Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two guys that people oughtta know about.

Big Joe Wyatt was from St. Louis and was a familiar face to those who went to shows in Chicago and St. Louis, as well as in the Christian hardcore scene. I can say with ease that seeing him out on the floor, either by his side or while we played just brought a smile to my face. He came through for Punishment in April of 01 when we’d taken ourselves to the brink of despair. We booked a show through him for the Saturday before Easter that April and we’re looking forward to it. We’d set off in March on tour with Misura (a heavy band from VA Beach that was signing to Too Damn Hype –which was our label at the time). I learned so much from this tour that it was now so worth all the strife and worry… In fact I could write a whole blog based on the “What Not To Do’s” off of that month alone. Needless to say and to cut to the chase (something I rarely do on here) we’d toured with this band for a month and had 3 more weeks planned but they broke up in the middle of the tour and their efforts to book our texas dates left us without shows for about a week. So what to do… Oh yea lets just show up on the doorstep of a guy who booked us at his house and stay there for about a week, in Carbondale, IL nonetheless. At one point we’d tortured my dear friend and roadie to the point he was looking at greyhound buses via the internet. I think we even were talking of selling blood while sitting in his hovel of a house. On top of our lack of cash we had to fix the van and surprise surprise didn’t have the cash. After about 6 days of practicing every day in his house and such we left to go to our St. Louis show where all our friends would be. It was like nothing else really. I can’t even make this shit up. We drove to the venue believing it was there only to be told its at some skatepark a few miles from here. Ok, no sweat. Only the van breaks down and we really started pushing the fuckin thing. One of the people going to the show happen to be going down the street and chose to push us so we got on top of the van and rode the rest of the way acting like assholes on top of a van. Right across from the skatepark was a black or Puerto Rican biker club’s bbq and here’s a bunch of dudes jumping around on the top of a van being pushed. The show was a matinee so most of the kids were outside and witnessed this spectacle of stupidity. Big Joe and Chris were outside and just in shock. I remember that Joe had walked up and handed us like 250 and told me not to say another word. I really felt like shit but I was happy to have someone out this far looking out for us. I remember the whole show was a blast. All our friends and their bands, good food, good times. We’d had one of those sets that really will always stick out to me, people went nuts the whole time. We even played the “new song” that we just finished in John Spomer’s basement in Carbondale. It was the first time we’d played it live but Rising became one of my favorites from that point on. That night we stayed with Joe and had a great time in his house bbqing and hanging out with all the guys. The next morning we woke up to Joe and Chris being at the apartment with WARM Krispy Kreme in hand. I’ve never had them before and they were ridiculous. After some deliberation we went down to the zoo in STL because it was free. We were hoping to see something out of a Nelly video but instead saw some cool cars and ended up hanging down on this street with Iron Age tattoos and all. The next day we got the parts for the van and fixed the thing and headed back to Carbondale for the night. The show at the house had come and Joe came to town early to hang out. Me and him ended up walking around “downtown” just having a good conversation about what’s going on in his life and he told me he had to have surgery on his eye because he had a mole. He said it could be something but he also said he wasn’t thinking too hard on it. I talked about life and how my baby’s momma had just moved to Upstate NY with my daughter after getting married and how I went on tour after meeting the coolest girl ever. He’d met her in Chicago a few weeks before when she flew out to surprise us. He’d finally met “that girl” in his life and was hoping to marry her. It was a great talk from a young guy to older dude and ultimately it was the highlight of that low month. That night we had a fuckin blast, raised fuckin hell in a crazy basement show and even punked out some weird WP dude that was at the show. Chris having a corkscrew in his hand during the “confrontation” really sealed the deal for me.
Months later we’d gotten our asses back on tour and were in STL for thanksgiving. No Joe this time around as he was sick and in fact had been doing poorly in result of the cancer that they found in him. A guy who stood over 6 foot and not skinny man had been reduced to about 170 lbs or so. I got to speak to him over the phone for a bit and he expressed his apologies for not being to be with us this time around. That night when I took a shower at the motel I really just sat on the floor of the bathroom crying. Thankfully all the retards in the band were elsewhere or I would have had that juvenile embarrassment that is not valid in this situation. By Christmas that year He had passed on and it was like a bit of relief to know such a good guy had been relieved of the pain. At the time it was a month after a tour which meant Punishment was without members. We were true Viking hardcore. We’d leave like a voyage kissing sad women goodbye and come home with losses in men the way a raiding longship would come back to port with less then the crew then they had. I’d gotten a call from Luke from Chicago that there was to be a benefit for Joe and that they wanted us to play. I got some of the guys from Chris’s metal band together and we got our asses in the van (like 10 of us or so) and we hauled out to St Louis. We got to Carbondale in like 15 hours and played to some shitty rock club where there’d been a fight or something over moshing. We ended up in St Louis at Jim Honey’s house that night. It sucked so bad to be back and there not be a Joe to hear or see out there. It was the first time in my life having to be the guy with a mic in his hand at a benefit show. I was 21 years old and it felt like shit to be in this place without him.

