Kiss This: Being on the outside with Jesus and The Mary Chain

barbed wire kissesBarbed Wire Kisses
By Zoe Howe
St. Martin's Press


Jim, William, Douglas and Bobby changed my life for the better. I owe those guys a profound debt of sincere gratitude. They are the coolest cool, the blackest black, the grooviest of the groovies.

All those bands who imitated the Mary Chain? I never liked any of 'em. That shoegaze shit was not for me. I was not into acid house or even that much Brit-Pop, really. For me, the Mary Chain was the zenith, the high point of standalone excellence. 1995 was the year The Man killed punk dead in my little underground world, when media consolidation under Bill Clinton ate up all the medium-sized labels that actual real garage bands used to have some remote hope of making records for, corporations bought up all the smallish venues, closed most of 'em, jacked up ticket prices with extra added fuck you fees, like hospitals, at all their enormo-dome sports coliseums, moneybags promotors started pushing those big five hundred dollar festivals in daylight with all the sunburnt sports assholes starring some heir and his laptop, ushered all those idiot normies into music scenes with their by numbers "Alternative" hoax bands.

Every big city had the trust fund Clones impersonating all our favorite bands, but with none of the soul or truth, or pathos or originality-just the surface gimmickry and expensive fancy vintage gear, paid for by their Little Lord Fauntleroy family fortunes. I dunno if it was me who coined the phrase, imitation generation, but no one I saw was putting anything much of their own on to the stage, just cheap, tacky impersonations of good bands the mainstream locals had never heard of, so they all seemed way more impressive and innovative, in their grunge era small ponds, than they really were.

Suckass copycats were even getting signed to hipster labels by performing lesser knowns originals and old forgotten covers, and passing them off as their own. MTV took rocknroll off the air, the little labels who used to put out cool shit got rich offa some gimmick band and retired. They banned 900 antiwar songs permanently by 2001. I don't like anything, anymore. Okay, besides summa Tex Perkin's stuff.

"Damage & Joy" and "Munki" were both return to form awe inspiring brilliance. I still love the Mary Chain. My last "Musicians Wanted Ad" said: "Elderly goth looking for musicians for incendiary glamarchist cowpunk, torch n twang garage group influenced by the Mary Chain, Gun Club, Beasts Of Bourbon, Tex & The Horseheads, Chris Isaac, Suicide, Stooges". Naturally, I got no calls.


"I go to the Darklands to talk in rhyme with my chaotic soul"....

Kinda bummed out by all the USA! USA! gullible rubes who support the Latest Thang, no matter what it is, so long as it's fed to 'em via corporate media firehosing. So that kills my desire to be online, got no desire to argue with people who know it all cause they watch the CORRECT tv channel-you know, the one that does not lie for billionaire weapons manufacturers, surveillance tech overlords, pharmaceutical companies, and real estate hoarders. I'm antisocial and pessimistic. You can always and easily identify the ones who been watching tell-lie-vision. I think it's astounding how many reboot robots will cry crocodile tears when big-media tells them to, but have zero compassion for the people of Flint, or Palestine, or Yemen or Libya. Or millions of Murkkkans who have been unhoused since Goldman Sachs did their three card monte act with mortgages and got a big payday reward for it. I know way too many people at risk of homelessness to have any patience left for Latest Thing media sloganeers.

Those same idiots sometimes see stock footage on tv and send donations to fake grifter charities who pocket their money, but complain about the houseless guy panhandling at Trader Joe's. They still think the division is between political parties cause one group pillow talks prettier while fucking all us poor people over. Blue Maga Dems will moan about the dumbass crookedness of the obnoxiously obtuse Trump juniors in the very same breath they glorify the equally detestable Hunter Biden, Chelsea Clinton, Megan McCain or the Kardashians. I cannot stand any of these oligarchical war pigs or their annoying wives and spoilt, corrupt, detestable, crackhead kids. Someone asked anti-war and civil rights activist, Garland Nixon why he did not run for office, in these ever more turbulent times, he said, because he did not want to get assassinated by the (Yes, Virginia, there is a) Deep State. I suspect the same is true with Cornel West. HE probably attended a wild party in the ‘60s and knows the establishment would TMZ him or worse. All the clueless handbag designing, born into wealth Biffs and Buffys rise to the top, and get the most cake, and big jobs for oil companies. Hell, I never even liked the fucking gentrification poster boys, the fucking Strokes. Or middle class, noise merchant know-it-alls, Sonic Youth. Or Lady Gaga, or that guy Rob Sheffield writing about Britney Spears all the time in Rolling Stone magazine. I'm still into old goth, cowpunk, post-punk, ‘70s glam and new wave. I never really found my people, ya know?

