top of page

Entry date: 3-6-2024 – There is a Light That never Goes Out at the End of the Funnel Cake – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

I don’t know if I have ever had a funnel cake, but it seemed like a funny title. I think maybe I have tried it once. I don’t remember. Maybe at a fair. I don’t know. Obviously, it is funny to think of Morrissey from the Smiths waxing all sad and fascist over a nice piece of funnel cake.

 

It’s the middle of the week and slap happy has taken effect. The first two days of this week were like a month long each. Yesterday, I was observed by my assistant principal. I think it went pretty well, but who knows. With the week or so we’ve had, I honestly couldn’t be bothered to try and put on some dog and pony show. It was a good lesson, the kids were fully engaged, and that’s all that matters.

 

One kid wasn’t there, though. You know which one.

 

Just after we got back from specials, which was music yesterday, the Cocaine Baby said, “Fuck you” to me loud enough for everyone in the class to hear him except me. I was heading to answer the phone and when I hung up, half the class sold him up the river.

 

They have my back!

 

And they hate him.

 

Both things make me smile a bit as I write, but also make me sad. It doesn’t have to be that way. When I asked him if he said it, he owned it. I called his father as soon as I got the class working on a lesson and Cocaine Dad said, “Well, can you put together some work for him? I think I’m going to send him to California for a while.”

 

My heart did a little dance. As much as I don’t want to lose him and I still hope to get him to a better place over the last couple months of school, as I have shared, I am losing faith. It’s nice to know that administration has my back, though. I don’t like sending him to in-school detention, but they didn’t give me a choice.

 

We’ll see if he shows up today. I’m not holding my breath, either way. We will snort the line we’re dealt.

 

*****

Three self-titled debuts in a row. This wasn’t planned, but it seems apropos. I’m realizing now that it actually is a trend. Four of the last five records I have included here are self-titled debuts. What the heck?

 

My interest in Monster Magnet and Soundgarden got me to pick up the debut of Hater. They were a short-lived NW Pacific Coast band that includes John McBain (Monster Magnet), Ben Shepherd (bass in Soundgarden), and Matt Cameron (drums in Soundgarden). It is just a dose of what Seattle sounded like in those early 90s days.

 

“Mona Bone Jakon” by Cat Stevens kicks it off in a way that sounds like a suped-up version of the original. Cameron, Shepherd, and Ben Wood share vocals and it sounds pretty bad ass. I can remember being stoked on this when it came out and, over the years, stoked on it again when I remember how good it is.

 

Hater the record is a short affair, but each of the members are allowed to shine. It’s fuzzy and heavy and great. “Who Do I Kill?” is a fun follow up to “Mona Bone Jakon.” It’s kind of Mudhoney-ish, which is never a bad thing, in it’s nod to grungy, garage rock. Fuzz reigns supreme on this record and McBain brings the tasty leads.

 

“Tot Finder” is another fuzz-laden affair. Cameron’s drums are top notch, as usual, too. I have to believe that these guys had a ton of fun making this record. At the time, Soundgarden was beginning to blow up, so it was probably nice for Shepherd and Cameron to have something of their own.

 

“Lion And Lamb” has this cool, minor chord guitar part that I love. The instrumental song totally sounds like the songs I write for myself on the acoustic guitar that I rarely share with anyone. I mean, sometimes I share them, but they become something else because a better guitar player turns them into something cool and I play the melody on the bass.

 

Hater continues the minor chord assault with “Roadside.” I can picture Cameron and Shepherd waiting for their Soundgarden bandmates and jamming this one. It has a bit of a Soundgarden vibe, but probably didn’t make the cut.

 

“Down Undershoe” picks the tempo back up, though, and side two starts off with a little Meat Puppets-ish noodling. Lots of bands were making the heavy, psychedelic fuzz in those days. “It’s only the clippings/never the whole page/it’s always been/one of those days” is a catchy lyric, too, in the way it is presented here.

 

“Circles” kicks in the Pacific Northwest garage punk thing. It’s just under three-minutes of pure id before the ego and superego of “Putrid.” The lyrics are great on “Putrid,” and I’ve always thought they were a bit different than they actually are, but both versions (mine and the real one) are cool.

 

“Blistered” makes you think Hater was definitely listening to the Meat Puppets. It’s a countrified bit of rambling that could have easily been a Puppets song, but it’s a Billy “Edd” Wheeler song. Now I wonder if the Puppets ever covered one of his songs. I’ll have to ask.

 

The album ends with a song called “Sad McBain.” From a guitar standpoint, it’s a ripper. I’m super curious if they came up with the name and the lyrics because McBain ripped so hard on this riff.

 

Hater is one of those “time capsule” records. It is a great example of what was happening in a certain time and place. I was today years old when I discovered there is a second Hater record. Maybe it will become a favorite, too.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



One of my favorite scores at a First Friday. Not sure what year that was...

18 views0 comments

Comments


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page