Saturday, November 7, 2009

I'm on my way, just set me free, home-sweet-home


Holy Shit Stefan and I are a machine. He processes, I shoot, he interviews, and off we go. We are getting so good at this that we don't really even need to talk to one another while doing it. Nods generally work. A wave from across the room, too. It is nice to be one half of a team that seems to function with such synergy. Don't get me wrong, we still get into tiffs here and there but, fuck, he and I are adults. We power through the little things. And, for what...? Well, I shall tell you what... Imagine being given the opportunity to sit in a room with a person, or some people, who generally do not sign on to be interviewed about things that happened 30 years ago, and then imagine that what they say, almost at every step, is a total revelation. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Yeah, for that. Kira, Morris, Dukowski, Reyes, and many more have been kind enough to invite us over to their homes on this leg of our mission and allow us to set up shop and interview them, to pry information from them, and to revel in their story; which happens to be the story of this book.

LA is the birthplace of so much awesome mythology. Think X, the Germs, Fear, the
Circle Jerks, and Black Flag. Then, think of so many more awesome bands and awesome people, and how their contributions to the American Punk Rock ethos have afforded all of us the ability to be part of this lifestyle, subculture, and cultural imperative. So, I guess that it is safe to say that I am willing to overlook little things in order to revel in these moments. And I do.

Our LA host, Phillip Acala, is a tattooer. Not only is he a tattooer, but Phillip apprenticed with Rick Spellman; an oldschool tattooer that has tattooed folks from X, from the Misfits, and from Black Flag. So, imagine my surprise when Phillip says to
me, "Hey man, would you be interested in photographing Rick Spellman tattooing London May (drummer for Samhain, Dagnasty, etc) here at the house...?" Um, hey Phillip, FUCK YES, FUCK YES, FUCK YES... And it was on.

Our last day in LA went as follows. Wake up, walk to the taco shop, meet some guy with the bars on his neck and ask him to come back to the house, walk home, set up
shop and shoot Phillip in his driveway, get into the car, drive to Hollywood, interview and photograph Keith Morris, drive home, set up shop and shoot Rick and London, sleep momentarily on couch, get into long discussion with London about punk rock and Baltimore in the early 80's, look at his Black Flag "stuff" collection, wait for call from Chuck Dukowski, get it, get in the car, drive to Venice, get lost, get to his house, set up shop, interview Chuck Dukowski, take pix of him in his livingroom, get back in car, drive back to LA and drop off Sweettooth so that he might make it back to SF in time for his morning class, drive back to Phillip's house, go to sleep.

If that sounds like a lot of stuff to you, it was way more than you can even imagine. It was even more than I can imagine and I am a pretty productive person. It was intense
int he best possible way. So, in looking back all that I can say is this; if it were not for meeting Phillip and being part of a fucking amazing crew, I am not sure any (and surely not all) of what we accomplished could have been even remotely possible. So, to Phillip, Sweettooth, and my man Stefan I present my heart-felt grattitude.

The next morning we were up early and ready to roll to San Diego (meaning whale's vagina I think???), and most of the coast between LA and SD. Long, slow, chill,
sunny, breezy, laid-back drive down the coast; something that I've always wanted to do but was never given the chance in the bands I was in prior because we were always in a hurry. In what seemed to be a 8 hour period we meandered south making it to San Diego in a relaxed state. There were some driver changes and all, but the vibe was quite pleasant.


I've always loved San Diego. One of my early favorite hardcore bands, the Batallion of Saints, was from San Diego, as were many of my mid-90's favorites (Antioch Arrow,
Swing Kids, Heroin, etc), and so I always dream of finding my way there whenever I can. Arriving in SD we made our way to our host, Mike's, tattoo shop (Metropolis Tattoo). For me, my arrival in SD also signaled a re-connection with a friend that I haven't seen since 1991 named Lisa. I met Lisa in Jackson Hole back when I was in college, and now she is a rather brilliant photographer living and work in SD. So, yeah, my pleasures were manifold.

After a while we made our way to Kadan's, where we set up shop and shot some really,
really, really killer folks, and some brilliant tattoos. Between shoots I was pulling people under the lights (including the lovely and talented Fatima once more), Lisa, Mike, Stefan, and some old folks that were wandering about the bar. What a fucking brilliant night of collecting stories.

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