Autumn Tour With 13 Scars and Reagan Youth.
So, somehow its all falling together. I don’t know how, I certainly can’t ascribe some deep sort of Why…but it’s happening. I got my ticket for Pheonix, where I’ll be meeting up with my longtime friends Matt and Shawn on Nov. 1st to join them and the rest of 13 Scars for their tour with hardcore punk vets Reagan Youth.
Right now it’s looking like I’ll be printing very limited ‘zine format runs of my books to take with. Also there’s going to be a photocopy issuing of the split chapbook I did this summer with Michael Essington, author of Life Won’t Wait and Last One to Die, with the full version of the chapbook available at our signing on Nov. 10th at Los Globos in LA-the final date of the tour and the only scheduled stop for Mike (though he might make the show at the Glass House in Pomona on the 4th as well).
Many years ago, when I was but a wee skater punkling living in Auburn, Wa. about 20 miles south of Seattle, there was a local hardcore band called Subvert. I got to be friends with their original drummer, Matt Shuttle, and also guitarist Shawn Durand. This was like 26 years ago, long before I moved back here to Pa. and a short time prior to the time my first two books are set in.
I was all of 15, and the aggressive sound coupled with lyrics simply frothing antiauthoritarianism made Subvert my most favorite hardcore band in the universe. Plus, well, we all drank plenty of Schmidt together and sparked metric ass tons of ganja. Those were good times, going to shows at the Community World Theater in Tacoma, doing all night skateboard missions in Seattle…just the fun times inherent in being young and into hardcore punk rock during that era before “grunge” sapped the scene and lead to the Puget sound’s brief blip on the cultural hype radar screen.
But back then Matt lent me his Reagan Youth album, the first issuing of songs by the band containing most of the tracks later released as the Vol. 1 anthology. I loved that record. Songs like “U.S.@”, “I Hate Hate” and “New Aryans” became, and remain, some of my all time favorite punk dittys of fucking ever. I drove my mother batshit blasting that record.
Anyway, time passed. I lost my mind from a bad acid trip in 88 and after a stay in the adolescent psych ward, I was around Auburn less and eventually made for the streets of Seattle. I did return Matt’s record, but I saw him infrequently and only ran into Shawn a few, albeit memorable, times.
In the 90′s Matt & Shawn reunited in Portrait of Poverty and started playing shows together out there again. I saw them once back then, the summer before I came out here to Pennsylvania.
However, in 1996 I was leafing through a copy of Maximum RockNRoll’s Book Your Own Fucking Life and I saw Portrait of Poverty listed with Shawn’s label Mother Records. There was a contact number, so I called and it turned out they were all there compiling the liner notes for the P.O.P. cd. I talked to Matt for awhile, and was included on the liners-my big punk rock claim to fame, listed on the thank you’s for the preeminant Puget Sound hardcore document of the latter 90′s. And yeah, motherfuckers, that album was fucking killer.
Many years pass, I face my heroin travails and spend 8 years in prison, losing touch with my old friends for about a decade. I got out in 06 and bought my first computer, and last year through trying to find some Subvert on the tubez…I discover Shawn’s newest band-the balls out ass kicking 13 Scars.
I bought their self titled album-the first piece of music I ever paid for online. 2012 was a great year for music, as I’ve written about here previously, and the 13 Scars self titled quickly became one of my most listened to albums of the year. Just plain fucking monstrous rock and roll straight outta Tacoma Wa. If last years OFF! s/t lp hearkened back to a bygone hardcore halcyon, 13 Scars upped the ante with a digital platter of all that punk could be, is, and foreshadowed a non formulaic future tense hardcore that blows genrefication out the frame. Just solid, hard fucking hitting rocknroll you can tear up the paving stones, party down and start your friendly local circle pit to. The full length was followed up by the masterful Killroom ep, where T-towns finest really get their fucking sea legs for sure.
As it turns out, me and Shawn start messaging back and forth on the facebuuk and come to find out Matt was going to be replacing the then drummer. Shawn gives me Matt’s number, we get to talk while he rides his bike back from a local watering hole in Idaho…the first we spoke since 1996. Shawn asks me if I can mail out a cd of their stuff to Matt so he can learn the songs, I send the music, and shortly he’s on his way back to Tacoma to provide the backbeatdowns on drums.
Since then we’ve all stayed in touch, and I was invited on tour with them and Reagan Youth to promote my books alongside the merch table at shows. There’s also some talk of me filming a tour documentary, and me and Brad, the lungs behind the Scars microphone, get to talking. Turns out Brad is really fucking cool, and though I haven’t gotten to know the other members yet I’m dead positive they are too.
All in all this is some pretty fucken rad shit. I get to go on tour with my hardcore heroes and promote mine and me & Essingtons books.
I’m far, far beyond stoked. But even past that it just goes to show the community a bunch of outsiders and miscreants found in the subculture of punk, and that despite everything-despite the mallpunk phenomena, despite wave after wave of new generation styles and fads…and despite the horrible over the top “personal is synonymous with political” trend; that with its equally ridiculous apolitical punk backlash left the scene divided between “pc punks” and frat boys in Black Flag t’s pumping credit card info for Suicide Girls site subscriptions…beyond all that, and like I said, despite everything it still really is the small circle of friends it ever was.
Because like Darby Crash sang about what we do being secret…back in the day it was a little secret society, it did represent the cold world anomie and it actually was dangerous, not just trite and dated to “fly the freak flag” and dig your own angstnitude while somehow believing we had a world to save. And that, motherfuckers we can do it.
But now I’m middle aged. The punk rock saved my life tales have been told a million times. I’m not so sure the World can be saved…or if it even needs to be saved from itself.
But I’m telling you people right fuckng now-five months ago my wife of five years and the only woman I’ve loved for the past sixteen…she left me for one of my friends out in Scranton. My world ended. It was the most emotional pain I ever faced. I contemplated suicide pretty much daily all summer after she lied to get me out here to Erie. But you know what? It wasnt the “let go and move on” bullshit platitudes and pop psychology pat answers that did anything at all to save me. It was my friends, my peops, my fellow punxes and weirdos…it was the music in the message of us against the world…and it was that beautiful, and ok at times dysfunctional as fuck, community that did it.
It’s because of that I’m on top of the fucking world even while being a floor spot tourist with a few bucks, a backpack full of all my belongings, three of my books….and a ticket for the Dirty Dog going out Tuesday to take me to Pheonix for the start of tour. Tour with some of my favorite people and favorite bands in the goddam universe…where I’ll get to go to the West coast, sell some of my books, and hey maybe get drunk and fucking stage dive.
Motherfucker it’s still good to be a punk.