But in truth, what it mainly reminds me of is the last time I saw David Wiley. Maybe, probably, it was the last time. My old friend. Seems like it. I'd have to think about it some more. No doubt I will. No doubt I will.
Because I drove him down to LA in my white '79 Chevy pickup truck with the out-of-date Arizona license plates, drove him down from him hanging around the Bay Area (with just a brief stop for me to visit an incarcerated prisoner just outside San Luis Obispo) so's David and what was left of The Consumers could get back together and do a glorious
Reunion Show of . . . Hey! The Consumers!
Hot Dog! (WE ARE THE CONSUMERS! A GENERATION OF NOW!)
I'm guessing you haven't heard about this one, eh? The Glorious Reunion Show?
I don't think I'll tell the whole thing right here, right now. I think I'll feint at it, sketch in some parts, leave some uninked and blank.
I will say that on the night of the glorious reunion show, Wiley came onstage wearing a sort of embarassing-ass toga-thing, and carrying a wooden staff, swear to God, with dumb-ass grey stuff in his hair and eyebrows both, that theatrical crap meant to portray him as an old, old, old man. (Meant to portray him, frankly, as the Town Manager/Narrator Dude in a midwestern production of "Our Town," frankly. As far as I was concerned, definitely, and Mikey and Paul's opinions were somewhat less considerate. He told me backstage about it –– no, actually, he'd mentioned it somewhat on the drive down, when he was conscious, somewhere along the way, but I'd kind of shined it on. But backstage, once again, he told me it was based on some Korean performer he'd caught sometime recently, somebody he'd heard and then gone to see, him and all Korean folk, and how the guy had been a master stage artiste and all, and so forth.
Now, this is David and me. This is me and him, him and me.
This is David and me, for what felt like a hundred years. As at those ages, a few quick years feels like a decade or two. I left home at sixteen and worked in factories with Mexicans and Okies and me for like 36 months, maybe. At that age, it was a great deal like a three-decade stretch of hard time. But see, David and I had known each other since, lo, the early Seventies. And we'd been buddys, as we'd say in Arizona, or as I would say, as he pretty damn certainly would not have, ever since we met. Because here's the deal: (And it's the deal that seals the Daisy-Seal-A-Meal of the Consumers, and of punk in Phoenix, and of punk anywhere, any time, really, in that rare scarce moment when it's punk, anyway, which necessarily includes now, which must necessarily include now, no matter how absurdly fuckin' lame Now currently is.) (In fact, highly dependent upon how absurdly lame Now currently works out to be.) (That may be the crux of it there.) (Have I mentioned, by the way, that in Phoenix, there was a perfect and near-permanent rivalry between KRIZ and KRUX?) (Well, stay tuned, Good Guys and Bad Gals!)
There were like only a few people in Phoenix. There were only like a few people in Phoenix. It was huge, it was massive -- it was about one-tenth, maybe one-eleventh the size it is now, by the way, thirty years later -- but there were astonishingly few people who could find one another, who could locate one another, who could verify one another's existence. Who could saddle some Lost Dutchman's Miner desert-rat mule and a pick-ass expedition off to find one another, unless they hungtogether at Beeline Dragway (BRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrring YERRRRRR CAMERA! or Manzanita Speedway).... It was only rarely ever hardly never that you met somebody in Phoenix that had the least little clue. And hey! Guess what! It's worse now!
(I made my living as a writer from the time I was like 19 or so. In Phoenix fuckin' Arizona, swear to fuckin' God. And for all the years that I lived there, for years and years and years following, nobody could ever figure out what the hell I did for a living. I'd be a party, say, and as they do, somebody say, So what do you do?, and I'd say, Well, I'm a writer.
And they'd say, "Cool! Awright! No shit! What do you ride? Horses or motorcycles?"
(It only happened twenty times, maybe, or eighty or something, but every time it happened, they pretty much always said Horses before the mentioned Motorcycles. I guess horses seemed more likely, or maybe it was my cowboy boots. Must've been the cowboy boots. )
Well, anyway, Wiley and I knew each other from way back, years and years and years and years. Or at least a couple of years. I'll have to accurately recollect, but not right now, not just now. Wiley was your dead-nuts-typical 70s record store dude; import buyer division, with an academic minor in avant-garde jazz'n'classical. Me, I made much of my writerly living off a monthly music publication I'd extravagantly written myself into running on the editorial side, and thus I'd inherited David Wiley from Craig Maier, the sweet-natured graphic designer guy who was the de facto publisher of the thing, and who'd latched onto me as needily as I'd latched onto him.
Wiley, who I'd definitely absolutely run across in several different record stores, and no doubt at certain odd and particularly unlikely "concerts," (Was it Iggy & the Stooges opening for Dr. John?) (Was it The Eagles opening for King Crimson?) (Was it -- it may well have been -- that beyond ultra-amazing show, that show that lives tonight in my mind and heart and ears and eyes and probably half a dozen other sensory receptors -- that show where Little Feat, one of the ten greatest rock bands in history, probably, the Little Feat of "Dixie Chicken," did their full show, ridiculously brilliant, and then Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, the Captain Beefheart of "Clear Spot," came out and nearly erased all trace of Little Feat.) (I'm pretty sure it wasn't the show where Captain Beyond opened for Canned Heat who opened for hometown heroes Alice Cooper at Manzanita Speedway, the half-mile low-budget chickenwire dirt track where I spent lots of teenage Saturday nights watching limited modifieds and late model stock cars smack each other around the Trophy Dash, where I learned to use masking tape and pearl-paint and copper underlay from Corky, King of Trick Painters.
(More to follow, obviously.)