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Entry date: 5-8-2024 – Farewell Party – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


It’s teacher appreciation week. I feel very appreciated.


I’m not being sarcastic, either.


I do feel appreciated.


Yesterday on LInkedin I got a message from a recruiter asking me if I would consider teaching at a small Phoenix-area private school. I read some reviews about the school and politely responded, “No.” I don’t have any desire to leave my current gig (even though Cocaine Baby may be plotting my death) and the idea of dealing with private school parents makes me want to give Cocaine Baby a loaded gun.



Haikus from the Valley

I feel like you

like, maybe, you maybe like

appreciate me


So, thank you, I think.

Thank you for being so nice

And I love the card.


It’s nice and you spelled

My name wrong, but you are ten

And not very smart.


It’s the thought, for sure.

The thought that counts when I lay

Awake at night crying.


Not really. You don’t

Ever make me cry except

When I see my check.


But I feel so

Appreciated this week.

Teachers never lie.




Looking back, I now realize what a pivotal time the early 90s were for me. Case in point, I spent most of 1993 as a 23-year-old guy, working at our family restaurant, going to college, starting a band, and living with my girlfriend in the condo her mom owned in northcentral Phoenix. I was also learning that if I wanted to do things, I could.


This was huge. As a teenager, I often found myself waiting for things to happen for, or to, me. I didn’t understand that much of my life was up to me. Perhaps I wasn’t able to see it or flat out refused to see it, or…


Now this is hard to write, but I’m going to do it anyway:


I saw it but realized that it was work and I didn’t want to work back then. I wanted to party and fuck up quietly. I wanted to take cover in the exploits of my friends who I thought were fucking up on a grander scale than I was, so I could float in the background and remain relatively untouched, but still quite a fuck up.


There is a lot to unpack there, for sure.


I tell you all this today because it was my awakening, through music, to a world of possibilities in 1992 and 1993, that set me on the path I am on today. Many of the bands who were part of my soundtrack back then were from Texas, and in particular, Austin. They helped change my life.


As a devoted fan of the Butthole Surfers, I did my best to get my hands on anything related to them. I had as many of the side projects and tangentially related bands as I could in my collection. When King Coffey, the Surfers drummer started putting out records with his Trance Syndicate label, I was paying attention and started adding those records to my collection.


A good compilation is a good thing, in my book. I like getting a little bit from a lot of bands and you have a lot of variety on many of them. With Love & Napalm, which Trance put out in 1993, there was a lot to like for me at the time and the desire to go to Austin and see if I could do something there crossed my brain a lot.


I never took the chance, of course. Life got in the way, and I’m glad it did, because the path here in Phoenix was pretty darn fun. I also had a son to think about, as well. I couldn’t have moved away when Ryan came along.


There was music, though, to guide me when I needed it. I spent a lot of time with records like Love & Napalm. It featured Ed Hall, Cherubs, Crust, Drain, Johnboy, and Pain Teens. I had seen Ed Hall early on, as well as Pain Teens. The latter had toured with Fudge Tunnel for a bit and I caught them at the Paradox (which had once been a Caf’ Casino).


I’ll get it out of the way right off the bat. I have never figured out what there was to like about Pain Teens. Of the two tracks on Love & Napalm, I prefer the cover of “You Only Live Twice” that comes on towards the end of the comp. “Ituri” is a bunch of noise, which usually I don’t mind, but something about them just never worked for me.


I do kind of like “It Will,” though, which is the very last track on the comp. It’s got a pretty decent riff with some sampled vocals. Maybe it was the singer that I didn’t care for. I should probably revisit them.


Ed Hall, on the other hand, became one of my favorite bands for a long time. I will write about them more in depth sooner than later because the two tracks of theirs on Love & Napalm are not their finest work. When I listen to “Bullshit” and “Bighead” I feel like they made a conscious decision to hold back their best stuff for their own LP.


I could be wrong on this, of course, and don’t get me wrong, I do really like both of those tracks, but their stuff on Love Poke Here, Albert, and Glory Hole is so much better. “Bighead” is a great riff, though, and I have good stories to tell about seeing them live. I want to say the first time I saw them live was at the Mason Jar and the opened, I think, for Flaming Lips. This could be a story my brain made up, too. I may have just seen both bands at the Jar around the same time.


Crust has three noisy ones on Love & Napalm. I ended up buying their 1991 self-titled record and really like it. That might be another record I write about down the road, too. Need to dust it off. “Dealer Mike” is a fun little listen while “Desperate Cries” is noisy and killer, too. “Traveling With Berlitz” is one you have to listen to as words don’t do it justice. They were pretty far out there.


Drain is King Coffey’s band. They had kind of an industrial side to their noisiness but were still super rockin’.  I really liked them a lot, too. Their full-length came out in 1992 and I snatched that up right away. “Scientist” is excellent. I also like “Skincrawl,” too, but not as much as “Scientist.”


Cherubs are still fucking great. I saw them last year and they were amazing. “Spitwad” is excellent and so is “Dovey.” Hillbilly stole the opening chord from “Dovey” for a song called “Second Time Around.” I wonder if Steve knew what he was stealing. Probably not.


This record was super influential to me. I’m glad I threw it in the CD player again.




See you tomorrow.

Mad Scientist invents robot raisins using AI.

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