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New York, NY, United States
Formed Reagan Youth and House of God during the 80s with the late great Dave Insurgent. Now I'm back to burn with my new band DUST ANGEL and I've got the urge to record one last Reagan Youth album about the life and times of Stig Rotsky. My blog is where I rant, it's like a diary, an account of my trials and tribulations that occur with my band's past, it's present and a future that I presume will be fun and interesting as well.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

4 DAYS IN CANADA TOUR

I don't know what to say about Canada. The flight from New York to Toronto was like nothing and when we landed we had a day off to chillax in Toronto for a day before we headed to Hamilton where we stayed with two of the coolest people, Jen Brewer, whose place we stayed at and Paul Kuntz who we hung out with before we headed out to finally play a show. The show went off fine.


 We continued on the tour with two bands as our tour mates; The Nasties and Dayglo Abortions. The next night we played Toronto and I have to admit it was a bit weird when you're hanging out and you think you have plenty of time before you go on but people were like "you're on now!". And we're like "Now! How's that?" because this was an over 21 years to enter show but we were going on, like, way too early. After we were halfway through our set we were told to get off the stage. How mighty white of them.


And the next show, an all ages show in London, they put us to go on last! Don't these people know that Reagan Youth's core crowd is under 21yrs and anyone over 40, because those people usually want to see us but give up when we go on that late.


Travelling to Montreal was hellish. I am 100% positive we weren't awoken for breakfast and when someone finally did bang on our door was so we could be told to hurry up, so we did. We hurried up and got into a van and the van drove us to someone else's house where we caught up on some more sleep but when we left, all our stuff, like jackets and laptops were being driven in one vehicle. As for us, we're smushed in a van packed with hardware that we could hardly adjust ourselves. $250 worth of gas later (the driver told me all the extra weight he was hauling had nothing to do with the fat gas bill. That's like saying I have hair growing from the top of my head (I don't). But, for some reason, there was talk that Reagan Youth "didn't know what they're doing'' and I'm sure it looked like that when I arrived in Montreal freezing and my leather jacket hadn't arrived along with me. But we were no longer in Ontario, now we're in Quebec, and the Pouzza fest was clicking. It was packed (saw a line waiting outside to get in, because it was too crowded already inside) and I was psyched for that one, really psyched. So we played our set and when those French Canadians asked for an encore by screaming "Reagan Youth!" "Reagan Youth!" that did touch my heart just like maybe I touched theirs by starting the songs  "Un, deux, trois, quatre".


While on tour I did find out some interesting facts, like Canada was the only country to ever invade the U.S., and they actually burned down the White House (the war of 1812). Too bad the guy never heard about the Arabs from Arabia burning down the Twin Towers with bombs known as jet liners packed with passengers and jet fuel. Maybe he thought that didn't count but I was in New York on September 11th and I can assure you, it does so maybe I guess they're learning history that involves Canada and Canadians alone? Dunno, don't really care. Now it was fun, it wasn't exactly Ottawa's Ottawa Sucks Vol. 2 festival, but Montreal was mad cool. Toronto had great people in the crowd and I got to see the Greek area on Toronto's East End. Now I just know the next time I play Hamilton, it's gotta be with PantyChrist because those girls are too cool and I'm a bringin' my other band, yeah fuck that shit, DUST ANGEL baby! And then I will blow everyone away, just watch (No offense to PantyChrist).


 Peace out until next time.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

SONGS TAKING WAY TOO LONG...AND WHY IT IS

Since Reagan Youth's resurrection back in 2006 one of my goals was to put out one last Reagan Youth album, about the life and times of the band's most important and most essential member; DAVE INSURGENT. It popped into my head a year after playing with two of my old rhythm section guys; Al Pike and Johnny Aztec and this is how far I have gotten since then.

When I started playing again 18yrs after the demise of the musical collaboration I had considered the most significant part of my life, with Dave Insurgent, when we started a new band called HOUSE OF GOD. A few of the songs that House of God had written were during the time Dave and I played in Reagan Youth. "On the Day I Die" can be traced back before Reagan Youth's first gig when I wrote the riff (when I played it for Dave he said it reminded him of Blue Oyster Cult) and then some 6yrs later Dave writes a chorus when we were tripping on mushrooms in a cabin at the Grand Canyon after we stopped by there on our way from touring the west coast in '87. Another song, "In the Beginning" was played by Reagan Youth during it's final run. The rest of the songs were written when I moved in with Dave and his girlfriend Susan Cordon moved out. This was both good and bad, good that we wrote an entire set of songs but bad when Dave no longer got that support from Susan to steer clear of heroin. You see she would cry incessantly whenever he'd cop so without her there to get in his face he quickly became addicted, within months actually.

