Sink your teeth into it. Notice I didn't say someone. Early in life, it seemed I loved everything about anything. I loved learning, which was all I had at the beginning. I tucked away every moment in my brain, learned from it, and built on it. I remember my brother coming home from the hospital. All of it. The new roommate in the bassinet in our kitchen on 32nd & Hubbell. The adults fawning. The trip to Oregon, that I had already made several times. It was on that trip I spoke my first word. At that point, the adults in my life had decided I was retarded. That was the approved medical diagnosis at the time. I stared at clocks, thinking about precision. We had a mantle clock at my grandparents' house (where I live now) that I would stare, fixated, for hours. I remember thinking the adults around me were fucking idiots. I said my first word, and it was, "pendulum." Granted, I practiced it when they weren't around. Getting the hang of speech can be gnarly, and they already thought I was an idiot, so I didn't want to let anyone down. There was no fanfare beyond, "he said his first word." Life was only downhill from there.
By kindergarten, I had basic math down, and had read Michel Chrichton's The Andromeda Strain (I remember, because it's still one of my favorite books, and I still own the physical copy from my youth). It was suggested I skip to 3rd grade, which my parents nixed. They thought I'd be bullied if I was the smallest kid in class. Turns out they bully nerds, too. I stuck it out in genpop for the rest of public school, learning the lesson that trying to get ahead was pointless, and you can phone it in and just get by. In 3rd grade, they did testing, and a select few got into the gifted program. A small group of students were bussed a few days a week to Madison Heights, where the other handful of kids from schools across the district would meet up for school. Once a week, I was taken out of gifted classes, and bussed to Phoenix College to do my math 101. Around this time I started doing computer camp. Commodore PETs with classes on circuitry and soldering. I felt like a total outcast in every clique. I'm still online friends with most of the people who were in gifted class with me, but some online friend requests from beyond that clique puzzle me, because I remember them as jerks. I was in a heavy Clash phase at that point of my life, loved The Police, and was getting into some local punk through one of my little brother's friend's mom. His name was Kyle Bartlet, and his mom had the Brainz 7" and some Plasmatics stuff. As a group project, we held a mock election (by now it must have been 4th grade) and I campaigned for Anderson. As an aside, I should mention I discovered my own erection around 7, and found my dad's Playboys around the same time, but given the stamina for my age, I actually did get bored and read the articles, so I was pretty well versed on the Pentagon Papers, so I was ranting about October Surprise/Iran Contra to a bunch of kids who didn't give a shit about politics. Fuck. All they cared about was being popular, and I'd already figured out that wasn't going to happen for me. The only thing that really stands out for that time of my life is I started drum lessons with the legendary Tony Ferderber. Drum lessons felt like a chore, but it got me into the music studios of the Colonnade, which felt like I was getting away with something, passing through forbidden doors of a mall that was an adjunct to the outdoor mall, Town & Country, which was across the street, to the second floor. I hammered though rudiments, learned Carmine Appice complicated beats (apparently everyone else did, because that was the foundation of the Jane's Addiction era that followed), and performed countless recitals that were nothing more than hitting a snare drum for the parents of the other students.
I moved on to Madison #1 with little segue. Old classmates with a smattering of new, some of which I had met at Madison Heights. My parents insisted I join band, where I was informed they had too many drummers and I'd be playing trumpet. It wasn't the worst thing that happened to me, musically. I actually got pretty good at trumpet, eventually making first chair. I kept up with the drum lessons, though, until one day, my dad threatened me if I didn't get my grades up, he was pulling the plug. That next lesson, I quit. I let Tony know why, and we hit some advanced stuff to send me on my way. A lot of things happened that week. I got my first real skateboard from a classmate, Todd Schultz. A Steve Olson he'd snapped by the wheelwell dropping off a loading dock for 10 bucks (three hours pay in those days, and I'd already been working agriculture for years). I also got a new bully, Neil Severence, who beat me with my trumpet, leaving me bruised and the trumpet unusable. I tried to figure a new way home to avoid Neil, but he always found me. Eventually, my cousin Brian, who had been living with us after my dad got him a job a Uhaul picked me up from school and threatened to beat the fuck out of him, and did. RIP Brian. I'll miss you.There's not much to fill in on what went down for the next few years, other than I stumbled along, tried to find myself, and sure enough, there I was. I ended up in my first band, Cat & The Nine Lives. We sucked. Ian Anderson played bass (or maybe guitar, I don't remember), His dad was a famous artist who had sculptures at the Phoenix Art Museum, and was constantly welding & grinding, so his neighbors didn't notice the horrible band making noise on the back deck. I started picking up guitar, trying to teach others how to count to 4. It didn't last long, but there I was, trying to hang with the skaters on my broken board.