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Entry date: 4-25-2024 – Disappointment’s Everywhere – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


The title is way more dire than I intended but yesterday was full of little disappointments. The first one was seeing the Cocaine Baby come strutting in to the classroom today. He’s definitely off his meds. I just have to remind myself that there are only 22 more days before I don’t have to deal with his shit.


I’m disappointed in myself that I have gotten to this point. He needs my help, not my irritation, I know, but he is so darn frustrating. If you go back to my first mentions of him seven months ago, you will probably read about how I could just see his wheels spinning trying to figure out how he could fuck up the classroom. Those wheels have been back in full force.


What does that say about the medicine his doctors had him on?


He was like a different kid when medicated. It took the edge off in a major way for him and I fully believe he was happier. For the last three weeks, he has been mostly pleasant and pretty compliant. He was actually beginning to forge some decent relationships with other kids in the class, too.


You know, the ability to help students build a bond with each other is very important to the success of a classroom. It’s also a highly important skill to have in life. I look at a kid like the Cocaine Baby and he probably feels like the world hates him. If you feel that way, why not force the issue and make sure it hates you.


If I had it to do over again, and I’m not sure I could pull it off, but I think I would have spent more time working with him and others on building some kind of positive relationship for him to be able to fall back on when he needed it.




The second disappointment of the day yesterday was finding out that summer ‘school’ pays half of what it did last year. That’s very disappointing. I’m still going to do it. I have to be in town anyway, but it’s a bummer. The money is not quite as easy.


Nothing is, though.




I made some good burgers, though.




“Lights out! Poke, poke, poke your eyes out.”


Those are lyrics I will always sing with a certain level of glee. I think Mark turned me on to Angry Samoans, but who can be sure these days. Seems like we skated to Back from Samoa a lot back in the day.


Now, the Angry Samoans would probably not be allowed to be a band these days. Some people would be up in arms about them appropriating Samoan culture when a bunch of white dudes called their band “Angry Samoans.” Others would look at their more than questionable lyrical content and cancel them before the first 30 second song was over. The thing is, Angry Samoans were a punk rock band created to take the piss out of the world.


You really can’t take Back from Samoa seriously. It is 14 songs in 17 minutes. Sure, some of them are straight up offensive if you listen closely to what “Metal” Mike Saunders was saying, but they are so fast and funny and ridiculous that there is not point but to get on your skateboard and go. If you don’t skate, well, then do something else you enjoy because the record is going to be over before you know it.


I never saw Angry Samoans back in the day, but I’m guessing their shows were a lot of fun. We (The Father Figures) played with them once at Hollywood Alley when we combined a show we had going with Shattered Faith with a show another promoter had going with Angry Samoans and a few other bands. It ended up being pretty darn cool.


Hillbilly played with drummer Bill Vockeroth’s Angry Samoan project last year and they were damn good, too. Those guys played the hell out of the Angry Samoans catalog.   It brought back a lot of memories.


To be honest, I don’t bust out Back from Samoa very often anymore. I still love its snotty, spazzy attitude and the guitar tones are fucking boss. Back from Samoa sounds the way a punk rock record should sound, and I love that there are only two songs longer that two minutes and the only one longer that three minutes, “Ballad of Jerry Curlan” is about as fucked up as you can get. That song is backwards and hilarious and brutal.


Back around 1990, I was in a very short-lived musical project with my buddy, Steve. He had a former bandmate from his time in Vic Morrow’s Head whose name I cannot remember, that played guitar. A friend of his, Alton, played bass. I think Alton ended up marrying my friend, Stacy, and I was going to be the singer. One of the songs we jammed on was “The Todd Killings,” which is track two on Back from Samoa.


I think we practiced three or four times and then it was done. I don’t remember why or if we just couldn’t make it work. Either way, though, my appreciation for Angry Samoans only grew after this experience. Now I wonder if this is what got me listening to them and we skated to this record after I was exposed to them by Steve. It matters not.


I do like that “Todd Killings” song, but I like “Lights Out” more. Another highlight, at least for me, is the song “You Stupid Jerk.” The guitar is perfect on that 23 second song. And, of course, it leads right into the previously mentioned “Ballad of Jerry Curlan.”


“Not of this Earth” is pretty great, too. The beginning kinda sounds like “Gas Chamber” but that’s okay. The first and last song of a record should sound similar in punk rock. There are no fucking rules.


In fact, that’s what makes it okay to listen to Back from Samoa in 2024 and not get offended. There were no rules for punk rock in 1982 when this came out. None. It was still new and part of its job and charm were to piss people off. I don’t agree with a lot of the lyrics, but who cares. I don’t agree with what a lot of singers say, but I still like their songs.


Fuck the rules.




See you tomorrow.

what the fuck?

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If you ever feel like wasting a little time, you should check out the 1971 flick The Todd Killings that the song is based on.

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