I never liked the way it ended and can you blame me? So when I had the chance, 18yrs later, to play the old songs, once again, I used three musicians I had just taught the songs weeks earlier, I had to say yes, long story and I'm not going to tell it here, but when people started questioning the two band mates I had chosen and the one who had already been chosen for me, Memphis Mike, I understood that I should get the musicians I had not only played live shows with, back in the 80s, but had actually recorded albums with.

Al Pike was the second bass player after the original bass player, who went by the name Andy Apathy who had taken it upon himself about him and I playing Reagan Youth songs for one of Jack Rabid's anniversary shows at CBGBs back in 2002. Unfortunately, before we could play he passed away, but I'll get to more of that later on. And I couldn't get the original drummer, who is alive and well in Richmond, VA (go Charlie Tripper, Go!) so I procured the drummer, Johnny Aztec. He played with Reagan Youth the last 4yrs of Ronald Reagan's presidential term (shows you just how effective the band's political message was during his 1st term) and Johnny Aztec was indeed the only musician, besides Dave and I, on Volume II. I always liked the way he played "Jesus was a Communist". But it didn't last....

Johnny Aztec is also Javier Madariaga, the drummer for one of the NYHC's original; Heart Attack. Jesse Malin was the singer/guitarist in that band and Javier's drumming on those recordings supersede any drumming Dave Insurgent, and I as well, had asked him to embrace. You could listen to early Heart Attack with Javier. I can't listen to it, because of the drumming. It sounds like I could actually like these songs, that Jesse wrote, except that drumming makes it un-listenable. I once asked Jesse why he had stopped playing with Javier and he looked at me like I had asked him the most ridiculous question. After a few moments he looked at me straight at my face and said "his drumming of course". I took it that Javier/Johnny Aztec was a great sweetheart of a guy but would never play a style of drums that would fit the song he needed to play. He called his style by exclaiming "I'm a Mexican drummer!". Reagan Youth does not only focus on one country bucko, but the entire world, it's heart, body and soul so adios Johnny Aztec.

Al Pike could still play bass like a bad ass mofo when I meant him 18yrs later and maybe he didn't play in any bands during that time, but he kept up his chops and runs and his natural feel could be so compatible to the songs, to my guitar, to kick ass drumming and Dave Insurgent's singing. Regrettably nothing had changed with him. Al Pike is one of the rare ones cause he could play so good but he had his demons too; fits of anger during his time with the band. I'm sorry but the man suffers from emotional problems and that explains a lot. When someone recently asked me "what happened to Al's bass playing on the first album? I can't hear it" I told him "after just over a year of recording, Al Pike made his bass sound like a mad fart sound" and Dave Insurgent did not want that sound coming from the bass so he refused to put it in the final mix and after a year of begging Dave gave up, but it was a blessing in disguise for the drummer (Steve) and I had a lot of extra time to get our 'sound' down on the guitars/drums on "Youth Anthems For The New Order". We also had recorded so many different versions from spring '83 to spring '84 and that we only focused on 7 songs in 14 months, and that allowed Dave to pick 7 new recordings of the original 7 + 3 extra songs for Volume I. Some think the songs from Youth Anthems were used on Volume I and the mixes were fucked. Those people are wrong. Dave just wanted 7 alternate versions of those 7 original songs so there were more to choose from (obviously the best ones were chosen for our first record ever....duh) and we weren't going to put out the same exact thing because redundancy sucks. Hope you can understand and see it from the artist's perspective. And I hope you can understand mental illness and drug addiction are both diseases that if you don't go get help for it you only get worse. Al I'm rooting for you to be happy and content and thank you for believing in the new songs. I will never forget you Al Pike.

