I don't know if 'gutted' is the proper adjective to use, but it comes pretty close to how I feel right now. I awoke to the news that a man that I admired, a drumming Legend, someone that I would listen to play on records and be amazed at how effortlessly the fills and accents and tempo changes and style shifts seemed to just emanate from his very being, had passed away in the night at the age of 49, and the world had became just a little less brighter than it was the day before. I fucking hate it.
I can't even recall how many times I've seen Conflict. Doing a couple of Tours with them makes specifics difficult to focus on, but I'll never ever forget the first time I ever saw them perform. The first time they played in L.A. in the early 80's was such an event it was surreal. There was no social media to hype up their appearance, no chat rooms to spread the word, it was just a sense of feeling that you HAD to be there, that you HAD to see this amazing band who had put out such life affirming music, singles like This It Not Enough - Stand Up And Fucking Fight, To A Nation Of Animal Lovers, The Serenade Is Dead, and masterpiece albums like Increase The Pressure, and It's Time To See Who's Who, passionate, powerful music with a message done as only the British can do it. Other bands you could blow off, because they would be playing next month or next summer, whatever, but you couldn't do that with Conflict. No. Fucking. Way. And their arrival in sunny Southern California hit the region hard, like an earthquake, with their gig at the Olympic Auditorium setting off a powder keg of controversy and drawing a huge dividing line in the local Punk scene of either Pro-Conflict or Anti-Conflict. Like the band said, it was time to see who was who. And we did. That night was crazy. Gang fights, Police war on the masses, and for the time in the early 80's it was just another Friday night in downtown L.A. Their next gig @ Fender's Ballroom in Long Beach was the clincher. It was set up to be the showdown, because everyone was talking about the gig on Friday, what happened, who said what, who fucked up who, and now the warring sides had time to organize, time to get their shit together, and they did, and they all converged on the tiny city by the sea in a scene reminiscent of the seminal Quadrophenia scene where the Mods and Rockers clash; different time, same stupid fighting macho insecurity bullshit mentality, and the war needed a soundtrack, a soundtrack the gangs thought that Conflict was going to provide, and Conflict wasn't having any part of it. Nope.
Skirmishes were being set off everywhere inside and outside of the venue. People were vocalizing things loudly, shouting, swearing, squaring off, it was just fucking crazy, thick with tension and ready to explode at any moment, and in the midst of it all comes this thick bloke, a real Yob looking slab of man, eating what appeared to be a carne asada burrito and drinking a beer, just walking around with a smile on his face, asking people what the fuss was all about, and just telling people to not be so serious and just enjoy the music. And people listened, shockingly enough. I watched him and thought to myself, "Isn't that the drummer from Conflict? RAD!!" and I went over and introduced myself and that's the first time I met Paco, one of my many Heroes, and I was thrilled to see he was just another guy like us, living Life, having fun, and not taking things so seriously. He was a Drummer. I got it. The more I got to know him, the more I got to love him - always cheerful, always fun to be around, such a sweetheart of a man, lived Life to the fullest and had a great time doing it. I can play the first side of Increase The Pressure flawlessly, because that was a record that I would put on and play along to while practicing my drumming, amazed at the drum work being done, hoping to someday be half as good as he was, and hearing of his passing just makes me feel every bit of my mortality and even more dreadful of my impending doom. Paco had been sick for a while now, diabetes related from what I recall, and I'm not going to sit here and act like we were best buddies, thick as thieves, but I always had the hope that I would one day see Paco again, share a beer with him, some laughs, and just remind him of what a huge influence he was on me, and now that it's never going to happen, I'm a little bummed out about it. Godspeed Paco. Your musical legacy will never be forgotten. You will be missed. Rest easy my friend. You've earned it.
I explain things to people in private all the time. Some people see my point but don't acquiesce, and that's fine, and some people I can sway to see my line of thinking, and that's kind of scary! LOL These things I explain in private are actually things that would be better explained if I posted them on the website, sort of like how Mr. Hand kept Spicoli's "I don't know" answer on the chalkboard for all the other History classes to see, but I can't even be bothered to do that, because I really don't care. Doesn't directly affect me. My Life goes on unabated and undisturbed. Just remember, that when you do drink it up, ask for the purple Kool-Aid because that's seriously the best flavored Kool-Aid ever! And oh yeah - the bands got their stuff back! ;-)
In case you didn't notice on the way in, I just posted the Pictures I took of Guilty By Association playing the Beauty Bar a few weeks ago up on the website, and you can click here to check those out. From that same gig I posted the pix I took of New Cold War ripping shit up, and you can click here to check those out. Watching Micah play is always a treat. :-) From a gig the night before at the Dive, I posted the few pictures I took of that Scorpion Vs. Tarantula band on the website as well, and you can click here to check all 3 of those out if you wish.
Looking at Pictures not your thing, huh? You like to read well written, non-opinionated synopsis' on the latest and greatest Punk Rock music to grace the scene nowadays? Well, you won't find anything like that here, unfortunately, but I did just post a Music Review on the latest Posh Boy Records compilation to come out, called The Posh Boy Story (More Or Less), and you can click here to check that out. Please keep that free swag coming in - Thank You! ;-)
I used to give a shit. I swear I did. Whereas nowadays I can barely be inspired to get off my ass to go to 1 gig a day, back in the daze I would go to 2, sometimes 3 different gigs on the same day. What the FUCK was I thinking? Cocaine really is one Hell of a Drug! LOL The particular month of August in the year of 2008 had one of those days I am now making reference to. The day started off early with an all ages gig @ Jillian's featuring J.F.A. (click here for pictures), Battle Born (click here for pictures), Give 'Em Hell (click here for pictures) and a band called 5 Days Dirty (click here for pictures) from straight outta the East Bay. Yeah, that was a fun night. I remember the Meth Kids giving me shit all night, threatening to jump me after the gig, and once the gig was over, I stood around with the bands and watched them get thrown out by Jillian's security and then swooshed away by Fremont St. security for being smelly and stupid in public, which was the least of their offenses that day. I took another drink from my PBR tall boy and just laughed at the absurdity of it all. Can't blame them for trying I guess. Fucking idiots.
After my girlfriend at the time and I said our goodbyes to Mr. Brannon and Co., we zipped off to Squiggy's to partake in some drunken, food throwing, running around naked, Punk Rock shenanigans with The Mapes (of course - click here for pictures) and The Anchor (click here for pictures), a band from Austin that Karl Bakla was hyping me up about big time before the gig, and they didn't disappoint. Tuff sounding catchy Punk Rock played by a bunch of drunken misfits, with the Drummer coming out dressed as Kermit The Frog at the beginning of the bands set and ending up completely naked and Keith Moon fucked up by the end of the bands set. You definitely had to be there to believe it... as usual. I remember that the Mapes were on fire this particular evening, playing with reckless, drunken abandon with the usual assortment of Ding-Dong's, bananas, hot dogs, and gawd knows what else being thrown around, and in the midst of all this, someone thought it was a good idea to light off some left over 4th of July fireworks inside the tiny little bar, which just goes to show you that us Punks are a dumb lot and we learned nothink from the Great White nightclub fire that had happened years before... heh heh.
Everything's updated. See you at that Mustard Plug / The Toasters gig @ the Dive on Friday!! :-)