By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
So Saturday was a pretty awful day. I'm embarrassed even to say why because it's so pedestrian, but what is my pain good for if not to be served up for your entertainment like a big ol' stripper smeared shiny with body glitter?
Well, I had this boyfriend once, and we were madly in love, like one of those couples you see on the street who are, you know, madly in love. And we lived together for two years in a pretty little house, and we were madly in love, and we were so very happy until he decided, oh, I don't know, that I was shriveling him up inside and sucking the very marrow from his bones. Now, this was eons ago, and even though I finally got over it, it took an exceedingly long time because I believed him when he wrote me poems comparing my bonita lips to spicy salsa, but not chunky-style salsa-oh, no!-and my womanhood (actually, he used the term "cunt," but this is a family newspaper) to hot mercury, and his love to-among other things-a burning ring of fire. I always thought Johnny Cash was talkin' about hemorrhoids. So anyway, I ran into him last week, and he looked like such a sorry, pathetic loser that I decided to call him and invite him over for dinner-just to be nice, I promise. He said he couldn't come, though, because he was going out for a bite with his girlfriend, Shayla, whom he's been seeing for "a couple of months." Now, I swear to God I'm not sitting around pining for him-I just wanted to have a boyfriend first! I'm the one who's supposed to be glowing with boundless happiness while he sits, lonely and pathetic, weeping softly as he says goodbye to the last of his pretty hair. So I put on Looking Glass' "Brandy" ("At night, when the bars close down/Brandy walks through a silent town/And she loves her man/Who's not around/But she still can hear him say/She hears him say, 'Brandy/You're a fine girl/What a good wife you would be/But my life, my love, and my lady/Is the sea'") about seven times in a row and had myself a good little cry while Commie Mom there-thered me on the telephone.
So did I want to drag my ass onto the freeway 15 minutes later and go to the Juke Joint and see The Dickies? Noooo. I did not. I never have a good time at the Juke Joint-a place so trendy with its retro-lounge look it makes my eyeballs bleed-and I'm not really very punk-rock. But I spackled on enough makeup to fill the holes of a bombed-out baby-formula plant in Baghdad, and once I got on the freeway and started listening to Kool & the Gang's "Celebration" on KBIG's Disco Saturday Night, I started getting really, really happy. "A new chapter is beginning," I trilled merrily to myself, sounding like a self-satisfied self-help book. I got to the Juke Joint, and I started drinking (I've been mostly on the wagon for the past few weeks because I got my car registration in the mail, and it came with a blood-alcohol chart, and I thought, "Whoops!"), and I got very happy indeed, and all I wanted out of life was to go in the pit because I've never been in one before, and sometimes I get a little bit belligerent when I'm drinking. Now, I'm a small woman, and I usually have a good enough sense of self-preservation that I keep my distance. But this week, I discovered that instead of being 5-foot-2, as I'd thought I was for the past 10 years, I'm actually 5-foot-3! So having learned that I'm really a great, big person, I no longer fear for my physical safety.
Half of the people in the pit were women, and they were startin' shit like ornery guys. A cute blonde in braids apologized and told me she wasn't glaring at me; it was the guy behind me-who'd already complained to me that she'd given him a lump on his cheekbone by socking him in the face. This was my chance to enter the pit and find out why the blonde was mad at him. Skirting the edges, I caught her by the shoulders. "Hey, that guy wants to know why you want to kill him!" I told her. Seems Little Mr. Innocent is a groper and a rib puncher, and my friend with the braids will get him if it's the last thing she does. Life is so exciting! During the Dickies' take on The Who's "See Me, Feel Me" from Tommy-complete with hand puppets; God damn, I love the Dickies!-the pit stopped, and I took advantage of the pause to do a groovy, arm-waving dance where the pit had been, when all of a sudden, it started up again without warning, and I was sent flying. I was immediately picked up by two solicitous guys who asked if I was okay, which I thought was very sweet, but I was laughing so hard I couldn't say so. I had lasted 15 seconds in the pit, and I was very proud. I also sprained my ankle. How cool am I? Pretty damn cool, but maybe not as cool as The Humpers, a couple of whom were in attendance, including the one we call "Humper Ramone."
Every person in the club was friendly and talkative-men and women-and the drinks were cheap. Some girl peed in the trash can in the women's room while I was in there because she didn't want to wait. That is so punk rock. (Ask me sometime about my evil nanny, who over the course of a month filled the trash can in my guest house with her own urine; I guess she didn't feel like walking the 11 feet to the main house to use the bathroom at night. She left it there for me like a great big present after I fired her for being a drug addict. She was very, very bad.) But aside from her, everyone was great, and I kept returning to my homegirl Arrissia to tell her about another new friend I'd just made. "What are you drinking?" Arrissia wanted to know. "Love Juice?"
My little brother Cake was the one drinking Love Juice when I took him to the Troubador in Hollywood for The Skeletones' record-release party last Wednesday. Every year for his birthday (he's 16 now!), I take him to see his favorite band, Fishbone. A couple of days before the Skeletones' show, I found out from the president of their label, Transmission Records, that they'd be playing with Trulio Disgracias (God, that's such a good name!), which is a Fishbone side project. And the Troubador is all-ages! So I piled Cake and his two cute little friends (life would be so much easier if I were into high school boys) into my Geo Metro. We got there in time for Drain Bramaged, who were quite loud and do a rollicking version of The Charlie Daniels Band's "Devil Went Down to Georgia," so I like them. Their singer was late ("I couldn't find fuckin' parking, man!"), so they played some covers and people from the audience jumped onstage to sing. Cake was the first one up there, and for a second, I thought he'd just jumped onstage like a big dumbass to dance around, but then I realized he was helping out with vocals and actually knew the words, so I wasn't embarrassed anymore. A number of the guys from Drain Bramaged were at the Dickies show, too, and they were all very nice.
The Skeletones were awesome, and lead singer Jonas was prancing around in a kilt, kicking his legs up and down to showcase his lack of undies. Now, despite what some people would have you believe, there's nothing wrong with ska, except for Save Ferris. (Every time their loungey torch song that starts with "Hey, cool cats" comes on the radio, I mistake it for a "Play Cool Cash" lottery jingle.) Ska is fun! The crowd was very happy, skanking around and having a jolly good time. I must say, though, that people who are skanking look very stupid, dragging their knuckles like that. Not that there's anythingwrong with looking stupid-in fact, I approve of looking stupid. It's just an observation.
During Trulio's set, which was a jam session with anyone who wanted to play, the Skeletones' guitarist let loose with soaring, real-purty playing. The entire jam was the ultimate in fat funkiness, grooving happily along. But, whoops again! It seemed like the guitarist was soloing for too long, like a star basketball player who never passes the ball to his teammates. In fact, when Fishbone's Angelo said, "Let's break it down for the keyboards," he kept right on soloing! Maybe he didn't hear him. Even so, his guitaring was awful nice. He is welcome to be my friend. And so, my dears, are you.