Someone who didn't believe in the new songs was Pat Distraction, the first singer after I got the band back together and when we set out to go to Europe the second time around I had promised the fans over there, the first time we went, that we would bring back some new recorded songs. I spent $600 for those recordings and Pat sang the exact opposite way that the songs needed to be sung so I couldn't use any of it and Javier as well didn't seem too interested in recording, but Al balanced it all out with positive outlook and spot on bass playing. I let Pat go after three long excruciating years of hearing him sing worse and then worst (a lot of people walked out on us in Europe. It was the first time I ever played in a band that actually sucked).  He would sing the opposite of Dave Insurgent's lyrical intent and made up his own vocal melodies which were out of time and worse, totally annoyingly sounding like a kid going ♪ na na ♫ na na na ....then I just had to say goodbye at which point Pat demanded that Johnny Aztec repay all the money Pat had lent him up until that moment. I was bit shocked when I realized Johnny Aztec stuck up for Pat, not because he believed in him, but for money. Worse than a Judas because he betrayed Dave Insurgent's memory, words, art and music and for what?!? Al Pike had spoke of removing Pat after a year because Al was all about timing, like a rhythm section player, and Pat had absolutely none when it came to Reagan Youth songs. I can play you live recordings and I did have to remove all his videos where he's the singer off of YouTube. I was embarrassed and I apologize for having made the horrible decision. I still continue to speak with Javier and Al actually called me during my year long hiatus to remind me that we couldn't stop because the new songs were worth putting out. So after Al got a drummer to replace Javier who spoke about nothing except his disgruntlement about Pat going out on tour of the U.S. for a year with his new band while we did nothing. I had to remind Javier that just because Pat told him that, that it didn't make it anything close to the truth, but he wouldn't listen so Al Pike got a new drummer, Mike Sabatino and then things got interesting.

Mike "Thunderkicks" Sabatino is a very talented drummer, but he's not a punk rocker. I was so enamored with his skills, especially when he hooked up his friend Gary Arnold of Gary's Chop Shop to record our new songs. At this time I decided to give an old acquaintance from back in the day a chance to play along side of me again. It didn't work out for us back in the early 90s when I asked him to help me record Dave's singing all the House of God songs because Kenny Young was a brilliant bass player. But things soon fell apart when drugs turned us both into assholes and then we preceded to go our separate ways until I ran into him, 20yrs later, playing bass for Tibbie X's band The X-Possibles (who I have once tried out as the band's singer along with Pat Distraction and one other guy from NYC punk scene in 2006). I had hope that Kenny had put the drugs behind, at least long enough to function, so he could sing for the band, old songs and new. When we got to the studio Gary Arnold was so impressed with the 8 basic tracks we had laid down that he spoke of contacting his friend from the Fuse channel about possibly filming the sessions while throwing in reminiscences of Dave Insurgent, New York city in the 80s, Reaganomics. The next day Kenny Young shows up with contracts for everyone to sign stating that he was going to make a Reagan Youth movie. Gary felt stunned, I felt I was in shock. Here was an engineer, Gary Arnold, who was allowing us to record for free in his incredible studio and spoke of getting
 some show on the air so we could all take part in it equally and Kenny presents us with contracts that the movie would be the property of 'Kenneth Young'. I couldn't believe Kenny's shock that Gary wouldn't allow him to film anything in the Chop Shop. Worse was recording 8 basic tracks, some guitar soloing (Viktor Venom even showed up and laid an incredible solo to "Necrophilia") but Kenny would only sing on one song, and then there was one with me (I can't sing) to show the Kenny the vocal melody, and that left us with 6 instrumentals. That really sucks. It didn't matter that I had lyrics, Kenny was not going to sing anymore songs, so we wasted time and Gary's money. Al Pike refused to show up to the recording studios known as Gary's Chop Shop because Gary had dated Al Pike's first wife right before Al won Abby's heart and Al just couldn't deal because the jealously was still there 30yrs later.

So we went out on tour  and for an emergency I chose Dave Manzullo from NYHC's original band Ultra Violence. He was primarily a guitar player but just had recently brought a bass so I had him join the band for the Midwest tour of 2011 and we played half good and half bad. Mike Sabatino was a total professional with the his immaculate musicianship but Kenny Young was a different story. When you bleed all over an album I signed for the promoter, Matt Tard, at the BoneYard in Columbus, OH and he goes pulls out the jacket and proceeds to bleed all over it. Kenny had been injecting, poking his arm repeatedly because of his 'rolling veins' and then, to top it all off, he hits on many beautiful girls, who all just happened to have boyfriends, and when they weren't interested, Kenny proceeded to tell their boyfriends "I'm HIV positive" or "I have AIDS". I didn't learn about this until a year later, during my second gig at The BoneYard, and Charlie Checkpoint clearly explained all of his bullshit drama, how Kenny was disrespectful to the max, like some Bitch. Other guys I recognized who were there the first time were mighty eager to add pertinent facts that made me cringe, begging the good folk who run The BoneYard to cop coke to cook up into crack in the kitchen...what an asshole. Along with a Bloody Mess that came along with warning everyone " I have AIDS ", it was like telling a bit of the truth with all of the rest being lies,...he's sick, and hope he could stop being a self centered Egotiste! Adam Allard, the drummer for StressBomb (now w/Dead City Riot), was on tour and saw it all. I'm just saying, I'm not jumping to conclusions but Dave Manzullo had no problem hooking up with a young, beautiful, college student majoring in "modeling" and she had brought two guy friends along and that she instigated the sensual session with Dave, not vice versa, it was fitting because after 30yrs of being a hardcore for life NYHC original he deserved it. Why did Mike Sabatino have to get jealous and when Thunderkicks made it clear he wasn't comfortable around the female race, it was time to look for new band mates again. And of course, Kenny had to dismiss Dave's sweet and lovable conquest like some envious bitch ass, but Mike didn't have to threaten to leave the band behind unless we started behaving, as if getting pussy in a rock band is a bad thing.

