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Hopefully, they get inspired by that and go home and listen to my record or write a song, or do anything productive in order to contribute to our world. To procreate? My opinion of the band, however, has changed a bit after speaking with some of them, and reading your article. I just hope my band can stay friends through it all.

It is business and you have to treat it that way in order to succeed sometimes, but you also must be able to step back and realize you are making. The true nature of the band will always show itself in different ways every night you perform. I would think if you hold in all this animosity toward each other, the truth of the band will come out, and the fact that it is run by one person, will rear its ugly head.

Louis radio is neither innovative nor exciting. Louis in San Francisco last week.

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I enjoyed it. Louis is available in 90 locations and counting! Louis metropolitan area. In addition to high visibility in neighboring cities Columbia, Mo. Drop us a line at contact playbackstl. The Dresden Dolls Play by Play Quick Hits Cinema: Alfie, Enduring Love, Ray Local Scenery Delirious Nomad Reviewed on page Photo: Jim Dunn. Louis every month in the convenience and comfort of your own mailbox. You will also receive the special edition Playback T-shirt and two discount coupons for Now Hear This music store in Kirkwood.

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The Libertines Motorcycle Club: An Outlaw Is Born

Current circulation is 18, Louis No material may be reproduced without permission. For advertising rates, submissions, band listings, or any other information, please check our Web site at www. Submit calendar information to Events Playbackstl. Manuscripts for consideration must be typed and e-mailed to Editor Playbackstl.

We want your feedback! Send check or money order and T-shirt size to: Playback St. Louis P. Box St. Check out our Web site at www. So I wanted to know if she was happy. It is a shock to my former, chronically depressed self, but I am actually insanely happy.

In a recent Playback St. The Dresden Dolls almost seem like a throwback to a prior time. The band could easily have stepped out of a cabaret in s Germany. Their press describes them as Brechtian Punk Cabaret. Often in painted faces and vintage attire, the band layers on a distinctive punk edge that reveals the venom in lyrics—but the threat, it appears, is not to the audience, but to former lovers and parents who have done this girl wrong. You can always trick things into enough of a distorted shape to protect the obvious. That is why there is poetry and that is why there is meter and little boxes that we force ourselves into to try to say something interesting within a narrow margin.

Viglione saw her and realized that she was the person with whom he wanted to make music. It was as if each had found their musical soul mate. Asked how the band found an audience, Palmer said it was gradual. We stayed in Boston for a long time. That helped us. After about a year and a half or so, we were at a point where we could play a club and pack it. Now the same thing is happening all over the place. The word-of-mouth phenomenon of this band has carried us much further than the press, because one person e-mailing a friend to go check out a Web site has earned us an infinite number of our fans.

The approach is part therapy session and part performance. Brian has to play. I am not like that. I can go long stretches of time without playing the piano and be perfectly content. I have always adored performing in any kind. The Dresden Dolls do make an effort, with stunning results. The band will be touring the U.

It is like a miracle to me. As for where the band would like to go and progress, Palmer had some ideas. The band still tours but it is within the context of the greater theatrical event, kind of like a traveling circus. Be able to involve a lot of other bands and performers—kind of like old vaudeville.

Just create an entire world of people and talent that we can take on the road. Read more from our interview with Amanda Palmer on www. His smooth, homegrown Americana borders on alternative medicine—it has antidepressant effects. The results transcend mere honky-tonk or rockabilly catchiness. And I had a hard time doing it.

Hank Williams always had the upbeat music—and then the real dark stuff. I just really liked his melodies, the twist he put on rockabilly. A charismatic but humble lad, he sometimes evokes an endearing blend of young Elvis, Buddy Holly, and James Dean. Consummate professionals, each has a glint in his eye matching the. The Kings formed in when Capps and guitarist Steve Newman crossed musical paths several times, completing the trio when drummer Les Gallier arrived. Capps bought an upright bass and began singing originals, and the band toured regularly.

Capps fondly recalls playing St. He kept his music simple, but had his own identity and style. And the infectious rhythms come naturally to him. The only X factor involves how easily Capps continued on page The Elves are notable for a unique brand of psychedelic pop laced with noisy, cathartic rock and experiments in texture with hints of accordion, saxophone, and violin. On top of this, a fuzzy muted-ness gives their records a tinny-sounding home-recorded quality because, well, most of their albums were recorded at home.

People liked that album, so at that point I formed a live band to play the songs. That was a revelation. Dream in Sound, Arena Rock. Helium joined the duo for a few sporadic live shows in Georgia. Rieger and Carter briefly moved to New York, where they recorded their second release, The Winter Hawk EP, with the help of several friends who would later become colleagues in the Elephant 6 collective. When Rieger and Carter returned to Athens, Elf Power expanded once again to a four-piece, with Poole back on bass, Carter on keyboards, and newcomer Aaron Wegelin on drums.

The same names keep popping up, and the possible combinations of collaborations were seemingly endless. Neil Golden took over bass duties then, only to be replaced by Ballard Lesemann in But working with a wide variety of new musicians each time you go into the studio yields plenty of fun and surprises.

The future of Elf Power is as yet untold. Helium and Maxtone Four. With an abundance of charm and absolutely no fanfare, Mosquitos released their debut disc last year. The album immediately garnered a rave review in Rolling Stone and two features on National Public Radio.

Los Mosquitos spent a year touring coast-to-coast, including a spring tour opening for French band Air. Then, there goes my bestkept secret. Cave is like the proverbial skeleton in the closet; you reveal it to a chosen few. Malevolence never sounded so heavenly. Read the lyrics, hear the duende, feel the goose bumps. Add liquor and enjoy thoroughly.

Cave, a Johnny Cash fan? In an interview, Cave com-. He was the real thing. Like a fine red wine, Cave at 47 is delicious, full-bodied, and when consumed in excess, makes you do positively sinful things. Taking a month-long vacation? Getting away for a weekend? Not solely in the demented orthography of many of his song titles does Adcock recall Prince; for instance, his choice of topics tends toward the tropical.

