We drive along the Pacific once more and I’m looking at hulking oil tankers off in the ocean misty distance.
Last night Josh, Greg and I hung out for a while at the beach. I couldn’t stop looking up and losing myself in the gorgeous celestial emptiness of the sky and the stars. The college kids of Isla Vista don’t see the beauty of this place. This is college? Try living in the burnt out soul-smashing, university/company town of New Brunswick, NJ, where drunk townies (not the four-year mommy-and-daddy subsidized drifters) collapse on your stoop with nary a warning. That is college, with squalid street winters of gray slush in housing built 100 years ago when heat was a word relegated to a fireplace and wool sweaters.
After the show last night (in the Biko house garage), we retired briefly to Alex’s co-op house. Last time he was gracious enough to let us crash there, though he left. Guy offered us free reign of his belongings and demanded I sleep in his bed. I recall sweetly slipping into unconsciousness sore and almost broken as the sounds of the Pacific crashed a mere two blocks away.
This time Alex brought us to a mad college party. Hundreds of drunk frat and sorority types spilled out of the house and all over the yard. We just stood there and watched with mouths agape. One of Alex’s housemates explained that what we witnessed was a “Pimp and Ho” party, hence the lurid outfits. I saw one beefsteak Charlie looking behemoth wearing a bow tie sans shirt. Stumbling jocks wielding plastic cups of frothy piss-colored beer struggled valiantly to woo drunken make-up queens. Terrible, nerve-wracking scene. We retreated to the beach and then back to Alex’s. Eric made out with a girl from the show. The next morning a female employee of the Starbuck’s across the street from the burrito place asked for his number. Tonight we play Santa Cruz at a college. Maybe we’ll attend another Pimp and Ho party.
Somehow The Beatles are dragging me out of my bad mood. Too much to think about and dwell upon on these long drives, as if I’m fingering a cavity-ridden tooth or pulling at the scab on an open wound.
For some reason I feel the need to make zines again. It’s not as if I hadn’t had fleeting bursts of desire to do so in the past few years. It’s always been the hurdle of funding and means of photocopying. I skimmed through a zine someone left with us somewhere and it is terrible. It reminds me of my disillusion with the anarcho-punk sect I once tried to ingratiate myself with. Despite some sense of feeling aligned with the cause, it was the tactics and the culture that rubbed me wrong. I realized that the “movement” was dominated by a groupthink mentality. Everyone looked the same, they acted the same, they talked the same. It’s no different with the scene I see at our shows. We’re all sheep marching to slaughter. I don’t fit anywhere. I like it that way. That isn’t to say I am nihilist who doesn’t believe in movements working together towards change or towards something. I want to be myself.
I’m craving a mentally nourishing political tome. Too many of such books are dull as a math class at 7 in the morning (I suffered through one, I know). That’s why I loved some of the books I plowed through before embarking on this tour. Rogue State by William Blum, Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast…damn, only two. I need to do more, I need to be more. That’s enough whining for now. Farms and hills pass by. I don’t know where we are. Road signs announce Salinas, San Francisco and we need to reach Santa Cruz. 21 shows to go.
Matt bought Bass Player Magazine at the Barnes and Noble in San Luis Obispo. Gracing the cover was Ben, a guy I was friends with ten years ago. His band often played with mine at all ages club shows at the Jersey shore. I envied his immeasurable talent. He had the best of all worlds: expert guitarist finesse, multi-dimensional vocal ability, not to mention enough charisma to win over every girl (or guy) in the joint. I remember one cold December night after a show at the Surf Club in Ortley Beach, a crew of us hunkered down at a sticky table at the OB Diner in Point Pleasant (home of Kirsten Dunst for those keeping score at home). During a discussion on the deluge of straight edge and vegan kids at our shows, he coolly remarked, “Look, I’m wearing a leather belt. I don’t care about that. I smoke cigarettes. I’m eating this cheeseburger. All I care about is my guitar, my bands, music.” What he said made sense for him. There he is, looking not much different than he did in 1994, on the cover of a magazine, doing exactly what he said he would do. I was 18 then. I obsessed over hardcore, DIY, punk. The notion of devoting myself to music was entirely foreign. More precisely, it was anathema to everything I believed in. You were not supposed to live off of music, that was the rule. I was a freshman in college, I planned…shit, time to look at directions, I will continue this rant later…