 As soon as that tour ended, I asked Mike Sabatino to not contact me for a few days to process our experience on the road. He calls me to say he can't play and with a weekend worth of gigs in Florida I got Mike "Thundersocks", a.k.a. Mikey Wildwood from De-Generation, to fill in just for those shows. The show at Churchills in Miami was un fuckin' forgetable  But Mike 'Thunderkicks' Sabatino started begging me, telling he "wanted to be the drummer for Reagan Youth". So we continued on with Sabatino, but Kenny blows off a gig in Maryland. A few weekends later he blows off Boston, while trying to convince Dave Manzullo, who is as original NYHC dude you could can get laughed at Kenny and Manzullo, Thunderkicks and I performed as a true power trio that night at Midway Cafe in Boston. The crowd cheered and sang and shared the mic so we did have a singer.... the crowd, which rocked (Samantha Salvi rulez) as they sang along to each and every song... I mean 'everyone'! The crowd at The Midway Cafe were confused after a couple of songs and so I apologized to them, explaining that our singer would rather get high instead of rock these songs with us, "sorry" and the next thing I know is that everyone starts cheering and I hear a lot of "Fuck Yeahs!". I was pleasantly surprised that everyone yelled out a cheer and support and the promoter didn't pay out Kenny's share cause he didn't show up like a bitch ass. Thank you Shawn Refuse for being a stand up guy and welcome to New York.

Kenny had to go and with a tour of the west coast, booked far advanced, we needed a replacement and it was between a football player who was singing in a New Jersey cover band and a cool rocker out west. With time running out I was convinced to give him a chance, but after seeing him play and meeting him I knew he wasn't right I had my own choice for a replacement; Paul Rye, of NYC's Blood Runners, one of my favorite bands. The football player was there and Mr. Rye was out in L.A. and we couldn't rehearse the songs unless we flew out early and Mike Sabatino did not want to do that because he wanted 'his guy'; Jim Diesel Pepe, who was in fact rehearsing with us out in Jersey. I told him that it wasn't going to work out and that we were going to fly out Kenny out instead, because he at least made merch for the band. Jim did impress me by learning all the songs within weeks, but he only sounded 80% there and he let his pop singing voice infect the song, like an ugly virus. Obviously that was never gonna work, but it in the end the Jersey guy did not smoke crack and we shook hands like men and we promised the usual promise everything split evenly. But Jim Diesel Pepe ended acting like he was more even than everyone else in the band.

We fly out to Seattle and the band sounds rough. We had some good shows on the West is the Best tour of 2011, a few of them. Then we had some real crap shows and maybe, here or there we actually clicked. We hadn't played together enough and Mike Sabatino had become addicted to pills, speed, in diet pill form. Nothing like crashing at someone's pad and the drummer stays up all night, looses his wallet, complains about cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway because, as he put it, "I complete waste of time" and I am embarrassed for the way my singer Jim carried himself, like a spoiled child. Mike "Thunderkicks" Sabatino was not sounding precise, now it was power drumming, but still, like he'd use 'soft rock' drum sticks while playing Alex Van Halen type stuff and what was worse was Jim Diesel refusing to sing any new songs, and the one I just put out, as a demo from the Gary Arnold session, the one and only song that Kenny sang on was called "Lucky 7" . Gary did an amazing mix and Kenny's bass playing reminded me when we played back in 1990. And Mike"Thunderkicks" Sabatino didn't suck at that time, like he was the 'real' Thunderkicks, but now he was playing his drums fucked up. You see the disease of addiction is nothing to discount when your drummer is a pill popping motor head but being myself one who suffers from the disease of addiction, I try to realize 'it's the problem, not the individual' but that is a hard thing to do when you're 3,000 miles from home. I took a step back and looked again and noticed he didn't belong, nor his singer who I shook hands on a deal and when I shake hands with a man, I consider that a bond, a contract, and this psychotic fuck who just cried and whined until you paid him, extra..... for nuthin'.

