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Sunday, September 28, 2014

GRUMPY OLD BASTARD PUNK ROCKER

dirty south revolutionaries

My head is so full of fresh memories they've faded like in a fog. Details fade first, and I'm left with the feeling in memory, which was so big and complex that it, too, fades to the core of all the feelings together: joy. Six hours from 8 til 2 in a small rock club, the Milestone, Charlotte, NC. Five bands played, all of them regional hard-core punk bands. It was a ten year anniversary party by the band DSR, Dirty South Revolutionaries, with four other bands playing, Turd/Cutter, The Seduction, Cop Graves and Dollar Signs. Free admission. I found Johnny Moss, who does vocals with two bands, Turd/Cutter and DSR. We've been facebook friends for some time, met on facebook through our mutual friend, Daniel Biggins, vocals and guitar for the band, The Seduction. I wanted to shake Johnny's hand and talk with him briefly. His appearance is scruffy punk rocker, and when I met Johnny, I found he, himself, lives his heart. I noticed everyone he spoke with, that I saw, he told them he loved them in a way you know he means it; he's not playing peace-love-wow-groovy or blowing smoke. It's who he is. It's how he feels. It's what he means. I spoke with his wife at the tshirt bar when I bought Turd/Cutter's five dollar cd with eight songs, their song list for the show. She had the same vibe, wide open, who she is, awake with a loving heart. I heard the word love go around so frequently during my time in the crowd, it made me pay close attention to where I was. The vibration in the crowd and in the bands I felt was love and joy. Joy not separate from love, but an aspect of love. I consciously went into the event open to whatever, territory I had never been in before. A whole new world to me. We all loved punk rock. Johnny told me the people here were a community of friends. Saying, in effect, the world as he wants it to be. He put out loving vibes all night that flowed back to him.  

johnny moss and turd/cutter

I never saw anybody even show a trace of being mad at somebody else for whatever reason. In other places when I only know maybe half a dozen people there, of at least a hundred, I find it hard to talk with anyone I don't know. At the Milestone, I felt free to speak with anybody at any time. It was like everyone was open to everyone else. Their lights literally did shine. In their community I was so welcome I was thanked several times for coming to be with them. I don't know that I've ever been in the company of this many people who were so wide-open receiving one another. I noticed in the mosh pit area, guys running around in a circle, kinda, slamming into each other (slam-dancing), pushing, shoving, running in a tight circle. When somebody fell down, everyone nearby, four and five, would pick him up and set him on his feet. It was spontaneous. I thought: in my generation, you fall down, you're on your own. Everybody was dressed in their punk clothes. For me, it was beautiful. Every person was individuated in what they were wearing and at the same time moved freely among each other like bees in a hive. Bump into somebody, nobody gets mad. Turd/Cutter opened the show. I was standing somewhere around the middle of the crowd, looking for a good place to get pictures from, when everybody around me erupted into a slam dance. Suddenly, I'm knocked this way, then that way, shoulders and arms in motion all around. I stumbled a path outside that circle in a hurry. It was a wild surprise to be standing still, grooving to the sound of raw punk, and quick as a snap of the finger, everyone is slamming into each other, and me, pushing, running, shoving. Unaware of the mosh pit phenomenon, I don't know what I'd have thought. Everybody went spastic except me. If I'd been a cat, I'd have jumped straight up.  

daniel biggins and the seduction

At one point in the night I was in what amounted to the second circle around the mosh pit. The people in the front circle would push moshers back into the pit when shoved out of the circle. The guy in front of me was hit so hard by surprise he fell back into me. In my hyper-vigilant way, I saw it coming before it happened, just enough to ready myself to stop the momentum rather than get knocked on my ass. I was able to put hands up and catch his back as he started over backwards. You start reeling in one direction from a shove and get a shove from a surprise other direction every time. It amounts to floating around staying upright. Until. This was not a mean mosh pit of football players, but a fun one of friends, community. From my brief experience of the shoves from different directions by surprise, I saw that one could let go and let the motion, determined by bumps and shoves, keep one upright and float like a raft on the ocean. Hypothetically. But I wasn't willing to try it. My right knee became sensitive after standing for so long. Toward the end of the night I had to be careful on steps. It reminded me I could be the grandpa of nearly everyone there, and the pa of everyone else. Crystal printed a black tshirt for me to wear, grumpy old bastard, in white letters on the front. I felt like it freed the people around me from seeing an outsider with white hair. The humor was evident, the only thing it was about. Nobody who takes False News Network seriously is going to wear a tshirt calling himself a grumpy old bastard. I can wear it in fun, because I am not grumpy, anyway not all the time. I didn't look grumpy; my face was lit up in a smile of joy the whole time. I was in mild ecstasy from the sound of punk guitars and drums real loud. Words cannot reproduce the experience of the sound. 

door at the milestone

Several times through the night I caught myself thinking I feel at home here. I felt like the others around me felt their own versions of that feeling. It was a new experience to be a stranger in a community where I am embraced as one of them on sight without question. The whole trip from leaving the house to returning to the house felt like a Divine set-up, saying: Here, you need this. I drove the Parkway to Daniel's house, where he, Jess, his wife, and I, took the van with trailer trailing behind down the mountain to pick up the rest of the band and girlfriends at Elkin. Then the long drive to Charlotte on 77, getting acquainted with the band largely through listening. Brandon, rhythm guitar, is an x-ray technician at the hospital; Jacob, bass, a recent graduate at ASU in Boone; Jonathan, 19, could beat the fire out of the drums; Daniel, vocals and lead guitar, I've known since he was a little child. I said when we left the house and passed the swing set for the kids, "This is the age you were when we first met." He said, "Yeah, I remember." I've known Daniel to only want to play rock music since a kid. I've supported him with encouragement all the way along wanting him to experience what he wants with all his might. It's like he's soul driven to be playing and singing in a rock band, particularly a hard core punk band. Initially, my only interest in going to Charlotte with the band was to hear them live and see them in motion. Daniel has given me copies of the self-produced cds they've recorded, so I knew their sound. I wanted to hear and see what Daniel is doing now that he has what he's always wanted and is making it work. In my heart the whole time I was feeling joy for Daniel. I loved the band's music. Like Johnny Moss and the bass player from DSR, Jesse, said to me of Daniel's band, The Seduction: They rule.   

rocknroll van ready to go


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