R.I.P Joe Wyatt

I guess I needed to relive that one to get into the shit that’s running through my mind right now. I am 2 days away from Magras’s benefit show. Its an old hat now. Its been 7 years since we played that show and since then Bailey’s sister got hit by a truck on a bike, Pig’s sister was murdered, Stoney died in a car crash, Robby’s mom died of cancer a month after her finding out. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten together out front of a show like this and just been happy to see the faces that are there. Fuck I can’t even go back to STL anymore. Chris (companion of Joe in the story above) died of an aneurysm 2 weeks before SR was set to play there. The guy had got his shit together with a spot to live, finally got to work tattooing after years of drawing great but being a shop manager instead of a tattooer. I can’t believe I really stood on the stage of the creepy crawl 5 years after I had all my boys in STL in one room with hardly anyone from that time ALIVE. It’s a fuckin ball buster man. It makes you want to do so many useless things to protect yourself against that inconceivable thing that will ultimately end your life.

Mike Magras was always a good person in my eyes. I never really seen a bully in his actions. He is a heavier dude so when he gets moving he is ultimately going to plow through most of whats in his way. I think the thing that stands out in him is his laugh, he is one of those guys with the big hearty laugh. It’s the kind of laugh that if attributed to a cartoon could make the big screen. Magras and I were friends for years before I even knew he played guitar. He was a great addition to the late Punishment roster. You damn well knew he wasn’t about to actually move on stage but having a dude who looked like something out of Crowbar has its advantages and cool stage points. I gotta tell you it was 4 years after that worst punishment tour ever and I felt back in that place again. I was so scatter brained with the upcoming birth of Ryan, all my anxiety about having/wanting to grow up and the thought of actually marrying Samantha that I really didn’t know what to do myself. On top of it the cancer scare that I had with my mom and me moving out of the house on Emerald Street really left me without a pot to piss in and a window to throw it off. We really should have never went on that tour, but we had our boys Blacklisted wanting to go out on the tour after they had something going on fall through.
Just to be on the road with George, Ferrero, Timmy, Mike Mig, Russ, Guppy, Magras, Sean Foley (the greatest guy to ever have on a road trip) I had to do it. It was like an all star cast of a complete failure. Ultimately we’d never rebound from it. Our van dead, I went home on a greyhound like most of the dudes and spent the rest of the summer on tour in a similar yet new shitty situation with SR. It was a bad summer in general. That fall Punishment lost its momentum after me and Timmy had the falling out and I told Sean Foley to join Blacklisted. Everyone really started to get their shit in order from then on. Russ and Ferrero did the union thing, Timmy got ready to go to college, Blacklisted became the fucking kings, Guppy is well Guppy (leading the ’08 Season in KO’s) and I am here writing this blog.

I left out Magras because well he really got his shit together. He met a girl who was special enough to him to start focusing on the stuff the rest of us drug our heels on, the kind of shit that now most of the dudes are heavily involved in – job, house, girl/wife/kids. He took on this new job, got the girl pregnant and decided to be the standup father for the wee girl she had that was without a father at the present. I feel like he did something that was more standup than most of us were capable then. So for all his efforts to lead a straight life of wive/kids/job he was repaid for his efforts with a fire in his house that took the lives of both his daughters, all of his belongings and burned his precious wife badly. Is this the fuckin payment for a good deed done? Is this the karma of a guy who turned down the fast life of no money, slutty girls and gangdom for something solid and worth waking up to?

Its one of these things that torment me to the point of mental exhaustion, yet the only thing I can think of doing is getting him some cash to maybe put something back into his life. Or at least show that we still care and are still there. I think he is one of the most standup dudes we’ve ever met or had the privilege to call a brother, in the face of this tragedy he had no drama or call to arms against his wife’s ex and father of the elder child. In fact he even hugged the guy at the funeral and told he did the best that he could for his daughter. That was twenty times harder then any ass kicking I can think of.
I guess this is growing up huh? Where hugging a dude is tougher then kicking his ass. :P

Come out this Thursday and have a fucking blast with us.