 So all the hours I can ot bear to sit in this stupid swivel chair looking at all the non-stop advertisements for endless wars, I take to the desert trail, but that's starting to be a bummer, too, cause yuppie scumbags are all the way out here in deadend dustbowl country, tearing up the nature and fantasizing about getting rich quick by selling three story McMansions to people who don't know that rancid stench in the air is the sewage "treatment" plant, right there. Can you imagine buying a half a million dollar home and finding out it reeks of shit almost all year round? 'What happens when you brunch bunchers show up from outta state to steal the poor people's side of town. Every time an old man croaks in one of these windblown old houses, the assholes are there the next day with a checkbook, buying his property from his survivors to build a dumb Overnight McMansion. 

Retreating from just visiting big city van life hipsters with their big backyard yurts and heated tents and gigantic RV's, I venture ever deeper into the winding desert dirt roads, seeking respite from all the pro-war propaganda and non-stop glorification of do nothing fake liberal politicians and evil billionaires and fake music.

Hack media in this country just doubled down on their partisan denials and outright lies for always more war, and less civil liberties or civilian mobility. TV people will always believe the imperial stenographers, tv is the church here and money is the god, and the social engineers keep people in a constant state of panic so they think they need their superstar celebrity ruler friends to help and protect them, with their empty justice tweeting and reassuring sales pitch and cheerful decorating tips, while they are really doing the opposite. Never have I seen so much bullshit propaganda and censorship and vilification of truth tellers, what a dark time. I find it hard to even be around people at all nowadays-all of 'em seem to be actually competing to prove they are always more Karenesque than thou, with their stupid fucking "I Voted" stickers and nonstop trendy slogan repeating and obedience signaling and television imitating.

Truth tellers get locked out of social media for reposting links to articles by Max Blumenthal, Abby Martin, Whitney Webb, or Aaron Mate. Pulitzer Prize recipient Seymour Hersh cannot even publish in Western Media anymore. We, the people of USA, USA have no representation whatsoever in the so called halls of justice and democracy. Billionaires rule, the little people get no say. Most of us supported that Bernie Sanders platform that filled stadiums. We demanded freedom for Assange and universal housing, and real healthcare for all, instead, they gave us Gropey Joe Biden censorship and pandemic profiteering, endless war and death to the poor. I attended a social function recently that was  like 20 brand shills all simultaneously Tik Tok pimping their hipster businesses and capitalist brand logo vanity merch., I just hid in the corner, I cannot be around that shit anymore. Anybody who thinks of themself as a VIP, or landlordly entrepreneurial real estate mogul, that ain't the company for me. I gotta go.


"I'm goin' back to the happy place where all my life I lived to taste someone els’es flavor on my tongue..."

When I was a teenager, me and my new romantic friends with the crazy Echo & The Bunnymen haircuts could never locate or keep a reliable drummer, it's just always been a problem for me, so like many before me, I tried to fuck around with what shitty keyboards and four tracks and drum machines we black clad little rascals had access to, which were all real primitive, ya know, so the best we could ever do was get some cheap, weak sounding breakdance beat going, while one of my evil looking guitar mercenaries with the Matthew Ashman mohawk and Charlie Sexton cheekbones and Animal from Anti-Nowhere League garb played some real loud, fuzzed out guitar distortion on top of it, while I tried to meekly sing some kinda melody on top, it never really gelled into a Soft Cell or Depeche Mode or Suicide work of genius, just alotta badly improvised, amateur hour, high school poetry bullshit about some girl I loved and lost, but it was us learning how to write songs and figuring out what needed to be done, like writing a third part, or break, which helped all my future dead-end endeavors, to at least have a memorable song there, however badly recorded.