Indeed, in many of these songs, in one way or another, Adcock personifies the sort of parish lothario whose presence or absence informs or inspires so much of the musical poetry of fellow Louisianian Lucinda Williams. Brilliant by no means, but bodacious? Oo yi yi! Will Oldham. Moving on, the new Anomoanon album, Joji, is awfully generic and disappointing. Not that it always seems like it will be that way. It has a slow jam feel that wafts casually between folk and rock but never quite lands in the bastardized territory of folk rock , and almost singlehandedly justifies the purchase of the album.

Ultimately, it feels like the main problem here is Ned—he does fantastic backing work, but needs someone with a clearer cut sense of cohesion and restraint to use his talents to their full potential. When left to his own devices, he is prone to rambly tangents and unchecked guitar solos. As it stands, though, Wood is the sole full-length exception in a back catalogue of upwards of.

Longtime underdog godfathers of the St. The songs were inescapable and memorable for their energy and the way they somehow became buddies with the other standard radio bunnies, cuddling up next to stalwarts Vertical Horizon. That record made sure that Jim Adkins, Tom Linton, Rick Burch, and Zach Lind got recognized in fraternities, sororities, shitty bars, and supermarkets, all with the same regularity.

They could have kept it the way it had been: bashing out records, chased out of their systems like a honeybee from an enclosed car, saying somewhat notable things on occasion, but weaving mostly into the wallpaper. They shall be held up to higher scrutiny, forced to outdo themselves or suffer the consequences of letting everyone down.

Jimmy Eat World get the extra-strength microscope treatment for Futures, and when looked at that closely, there are bound to be areas of displeasure, points where the past appears to have been a better place. They deal with obsessions in a way that makes the entire album an obsession in itself.

Adkins sings of pain as if its lure matches a nicotine fix for the four-packs-a-day smoker. He wonders about drugs and pills quite often— are they the answer, will they help? But the songs travel. They work in different ways than those on that crossover record did. Well, now you know. On to bidness. Both bands allowed and encouraged every member of the group to bring his and her own ideas to the recording studio; even the drummer had a say.

The result was a tremendous diversity of song styles the band was willing to pursue. It sounds like a driving Devo song, with monotone vocals, outer-space keyboards, and a nice bass hook. There are two songs on This Island, though, that folks are really talking about. Le Tigre actually taped speeches by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Susan Sarandon, and other liberal lights at a NYC anti-war rally, and mixed them to a big, chunky rhythm. Feminists love Le Tigre, lesbians love them, and alt-rock irony-junkies are in line, too.

On some songs, listening to Hanna is akin to hearing Edith Bunker singing punk—it just makes you want to throw furniture. It is rapturously terrible, like a fiery car accident that you have to drive by, reeeeeeal slooooow, to absorb the fullness of its bane. They want to be intense, funky, and politically revolutionary like PE was.

Too bad they also want to make you dance to shitty club music like Yaz did. Meandering guitar plinking that turns into driving chords without notice, atmospheric drums, and sparse bass lines. So it stands to reason that these parts would create an interesting sum. The six songs on Sugar in Our Blood are all roughly the same tempo with roughly the same whispered vocals with roughly the same coffeehouse poet lyrics.

This is exactly what happened when I listened to A. They are from the Northwest, wear flannel, and rock, but please draw no comparisons to the decade-old grunge era. These are Northern boys making Southern rock. And, like most Southern rock bands, I get the feeling they are a great band live. The sound is driven, clunky, and full, yet sometimes a little too predictable. Notes for the Conversation is loud, and at times drowns out this gem of a voice.

But how can I knock a rock band for turning the volume up? In Universal. United House of Prayer, the sacred steals back. And plenty of other artists have employed gospel singers on their albums, but when was the last time they were asked to sing gospel songs? Miller specializes in songs like this, and thank God for that. Mind Is Not Brain is a record specially suited for permanent residence in your automobile. For my forgiving ears, this is a fantastic record.

Better to hear the real deal before choosing which side of the fence you stand on. Adele Bethel and Scott Paterson sing less frequently about prisons and the hard scrabbles of coal miners or railroad men than did Cash, but as anyone worth a salt knows that the feeling speaks louder than the examples. The folky chug-a-lug drums set the table for a prayer and a parable—most transfixing on the gray-weathered textures of situations and the sullen peels of tarnished life remnants. Louis and this, their self-released debut, shows why. The four live and three studio tracks are all superb.

This four-piece is a great guitar-based act mixing grunge and pop influences into a unique sound that is painfully addictive. Disconcerting at one point and accessible 30 seconds later, All Roads to Fault is the introduction of the U. Kicking off beautifully with the self-titled track, the song is quickly reminiscent of the Blood Brothers. However, by the second mark, that thought is dispelled by a flat-out rocking and melodic chorus. However, something tells me that when they toss the sand paper to the four winds, the rough edges that remain are gonna scrape too many people in the wrong direction.

Oh well. I think I saw Hassall almost crack a smile once. Unfortunately, a certain baseball team was in. It seems even rockers like their baseball and politics. Amanda Ziemba, meanwhile, proved a revelation behind the kit. Good stuff. Not when Kevin Robinson plays drums and guitar simultaneously—after, of course, beginning the sampler. Three to See Here are just three of the great original St. Louis bands that play around town on a regular basis.

Check them out as soon as you get a chance. Not only does this local band have a tremendous amount of energy and stage presence, they also have a truly unique indie-rock sound to go along with their performance. Currently, the four-piece seems to be working well, and the sound could not be any more solid. Lead vocalist Aaron Stovall and guitarist Ryan Wasoba, the two original members, are both highly skilled musicians who play through great musical arrangements that offer a nice mix of guitar and keyboards.

The songs in the set seem to fly by one after another; Wasoba is so animated onstage that he never even lets the audience have a breather. The night I saw them play, Wasoba was so hyper that he broke his. So Many Dynamos is certainly one band that I hope stays together for a long time. Ultra Blue certainly has their own way of doing it and the songs are quite good.

