08 April, 2008

memories... continued [Reposted from Facebook]

Location: the punk rock scene, 1994

1994… my 2nd band. the goddamned nixons… they were called the goddamned nixons because they were called the nixons until they found out that another band already had that name.

the band consisted of two brothers, chris and michael, on guitar and drums, plus bass player brian (love). i cannot remember, but i think his last name was actually love. could be wrong. originally the band consisted of 3 brothers, with dave also on guitar, but he left before i came, because he was, shall we say, a little messed up probably between drugs and alcohol.

oh, and let me not forget. the “front person” of this band, was singer Janice. she was a petite cokehead of indeterminate age. she wasn’t really the front person because she only sang like 3 or 4 songs, and sang them quite horribly. but she had the right look (coke whore) and she would stand on the stage looking dirty and people would be moderately entertained by this.

we used to rehearse in a gigantic warehouse in shrewsbury massachusetts that belonged the company that was owned by chris, mike, and dave’s family. chris and mike both worked there. the company did something like making the large booth setups that are used for people who present at conferences. 

their music was a cross between lou reed, rolling stones, and iggy and the stooges. i was largely unfamiliar with their influences, and thus, often we learned “new songs” that i later found out were cover tunes that i was not familiar with. good in a way, because it meant that i put my own spin on it.

these guys were the reason that black and white photography still exists. everything was kind of dark, kind of hard, and raw.

chris was a great guitarist in the vein of keith richards. he had the moves and sound of keith richards, while at the same time, strangely resembling dana carvey. they were all the nicest guys in the world. everything was always completely laid back.

learning a new song went like this. chris would walk over to me with his guitar. and he’d say, “it goes like this” and he’d quickly show me the chords. and then he’d say “and then the break goes like this”. “the break” always referred to the other part. whatever that was. words like “chorus” and “bridge” are not tough enough for these guys. “the break” was what it was. so i’d get my 20 second video lesson for the song. and then we’d play it. and eventually i would figure it out. we were ridiculously loud.

janice is another story. i am not sure why she was in the band other than that maybe everyone in the group was in love with her. if anyone could be called a succubus in this world, it was probably her. i’m reminded of that stones song 19th nervous breakdown “on our first trip, i tried so hard to rearrange her mind. but after a while i realized you were disarranging mine”. well i never tripped with her. but i started spending a lot of time with her. giving her rides to and from practice. hanging out at her house. she lived in a giant old mansion of a home in newton massachusetts, undoubtedly rent free since she was jobless, under the protection of a guy who was a music writer for the boston globe. he was a 45 year old probably alcoholic who was obviously in love with janice, though they were not together anymore, if they ever were at all. she would parade men through the house and jim would sort of stay in the corners invisible. i started hanging out with her to wee hours of the morning. and there was no romantic element here. i was just fascinated by her. i thought i could help her. but slowly and surely my sleep patterns were deregulating.

i remember one night where she urgently needed to meet up with this guy at like midnight, and she was frantically calling him. we were hanging out in her room drinking wine, or something. and she kept trying to call him. i am thinking what could be so important: drug deal? eventually we go out somewhere in the car to meet him. then we come back. then she’s gone in the bathroom for awhile. then she comes back in the room talking a mile a minute and has some yellowish ick dripping out of her nose down the side of her face. and i don’t want to be tactless so i remember saying something like “you look tired” and she is like “really?”. and i say “yeah, you look REALLY REALLY tired” and of course, being self-conscious and vain, this causes her to go and clean herself up, the cooperative lie maintained. that was the first time that i was basically sure she was a cokehead. other times at practice at the warehouse, she would disappear for 15 minutes and come back talking a mile a minute. but that was more circumstantial. i don’t know why i doubted or cared. just curious. she was like a car accident. you know it’s going to be bad, but you want to get closer for a better look.

i ended up spending time with her at her dad’s house when he was dying. i am not sure if i was just her ride, a convenient human to use, or if she actually considered me a friend. does it make a difference? i think her idea of friend was someone that you use.

eventually the goddamned nixons fizzled. i am not sure i was ever dark enough for them. but i definitely became the darkest i had ever been. that time coincided with a very painful relationship during which time i chose to spend a year and a half pursuing someone who was never going to be with me. all the while, passing up other genuine opportunities, and hurting various women who made the mistake of crossing my path.

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