1. Pre-show duties include drinks at a suburban bar covered in beer-signs and obvious clutter that is usual to such locations. Picture of Pete Rose…Miami Redskins (sans Red hawks) sports stuff. Aaron the Man-Terror (AMT) and MS- inaugural ‘Socials Force’ members… Ones a Lawyer/Roadie and the other is his assistant- would keep grabbing steel bowls of popcorn to wash down pale bottom-shelf sort’s draft. Water for me and our ear dropped convo is overheard from the Bar maiden “NO PUKING In here!” she sez hurried and her best level of authoritive demeanor. “I’m not cleaning up puke! You puke, you puke OUTSIDE!” her assertive voice is annoying. That was LAST weekend; in my bruddies car…” I don’t feel I necessarily need to tell her in any form of assurance but I do anyway. “Take it easy, I’m disabled…” I then hold up my trusty sidekick, my walking cane named Chinanski “ I should fucking INSPIRE YOU!” Moments later handing my glass of water to wash down over heard convos from patrons I’m trying to ignore about sweaty scrotum's and getting pubic hairs in their mouths “I hate sweaty balls” I hear a woman say but dare not look their way. Poor Michaels, although a suburban bar is not a place to make eye-to-eye contact. My ‘unit’ was still outnumbered 2-1. I listen with a nauseous ear and try to convince company and myself that I can never be ‘on time’ I’m always early. Later sitting outside Rakes End Juice by Jerry (JxJ) would put it aptly in saying that I put the ‘punk’ in punctual.
2. After driving around the maze that is the outer/inner city Cincinnati neighborhood of Brighton that’s nestled in-between the ‘no-mans’ land of the curving, mad road called Central Parkway. A road hat also houses noted entrances to a Fallout shelter created from an abandoned 1930’s subway system’s terminal is on one side and Interstate 75 defines its other border… Brighton is an isolated land locked ‘peninsula-area’ with the third ‘border’ of the area defined by a combination of Bank and Linn Streets. This area, for the last 15 years or so has not been bitten by the gentrification bug and has housed band practice spaces, punk venues (Late 90’s short-lived SOB Meathouse venue), art galleries, speak-easys and the occasional mix of all which is where the Gallery/Venue RAKES END is located. Whole nights have had no cops being seen driving past. If police do drive past they do so at high speed. If they don’t see a crime, then to them, there is no crime. They don’t rock the boat in other words. Eventual driving around in-between Brighton’s borders will eventually get you to the ‘Eye Sign’ that signals the location of Rakes End. I find reverence and a certain amount of safety from passing by open ‘drug’ use like marijuana pot smoking from areas like Brighton… They ultimately don’t want the cops around, like myself. I admit, I did get a little bit excited to spot the HQ of a motorcycle club, we went by The Kumasi MC that impressed me and somewhere nearby is also the HQ of the Cincinnati chapter of Detroit Highwaymen which are at odds (as the local news put it) between both The Kumasi AND Cincinnati’s long time traditional MC, The iron Horsemen. This provides certain energy to the area. Bets are taken concerning Batt_Lions arrival. “Will Batt_Lions arrive fucked-up and drunk already? Place Bets now” but there is surprise when they would show up and NOT be fucked up at all (or hiding it well). “We had dinner at Olive Gardens…” and other than shopping Lions Care Recordings around to shake it Records and ‘hitting’ Northside, Kenny (Batt_Lion tamer) further explains at one point Thomas (Batt_Lion guitar) was reading, Eric (bass) was napping and Adam aka ‘Power Windows’ (drums) was attempting yoga. Shit gets weird real fast in Brighton. “Power Windows still has spaghetti sauce on his face” explains Kenny. Every band has a brunt of jokes. Power Windows acts as this dynamic and I connect with him providing the same role as with The Socials despite the addition of AMT and MS into the expanded ‘Socials Force.’