The band plays a tight set and the vocals are perfectly suited for the melodic mix of guitars and keyboards. Cleevage is a great three-piece with a hard sound and a vocal arrangement that. All three members sing and often take turns going through verses during the course of one song. The night I saw them perform, audience members seemed surprised to learn they were watching an unsigned local band. No doubt, Cleevage is worthy of attracting a big audience. It was that kind of night. As it turns out, I enjoyed both bands almost as much as I did the Hearts.

Niblett is short and skinny-legged, with harsh bangs and slouchy posture, so seeing her on stage is akin to watching a smart year-old trying to live through P. Incongruently, she plays guitar like a rock god. Not that her posture improves or her demeanor hardens, but merely the music that comes from her guitar is loud and gnarly, which is wholly pleasing when combined with her taking her eyes off of the floor long enough to wail into the microphone.

Reviewing a Black Heart Procession show is. If you have an audition, show announcement, or other news of interest to the theater community, please e-mail theater playbackstl. Also be sure to visit www. Performances will be Nov. The story is a modern love fable set in a present-day Chicago apartment building. Reservations can be made by calling or by sending an e-mail to tickets spotlightthea tresonline. The show will run at the Soulard Theater, located at South 9th St.

Tickets can be purchased by calling or online at www. Ragged Blade Productions will present two shows in November. The first is a one-woman show by S. Bear Bergman entitled Clearly Marked, a humorous look at labels that society gives us. The show is a special engagement and will be Nov. This play is intended for mature audiences. Both of these shows will be at the Theatre at St. Reservations are recommended, and can be made by calling Showtimes are Tues. Auditions will most likely be held in January, and rehearsals will begin about seven weeks prior to opening. If interested, contact the playwright, Jerry Rabushka, at ChawLyder aol.

Performance dates will be Jan. The show will be directed by Russell J. No appointment necessary; however, late arrivals may not be admitted. Roles are available for four women and two men. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. For more information, call or visit www. Each workshop will be two hours in length, and will take place on various Saturdays over the next three months. Coming up Nov. Participants can take the workshops separately, or sign up for the entire series.

For more information and registration, call The show will be performed at 8 p. Talk about a great first impression. The people behind the Foundry Art Centre on St. Perhaps the coolest thing about it is that the second story of the Grand Hall looks exactly like a prison cell block—albeit a shiny, clean, arte moderne cell block, done up in crisp white, with original artworks everywhere.

With an exploding population, St. Chaz is ripe for a cultural arts anchor. Most visitors come to town for either the gambling boat or the overpriced, cutely Victorian gewgaws that are for sale in the restored brick buildings of Main Street. The city has not hosted any significant galleries that regularly draw crowds to opening night—or any other time, for that matter.

The Foundry plans to change all that by educating the public about the wealth of local talent. There are currently 21 spaces rented to artistsin-residence at the Foundry, ranging from glass bead and jewelry makers, to painters, sculptors, photographers, and digital artists. One of the standout features is the double row of artist studios that encompass the mezzanine level.

Every studio space is glass-fronted, so anyone walking by can watch the artists at work. This is a great way for artists to make themselves known to the community, as well as to prospective buyers. It offers networking, shmoozing, and free advertising opportunities every day. Dedicating an exhibit to paper as the artform itself, rather than as merely a vehicle for the message, opens the playing field to wide array of entries—more so than if the show had been focused on paintings or photography. Curated by executive director Joyce Rosen and juried by Prof.

Ben Cameron, the show effectively demonstrated the intrinsic fun of paper. Unfolding books gave way to hand-marbled containers, which stood quietly by pulp baskets, which stood sentinel near framed watercolor paintings As with any show of such broad scope, it has its misses as well as its hits.

Investigating Zits Tarnished Image. In shades of gray and black, the 24 bilevel images tell a hard boiled tale pulled right from a film noir storyboard. Sometimes the characters are laugh-out-loud funny in their campy cat-and-mouse game. Other memorable works were sent in by Rosalba Marisol and Ann Gant.

Marisol, who resides in Los Angeles, submitted Flow I, a color viscosity etching that beautifully tenders a technique that few printmakers attempt and even fewer master. Gant, from Brooklyn, offered an outstanding work titled Centralia. Consisting of four double layers of heavyweight sheets, printmaking or watercolor paper, by the look of it , the artist burned and scorched the paper, building a sepia toned landscape as if it were an abstracted antique photograph. The physicality of the damaged paper is as much a part of the effect as the holes and charred windows are, as they open to glimpses of mottled skin below the primary surface.

In addition to the Paperworks exhibit, the capacious gallery is simultaneously housing paper-pulp paintings by Brother Mel Meyer, and paintings by Ron Thomas. He claims the pistol is loaded and he chases me up the driveway. Meanwhile, I have reached the sidewalk and am headed east but tripping over my towel. I expect at any second to feel the heavy blow of a. But Roger never pulls the trigger and that is my next near-death experience as a young man. The police never showed up do they ever? For years after that night Roger and I were estranged and we were civil to each other but hardly spoke.

The strange events of that night were quickly and conveniently hushed up by all the principal parties as if they had never occurred. This was during the decade just before the onset of silicone breast enhancements invented in -- but by then it was already too late to save burlesque. Burlesque was in rapid decline at that time, but still entertaining. We Saracens usually arrive in advance of the show in order to claim seats front-row and center where the only thing that separated us from Miss Bell on stage one a narrow aisle where the soles of our shoes would stick to the floor on a summer night.

I can only imagine what mayhem his iron claw might have wreaked had he used it instead. There was both bad luck and good luck associated with the violence that night. We Saracens in our front-row-center seats emerged from the brief episode blood-splattered. My sports jacket, shirt and tie were specked with sprayed crimson from the blunt-force impact of the sap to the head of the drunk. She had screamed than swooned during the dustup, when the whole damned place had erupted into pandemonium for a good thirty seconds.