This planetary quarantine never really bothered me much cause I've always been an indoor kid, I had to stay inside to avoid the racist cavemen and conditioned brutes who always wanted to kill me for having a big mouth and apricot scarf and sheer women's blouse on. Back then, we did not have safe spaces and no one was ever cancelled or de-platformed for offending us, in fact, the goons who tortured us were always, always handsomely rewarded by society for making an example of us (okay, mostly me) to scare the followers back in line, and we were always the ones told to shut up and get over it, right? The way daytime tv programmed people to say "get a job" all the time, before that Jenny Jones-Sally Jesse-Dr. Phil-Judge Judy bullshit, back in my day, it was, all those tedious P.M.R.C. sports moms demanding we be vanquished from their smelly middle school halls, it was always, always "cut your hair", so I got a chuckle when George Thorogood wrote that song, "get a haircut and get a real job". I was always the Resistance, up against the wall, the dishwasher pushed into the bowels of the kitchen with the drain on the floor and the hairnet and the bloody apron and hothose, talking to people about the revolution, in permanent exile and excommunication, eviction and expulsion, forever defying the bully white-truck monoculture from day one.

I discovered the Mary Chain in NYC as a runway teen and also Joy Division and Fra Lippo Lippi and Love & Rockets and New Order all around the same time I discovered girls and beer and acid and hairspray, and for me, there would be no going back to some gymnasium, or membership or subscription, or belonging to that whole suburbanized  consumerist world of ass kissing conformity and endless double standards. I had to stay underground to thrive and survive. When some politician slagged basement dwellers, I rolled my tired eyes, proudly. I fit that description. I have always been in the basement mixing up the medicine, spray-painting the t shirts, writing the songs that make the old drunks cry. Joe Average khaki wearers always saw me as an other and branded me as a threat, as someone who needs knocked down the stairs backwards again, or snitched on, or betrayed, somehow compromised, shutout, selected last, or otherwise humiliated, punched, slagged, slandered, backstabbed, stepped on, shamed into submission, mostly all cause I simply lived in a shithole small town. The kids in L.A. had KROQ and The Starwood and The Masque. Kids in Boston had the Rat and Man Ray and Spit and 100 cool record stores. NYC was totally cool with me having my own way of walking, I was just another kid, there.

The Midwest has always been a factory for manufacturing the corrections guards, cops, military and fast-food managers. In the eighties college radio post-punk music era, anybody who was from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, or Kentucky who liked punk rock at all, whether it was Skinny Puppy or Bauhaus, or Suicidal Tendencies, Cyndi Lauper, or R.E.M, we all had to come together to survive. Even ex punks from Detroit or Ft. Wayne or Toledo or Dayton will tell you it was still dangerous as hell in the nineties to go round those college jock bars where frat boys were first finding out about Soundgarden and the Chili Peppers, thinking the Beastie Boys were somehow "Alternative",  if you were a non-compliant makeup wearer, or standout crusty motherfucker, or gutter urchin, or heavily tattooed, have not hellraiser. Needless to say, those were my people. "And we tried so hard and we looked so cool, and we lived our lives in black..."


"life in a sack, it's comin' back..."

 So yeah in the Killing Joker Eighties, I was a weird kid, supposedly, an outsider in a right wing death hole, so I was always being hassled by older muscle shirted Transmaro driving dumbfucks who had not really seen much MTV yet, so ya know, anybody who was into synth duos, the Cramps, punk rock, even your basic, run of the mill All Amerikkkan garage rock stuff like the Ramones or Raveups or Romantics or Replacements, we were just brutally harassed and stalked and hell hounded for it by our never really peers and blacklisted and bootcamped and dress code violated by school admin., and it feels a lot like that is happening again, in this surveillance capitalist, police state culture, what with the high jacking of the fake liberal faux-left by the oligarchs and their do nothing, tokenized spokesmodel, feelgoodist tweeter squads and big tech censoring black comedians and anti war journalists. Romney and Hillary can brand someone an agent of a foreign power and present zero evidence, never retract it or say they're sorry, but shamelessly take big million dollar checks from Haim Saban and the Saudi beheaders, it's nutty, but as the Lizard King said, "whoever controls the media controls the minds". Even the people who used to be weird kids with me, hiding out in unheated attics and basement rooms, they all went away and memorized that shit about how Washington could not tell a lie, and Honest Abe freed the slaves and Thank You Obama for keepin' it classy, so ya know, I can't even relate to none of them, anymore. They start talking about Mass Incarcerator In Chief Kamala and Dr. Dr. Double Down DOCTOR Jill Biden the SCIENTIST for science, and Chelle Obama coming to save us with their holiday decorations and organic garden photo ops for wokeness and candy sharing diversity and patriotic and democratic endless war, and I got to go.

