Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Trav the Spazz:
Rough Draft

Ok, so for Creative Writing we had to do a non fiction peice, a memoir. Now I intially baulked at doing anything so pretentious, mainly since I'm only eighteen- but I knew that I had to do the assignment and I'd never really thought about how I got to wear I am in life, how I think and such and I believe that large part of who I am now I get from the music I listen to, the friends I keep(the music being something that we both share, along with computer). Yes John I'm a Geek, give me six months and I'll dig up my membershipcard. So with out further ado, here is a rough draft, with a barebones qausi-outline.

As a kid living in suburbia, you aren’t really exposed to many different subcultures, maybe some of your neighborhood gang plays street hockey, or you all ride BMX bikes, what ever it is, my friends and I all played videogames. Just a bunch of kids whiling away their afternoon at a hill, or burning our eyes in front of a TV with another fatality in Mortal Kombat, Or playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on Joe's playstation.

When I was around twelve or thirteen years old I picked up my copy of “Tony Hawk's Pro Skater”, playing it to death. Several iterations later, on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 I found that I really enjoyed a specific song on the sound track and asked Evan, a friend who'd come up for the weekend and was into more obscure bands then what was on the radio. So I asked him what this band was, when we sat down and played Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4. I really liked it but had not heard of the band before, matter of fact I didn't really know much other then that I had deselected all the other songs in the game. So when Evan and I went to the mall, we tried to find the band, Flogging Molly.

The specific song was Drunken Lullabies, which turned out to be the name of the album. So I bought the album and took it home, ripped the shrink rap off, and stuck it in the CD player and was enthralled. I listened to the album so much that after a couple of weeks my dad told me to listen to something else, or I'd wear out the grooves on the CD.

I flipped the disc over and was amazed to see all the lines on it, different then what you'd normally see. So I just kept playing it, figuring if it broke then I'd get another CD. Over the next several months I listened to that CD at every time...Maybe I alternated with Dave Mathews, but I always stuck it back in.

It sounded like folk but with loud guitars and a further rock sound. I'd never heard anything similar before. So naturally I go look at about and find that it represented of a whole genre. I dive headfirst into “Celtic Punk”. This means it sounds sort of like River dance, but more rock ‘n roll too it; which means it sounds cool. I went to California, with my Mom, and one morning we went out to breakfast and the waitress mentioned The Dropkick Murphy's another Celtic punk band. The Dropkick Murphy's are more of a punk band and less of a Celtic themed influence. Sure it was there, but it didn't completely cover all their songs.

For my 15th birthday my Mom said I could go see The Dropkick Murphy’s, since they were playing in Norfolk, near where Evan lived. We went down (it was a four hour drive) and Evan’s step dad Steve took us to the show. The opening band, The Casualties came out and looked hellish freaky, with bright colored hair, sticking up in all different ways, leather jackets with patches, a large portion of the audience looked different too, leather jackets, piercing and tattoos. I was sort of scared, but I’d heard that most people wouldn’t give you any trouble, as long as you stay out of their way. I was amazed to see a little kid, younger then Evan and I with a tee shirt and a jacket, with messed up hair. I thought that that was cool and figured that if the little kid could do that, then I could. My dad wouldn’t go for the spiked hair, but the band shirts shouldn’t be a problem.

Evan came up one weekend, and we went to the mall and the mall had a Hot Topic, it is where you can get band Tee-shirts and other punk and or Goth merchandise and music. I was afraid of going inside, because they looked, different: tattoos and piercing, all around, but told Evan that after being around all the people at the concert, that it wasn’t a big deal. Surprise Surprise, the people were friendly, showed me where the punk albums were on the rack, and I had fun, looking through them all.

I got a CD then, since that’s all I had money for, and picked out some shirts for my Christmas list, since that was two months away. At this point I had no real clue what punk was, much less this sub-genre, which had bagpipes in it but I wanted to learn and bought several albums from what people had told me was classic punk: The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, The Bruisers, Bouncing Souls... and a whole slew of others. I fell in love with punk; everything from super fast hardcore, too much slower bands, The Pogues comes to mind.