I went back with Kenny who swore he was clean, and he was, but had the dry drunk syndrome where even though you're not abusing the drugs, you're still acting out old behaviors, like scamming and conniving, and Jim was in Florida, he lied to us about living in New Jersey and started insisting on airfare for him to fly up to play "hardcore punk gigs".......I think Jim Pepe might have some mental issues himself but his daddy's trust fund help's him hide it behind his BMW. And then Kenny acted like a jerk and I brought Jim back, because he was flying up for the holidays to kiss his dad's ass for more money because the jeans he likes to wear cost $500.00, not because he's a true punk rocker....so why did keep on insisting on singing for this band? Sicko!

Before the band decided to do go anywhere else, in February 2012, Dust Angel with Mike Sabatino on drums and Frank McGlynn as engineer recorded a fast, six song demo in two days. The recordings were paid and provided for by a generous grant from the pharmaceutical giant percocet. Some of the new Reagan Youth songs could be heard on Soundcloud with Madame St. Beatrice singing. For the Drivin' South Tour of October 2012, I no longer had crappy singers, I'm only gonna use guys that actually know the band and respect it enough to sing the songs correctly. I got the guy who I wanted to replace Kenny. That's not really true, I asked him before I asked Kenny and we both agreed but nothing came of it and now it's my chance to be in a band with a real singer again, since Pat could sing, but wouldn't. Kenny used to be able to sing, but lost it, forever it seems and Jim......nope, never had it, never will. And all that time my girlfriend, Madame St Beatrice, was listening to me complain, so we finally decide to make our own band and we called it DUST ANGEL. And Dust Angel will always go on tour so I could see which band, Reagan Youth or Dust angel has it that night and for the future in general. But it was a time for goodbyes as well as Dave Manzullo parted ways when his girlfriend cracked the whip on his ass and his priorities had changed. I'll always love Dave Manzullo, he's my man, a true N.Y.H.C. original and he will always have my respect for his guitar playing and his rock and roll lifestyle that is born into him! But that was OK cause I got myself Reagan Youth's last bass player, Tibbie X...and she's a keeper, fo' real, fo' real.

So we go on our Drivin' South Tour of October 2012 and I'm looking forward to going to New Orleans my first time ever but things get off to a rocky start when Mike Sabatino brought a girl he was sure was going to become his girlfriend as the band's merch girl. I was more convinced that the problem is that when you're taking speed in diet pill form, you shouldn't add adderall to that mix, and he did. Thunderkicks' actions on that tour was one of the most bizarre insane crapp I've ever experienced, everyone got quickly repulsed by his ultra jealous bitch ass of an attitude which grew worse and worse and the merch girl, Heather Gallo did her best to support him, but there was no way she was gonna ever let that happen. I was disappointed to finally have a lead singer that could sing the songs proper and speedy Sabatino knocking on our motel doors at 4 in the morning, calling our cell phones at 3am and other shenanigans...enough was enough. When Mike blew off a show in Orlando it was time to leave his ass in Miami and the band used their trusty roadie, Trey Oswald as our drummer for Tampa, FL along the way Trey had been singing one different Reagan Youth song a night and he sounded really good, I mean really good and near the end of the tour my singer Paul Rye, who did a great job by the way, asked me if Trey was coming with the band as the drummer or as the singer for our 4 Daze in Texas of December 2012 tour I thought to myself why is my singer asking me if he is being replaced when I told him that I had already lined up a new drummer for Texas. Worse still was the fact he stuck up for Mike Sabatino and that back fired on him when Mike called him a greedy Jew. No one liked the fact that Mike drove to the most expensive gas stations to fill up with super unleaded every single time to show off to Heather, that everyone was going to be broke because of his gasoline games, but that did not do shit. He didn't get laid and he sure got fired.

So I left Paul Rye to go figure things out for himself. Tibbie X and I welcomed Trey Oswald as the new Reagan Youth singer and more importantly the last Reagan Youth singer I'll ever use, fo' real, fo' real. Our new drummer sounded a million times better than Mike Sabatino ever could and he learned the set in a matter of days and Trey Oswald made the effort to come from Louisville to Brooklyn to play his first show with Reagan Youth as well as Felipe Torres' debut on drums. We actually sounded really good that night and I had hope for the first time in a long time.