Remember when the Mary Chain split up and Jim had Freeheat with those Gun Club people and William did "Tired Of Fucking"? Apparently, their little sister even made a record I never heard called, "Little Pop Rock", but ya know my world was not the same without the two of those Reids together, but they came  back with "Munki" when my kids were small it was all I listened to for a couple of years when I first fled the yup-yup yuppies and P.C. backpacks and stripjoint customer R Kelly crooners and yes ma'am honor roll students. "Man On The Moon" is still my main jam, and even "Crackin' Up". "Black".

"Damage & Joy", man, now we're cookin' with gasoline, right? Lotsa middle class posh people can buy recording studios and effects pedals and big hollow body antique guitars. No one writes songs, like antisocial dropout working class weirdos, Jim & William, though. All those perfect pop hits. If you're like me, you can't even name your top twenty fave Mary Chain songs cause you love most all of 'em. "About You", "Cracked", "Good For My Soul", "Far Out & Gone", "You've Been A Friend", "Don't Ever Change","Hardest Walk", "Never Understood", "The Living End", "Man On The Moon", "I Hate Rocknroll", "I Love Rocknroll", "Cherry Came Too", "Some Candy Talking", "Just Like Honey", "Coast To Coast", "Blues From A Gun", "April Skies", "Halfway To Crazy", "Her Way Of Praying", "Almost Gold", back when that kind of music could still be heard on the radio, in nightclubs, and on dirty dive bar jukeboxes, you know, the world was just a better place.

I feel like even the squares and straights were better off back then, cause girls would always subject them to that kind of music, against their will and better judgement, and that kind of emotive soul music is powerful, has a healing effect on all the people who been abused, conditioned, lied to all their lives. 'Not that much Coach Green or Judge Judy can really bark that has any effect, once a kid's teenage heart is cracked open by the Cure or Smiths, Flesh For Lulu or Mary Chain, I saw a couple stray hellions break their programming and escape from the open air terminal prison of the chicken wing guzzling, drive through, Murkkkan Midwest. I always related so much to the Reid brother's song lyrics, whole approach, image, world view, habits, conflicts, triumphs, nerves, their whole story always resonated deeply with me. Loved how Bobby stood and played that minimal drumkit, so cool!!!

My friend Austin, who is dead now, used to play primitive beats on my middle school snaredrum and a metal ashtray when we were still luckless delinquents hiding out in my mom's basement. I was always jealous I never had a Creation records guy like their wild partying manager, Alan McGee, to record my bands when we were young and lean. We had the songs, hell, get-some people still try to rip us off and rob us of those tunes cause they know we don't have no money or power or energy to fight over it anymore. As Jim Reid once sang, "I'm a mean motherfucker now, but I once was COOL..."

My favorite Mary Chain records are "Stoned And Dethroned" and "Darklands", but I love 'em all. I saw 'em on that tour in Ohio and actually got thrown out of a bar by meatheads for drinking. I was obviously of legal age at the time, probably 26 or 27, and everybody in the bar knew it. The guitar store owner, the manager of the bar across the street, 300 people in the room could easily have confirmed my legal adulthood, but I had lost my wallet, and like I keep reiterating, these big dumb grunge Tarzans will never miss an opportunity to harm people who scoff at their local gentry, rich kid popularity, sports hierarchies. But yeah, the Mazzy Star girl was there, the duet I loved on that record was "God Help Me" with Shane MacGowan. A couple of my dead drinking buddies once gifted me with a Shane MacGowan & The Popes T-shirt when he sat on my barstool between them one night, while I was elsewhere babysitting. He wrote "Where Were Ya? Shane" in black sharpie. Three sizes too big for me and long lost to some midnight eviction or class transition breakup. Shane MacGowan came to my sleazy, disreputable dive bar and drank with my two former best friends, a couple of infamous, hard drinking hoodlum, outlaw beat poets with Tom Waits speaking voices and Lucky Charms tattoos, and all I got was a lousy t shirt. Story of my life. My imaginary band is called, THIS LOUSY TSHIRT. 