I got an XBOX game system as a present for getting my black belt, and when the next “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” XBOX game came out, naturally I picked that up, and in the process I worked my way through the soundtrack and having liked several songs proceeded to get familiar with their CD cataloged. My dad's friend knew more about these bands, having actually grown up in the 1970's and 1980's- unlike me, doing my growing up in the new millennium. Tony Hawk's Underground included a song, “Mommy's Little Monster” by Social Distortion, a band from 1979 in Southern California,(who are still touring in 2007) I thought that this song, was really great, it was highly energetic, simply shocked me with its subject matter, since the other songs while different, just hand’t quite seemed this outrageous; the lyrics as follows:

Mommy's little monster dropped out of school,
Mommy's little monster broke all the rules.
He loves to go out drinking with the boys,
He loves to go out and make some noise.
He doesn't wanna be a doctor or a lawyer get fat and rich.
He's 20 years old he quit his job,
Unemployment pays his rent!
His brothers sisters have tasted sweet success,
His parents condemn him, say "his life's a mess!"
He's mommy's little monster, he's not afraid to admit it.
He's mommy's little monster, don't wake him in a fit!!!
Mommy's little monster shoots methadrine,
Mommy's little monster had sex at 15
She left home for the streets,
She couldn't deal with all that heat.
She had fun with the boys in the band,
In her eyes it will never end.
Her dad asked what happened to her face,
It could have happened in any place!!!
Her eyes are a deeper blue, she likes her hair that color too.
She can even wear a dress, that doesn't mean she'll ever confess.
She's mommy's little monster
She's mommy's little monster
She's mommy's little monster DON'T TAKE HER LIFE AWAY!!!

It was this song which caused me to further my interest in punk, I liked how it was fast, catchy and I felt the lyrics important, because I could look around at my school and see people who would fit that description. Both intentionally and unintentionally the irony is that those people, while not punk as now commonly labeled by society; by their actions in fact sum up the ideas conveyed in the song, although they try to not admit that they would intentionally act out.

My dad's friend had all the other Social Distortion albums, and he burned them for me, and so I listened to them, yet none had really struck me like that song. I branched out into more political bands, Anti-Flag primarily coming to mind, although the Dead Kennedy's were featured on my CD player, but they were a bit too sarcastic and annoying. I started listening to them after I met my friend Mike in tenth grade, after he moved halfway through the year. He also had band tee shirts, and I’d heard, even listened to some of the bands. Right off the bat I that that was a good omen. When we had a long term sub, I moved over and we started talking. The sub let us listen to music, so we swapped Discmans, and since we were supposed to be watching a movie about Gandhi and further more I enjoy history, I took the notes and got the answers. I think once I got up to go to the bathroom he looked, but ya know I can never be sure. Summer is right around the corner and we just spend the summer at my house, or his, goofing off and playing videogames.

By this point, I was listening to The Bouncing Souls, The Clash, another Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphy's CD's. So after meeting Mike I was exposed to more bands and subsequently I started listening to more then four bands. After only hearing a song, off of the Rock Against Bush Album Volume 2 by a band called Rancid, I downloaded some songs and the bought three albums that week. Rancid had a sound vaguely like The Clash, with ska mixed in as well. They would have a large amount of songs on each album and they played loud fast songs, but they were very catchy, making excellent anthems.

If you wanna make the move
then you better come in
it's just the ability to reason
that wears so thin
living and dying and the stories that are true
secrets to a good life is knowing when you're through
black coat, white shoes, black hat, Cadillac
yeah, the boy's a time bomb

The chorus, with its repetition of the word black, is very easy to memorize and it sounds cool, which is always important to teenagers. So Mike and I hung out, and he took me to see MXPX, a band he liked that I’d never really heard of, until he put the CD in. It was at the 9:30 Club, a place in DC that plays host to some punk bands, and other “alternative” types of music, but they’ve also got mainstream stuff too. Mike and I go with my cousin, and we miss half the show since my dad wanted to drive us. It wasn’t to bad, since MXPX had only just started. Near the end of the show Mike took me into the mosh pit. This was a big group of people who ran around hitting each other and smashing themselves into those on the outside. It was fun and I emerged unscathed and then we left for home. I went to a couple of more concerts, Dropkick Murphy’s another Flogging Molly tour. Mike joined a band and I go see them when I can.

Recently, I decided to stop toadying to what I thought others wanted me to look So now I spike my hair, use a large handful of hair gel, throw a studded belt around my waist, underneath the one threw the belt loops and I took a couple of safety pins and patches to my beat up leather coat. What do I care what others think of me, I know myself and if they don’t like it they can go fuck off and harass some one else. I don’t drink or smoke, never taken drugs- so what? I don’t need to mess with my body in such a manner, I’m fine with how I am now thank you very much.


  1. I can see, even though this is only a rough draft, that this is gonna be an awesome peice. Looking forward to the rest.

    Johnny Rumble

  2. thanks...any edits? Im putting in the sharing folder, just get it back to me...