A month later we end up in Texas doing our 4 Daze in Tejas tour. Heather Gallo, whom I remain friends with calls me to tell me that Mike is telling everyone in his small town that we are begging him to rejoin the band I told her why don't you listen to these new live recordings on Soundcloud to compare with Mike's sound which is like he has been left back four times for a reason. She laughed and I was happy to hear her laugh when it was only months earlier she was crying because Mike Sabatino turned into Chester the molester down south....creepy, real creepy, but thankfully all in the past now and we've all moved on, except for Mike....

We go to Texas and though Felipe is a brilliant technician on drums it eventually comes to my attention that he has no feel for rock n' roll. He looks cool, sounds great, but instead of living the mantra of sex, drugs and rock and roll, he's all about being a concerned father, waiting for the cops to come when we smoke weed and math metal. So it wasn't going to work! Austin, TX, which we played twice was a great show and Houston is always spot on to play an awesome show. Even tiny McAllen, TX was killer. And then I came back and recorded 5 songs with Felipe on drums, because you see....all this while I'm stock piling new songs for the LAST REAGAN YOUTH ALBUM. So I have all these songs; "Love is Between My Legs", because Dave was a punk rock hippie who believed in free love (those dreads were fo 'real for real). "Necrophilia" is about the serial killer, and "Temptress" is about Dave's ill fated, fiancee who supported their habits by being a working girl (I wanted a pretty song for a pretty girl..rip). "In The Thirsty Hour" which will be the B side to "Lucky 7'" as the A side deals with flaunting drug use, and the flip side of that, not being able to control your thirst (these two songs were the only ones I got former singers to sing on, Kenny's demo and a live track where Pat changes the chorus to "He's Thirsty" instead of "I'm Thirsty".... because he became a jealous bitch ass when the first time we played that song at the first Punk Island, the punx started singing along to the chorus "I'm Thirsty"). There is also "Idle Hands" about Dave's take on working for society, "Hapless Misfits" whose title should be self explanatory and "Altercation at Saint Peter's Gate" about Dave busting into Heaven even though he's banned for committing suicide. "Crown of Thorns" is about surviving a lobotomy. So I do have songs, some are fully written, some are practically there.

What's more is I have asked the cream of the early NYHC class of singers to each contribute a song. Roger Miret will sing "Haplesss Misfits' whose distinct vocal style fits perfectly wit h the song that will open the album, "Lucky 7" has got to be Jimmy Gestapo because Murphy's Law is all about partying and that's what that song is about. Antidote's Drew Stone on "In The Thirsty Hour", Paul Bearer from Sheer Terror for "Necrophilia", Jesse Malin will sing on "Love is Between My Legs" (reminds me of a De-Generation song...really) and other guys. Ralphie from The Mob, get home soon as well as you too Mr. Kenny Waste! And of course I have others lined up,.... Damn, can't I keep a couple of secrets to myself?  Aight !

I got flustered with this lack of playing new songs so I started a another band, DUST ANGEL, and I split it down the middle; we'll play some songs from the 'Last Reagan Youth album' and pure DUST ANGEL songs like "New, Improved Mother Earth", "Image of Man", "Do What Thou Wilt" and so much more. But with no singer having no balls whatsoever, I had my final bass playa; Tibbie X and rock steady drummer Stig Whisper play it all. One person who was always around, and I do mean always, was my partner Madame St. Beatrice. I wish I had started a band with her way earlier. She inspires me like some muse from Heaven and I don't work well when I'm alone, I need that human connection. First it was Dave Insurgent and now, with DUST ANGEL, I have the dependable Beatrice Demesier help me in writing and arranging the new songs, as I bounce off ideas she tells me what sounds stupid and what's a keeper. I have turned her onto a whole world of music (primarily the 70's, and some 60's) as her love of metal music has somewhat permeated my bones and has inspired me in a new direction. Psychometallic music, hard rock from the 70's mixed with thrash from the 80's, with any and all genres mixed in. I always loved that I was a kid playing in a band with Dave, the best singer. The band we had lined up next; House Of God, never had a chance and it broke my heart as well as the bass player's, Chris Simunek. Now I just have no expectations except enjoying my time here and doing my utmost to play on my guitar songs that can mean anything, but end up meaning the same thing over and over, the world is beautiful and so can we all be if we just see our similarities as opposed to our bitter hatreds.

So I'm going to make that one last album for Dave Insurgent, who was the only one to have sung the songs but now the songs will be about Dave's life and tribulations in the Lower East Side during the 80's while the city got a shot of Reaganomics where crack became dirt cheap and decimated many neighborhoods and landlords now charged exorbitant amounts for the same real estate that was a tenth of the cost years earlier. Yes, the rich got richer and celebrated with base cocaine while the poor got crack cocaine....until heroin became chic because of the insidious disease of addiction tells your mind; this white powder, which I have no clue what's really inside, is chic to ingest through my nose,...... or is it better in the arm,...NO! Straight in the vain? It's a story that I want to tell praising my fallen singer, where no judgment should be cast, unless you think the new songs suck, for real....NOT!

