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
Telling the band wasn't easy. "It was scary; I had butterflies in my stomach," Dziurgot says. "Talking about religion is a real hard thing because I worry what people are going to think. Are they going to think, 'Oh, he's just a religious weirdo'? It took a lot for me to tell them, but I said, 'I'm done; I'm not going to live for anybody else. I don't care what anybody else thinks about me.' They can think I'm an ignorant person because I believe in this archaic thing. That's fine. I'm a logical person. I'm educated. I've heard all the arguments against it, and that's what I believe. I've taken a leap of faith. This is what I believe." And their reaction? "They were actually really, really, cool with it, except for one person who laughed at me."
The night Dziurgot told them was a practice night like any other, held at Ferreira's house. As soon as everyone showed up, Dziurgot told the band. "Everyone got really quiet," Ferreira recalls. "It was like, 'Okay, you're quitting; the band's over.' I was the only one asking why. Why not play a show every few months? But he said no."
It didn't come as a complete surprise, though. For the past few months, Dziurgot had been withdrawing. They had only played one show all summer because Dziurgot refused to tour. "The band was slowly coming apart," says Ferreira. "Dziurgot was losing interest."
Colonnier has a similar recollection. "I know him well enough," he says, "and I could tell that his heart wasn't in the band anymore."
For Dziurgot's entire life, he says, he's dealt with people misinterpreting him. He's shy, and in turn, he's quiet, but instead they think he's arrogant. "People think I'm sitting there thinking I'm better than them, but really I'm sitting there thinking, 'They're staring at me. What's wrong with me now?'" Dziurgot laughs uncomfortably again. He thinks he knows why he's like this. "Part of it is that my dad, um, likes to pick on people," he says. "He picks at you, picks at you, picks at you. My house is dominated by guys, and that's how we bond, by picking on one another —you know, 'Get out of here; leave me alone,' that kind of picking. I just get real nervous when I'm around other people because I think they're picking at me like my dad did." But then he backpedals. "I mean, don't think I have, like, these emotional scars from my dad. I get along with him very well." Dziurgot laughs again. "I'm just that type of personality because of that." And then he says, "I mean, this is all off-the-subject, stupid stuff."
Dziurgot recalls a Bible story in which Jesus says something negative about a man who can't put himself in another man's shoes. "I'm the opposite, though," he says. "I put myself in other people's shoes too much. I automatically put myself in someone else's shoes."
Perhaps Dziurgot is saying more when he says he's "weak," which he's said countless times. He seems without any kind of buffer. "The minute I see someone being hurt, I put myself in that person's shoes," he says. He talks about going to his uncle's funeral and watching his cousin and thinking about how sad his cousin must be to have lost a father. He talks about Johnston, who lost his dad to cancer when they were seniors in high school. "I don't even know how he's made it through," Dziurgot marvels. "He isn't bitter at God, though. A couple of other guys in the band who've lost their dads, one of them was raised Christian and one of them wasn't, and they're really bitter at God."
But maybe that's only Dziurgot putting himself in other people's shoes. Colonnier says nobody in the band is bitter at God. "I'd say that's fairly inaccurate."
Some time ago, Dziurgot and his girlfriend were watching TV, something about the fighting in the Middle East, and Dziurgot got a big smile on his face. "Not because of the violence—I don't want the violence; I pray for peace every day," he says. "But I had a smile because the Bible predicted this. I knew it was going to happen. I'd been waiting for it."
"It" is the End Times prophecy. The Christian Bible's Book of Revelation says the generation that sees Israel become a nation will be the generation that sees the Second Coming of Jesus. It will not be a pleasant coming, but one filled with mass murder, acts of outrageous brutality, the Antichrist and, of course, Armageddon, the war to end all wars. Some followers of the End Times prophecy regard the current fighting in the Middle East as a continuation of a fight that started in biblical times and read it as a sign that the end—or, rather, the End—may be closer than you think.
But Dziurgot isn't scared. "I'm absolutely excited—absolutely," he says, smiling, and then he describes what those same millennialists think comes next. "It's going to be amazing. Come on! A place where there's no sorrow or struggles? It's an eternal resting place, a utopia. I've thought long and deep about it, and there's nothing else I want more than that. Nothing else."
Jeffries Fan Club's final show, featuring the Skeletones, Longfellow, Codename: Rocky and One Hit Wonder, is at the Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (714) 647-7704. Sat., 7 p.m. $12. All ages.