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Entry date: 5-23-2024 – Wily Universe – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

Tuesday I was pretty down in the dumps.

 

Then yesterday I stupidly wrote about how it sucks to wake up alone…but it also occurred to me that I get to call Rhondi a couple times a day and hear her voice. I thought about my friend, Stephanie, who recently lost her husband, my buddy, Jim. I thought about Bam’s family and all of his friends who won’t get to hear his voice again. I thought about how my grandmother has gone 17 years without talking to my grandfather.

 

I have to remind myself that being without my wife for a bit, a blip, really, is not that bad. This is the fourth year we have done this, and we’ve survived. In some ways, it makes us a little bit closer each time. We communicate a little bit more.

 

The universe will only let you wallow in stuff for so long before it throws something new at you.

 

*****

 

Got a royalty check yesterday for songs that have been placed on the boob tube. It was the best one yet. It wasn’t huge, by any means, but it will help pay for a couple nights on the road next month. The Father Figures have been getting played during FOX Sports broadcasts. One of the games was even one that I watched for a bit. I wonder if I heard myself and it didn’t register.

 

Wily universe.

 

*****

 

I took a bunch of my classroom apart yesterday and it was very strange to do so. I’m going to have a bit of a rebirth next year as I am going to be the team leader (apologies if I mentioned that already) and I need to take advantage of this to get myself way more organized. It was fun to think about how I can rearrange things in my cupboards.

 

Who wrote that last sentence?

 

I had to step away from this for a minute and when I came back, I read a bit to see where I was at, and I can’t believe I am stoked about being more organized. Getting older is weird. Maybe that theory about shedding all your cells every seven years is for real.

 

We are all different than we used to be.

 

(I hope)

 

 ***** 


I’m trying to remember where I first saw Repo Man. It could have been at the Valley Art, but I don’t think so. It was probably at Chris-Town. Unlike Suburbia, Decline of Western Civilization, and Another State of Mind, Repo Man seemed the most like a real movie. I thought it was funny as hell, too, and the music was great.

 

Before I dive into the soundtrack, it occurs to me that I really wanted to be Otto (Emilio Estevez’ character). To the fourteen-year-old me, I was certainly impressed by how he seemed to roll with the punches and even though things didn’t go according to plan, he managed to survive and learn a few things along the way. He even made mistakes and lived to tell about them.

 

Director Alex Cox had a great vision for the film. On one hand, it was clearly a love letter to the Los Angeles punk scene, but on the other hand, it took the piss out early 80s culture, including poking fun at the same scene he clearly revered. Casting some of L.A.’s most interesting music personalities such as Zander Schloss, the Untouchables, and the Circle Jerks was also rad.

 

 There is a little bit of everything in Repo Man. Intermingled with UFOs, cars, the aforementioned cultural discussion, are fantastic pearls of wisdom from the elder statesmen repo men that “Otto” encounters. If you’ve never seen it, finish this blog and then proceed directly to your favorite streaming service and search it up.

 

In addition to being a highly entertaining film, the soundtrack is incredible. One of my friends, probably Jerry, had the vinyl and made me a tape. If it was Jerry, he probably loaned me the record so I could make my own dupe. Either way, though, it changed my teenage life.

 

Iggy Pop’s title track kicks off the record with aplomb. I read somewhere years ago that Pop made the lyrics up on the spot in the studio where he, Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Nigel Harrison (Blondie/Chequered Past) and Clem Burke (Blondie) recorded the song. I don’t know if I’m remembering correctly, but it makes for a good story.

 

The song has this driving quality that fits perfectly with the feel of the movie. Essentially, Repo Man is about driving and all of the songs on the soundtrack are the type that exert emotional control over the listener. They drive, if you will.

 

I was never a huge fan of Black Flag’s “TV Party” but I like it here. The song has grown on me over the years, but I prefer the Black Flag songs sung by Keith Morris. I feel kind of the same about “Institutionalized” by Suicidal Tendencies. I was just never the biggest fan of that band, but I do like the song.

 

I’m way more on the rest of the soundtrack.

 

“Coup d’Etat” is one of my favorite Circle Jerks songs and “El Clavo y la Cruz” by the Plugz is really cool. They are the only band with three songs on the soundtrack and I like each one. “Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man)” and “Reel Ten” are rad, too. The Plugz kind of set the mood for the soundtrack as much as the title track does.

 

Burning Sensations’ cover of Jonathan Richman’s “Pable Picasso’ does a great job of recreating a cool song in a new way. For years, I thought it was an original but then I discovered the majesty that is Jonathan Richman. “Let’s Have a War” is one of my favorite Fear songs. I was an early convert to Fear after hearing the Decline of Western Civilization soundtrack at the Banderets grandparent’s house.

 

The slowed down version of “When the Shit Hits the Fan” is hilarious and brilliant. It’s also a wonderful part of the movie. Estevez says, “I can’t believe I used to like these guys” as the Circle Jerks play in the background. His sentiment echoes that of music fans everywhere as we all know what it is to be disappointed by a band we love.

 

Juicy Bananas, which featured Zander Schloss, had the song, “Bad Man” on the soundtrack, as well. It takes lines directly from the film and puts them on a slow, funky, soul track. It’s a perfect way to fully revisit the film while listening to the recording. Whoever came up with the idea to set these lines to music is pretty darn smart.

 

“I’m a bad man.”

 

Truer words were never spoken.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



What is going on with that guy in the back?

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