Nobody noticed my good luck in landing her pastie on the fly, so I slipped it into my pocket. It was warm, damp, sequined, shaped like a star-fish and waxed up to stick to her flesh under normal circumstances. The rest of the show was cancelled and we did not get any refunds. Talk about a conversation piece! The assault was reported in the LA Times. The story was that the world-famous Miss Bell was hospitalized with shock by the bloody attack and that she would miss a week of performances.

Also she reported that she had lost parts of her costume, and right away word got around at my high school that some Saracens were in the audience and were witness to it. Were the two all that different? Remarkably so; for example, unlike my Pontiac, my Model A Ford sports coupe had a running board -- and a rumble seat. It also had mechanical instead of hydraulic brakes. The engine ran well, but I had trouble bringing the chassis to a safe and reliable stop sometimes. I look like a ninja minus the mask. I have always liked the color black.

Many of my classic automobiles were also black. Of course all Model A Fords came out of the factory painted black. I remember those shoes I am wearing in the photo: they were very uncomfortable but had nasty metal biker-like boot buckle appendages that appealed to me when the shoes were new and unsold and gathering dust on the shoe shop shelf. I might have worn them twice; three times at most. Lo and behold in this photo the dumbest dog in the world, staring mindlessly off into the distance.

She is straining perhaps to look intelligent but, tragically, she was already inbred to maximize beauty at the cost of her having no brains. And this, her pedigree, came at great cost to my Dad. All she had to do was sit, and she needed no command to do that. My sister Patricia took thousands of photos of this dog sitting. Patricia also took this dog to obedience school — once. It traumatized the dog so much my Dad had to take her to the vet. Too bad that she was genetically-destined to remain totally clueless day after day about every object in the world, both far and near, large and small, mobile and stationary.

She would chase neither an automobile nor a rabbit, but she would sit in the same place for hours while watching a caterpillar cross a sidewalk. Patricia would slam the door whenever I said that. And they were all these names written down on her birth certificate as proof that she was worth the arm-and-a-leg that my Dad paid for her.

I figured that each name cost my Dad about a hundred dollars. Her veterinary bills were of course extra -- and they were constant. This dog had issues. Sheilawhatever was neither an indoors nor an outdoors dog. My Dad and Roger Bonz took an entire weekend to install a big dog door in an otherwise perfectly good door designed for humans, and the dog refused to enter or exit the house through it.

She once stole a freshly-cooked family dinner pork roast off the kitchen counter next to the stove where it was cooling down. When confronted with her crime she just sat there and stared off in the distance and showed no awareness or remorse. My sisters and brother loved those pizzas. That night of the stolen roast Mom cooked up one of these pizzas as a quick substitute.

The dog sat there on the kitchen floor and watched us eat it, like we were caterpillars. More: You had to keep the bathroom door closed all the time so that this dumb pooch would not drink out of the toilet. That was an inside-the-house issue; one of many. Outside-the-house issues were worse: I once temporarily tied the Irish numbskull on her ten-foot red leather leash to an empty aluminum trash can left curbside by a departing trash truck so that I could bend down and tie my shoe lace. The dog moved and in that instance the empty trash can fell to the sidewalk with a terrific clatter.

The dog immediately panicked and ran mindlessly up the street with the trash can crashing along in hot pursuit behind her. It was an ugly path of destruction as the trash can leashed to the terrified dog traveling at high speed smashed up against parked cars right and left. Some of their owners ran out of their houses and attempted to take up the chase, perhaps with intent to kill.

Pursued by shouts, screams and the tumbling trash can, the dog ran on, constantly glancing behind her with pop eyes, and at top speed. She could not escape the can. She ran until she was far out of sight. I jumped in the Model A and took chase. When I caught up with her about a half an hour late where she had collapsed exhausted on the pavement, soaking wet, next to dump truck that was stopped at an intersection. It was a four-way stop. Apparently the truck had just rolled to a stop when the dog, approaching from the right at a high rate of speed, ran the stop sign had dived under the immobile truck, emerging on the other side and still on the run.

However, the trash can had become wedged under the truck, bringing the running dog to a sudden stop at the end of her leash. Otherwise she probably would have eventually continued to run until she dropped dead. A crowd was gathering near the dump truck and encircling the pathetic pooch where lay collapsed and shivering with fear and exhaustion.

I got out of the Model A and claimed ownership. Instead of dispersing, the curious crowd turned into an angry mob and began heaping insults and threats on me for animal abuse. I quickly untied the long leash from the bashed and battered can and picked up the dog and dropped her into the rumble seat, and secured her leash to the seat handle. I left the bashed, battered and now worthless aluminum trash can on the side of the road at the intersection.

As I drove away I could see fists raised in anger in my rear-view mirror. My entire nuclear family and four of the Bonz clan, led by Roger, were waiting on the front lawn when I pulled the Model A into the driveway and turned off the engine. Patricia ran to the dog where it sat still secured and shivering in the rumble seat with her red fur caked in sweat. Patricia was crying and carrying on about what I had done to her dog, and also badgering our Dad to drive both her and the dog to the vet.

When Dad made that ominous announcement, he was glaring at me. Roger, meanwhile, was standing there with a cold beer in one hand and a lit Chesterfield in the other, shaking his head in mock disbelief, while grinning like a possum eating a sweet potato. And my Mom? She was all stressed out and speaking in tongues. The exotic prospect of enjoying a roll down the highway while riding in a rumble seat with the wind blowing through your hair is but a dream.

If you own a Model A Ford so equipped, odds are you will rarely if ever get to ride in your rumble seat. Somebody else would have to be driving you around for that to happen. This ride cost me three hundred dollars and I sold it for five hundred dollars about two years later. It was a fun car and associated with some fond memories. But the old Ford had its original mechanical brakes instead of hydraulic brake replacements and so shook four ways to Friday every time I pressed down on the brake pedal.

I attached a back-up light on a whim, but otherwise made no modifications to the Model A whatsoever. The primitive no-frills engine ran like gangbusters and was easily wrenched and tuned. With this car, I inherited its original own funky cast iron basic tool kit wrapped in a canvas sack with a Ford log.

