I could panning them from left to right and then back again and in others I blatantly, raucously distorted and effected the sounds that the DJ’s were creating. By the end of that 45-minute stretch we had a beautiful recording. The free flowing thoughts and expressions of, as Sagan would have put it, “the eyes and ears of the local cosmos”, broadcast back out into the universe for all that could receive to hear for free and we had it. Indeed we had magic and unbeknownst to the two humans in the radio station I had captured it all on ½ inch magnetic recording tape. That was the very first live performance of Strawman, it should’ve been the last.
Hospital Dave presently sitting in the corner manic and shaking his right leg had long sense turned all the lights off in the room leaving it just the way I had found it when I’d walked in after Demerol Naked earlier that night, dark and warm as a womb.
“Fuck’n-a.” He said in almost a whisper, “I listened to most of it out in the big room, there’s about twenty caffeine freaks out there just shaking and listening to one of those little radios that you painted up with the FUCC logo on it. Amy brought them all home from the Speakeasy and every single one of them was suddenly hypnotized by that itty-bitty fucking radio upon entering the room. You’re right dude, radio is magic!”
“Feltch, you’re killing me here!”
Mike Att was a young, strikingly beautiful first rate bee wax man well on his way to as, Top-Hat-Tom would say it, his first Unit, The Brass Ring, The Big Time, his first $100 million. A man that could truly see the future and in that, not so hidden future was a practically silent electronic revolution driven by the click, click, clicking of millions of poor, lonely consumers desperately seeking the answer to they’re ultimate question. “How can I find that now!”
That what, what’s that?
That my dear verbally abused reader in the year of many a moldy wet night was a little know wire already connected on most phone hook up’s that went by the name of the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). Oh, laugh if you must you trudgers of sentences, you I’ve got nothing better to doers, you masters of the concerted effort, but believe you-me DSL was not always an old technology. He was also a one third partner of the Speakeasy Café, Seattles first internet café and at that moment Mike Att was infuriated with me.
“Mike, listen to me, I made the arrangements for this drum recording with Amy two months ago. It’s not my fault that you two didn’t touch bases on my recording schedule.”
“Feltch, it’s eight o’clock in the morning and we have a managers meeting every Friday at this time! Why couldn’t you have come to me yourself last week?”
Mr. Att, as you know Ms Arbitrary keeps a most detailed activities calendar on the door to her office and all she asks of us is that we schedule all of our big room activities through her so she can post them on her door. I’ve done my part and so has she.” I Sighed, “I’m not going to have another opportunity to record this drum track with this drummer again. Mike, this is “Minimum Wage Production’s” biggest paying gig so far, Please let me get on with my job.”
“Feltch, I can’t even tell you how much money you’re costing me right now.”
“Ditto Mike, what do you suggest we do about our current impasse.”
“Give me one hour and we’ll be out of your hair!”
Whispering through my teeth I said “Mike, Luke (the drummer) is a student at U’dub and has to be in class in less then an hour. I can record this track in less then twenty minutes if you’ll just step the fuck off.”
We both stood there staring into each other eyes for what seemed like at least 30 seconds when Mike suddenly called over his shoulder, “Hey Gretchen, let’s all go down to the café for a coffee break shall we.” He turned his back shook and lowered his head.
“As soon as we’re done I’ll run down and give you the thumbs up.” I said and Mike gave me an acknowledging peripheral jerk of his head over his shoulder and briskly walked away.
I spoke into one of the drum kit mics saying, “Luke get your ass in here we’ve got a recording to make!”
Ting, Ting, Tang, ting ting, Tang, ting ting…
The stoic smiles in the rain.
Luke Latapuss was a prodigious drummer indeed at the ripe old age of 19 years old. He could play anything from Suza to Joy Division and he did as much as possible. On this morning mere hours after the Strawman event, Hospital Dave, Luke and I were working on a top secret recording project DJ3 and I brainstormed on together for two months. Captain Saturday was in his 24th hour on the radio spinning noise for the political satirists, DJ’s Him and Her. I bet DJ3 a free show on FUCC vs. his really cool clear 75 record carrying case that we could record in our little den of cord spaghetti a top dollar ad for next to nothing and make it sound as good if not better then any top dollar studio. DJ3 had done some pretty big gigs in Seattles high budget commercial scene and was willing to take my bet on reputation alone. He hired a fancy schmancy studio tech to digitally master our recording and to see if he could find any faults in our gear, mic-placing and other self-taught recording techniques. If he did I’d have to give him a free show and that was a ten-dollar value in twentieth century money. Of course he paid at least 250bucks for the record case but at the time he was doing pretty good financially and thought for sure that his guy could find a glitch. We had Luke on kit, me on percussion, my friend and bees-wax acquaintance (I was recording his album one song at a time whenever He could get money), Stali on Bass, Putney Swope on the 1200’s and my friend and future band mate Daren on Theramin. I ended up playing with Luke for two years in a band that we called Mehsh.
“Pheltch goddamnit!” Hospital Dave screamed into the 57.
Walking down second in the rain, fists shoved into my hoody hearing only the hiss of traffic and the song I’m writing this tale to. My feet hit the coal black street with the Spit, Spit of rubber soles in shallow water. Spit, Spit, one two…
Should’a told me ‘bout the road block
When I took my tank for a ride.
Someone told me that that I paid for this mother-fucker,
I guess this means they lied.
“ Where the fuck did that come from?” Dave asks stripping the headphone off his matty blond head.
“You remember that dude, in the 3rd year of the last decade of the 20th century. He just up-n-took an M-1 Tank from the local armory in San Diego, Calif. (I guess it had the keys in it) and went for a rather brutal joy-ride down the I-5 corridor at the tanks top speed of some 60 mph. He got on the tanks radio and started screaming some shit about ‘Owning the things that you pay for through this ungrateful government,’ et-cet and so-on.
“Yeah, I do remember that dude.” Dave coughed with his entire torso. “Didn’t the cops ultimately run him off the road, open up the top of the tank somehow and just opened fire down the hole filling the poor guy with lead before they even saw him.”
“That’s how I remember it as well but I also seem to recall that the guy was completely un-armed but the local police chief defended his officers decision to kill the man on site by saying and I quote.” You can’t be moor armed then with an M-1 Tank, I don’t care if it’s got ordinance on board or not.”
“That’s right!” Dave drawled, sticking his thumbs into his imaginary suspenders. “That man was driving a loaded gun and he was pointing it at my city, that’s unacceptable.”
“The guy at the wheel or joy-stick or whatever you use to drive one of those fucking things became my instant hero. He didn’t kill anybody but boy did he fuck that road up. We had the headlines from the San Diego Harold with the picture from the Sky-Cam of dude, tarring through the hood over every single car on the block, posted in the “Monkey-Wrench Van” through the entire part of the North American Tour. I never heard his name in any of the stories I saw about it. Truly an un-sung hero!”