One of the problems of putting out first drafts, I have come to discover, is that my brain doesn’t always think about telling a story in a linear manner and jogging a bunch of memories makes more of them come up. I probably should have given a bit more background on the formation of Pinky yesterday.
Jeff and I became friends just after senior year of high school. I knew who he was, and we had some friends in common, but during school, we had not connected for some reason or another. I’d like to think we would have been positive influences on each other had we met earlier, but that’s probably wishful thinking. In those days, I was mainly a positive influence in front of parents and teachers.
We met, though, during a trip to Rocky Point and bonded over beers and chasing girls and a mutually beneficial sense of humor that allowed us to be what we thought was clever and others probably found a bit caustic and probably annoying. I was leaving for the army, though, so we lost touch for the several months of that situation. When I got home, though, and started to get settled into my new pseudo-adult routine, we got reconnected thanks to our mutual friend, Tree, and hilarity and hijinks ensued.
I was learning to play guitar a little bit in those days and Jeff was already a lot farther down that road than I was, so I liked to listen to him play. In the late 80s, I don’t remember us talking about starting a band, but it may have come up. Again, so much beer. We were very gifted in our capacity to drink a lot and still, sort of, function at a social level.
A big part of that equation was Andy, who would later become Drew. Andy/Drew was a frequent visitor to Jeff’s apartment that he shared with a lovely, down to earth, prince of a fellow named Matt. Now nothing I just wrote was true, but it will make him giggle if he ever reads this. Matt was not any of those things except for when it comes to being a prince of a fellow to the people he loves in between successful and failed attempts to “playfully” break their spirit.
I’m kidding, again, sort of, and if you know Matt, you know what I mean. He has many good qualities and he and Jeff were roommates in an apartment over by 48th Street and McDowell. I had initially met Andy at a party when he was living near North High School, so we were acquaintances when I started hanging out a lot at Jeff and Matt’s place.
Eventually, we all moved into what was known as the Polka Dot pad. I think I have mentioned this before, but not in a ton of detail. It’s probably a book in its own right and if it were a TV show, it would have been a combination of Barney Miller, Shameless, 21 Jump Street and Euphoria.
I’m probably giving us too much credit.
We had fun, though, and we were all working at Pizza Hut delivery which was located kitty corner to us. Andy could also play guitar pretty well, but again, I don’t remember us ever talking about starting a band in those days. We probably did, though, considering the copious amount of beer and drugs that flowed through that place.
Andy moved back to Seattle, though, where his mom lived in 1988 and was there for a good long while. This is when he transitioned into “Drew” and we all had to get used to a new name. While he was there, he played in a band called Mericans and got some good gear which came back to Phoenix with him when he returned in the late 90s.
Jeff and Lance had met through working together, I believe, and Jeff brought Lance into the fold of our friendship. We all loved Lance from the get-go as he is just a really good dude. All the things I said about Matt, mockingly, truly apply to Lance. As I mentioned yesterday, Jeff and Lance started getting serious about doing a band and were acquiring some good gear to do it, so it wasn’t hard to take them seriously.
I wish I had a better recollection of our first jams. We practiced in the Al-Ray lamp factory showroom over by the Hisco banks in Tempe. Some of you might remember Hisco. I think they probably still exist and if they do, they are probably still a bust, but I digress. The showroom was long and kind of narrow and we were surrounded by the types of lamps you see in hotel rooms.
My ex-inlaws were interesting people who made a lot of very uninteresting lamps, but it provided them with a nice living, I think. They certainly were very good to my son, Ryan, and very good to me for letting me practice in the factory. I think they kind of got a kick out of it, to be honest.
The main thing I remember about those early practices, as I mentioned yesterday, was just having a ton of fun. I remember having conversations with my ex-wife where she would insinuate that we were just making an excuse to spend more time together drinking beer because I would regularly come home with a nice buzz from Pinky practice. She was partially right, I suppose, but whatever. We were also making some fun music.
The one thing no one could deny when we started playing was that we were fun. For me, it was really refreshing to be in a “fun” band. While I had fun doing Hillbilly, it wasn’t ever really my goal for the audience to have fun. That was counterproductive, for sure, but I liked a lot of bands that also didn’t seem to give two shits if the audience was having fun or not, so I figured it was the way to go.
With Pinky, though, we wanted to let the crowd in on the fun we were having and it worked really well for a long time.
See you tomorrow.
This was Halloween in 2002 or 2003, I'm guessing, probably 2002. Maybe someone else can help me remember. Eric is obscured in the picture, which is the bane of many drummers.