2.1 Time to break for station identification. break in half...
3. I love the band I’m in. Everything about it. This performance perforated with people walking thru the band to get to the restrooms… The odd shape of The Rakes End forces unconventionality of many sorts usually surfacing with the most obvious: un-traditional band set-ups. Long and narrow, riddled with art by Rakes End owner /operator you cant help but to be inspired and the soundtrack of a moment. Flashlights help you see to get the amps set up but you are eventually thrown out onto your own dorm of rock and roll wasteland where you cant help but to think if you are in the rock and roll equivalent of a promised land… With Rakes End being your own personal rock and roll holy land surrounded by bastions of hate that wanna kill you. ‘Do or Die’ invades your every move. I personally play now like every song is my last song. Every song I hear may be my last song heard… until another is played either way. Don’t take your good times for granted humble and desperate THWART reader. Your time is limited no matter what your age. Realize the special-ness of each moment for what it is because that realization will dwarf all other ‘I wish I was there’ moments. Clearly, with the burden of moving band equipment being taken from my time and despite the jobs given to my by JxJ “Shawn; stand here and watch the band”… “Shawn, new job... Stand here and watch our guitars”… I’m still left more time to really think and dissect a scene… The boys in the league office sez this counts as my 45 minutes of ‘brain challenging’ a day. Fighting possible dementia is my new battle and unknowingly mouthing the sticky chorus to Billy Squires “The Stroke” is a sign that I must fight the losing fight harder. One day everything I say will hold no merit or comprehension. Much like now but with more silver hair.
3.1 Handing out Social ‘s’ pins to watchers, Julie later describes this act with appropriate intent claiming they (the people) been ‘tagged’ as like wild animals are tagged and identified. “What is this?” asked a recipient. “It’s a Socials pin” I say “No, what’s this design?” I spent years searching for the official symbol, the perfect Socials logo. Only recently has that become the negative space symbol that is featured on the pin. Not necessarily visible from most people upon receiving it, people understand that the button is a ‘Socials’ button and wear it in support. Only after a bit do the chosen few reveal to the chosen many that the button is an ‘S’ after all. “Oh, I get it.” Is a line that I hear a lot these days.
4. I can’t get the sight of Eric from BATT_LIONS… A band of full dudes... Wearing a black t-shirt adorned with a solitary white CRASS symbol eating at Olive Gardens as they all richly admitted to… I guess you will do anything to get out of Brushmaster-1, Batt_Lions dual purpose Van when two of four lions are behind a security grade separating the ‘cabin; of the vehicle from cargo area. “It kinda messes with you a bit” Thomas sez. With holes just big enough for fingers and with the recent 10-year hostage thing that will rightly leave us with another personality being consumed by the beast that is Reality TV (Charles Ramsey) I assume I’m just like any other Ohio person substituting Cleveland as a place where bad things are always birthed. This isn’t necessarily true because terrible things happen every day no matter where the camera is pointing… This time, its Cleveland’s turn. Shit gets weird… Eric’s wristband becomes a headband… Batt_Lions played Columbus Ohio the day before. Bourbon Street, a venue that rebuilds its stage every day. Living on the edge and precisely leaving borderline soft spots in the stage giving any of its graces the feeling that the bottom can just fall out of ANY and EVERY thing at any time. This leads, of course, to the creation of do or die moments of uncertainty that undoubtedly sticks with the bands. “I felt like I was going to fall through at any moment,” Eric explains… Batt_Lion played a hot set. They were ‘on it’ right from the beginning with their brand of Pagan do it yourself magic’s and strategically placed musical fear. Bringing it to you. Force-feeding you, their dark sonic majesty. Most ‘darkness’ isn’t so dark after Batt_Lions gets done with your ears. Undoubtedly one of my most favorite bands ever, containing someone I would later cite as more of a reason not to walk more than 15 hobbled steps away to see much less across the street or any boundaries that define Brighton’s griddy kingdom of filth I would tell them truthfully. “Fuck Bootsy Collins!” I would explain while making a second grade version of masturbation, a closed phantom fist punching the lower abdomens home of male genitals. “In there [Rakes End] are my heroes” Kenny Batt_Lions guitar wielding voice and spokesman has personally given me more to emulate that Sid Vicious, Darby Crash or anyone else. Lucky him. I’m not afraid to outwardly admit it… Kenny is one of my heroes. Batt_Lion are one of the reasons that convince me that Ohio Always wins. I didn’t say that first you know… I know it’s hard for you to think that I didn’t because I don’t attempt to hide my love of my states music heritage but that’s the hard life for you. Called ‘hard’ for a reason you piece of fuck.