When the impeccably stylish and slinky rake, Bobby Gillespie, made that "Rocks Off" record with George Clinton, I honestly was like, ho-hum, big deal, panned it in my tawdry fanzine. Just seemed like some hired hand chick singers and paid for horn session men to me. Throwing money around. That's how overconfident I was in my own Faces influenced, lads on the tiles band's impending greatness, in that inebriated hour. I thought it was like bargain basement band Black Crowes.

At 20 and 21, I was way overconfident, arrogant even, cause we were bargain basement Dogs D'Amour. It took me years to really even "get" the Primals dance thing. I have come to love summa his stuff like "Dolls" and "Country Girl", but am just sour grapes I never knew those cats in real life, cause where I came  from, there was just nothing to believe in, no one to relate to. Nothing at all. Less than zero. Sports bars, jails, army recruiters, and hellfire churches. For the longest time, all I had was a stack of records. The Mary Chain were an awful lotta people's imaginary friends. Now I am old and grumpy, tired and slow, and can not cope with the war machine bullshit online, so I have turned to reading rocknroll books again even though that's a bourgeoise luxury I really cannot afford, and was able to find this one for six dollars used online. It's so good, and stirred all those old songs up in my head. I kinda play entire Mary Chain records in my mind somedays while I climb the mountain, just like I did when I was stuffed in a solitary confinement closet back in juvenile detention hall. Sleepin' on some tenement rooftop down on South Houston Street. Sleeping in some unlocked basement apartment laundry room in the flyover states, I took those songs with me everywhere. Like friends that never split or fuck you over. I still cherish those songs. Holy relics of a freer time. Before the people I used to know all died or had their uniqueness and nerve and coolness and charisma surgically removed, under orders from their hut-two higher ups.


"C'mon you've been a friend, some things never end.." 

That brainwash noise always pushes me away from the screens and deeper into nature, but I usually end up encountering other antisocial hermits fleeing society out there and an awful lot of 'em are dangerous rightwing gun nuts speeding at over 100 mph, with the Don't Tread On Me and Trump flags on the back of their swanked out jeep or off road vehicles. Nutty dudes who listen to too much talk radio and bitch about trans people or Mexican immigrants. You can usually see the meth heads a comin', lumbering slowly down the street like toothless, shirtless zombies. Maybe they're on that new Fentanyl drug, I dunno. I used to make friends with the crazies, but I just got burnt too many times by hustlers and drifters and loose cannons who'd break windows, or throw bricks, or steal cars, or burn their bridges to light the way outta somewheres and, and get me somehow third hand partially blamed for it by association, that kinda shit, so nowadays, when I see a masked man carrying a croquets' mallet, with a winter ski mask on in the desert sun, a coming this way, on the trail, I just instinctively go thataway. You know what I'm saying? Snakes on the trails.

There's no honor among outlaw artists anymore. Only thing that trickled down in this country was selfishness and greed and an insatiable appetite for some delusional commodity the middle classers all desire above all else, something they call, "being popular", or "popularity". I dunno much about that shit, just not my bag at all, trying to fit in with bullies, despots, prescription pill Karens, or dumbfuck brute males. I am personally repulsed and offended by the Kissinger/Kardashians and Davos Honchos and Lloyd Blankenfein and KKlaus Schwab owned media whores for war like all these tv obeyers are by Chappelle or Rogan or Dore or Sarandon or Nader.