When I sold the Ford I decided to keep its universal jack and jack-handle for future use because it proved so damned easy and efficient for safely lifting any sort of four-wheeled vehicle with a flat tire or in need of an oil change high off the pavement. Why did I like to buy automobiles manufactured before the Eisenhower years? Mainly because I could wrench them myself. They did not have mysterious electronic doo-dads strewn from bumper to bumper that defied home repair.

Also, back in the day, just about any internal combustion engine owner-operator could easily learn to successfully repair his or her own vehicles following simple step-by-stem instructions from a bevy of inexpensive and clearly written repair manuals for sale at the local Pep Boys.

Emmet Weaver and Art Phalen were his two full-time employees. I enjoyed being a gas station employee and even after I graduated high school I would occasionally work weekends for Don. I guess the most memorable moment at the station was the Saturday I was pumping gas for a customer right after a cloudburst. Louise Avenue has suddenly turned into a turbulent river of water madly heading south, and the entire intersection was flooded. I was watching cars on Vanowen Street heading east and west attempting to creep through the deep water there.

All of a sudden my beloved, classis Pontiac appears out of nowhere heading west on Vanowen Street and races into the flooded intersection. It plows into the deep water there at high speed, creating two parallel walls of waves about ten feet high — and just keeps on going. It was a remarkably impressive — thought sad -- sight to behold.

Did you see that? But in those few seconds that it took him to plow headlong into and across the flooded intersection and disappear into the West I realized with disappointment that he had not kept his word. Our contract was that he would pay me ten dollars cash every other week for twenty weeks, which he did. That was a pretty good deal from his point of view, and reasonably fair -- given his promise -- from my own. But now I had serious regrets. Hell is other people.

Citizens would donate domestic and foreign vehicles representing all makes and models for training purposes. These included print shop, wood shop, metal shop, electric shop, and agriculture. In shop, we learned the appropriate manual skills to launch successful amateur and pre-professional auto repair jobs on graduation. We took manually disassembled then rebuilt carburetors and brake cylinders and steering gears and transmissions and differentials, and more.

These days few automobile owners have the knowledge and equipment to wrench their own motor vehicles. In general, the advent of electronics age in automobile manufacturing has forced owners of all newer automobiles to seek service and repairs for their rides mainly in dealership garages. Few owners know how to wrench their own automobiles these days.

One result is that young men do not have much in the way of grease and grime under their fingernails any more. As a result, they probable get more hot dates than we did back in the day. High school girls no longer must endure the smell of automotive parts cleaner and brake fluid, or suffer the loving touch of callous mannish hands. Back in the day, we mechanics had only our chemical degreasers and Lava soap pumice-in-pig-fat to prepare us for date night. Figure 4. This is where my Dad had bought his first house, brand new, on the GI Bill.

Pete meanwhile had a high-paying job as a plant engineer at Youngstown Sheet and Tube. So he and Barb had money to blow -- and they did. When visiting my parents, Uncle Pete and Aunt Barb used to spoil me rotten with gifts. They would also take me with them on Saturdays to Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, northeast of Los Angeles, which was a world famous horse race venue at that time. I saw the great Bill Shoemaker race and win there several times. Pete and Barb would place their bets all day and I would amuse myself by collecting used plastic beer cups in a burlap sack.

But they were not. They were sturdy: if you dropped ten of these plastic beer cups on the pavement, they would bounce high, but might well suffer cracks from the impact. If you hit them with an aluminum baseball bat, they would shatter. My Mom wouldn't let me into the house with them. Sometimes the clatter would wake me up. I would peer out the window adjacent to my bed and see Roger Bonz across the driveway running from his living room couch to peer out his kitchen window to see what was up. My motivation for scavenging plastic cups at the races was mercenary and borderline ethical.

I earned a small amount of money but was underage and did not pay taxes. Uncle Pete would give me a nickel per cup. Before I began to accompany him to the race track he would give me a ten- dollar bill once in a while just because I was the golden child and his favorite nephew. After we began our trips out to Santa Anita, I was earning roughly this same allowance. Pete would give me the actual nickels rather than their dollar equivalents. On most Saturday evenings after the races I would be dead tired, sunburned and just dump the cups out of my burlap sack onto a canvas tarp spread out on the driveway near the back door of the house -- right about where my BSA is parked in the above photo.

They sure made a racket while tumbling out of the sack pell-mell onto the hard surface.

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Some would crack outright, but they still were worth a nickel a piece to my Uncle Pete. This was a ritual and not crass commerce. As tired as I was, most times I would perform the ritual as the sun sank into the West. Pete would be sitting in a lounge chair at the edge of the tarp.

Then I would line them up like tin soldiers in rows of twenty. Then Pete would shout out "Barb! She would stand smiling on the cement porch looking over the neat display and — all the while nodding her approval -- she would take her sweet time praising me and my work ethic. The pain of waiting for her to finish so I could get my nickels was excruciating.

While she spoke the wampum bag full on nickels swung heavily from her wrist. I could see my Mom's silhouette behind Barb through the screen door, where she silently observed from the inside the Jimmy-gets-paid-ritual going on outside. When Aunt Barb had her say she handed over the wampum bag to Pete. During the transfer my eyes never left the bag in motion. Pete would then sit in silence there with the wampum bag now swinging heavily from his wrist. More time passed.

Finally, he would say "Ok, Jimmy" and then slowly lean forward and open the pouch and dump the nickels onto the tarp in front of the plastic cups. The bright pile in the sunlight seemed like the end of the rainbow to me. I was "into the nickel zone" then and there: if Uncle Pete continued sitting, stood and departed inside, or performed hand springs, was beyond the scope of my knowing or caring.