4.1 Rock-Stance measurement of Kenny from Batt_Lion (the distance between left and right toe) while playing: 22"
5. Cha Cha Chachi wrapped the night in an uncomfortable veil. Busting out their stripped down primordial sound I cant help but to be sonically and verbally reminded by Howie Wherle (Subsets) fame “There’s a bit of Matt The Junglecat in them isn’t there?” Matt The Junglecat, a Michigan transplant found a home in Cincinnati and found his place first in The Geriatrix and then in The Gazelles and White Girls before meeting his wife and relocating to Chicago where he is happily married and raising progeny. Howie himself served a stint in The Geriatrix. Cha Cha Chachi is the new sleaze and I mean that endearingly. The new, ungraspable, uncontrollable thing that eventually everyone in Cincinnati will try to grab hold of to ride to the top of the hill name-drop to others insisting that they have liked them the whole time. Sounding like a Troggs and (other) Blitz mix… The ‘other’ Blitz. The one with keyboards and female vocals. The Ones who do “Strange Boy” and “London’s for Tourist.” I seen this sort of thing before, I will see it again. It’s only sensible that Howie notices that in more ways than one. During coverage of White Girls previously by myself (two City Beat Articles to reference) Josh (the ‘Chachi’ in Cha Cha Chachi) was regularly seen in accompaniment to White Girls and their entourage. Josh listened, watched and THEN went out and did it! No shame in that! Trust me, Cha Cha Chachi are the next big thing and I believe them, believe in them fully. It’s only fitting that a two man film crew with big fancy cameras enter The Rakes… Taking a moment of reprieve near the Rakes entrance right away I stop them. “Hey, what you boys got going on here?” I ask from atop a two step landing where I just got my picture taken along side Kenny blowing innocently into my face getting the ‘model’ fan look whilst I held a candle. “Oh, were filming a spot for a German documentary on Bootsy Collins.” Apparently Bootsy was at the Mockbee, another gallery that sat near The Rakes but just outside the aforementioned boundaries that I drew. I would later find out that Bootsy, a Cincinnati personality that I would run into at a Chinese Buffet in Forest Parks Promenade shopping Center called Mongolian Grill (yeah, figure that out) who went immediately into the back room thereof where I imagines star studded glitter blazoned ‘shake downs’ for whatever dark business that Bootsy could be involved in but yet nothing solid because nothing would be worse than getting the shit kicked out of you for insinuating that a Cincinnati Royal would in any way be connected to any shady practices. Do I ‘like’ Bootsy? I guess. He does seem cool from what I seen of him but compared to what was shaking at the Rakes this night, it would take the second coming of Ian Curtis to peel me away from Brighton no matter how cool or approachable Bootsy was… “We just want to film some of the surrounding areas around Bootsy to get a feel of the neighborhood: they said… After stealing shots of Cha Cha Chachi who soon finished their set with a stunning rendition of “American Band” ala The Stranglers explanation to a German film crew approaching them to be in a documentary where they refused to be part of stating ‘Go interview some German bands!’ I politely emulate that experience and tell the two man crew “Get out of my City” and immediately brandish my tanto blade spring loaded knife to them pointing southish and repeating “GET OUT OF MY FUCKING CITY NOW!” This was done with pure sobriety as my co-pilot. Aaron Cometbus and German film crews are to remain out of Cincinnati AND Ohio #ORELSE (please note).
5.1 Nicolas Perkins (Cha Cha Chachi Guitar ) Rock Stance: 11" (UNACCEPTABLE)
6. Shit gets weird sometimes when standing on the sidewalk loading equipment back into vans and that grey-time when your waiting for last call and everyone except bands and Angie Granado-Wherle being told to wait outside while the nights wages were calculated that money began falling from angels above taking the form of Dylan McCartney (Mardou) and Brian McCabe (Homemade)… The Beautiful Mic’s… “Is that a quarter that just bounced off my head?” I ask… “It’s a nickel,” claimed AMT. “Fuck it… I’m not bending over for anything below a quarter.” AMT laughs but he knows I’m serious. Clandestine meetings on rooftops could only mean one thing to most people on the sidewalk but to me it’s a different thing entirely.