When I was a kid, most folks agreed it was wrong to hate an entire religion, or individual person based on their looks or preferences, but then the Rand corporation think tanks took over the media and universities and tricked people into believing in special privilege, VIP room classes and sacred cows, and taught that it's what's on the outside that counts, not character or behavior. You got shitlibs voting for people who commit atrocities, and uncritically applauding them based only on their hue, gender, political party or tv channel pairing, or presence on the corporate media. People like Hillary and Obama destroyed the meaning of "progressive". Those labels mean nothing now, they altered the definitions BEYOND RECOGNITION-now, booj people think being progressive means cheering for always more censorship, war, misinformation, laws against protesting, and wanting to deny basic human rights to anyone the tv tells them they are supposed to disagree with. What the fuck is that fucking bullshit? I don't even recognize this country, anymore. I don't speak the Netflix language of my former peers. Nor do I have any desire to ever learn their updated lexi-conned. They been hoodwinked and bamboozled by shiny surfaces. Bernie and the Squad lined up behind the Reset-Lockstep billionaires, the police state, Wall Street warpigs. Things are fucked, severely.

My first impulse is to always write more protest songs to push back against the censorship, fascism, lies and propaganda, as Joe Strummer said, "strike tiny blows against the empire", but it's tough without any likeminded, suitable collaborators who share my values, or access to affordable recording facilities. I already asked all the people I helped make famous. They're all busy. Everybody I know who is still making records has at least one rich person in their band, paying for everything, so ya know there's not alot of music being made that is from the perspective of poor people being preserved. 

I got friends whose songs died with them because they weren't really able to document that many of their originals except on cassette tapes that got shitcanned when somebody cleaned up their death room. One of my most talented songwriting friends only has like two songs left on youtube and they are both him playing covers for quarters on the streets of New Orleans. Makes me sad his kid will never know how talented and righteous and funny and sweet and poetic the old man really was, beyond the frightful appearance and bad reputation among the ridiculous, goose stepping, advertisement believing, gossip spewing, daytime people. Usually, I can't relate to the mimosa brunchers or haves on the hill, at all, I mean at all, I'm usually shocked they got no self-awareness, just no idea how corny they look to the rest of us with their must have want lists and tv programmed word balloons.

When did "garage band" become rich and soulless motherfuckers who can't write songs or play from the heart, playing copycat muzak as an excuse to show off their name brand vintage stuff? I'm from garage land where you know, you sleep in the garage cause the parents don't want you coming in the house. I don't hate all rich people, just don't know any, anymore who are cool, at all. Cloistered and insulated princelings and daddy's girls just got no idea about how life is for the majority of the planet. They're all uptight about their piles of acquisitions and prescription pill privileges and waiting to tell you what is what, the way of things, the script, what they learned in the tower. All the former weirdos just do their best to deny or erase their own weirdness via assistant manager job titles or merit badges, government pills and masking and rigorous conformity and pretending to like Kanye West. Sheesh, that looks like so much work. Adults pretending to like Kanye West! Astonishes me.

Every decade or so, I might encounter a lone individual, that came from wealth but maybe ain't trying to aggressively push their bullshit textbook meritocracy vulture capitalist Mitt Romney falsehoods, or who might share my appreciation for certain pop bands or Pogues songs about drinking or whatever, but their activity in my musical operations is always short lived. I had some outstanding musicians in one of my Boston bands, whose virtuosity really complimented me and my ghetto hoods, but as cool as we were, they were still simply too invested in their tribe of origin's social hierarchy narratives, in other words, their mom and girlfriends got nervous that we were somehow using them for their recording studio, or overshadowing them with our ridiculously oversized, out loud personalities and flamboyant appearances, so we were gradually banished from that kingdom. Everybody in capitalist society is fucking competing, all the time, undermining, backstabbing, lying and cheating to get stuff. If they were born into it, they get pressured by the family to guard it from rank outsiders like myself and my former bandmates, many of whom are also now guarding their own haul, protecting their stash. I had to walk away from all of that. Other insider opportunist types always tried to sort of rip us off, steal our life's work. Steal the value of our songs, monetize that shit. They change a word and steal two thirds. I don't have a lawyer and always kinda figure, I can write more. If people wanna trade on some shit I wrote when I was nineteen, and grieving about the senseless breakup of my first band, ya know...ugh! What the hell? I just walk away, whistle past the graveyard, life's too short, Urge Overkill says, "the dogs will bark but the carnival rolls on". It's like summa the insider people are so vain they don't even realize how cheap and petty that is when they try to buy the blues, or how it never rings true comin' outta them, anyway. It's ridiculous, these  haves singing these hard lived songs about being have nots.