Last but definitely not least I have to thank Madame St. Beatrice for actually singing the new songs with the musicians from Reagan Youth when we play under my new band's moniker; DUST ANGEL. So we'll be sharp for when it's time to record this final tribute to one of New York Hardcore's greatest singer/lyricist/front man ever to grace the stage from our first gig at A7 or Max's Kansas City, right before it closed, and we shared the stage with bands like Heart Attack, Bad Brains, The Beastie Boys, Vinnie Stigma and The Eliminators, and let's not forget Doug or Kraut as other guys like Jimmy G, Harley, Louis Rivera and Rob Nunzio along with Jon Watson waited before they sang for their respective and respected bands by tearing it up in the pit, moshing to The Mob, as kids no longer wanted to sit still smokin' weed, or worse, pogoing? And it would be bringing on a bigger and grander wave, which lead to another and there are remnants, but a stronger, thriving scene here in New York, especially it's Lower East Side, where the bands made their bones..... We were following the Loud, Fast Rules. And I wonder if Mike D, from the Beastie Boys, would contribute a vocal track if asked. I should friend him on Facebook and see if I can find out. One things for sure, time is on my side now.

So bear with me, I have sent out music to a couple of hardcore singers from back in the day and I'll send more out soon, I don't care when they find the time, I'll always work around their schedule, they just gotta sing it like they're truly singing it in Dave Insurgent's honor, for the honor of those days, and for the honor to survive it all ..... Salute!

Monday, May 27, 2013

THIS MUSIC Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk by Lewis Dimmick

   
     Some time ago I was contacted by Lewis Dimmick to give some information on Dave Insurgent and as usual I was happy to hear from someone who wanted to know about my dearly departed singer. Sure Dave was like most of us, he had his good points and he had his bad points but unlike most of us, he had these amazingly great ones. So I messaged Mr. Dimmick back the answer to his question and didn't think anymore of it. Then recently I was sent a book titled THIS MUSIC  Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk. I immediately glanced through it and the first pages that opened up for me were pages 44 and 45, which just happen to mention the song "Anytown" as well as a quote by me, about how drugs took away all of Dave Insurgent's creativity, humor and goodness. To be honest I only glanced at the the second paragraph from page 45 and saw my 'punk name' as well as my 'legal name' and the quote attributed to me and then I put the book down, I had a bunch of things I've blown off already and I was going away in a few weeks.I didn't have the time nor the attention span to read it so I put it down for some other time.

   Before I left for a tour of the mid west I saw the book and thought "why not?" and slid the book alongside my lap top where I put my computer and off it went with me. I shuffled off to Buffalo and then went to places like Warren, Michigan and Chicago but still I hadn't taken the book out every time I went for the lap top. Then I played Milwaukee, which has a strong Heavy Metal following and it was time to drive to Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. I was bored in the back seat of the rental so I decided to take the book out and see what it had to say.
First thing I want to tell you about THIS MUSIC is that once I picked it up it wasn't something I could put down. It's not a difficult read as it's only 'pieces' on the subjects of Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk, but that wasn't why I couldn't put it down. The reason was, besides being well written, it was like Lewis Dimmick was telling my story at times. There was his relationship with his friend Hobi which I automatically associated with my relationship with Dave Insurgent; two youngsters enraptured with music and the vinyl that carried that music to our ears. Lewis' older sister taking down her Robert Plant poster and deciding to grow up, that was kind of like my older sister doing the same shit, only my sister went on and destroyed one of my albums when she and my mom decided to kick me out from the only home I'd ever knew. I left and I guess my parents thought I was going to come back with my tail between my legs but I was popular, so my good friends made damn sure I didn't go back (once, just so I could pick up my measly belongings) until a few years had past. Eventually Dave Insurgent and I needed to pick up the amplifier that was in my parent's building's basement as we had already stopped playing gigs but with a new band on our horizon, House Of God, it was time to take care of the Marshall bottoms once again. I kind of made peace with them but it was always going to be weird as I never forgave them for not backing up my career choice; bitchin' lead guitarist instead of being a lawyer or some job like that.