6.1 “I love your band and that song you posted” Todd Uttley (Subsets/Granado records) yells to a laughing, pink-eyed Dylan McCartney peering over the partition that hid most of his person from Rakes Ends rooftop. I implore you, Give Mardou’s “Bounty Hunter” a listen. Another one of those ‘I knew them back when’ bands, Oh, a link you want? No. You don’t get a link. Fucking work for it you motherfucker you.
7. Everyone defines a night such as this differently from its real beginnings and culminations of its endings. Different times and borders. When does a day become a day and another day become a day? The night ends… MY night ends with myself, AMT and MS sharing a feast of White Castles that AMT pours directly upon the table of White Castle and insists that we each eat whatever. We laugh, joke and end up feeling awful… Well, MS doesn’t, he takes the left-overs with him in one bag cleverly checking to make sure he has the right bag because at White Castle you can tell which is which when the bags are next to each other. “I know I got six motherfucking White Castles” a patron and her assistant explains both in fancier dress but also, for some reason barefooted. The White Castle employees hustle bags of product at them. In White Castle you don’t necessarily get what you pay for you ultimately get what they want you to have. This is beautiful to some extent but horribly bothersome if you just happen to be somewhere in-between really sober and too fucking drunk to care. Somehwere, somehow the day is defined in-between us entering the White Castle location and leaving it. A light frost covers the Silver Cavalier… Morning birds are chirping. “Fuck off Birds!” AMT sez knowing that hours away he will awaken and curse those exact creatures as he reaches for a pillow to shield himself from a Sunday arriving in earnest.
7.1 No amount of beer betters the art experiment that adorns my right arm, which could be best as documented between a question from Sarah Speeg. “Text-time? What’s test-time?” Sitting next to Angie Granado-Wherle who is double fisting PBR’s and claiming with help from her cleavage could do three if need be (no need to show off) I explain to Sarah the same way I would explain it to a inquisitive Wal-Mart employee who took it to a whole new level when she asked “What’s ‘check time’ mean?”… I’m writing a short story, have been since way before my ‘re-set’ tackling the ever-touchy subject of national security when it comes to such touchy ideas as terrorism. The story is called Doomoon and has a gang called ‘Doomies’ that base their culture around a suspected space alien named Astral Alcor (who ALSO makes an appearance in another short story tie-in in SMORGASBOARD). These ‘Doomies’ write industrious revolutionary slogans on their arms and hands for kicks. I was ‘trying it out to see if it’s a real ‘social separator’ as I expect. The way it was written on my right arm (with my left hand) it appears to look like the word ‘TexTime’ but I really intended to play off of the fact that I don’t have a cell-phone and embracing the socially developing hash tag ‘#’ it was intended to come across as ‘#TEXTme’. But ‘check time’? That’s almost fucking stupid to get that… “Why you want people to text you?” the Wal-Mart cashier asked. “Well, I don’t. Cause they really cant. I don’t have a cell-phone” “How can anyone text you if they don’t know the number?” I explained my whole Doomoon thing and that I was a ‘professional writer’ not too much of a stretch right? “Oh!” she said, “I get it!” But you know what? I know she was lying. OR just wanting rid of me.
7.2 The ride home is good. It’s 5:30-ish as I navigate the almost empty Cincinnati streets and roads taking me back to my home in the northern suburbs. The sickness I feel from my White Castle gorging is still with me but what can you expect when you eat items directly off of a White Castle table that you know is dirty and never truly cleaned but yet something that is so cool (in theory) when looking upon and embracing AMTs sentiments of “Eat until your full, if needed we will get more.” MS was right. We should have gotten an order of Mac and Cheese Nibblers (let the record show.) But anyway… Despite my non-drinking I still wake up with a hangover. Life just isn’t fair and will always get even when it comes the trials of living and dying.