"Well I guess I never saw her in that way

Well I guessed everything always ends that way
Oh I guess I should have tried to make her stay
Keep on coming
Keep on coming

Some people live their lives to understand
Some people live their lives to take command
But the day has come when I must make my stand
Keep on coming
Keep on coming"

Sometimes, I'll poke around online just looking for people in my age group who are still making music and not just for make a buck purposes, to steal poorer people's songwriting publishing, or get some pass to the big city red carpet wingding with all the insufferable richies showing off their expensive wardrobes. I'll laugh at the whole notion of people who build their celebrity empires on the backs of other people I used to know, ya know? It's like that Izzy Stradlin song, "Here Before You".

Back in the day, one of my old girlfriends was a bass player in a metal band and she and her Bon Jovi lovin' friend hung out at some loathsome white trash heavy metal hole in the Midwest. I was not old enough to get in, anyway, but the people who worked there, who were all older than me, were always saying I was "banned" from playing there, wanting her to let me know. Well, I never asked. The big band there was called Turbo ACs, I think they played mostly Metallica and Megadeth covers. Their superstar celebrity was another bassist named, you can't make this shit up, Stogie, and he was a superstar celebrity for having big white fluffy hairspray CC Deville hair when that was still basically forbidden and was given a pass by the karate cobras cause his band played real hard thrash metal covers. His girlfriend, Ann was nice, they always let her know also, that my little goth gang was unwelcome at that bar. The assholes who knocked me down the stairs backwards in middle school were also Judas Priest cover band deedlers and they did not want makeup wearing "fags" like me showing up at their macho muscle heavy metal hellhole. I got it. I wasn't interested, anyways. I think summa my circle of friends and hangers on and maybe even a few former bandmates wanted to go there and become accepted, though, cause over time, they were getting salty that their own "popularity" was being adversely impacted by their association with the makeup wearing "fag" likes of me. I did not have conventional Ken Doll looks and was not at all inclined to do the hokey pokey with the cows of consumerism. Once I was outta the hometown picture, they all integrated and assimilated and finally got to be accepted by the local jock assholes who loved Journey and hated me. Ya see 'em online, with all the old conservative parents at the old high school sports events, like, still polishing that draft beer popularity trophy. Bringing an apple to the town sadist, hoping to be patted on the head by their upper classmen. Finally, at long last, allowed in to the bar where suburban dickheads played Bon Jovi and Metallica covers badly.

There's only two bars where I live and I've only set foot in one of them for a local's CD release party, I'm not into bars, anymore, had enough of pack mentality and sportsbar dumbuckery in my twenties. Not interested in group perspectives-used to think I had relationships with lone dudes but overtime I slowly, slowly, like a glacier melting, wokeup and realized I was obliviously having relationships with like, their mother in laws and wife's sisters, whole committees of smug opinions. All the bars I liked closed down, and became overrun with secretaries and shit. Nine to fivers.

The corner bookstores are gone, replaced with dollar stores, checks cashed predators. I'm out. Way out. Gotta go. Stonecold sober on a Sunday in the wind beaten weather torn desert, I hate the television-the same media gatekeepers are taking over the internet, too, with daily psy ops, rah-rah war programming, censorship, social media lockouts, and red scare pinko boogeyman fear propaganda. Thinking 'bout Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball and Abbie Hoffman. I'd like to record some new music but I cannot find suitable collaborators. Wife's busy, kid's asleep. I quit smoking, been overeating again. I don't know about you, but personally, I'm affected emotionally by the tsunamis of lies and media garbage.