Crawling on my knees across the tarp, I searched among them for valuable buffalo nickels. There was always a few — as well as a few worthless slugs. After separating these out from the remaining nickels, I completed the rite by counting my earnings: one, two, three …. My heart beat with excitement: …. Thump, thump, thump. The lagging game was easy. All one needed to play was a wall and some pennies or nickels. Each kid would stand behind a mark and take turns tossing their nickels at the base of the wall.

At the end of each round, the kid whose nickel was closest to the base of the wall won all the other nickels. And so on. We, like all the kids in our neighborhood, had all learned this gambling game in elementary school. So when our Lemay Street School principal caught Wilfred Nowa in the act of penny pitching during lunchtime and was in the process of suspending him for a day, Wilfred beat him up and was expelled. By the time we reached junior high school we were pitching dimes, and as Saracens we discovered poker. I used Pete-and-Barb-nickels mixed with small change earned from teenage jobs to buy my first 78 rpm vinyl record.

I was stranded in the jungle, afraid and alone Tryin' to figure a way to get a message back home. Anyway I liked it; the lyrics were clever. Roger Bonz complained to my parents, and so that was the end of that. I also had a few unpaid internships library assistant. My Dad, Roger Bonz and Pastor Sword heartily agreed that my learning the value of earning an honest dollar by the sweat of my brow at an early age would keep me off welfare for a lifetime. Who might have guessed that I would instead be learning quite an opposite Philosophy of Life from ethnic Gypsies who I began hanging around with just fifteen years into the future?

My buddy Bob Wood delivered prescriptions for the pharmacy, and he recommended that I apply for a machine-assisted dishwasher job opening there. The soda fountain was leased and managed by a big Jewish galoot with a square chin and perpetual scowl. His name was Big Lew, which led to some crude name-calling behind his back.

This was my first experience as paid labor working for a boss. I discovered I was independent and averse to authority just like my Dad who was self-employed throughout most of his professional career. I found out the hard way that that sort of independent attitude could get an employee fired. Especially if that employee was low-paid and hired mainly to tend an obdurate, temperamental and dangerous machine. Such employees in my experience are invariably roundly abused and considered expendable by managers and their machines.

Big Lew was disturbingly quiet, a no-nonsense guy, and unexpectedly impatient with me. I was too inexperienced to know whether this was his problem or mine. Both this human and this machine were merciless taskmasters and intolerant of my many mistakes. The long counter out front had sixteen stools facing a food and drink preparation corridor that featured a refrigerated ice-cream bin, a vintage dispenser of flavored soda waters, and a thousand-pound state of the art commercial stovetop range and grill. Behind the counter stools and a broad public aisle that accessed six rectangular tables.

Each table had a coin-operated music box where a customer could select songs from a list by pushing buttons. There were four more boxes, equally spaced, atop the long counter facing the stools. All these were attached to a single juke box at the end of the long counter facing the front door of the pharmacy. Max on the pharmacy side of the store would not let Big Lew on the sandwich and soda side turn up the volume to the juke box despite many requests from nearby Birmingham and Reseda high school kids who hung out there in the late afternoon.

A few customers — but never the high school kids -- left tips on the tabletops and counter top, and Big Lew kept them all for himself. My boss occupied one of those booths exclusively — the one nearest the cash register -- and he had some steady customers who ordered only coffee and sat with him there.

They all read newspapers and chewed the fat day after day -- unless adult paying customers in need of a table came along. On those rare occasions he would relinquish his table to the newcomers and tell his cheapskate friends to scram for a while. If the joint got really busy he would become cook, waiter and cash register operator. He might as well have worn a tutu. He looked ridiculous. Big Lew, when desperate, would even call on me to help him out behind the counter. I had to shut down the dishwasher, don an apron and a cap that hung on a hook on the wall next to the door leading to the customer service area, and come out running to join him out front providing customer service under his close supervision.

Big Lew seemed to enjoy badgering me around while rolling his eyes in front of the public. It got worse when I fumbled the pie and it fell to the floor. A dense fog prevailed in my cramped workplace. Soap bubbles floated on puddles that collected on every horizontal surface. Everything I handled was greasy and slippery, and so I dropped a lot of silverware and broke a lot of crockery. I did, permitted nothing to enter from outside deliveries and the always-welcome breeze. Beyond the locked screen door was a wide, sheltered sidewalk and, beyond that, the hustle and bustle of the Piggly-Wiggly parking lot.

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People walking on the sidewalk behind the pharmacy could look through the screen door and see me working at the dishwasher. Since it was my first opportunity for me to earn a paycheck from an employer my Dad and Mom and siblings were quite proud of me. What a kidder! Next door to the market was a large five and dime store with bare wooden floors.

I bought my first yo- yo there. Next to that was a hardware store that also sold bicycles, wagons and baby carriages. Nuts, nails and screws of all sizes were in large wooden bins. The hardware store also sold magnets of all sizes.


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I would sometimes go to the aisle with the magnets and take a few from the shelf. Then I would walk around to the wooden bins of small nails and such and put the magnets to work on them. I owner once caught me doing that and kicked me out. The Piggly-Wiggly parking lot seemed vast when I was young, but as I got older it seemed to get smaller.


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  • I got into my first fender-bender behind the Piggly-Wiggly while attempting to park my big Pontiac. Mike Pilgreen was not a Saracen, and some of the Saracens did not like him, but he was my friend throughout high school.

    The try-outs were at a large swimming pool on the campus of a private school up in the Santa Monica Mountains, along winding Laurel Canyon Boulevard. We all three made the team and were quite giddy. We decided to sit along the roadside opposite the pool parking lot. The canyon walls were steep and grassy there, and for a while we climbed through the dense vines and trees to a distant ridge far above. We played around on the mountainside for a while before returning to the road below.

    Mike had brought with him to the try-outs a thick beach towel rolled into a cylinder and wrapped tight with three large, heavy-duty rubber bands. He had removed two of those and we were shooting them at each other. Then Mike suggested we shoot the automobiles speeding by us on their way up the canyon road. Phil agreed that this was a bad idea.