     Now Lewis didn't have it as bad as me and yet, when reading his story, it seems at times he had it worse. His father passed away where as my dad is not only alive, but I just can't see him dying anytime soon. I never knew Lewis nor his friend Hobi but his description of their first rehearsals did strike a chord with me ( pardon that pun ) as I'd have to say I sucked when I started out, or at least I heard enough people, including my so called friends, tell me that. Nothing was funnier to me than when Dave asked me to play for his father the first song I ever wrote, a song that ended up being the last song we ever recorded; "Back to the Garden Parts I -IV", and of course he had to say it sucked. Dave's dad even brought our first release "Youth Anthem's For The New Order" to a man who lived down his block, who was 'in the music business' and as Dave's dad put it "he said this record sucks". Wow, with that kind of support, how could his son not beam with pride? I  saw Dave's father much like my father, a miserable prick who was still around to make our lives miserable and I couldn't help but wonder, was Lewis luckier than Dave and I for having a father pass away before his time? Or maybe it was that both Dave's dad and my father had endured World War Two and had become plain ole' mean.

      As the book progressed the only thing that could pop into my head was "oh, this guy was around for it all for sure" and what I mean by "it all" was hanging out in the east village and seeing how rock changed from what is now called 'classic rock' into Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk. I remember that exact moment for me, when the main scalper in the Rego Park/Forest Hills neighborhood mentioned kids were asking him for tickets for a show to some band he'd never heard of; Metallica. I laughed when I heard him say that and when some kid, in junior high, asked if I had ever heard of Metallica, it was pretty funny seeing his jaw drop when I not only told him I had heard of Metallica (he didn't believe me) hut that I actually brought up "Trapped Under Ice". The astonishment to this kid's facee that I could know all about Zeppelin.... and Metallica.

     It was guys like that scalper that made guys like Dave Insurgent and I look towards a better place to hang out. A place that didn't play by the old set of rules, where you could go and play and not hear the people say your songs or your playing sucked, and there was only one place that was like that; New York City's East Village/Alphabet City aka Lower East Side. That place remained a sanctuary for guys like Lewis, Dave and I and countless others until, as Mr. Dimmick explained so aptly, when the hardcore matinees at CBGB's had to have a line outside the venue so you could enter in order. Who the fuck wanted order? Dave Insurgent put it so well with his lyric "New Order, No Order, DISORDER". That shit was too much order and the matinees ended right soon after that 'getting in line bullshit'.

    When I got to the page where Lewis writes about Dave Insurgent, how he spotted Dave walking down the block and Lewis asks Dave how he could get a Reagan Youth tee shirt but Dave, as usual, is too busy, I remembered that way too well. Lewis's description of Dave is so spot on and to tell you the truth, being that I always viewed Dave Insurgent not only as a friend but as a mentor, I was always running around with not enough time as well. That's what usually happens when drugs start dictating to you what you should be doing. The evil law of diminishing return. You buy the same amount but it does less and less for you so you end up buying more and more...... until your band dissipates, your friendships disappear and your life ends up being the biggest fuck up that you've never imagined. When I look back I see how Dave tossed away his life over some white powder because, and I'm quoting from the book now; "I wonder if the difficulty of achieving an independent, idealized life apart from society fueled Dave Insurgent's addiction? The drugs took over, leaving no room for the person, the man who carried the idea. Or was Dave's life, and death, the realization of the idea in all its ugliness?". All I was able to think when I read that was I can't believe how this guy could write such insightful stuff about my dearly, departed singer, Do I know this guy Lewis? It was cold out driving to Madison, Wisconsin , even for April, and the snow and then the hail was hitting the windshield pretty frickin' hard and I wasn't able to tell if my eyes were watery from the weather or Lewis Dimmick's description of Dave Insurgent.  Probably a bit of both but regardless my heart swelled up for sure from what I had just read.

    Now I could go on and on.... and on about what's in the book but I think I can say it best like this; If you ever wondered what it was like growing up during the 80's, going to all the Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk shows during that era, then reading THIS MUSIC should be a must on your list because I can't see anyone describing it better then the creative writing professor from the College of Staten Island; Prof. Lewis Dimmick. He has the same gift that Dave Insurgent had, though with a different art form. He, just like Dave I., can say so much by using the  least amount of their words possible. a true gift. Pretty fuckin' amazing shit so yes I suggest everyone to pick it up. Go find it and buy it, borrow it or better still steal a copy of THIS MUSIC  Pieces in Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk and check it out because it should be an essential for anyone interested in the kind of stuff that pissed off your dad, embarrassed your mom or disappointed your sister because you just had to go live your life the only way you knew how, by being real to yourself and your calling.

   Thank You Lewis