If you can’t come but want to send some $ paypal to joehardcorefsu@aol.com



Franklinville Skating Rink
2608 N Delsea Drive
Franklinville, NJ

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The wind through my hair, my last moments recalled.

I am coming to the end of the rope. I’ve said for years that you got to give someone enough rope to hang themselves and it’s a few seconds past the trap doors opening in a rush and I’ve already bounced back from the initial drop at least twice. This feels like an eternity but its definitely been too quick to see without stopping for the frame by frame replay. If I know my “well wishers” as well as I do they would pay top dollar for that clip frame by frame. I wonder if they will release the information to the press that upon my neck snapping I released what was left in my empty stomach into my drawers. I have no dignity left so I assuming they have no qualms about releasing for the public’s delight.

I really have to hand it to the world I really never saw it coming. I really placed myself on such a pedestal where I was incapable of falling. Incapable of being LOW and it was impossible to feel the concrete as it made a sweet popping sound on my jawbone when all my glory was lost and my face hit the concrete with a resounding applause from the mythical home audience watching the end of my reign of righteousness. I am tired now, I am bruised, yet until I embraced humility I was not aware of the throbbing pulse of pain in my heart from the agony of defeat. I ruined every good aspect of my life in search of solace from this stress, from this pain. I was so consumed with the What Ifs and other things I am not in control of that I squandered all of my happiness away on a summer that I am ashamed to have lived through. You know those scenes in a movie where you squirm in your seat because you’ve been there before and you’re embarrassed for the guy in question… Well imagine a BDSM inspired scene not unlike some Clockwork Orange rehabilitation scene where I am helpless to relive each mistake, each moment of weakness, each failure of the past 2 years. I would say that the punishment fits the crime but ultimately the haze of self denial is over and I could use a dose of reality. Maybe it would come to me, each moment where the choice of right or wrong was imminent and each time where I balked and stepped one foot further into this future hell which I am currently acclimating myself to. I could see where the false pretenses and the notion of infallibility lead me to believe all was going to be alright. I guess it would be easy to see this as I would be force fed my own shit for once.

Its all been a huge mistake. Despite my inhuman ability to be injured from a young age and the lack of a car that we suffered throughout most of my childhood, I learned quick how to get by despite being in insane amounts of pain til my mom could take me to the ER and I guarantee she looked like an abusive mom with the record number of broken bones and stitches that I accumulated. I can say with ease it would be easier to stomach a 55 gallon of my shit then to realize the stress and pain I’ve put on my loved ones. Its really pathetic, its to the degree of FONZIE of me in some ways. I guess despite my best efforts and my repeated attempts I am no better then my father who to me is the lowest rung on the human ladder. One day it will be revealed just how much of a dirty pederast that man is. One day the few who swallow his gospel for gold will understand the nonsense he spewed out was poison. I can’t fuckin believe I can’t deny the parallels to him and I, even at this young of a stage. What’s left for me now? Crack, stealing an old man’s home upon his death? Getting blowjobs from dudebitches near lucky’s at 3am in a drunken stupor in the front seat of my grandiose Cordoba. I can’t fuckin imagine that but really its not like I’ve done much better. I fucked with things enough to know what I was doing and I will now suffer the penalty.

I am unable to breath right now. I think its psychosomatic. I am physically suffering the emotion equivalent to my mindset of late. I am overwhelmed, outgunned, under the pressure of being a failure and more importantly I am going to end up like the one person who defies the scales of justice and is still breathing air in this fucking land. I wonder just how crooked you have to be to change reality enough to actually believe the shit that you did was for the benefit of all. I am going to just place my head on the chopping block now before my brain starts lying to me and having me think that what I did was right and for the good of my dependants. I guess that’s the way out, the man up choice that leaves me ahead in this game of life. Even if its by a Cunt Hair (a Red hair cunt hair at that) there will be some solace in placing above him who made most of what I lament over a reality.

I would honestly become a monk in a cave somewhere for 20 years if it meant my son and daughters were to breath the fine air of the good life with a different home then the one I am proud to have grown up in. At this point any choice is better then the ones of the past few years. Regrets, I still have none. Had I regret anything I would not learn the value of what is ultimately lost, and I would be unable to accept fate’s placement as just.

There is a beauty in just going “Yea I really fucked that up huh?”.