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    We were being driven to the police station. His well-trained German shepherd was seated next to, in the passenger seat, alert, awaiting more instructions. Phil, Mike and I were in the back seat, and Bob was still back at the swimming pool waiting for his Mom. The dog saw us sitting in the grass on the slope near the roadside and had time to bark once before Mike launched his projectile. The downhill car, now under control, accelerated, and still honking its horn disappeared down the road.

    The uphill car — the Jag -- pulled hard onto the shoulder beneath us and its injured driver leaped out of his vehicle, his big dog right behind him. We boys turned tail and fled up the steep hill like scared rabbits. Both the man and his big dog — clearly a German shepherd — were in hot pursuit behind us.

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    The steep hill was overgrown with thick, tall, vegetation. Mike was climbing a small tree. Bob and Phil struggled to escape to my right and to my left. Meanwhile I fell, exhausted, and the snarling dog immediately grabbed me by a tennis shoe and began to drag me downhill in the direction of its master. Now all in the car! And no tricks! The German Shepard was grinning at us from his perch on the front seat. He was showing us his teeth.

    The tires squealed. He was still very angry. But Mike would not. For several minutes later, as we drove deeper into bowels of North Hollywood, Mike began threatening the stranger. Every time the driver raised his voice at Mike, the dog barked and flashed his teeth. We were in indeed in double trouble. Tears of frustration were streaming down his cheeks. Phil, me and then Mike piled out, followed by the dog -- who was obviously enjoying the entire experience. Back in the car! The dog leaped back into the car. He slammed the door behind it.

    Then he paused and stared at us boys. Then he jumped behind the wheel and drove off rapidly. You know, he could have gone to jail! That was Mike -- bold and brash. The rubber band saga no doubt reveals why some Saracens disliked and avoided Mike. Word gets around. But not me. Time spent with Mike was always an adventure. On the day of the swim team tryouts I unexpectedly got a free ride from a perfect stranger in a new Jaguar.

    Likewise, and for no good reason, I would let Mike driver me at high speed in dense coastal fogs on more than one occasion. He was charismatic. He captivated me. Being with Mike was like experiencing the Stockholm syndrome. He joined their diving team and honed his skills to the point that several years after graduating, after having served a tour with the Army in Germany, Brigham Young University awarded him a fat scholarship. He began to date a wealthy Mormon girl there and before you know it he himself had become a Mormon.

    Soon he married her, moved to Phoenix, AZ, where her parents lived and worked -- and then Mike totally disappeared from my radar. That was around She said that he had tried to sell her some life insurance. I wondered if that is why he asked her how to find me, his old friend -- in order to pressure me also into also buying a life insurance policy.

    That probability made me angry. But how could it not but have crossed my mind? Mike liked to be seen, and had the extreme good looks to explain why women liked to be seen with him, and why they loaned him their cars -- and why these cars were often convertibles. Anyway, Mike expected me to drop whatever I was doing and accompany him on his death- defying drives into the coastal Southern California fogs.

    I always accepted his invitations. Sometimes the visibility there was near zero. Why did he need me along for the ride? Figure 5. Mike wore a red robe and crown at sporting events and was carried on a litter by the female cheerleaders who all worshipped him. He wanted for nothing in life in a secular sense ; big thanks to his being a handsome devil — and what a devil he was! I was stunned! I thought him immortal. And the notice was almost three decades old, published in a Reseda High School alumni blog.

    I never found his obituary published anywhere, and have yet to learn the circumstances of his death. Knowing Mike, he may not actually be dead: I prefer to imagine that he concocted one pyramid scheme too many in midlife, and then faked his death to finesse a vanishing act; what a guy! I imagine Mike now lives in polygamous retirement in French Polynesia, beyond the reach of his creditors, the IRS, and the long arm of the law. But if he is indeed dead, my best guess is either one of his many lovers killed him, or that he ran off a coastal cliff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula while driving at high speed at night and recklessly in a dense fog.

    It was a classic Studebaker Golden Hawk. The United States Postal Service even made a stamp with its image, make and model. Too bad that Mike and his younger brother, Patrick, were never allowed to drive it. Rarely played, but always on display. We would perch our bongos for display on the narrow shelf behind the rear passenger seat and below their rear windows where alas! Since we were usually headed to the beach, we always had the bongos with us on our beach blankets. We believed them to be chick magnets though that hardly ever proved to be true. On Saturday evening we were driving down Sherman Way in my Pontiac when a convertible with three girls pulled up next to us at a stop light.

    Then they tossed a folded mimeographed invitation featuring some festive cartoons and a crude map with an address into the back window of my Pontiac. The red light changed to green and they sped off waving goodbye. My sister Patricia had borrowed them. We figured out from the crude map on the flyer how to get to site of the party. It was almost eight we drove up on the lawn to the house with the advertised address.

    We thought we were too early because the front porch light was off. She looked scared. She pounded on the door and a shirtless man came out of the house. The woman in the bathrobe pointed at Phil and I sitting in my Pontiac parked in the middle of her front lawn. The man reached behind the door and pulled out what looked like an aluminum baseball bat.

    Clearly we had been set up as a prank by those girls in the convertible. Later, over hamburgers at the Big Boy restaurant, we thanked our lucky stars that we had not been attacked by the man with the baseball bat, or arrested for menacing and vandalism -- or shot even. My Mom forbade me to own or drive a motorcycle. Nothing good can come from lying to your Mom. So it was a sad encounter for both of us when not long after I bought the BSA that I was slowly driving it through the neighborhood and my Mom, riding passenger in a car heading in the opposite direction, caught me in the act of my Big Lie.

    She was on the way to the Piggly-Wiggly grocery market in a car driven by my sister Patricia. No doubt they both saw my motorcycle approaching from a distance. Like my Dad, my Mom, Pastor Sword, Roger Bonz and most everybody else in our neighborhood hated motorcycles for just about every reason that I liked them: for example, they were loud, fast and ridden by rebels. Imagine her shock and disappointment to see one of them driving around in her neighborhood, with me, her son, behind the handlebars.

    My BSA was not only noisy, but it was painted black and tricked out like evil incarnate with ape-hanger handlebars. And I must have looked like a rebellious youth in my leather jacket and a red bandana tied around my forehead. I remember clearly the instant of our mutual recognition: As our vehicles passed each other my Mom and I locked eyeballs. I can still see her jaw drop open and hear her silent scream. She got a good look at me: her own son, Jimmy, gone bad. My Dad would have none of it. Anyway, Mom confronted me about the motorcycle the first chance she got. Lust Of The Libertines is more upbeat and quickly paced rendition.

    Practising Vandals is an unconfirmed title for the ska style unknown song sung by John. Notes : The idea was to give the duo something to do as they acquire new members and something to record and send to record companies. Peter and Carl swapped bass guitar throughout the four song audition. As soon as they turn round, you can see they're so wired their eyeballs are almost touching the back wall of the club.

    From the start, they attack their songs with a careering momentum that leaves most of them skidding totally out of control. Think The Beatles in Hamburg at 4am in the morning. The two guitarists - Peter who's the spit of Julian Casablancas and Carl Paul McCartney - alternate as frontmen, furiously bobbing up and down, falling into each other and collapsing in a screech of feedback. After their second song the completely amazing 'Up The Bracket' - working title 'On The Racket' , they square up to each other and start pushing each other around.

    Shirts are ripped, and from here it's chaos. With barely a thought for staying in tune or keeping the same tempo, they proceed to demolish the rest of their set. Everything else is a car crash of bad attitude and breakneck melody. Such is their wide-eyed abandon, it's impossible to take your eyes off them, you don't know whether they're going to make it to the end of the song or just start punching each other. They end with 'I Get Along', their buzzing speed-freak anthem. The gig's been a mess. But it's also been the most exciting thing we've seen all year.

    It'll be the same when you see them. Carl: "We're not talking about Bernard in this piece. He was always tickling him. By the way, we've got a competition for NME readers. We're looking for go-go dancers. There's a casting in about three months. They, along with bassist John Hassall and drummer Gary Powell, have just been rioting. Or, as they prefer to call it, "celebrating". Carl - side-parting, swarthy good looks, occasionally prone to mumbling - is rubbing his leg.

    He's just thrown a bottle at a policeman. In return, the policeman's just whacked him on the knees with a truncheon. Meanwhile, Pete - staring eyes, small lips, occasionally prone to walking in front of moving cars - wants to know why we're doing their interview down here. And another thing, why did you call him the singer? He's a scumbag. We thought it was taking women out to the theatre, or escorting them to dinner. But basically it was shagging old men in hotel rooms. Pete: "It only lasted for about five minutes.

    I got all dolled up, but I couldn't deal with it. I used to push the drinks trolley over and make a run for it. Did they like it there? I was working at the Prince Charles cinema in Soho and she turned up with a pair of scissors and tried to stab me in the stomach. She thought I'd stolen money, but I hadn't. That was enough to make Carl head up to Manchester.

    She didn't even have a cat. Sometime after that she left a note on the door, saying 'Goodbye cruel world' and I found her trying to gas herself in an electric oven. She'll see this and come looking for us. What quickly became apparent to me was how they had grown as a band. An excellent one at that! They will fall on the much trodden road to rock history. He told NME. At one point, singer Guy McKnight jumped off the stage, climbed on to the bar and continued his performance. While not known so far for their accomplished musicianship, The Libertines have clearly been rehearsing hard — and the audience showed their appreciation.

    Many in the packed venue were clearly already committed fans of The Libertines, with some even sporting the same look as the band. Line by line, verse by verse, every line of that began to ring true over time. But when I first wrote it I was a clean-living lad, to be honest. Q : It became a self-fulfilling prophecy? PD : Completely, yeah. First, though, we manage to ask them whether 'What A Waster' is about anyone in particular. And me. And her points to girl over the other side of the bar. And his mum points to Carl.

    Of course, it is. I played it to my dad and he started eating my cigarettes. I've never seen him like that before. He was eating cigarettes and telling me to fuck off. He started dancing around the room and saying it reminded him of the Goldhawk Road in They were German, you know. Their cherubic, mischievous looks pout from a Union flag on the cover of this week's NME, and the foursome have been dubbed "the best new band in Britain", despite the fact that they have only just released their first single.

    The rabble-rousing You're a Waster is expected to enter the Top 40, despite a radio ban courtesy of good old-fashioned swearing and the fact that few people outside London have seen them play. That is changing, but slowly. The Cockpit is half-full. The Libertines arrive late, slouch on in tight leather jackets and turn their backs on the audience. But as soon as they plug in their guitars, the transformation is extraordinary.

    As each song is delivered, the foursome - fronted by guitarist-vocalists Carl Bart and Pete Doherty, begin to shake violently. Behind the bluster and hype surrounding them, the Libertines have a fighting chance. They are young, moderately, if scruffily, good looking and hilarious. Their interviews consist of tall tales about pasts as rent boys. The gig is a lesson in brevity. They play seven songs or rather seven short, sharp shocks.

    The entire show lasts less than half an hour. Their deranged guitar solos sound like 33 rpm punk albums speeded up to Their biggest influence seems to be Razor Cuts-era Buzzcocks although older cynics will mutter about Jilted John. I Get Along sounds like a riot in a living room; You're a Waster, an accusatory rant against a druggie female, could start the proverbial argument in a phone booth. Their success will depend on UK youth's capacity for yet another spunky, punky band to file alongside the Strokes and Hives. The Libertines leave without an encore, although there's just enough here to suggest we will be hearing more.

    The Libertines are the latest group to be thrust into the ring as the industry tries to find a UK guitar band capable of taking on the Strokes. The sound is muddy, the onstage antics a little muted, at least from what I could see. Will the Libertines turn out to be the best band ever? High Point: 'What A Waster', for the swearing. Low Point: Lack of seeing Death Disco was regular event organised by, future manager, Alan McGee.

    Band came onstage approx