So yeah, they never liked me back in the Midwest, ever, ever. It really does a number on your head to be hounded all your life like Frankenstein's monster for the crimes of being poor, or just not a traditional, G.I. Joe preppie Hooters's customer, flannel wearing, big white truck driving, male jockstrap. 'Had another girlfriend, a Skid Row chick, and her parents were these superstitious hardcore evangelicals, they decided I was a scary cult leader because I did my own thing and had a bandhouse on the edge of town where we got down around the bonfire to like, old '80s funk, you know: Zapp and Lakeside and Cameo 12 inch remixes. Made compilation tapes for girls of sensitive Replacements and Psychedelic Furs and Smiths and Jesus & Mary Chain songs. Dressed however we wanted. Theywent to the Christian broadcasting studio in town and got all those Pat Robertson people worked up that I was singlehandedly corrupting all their blue eyed innocents with my leather strides and last night's leftover clown white kabuki makeup. They actually brought in outta state anti rock crusaders and did a whole in studio episode about the debbil using rawk music to ruin the youth and discourage them from joining the military.

Everybody knew who they were talking about and targeting, they were dog whistling for the sports boys to beat me up again, so the harder they clamped down on me with the frenzied scapegoat hysteria, the more I appealed to certain females and farm boys from other counties who brought movie cameras to my rare performances and bags of booze to my parties. This also seemed to stir up some acrimony from my own gang, who were feeling left out of the spotlight, but the thing is they weren't getting chased down the street by gangs of football players like I was, either. Nobody was calling THEIR employers up, demanding they be fired for not being compliant and malleable and on-script enough. We were irreverent, non-conforming, sometimes deliberately provocative, onstage. It was a rock show, ya know?

My lead guitar shredder who grew up and became a bigtime NYC doctor had all these girls from Missouri who would runaway from home, drive across the country and park their cars in our frontyard just stubbornly waiting for him to pay attention to them, I mean summa his fanclub were borderline stalkers. He never got emotionally involved with women, so that made them cling to him ever more desperately. I got all the envious dorks who wanted to BE me, I mean these dudes would go to crazy lengths to impersonate me, and attempt to occupy my space. One guy got my old job, moved into my old apartment, started smoking my brand of cigarettes, same kinda sunglasses, same kinda boots, ya know, the whole thing. Pursued all my ex girlfriends. That was creepy.  

A lady who ran the thrift store, where summa my girlfriends bought clothing, showed up with a buncha superstitious religious hysterics at the tattoo parlor I sometimes hid out at, and asked me to come outside on the sidewalk, where they tearfully laid hands upon me, hoping to pray the unholy spirits of you know, Paul Westerberg and John Easdale and Peter Murphy out of me. Another girlfriend, Heather, foxy Depeche Mode chick, real smart, from California, her mom wrote poetry about me called, "Demon Child".

I was starting to kind of get the impression, after three expulsions from local schools, multiple gang beatings, and a juvenile court who overlooked all the violence rained down on weirdos like me at the hands of kung fu bullies, but convicted me of "Felony 4 Malicious Destruction Of County Property" for drawing like, you know, Love & Rockets and PIL and Cure logos in my history textbook. Call me paranoid, but I was starting to get the feeling that I just was not wanted in that zipcode, that I was not being encouraged or celebrated for my singing and dancing and writing and design and party hosting efforts, by the local gentry. Every time my juvie punk band played some backwoods bonfire yeeeehaw or boy's club hoedown, we'd have to be accompanied by my older biker buddies to avoid getting stomped on by the jealous metal dudes and sports fuckheads. So I had to keep plotting my escape, while many of those kids I counted as my close pals were actually, just mostly hanging round me for the beer and chicks, and counting down the hours til I split, so their own social currency could finally skyrocket, and yeah, that's what happened. I went away and they finally got to have their big moment behind the red velvet rope with the quarterbacks, meddlesome sports moms, baseball caps, and auto parts store managers. I drank over it.


We had a ferociously devoted fanbase while I still lived in that horrible piss-town and when we would play out, there was always a turbulence between the hillbilly right-wingers who irrationally and obsessively hated us and this emerging new legion of future alternative music enthusiasts who passionately loved us, it always teetered right there on the edge of violence.

One of my guitar players looked like Cobalt Stargazer meets GG Allin, cigarette dangling, nosering, sideburns, mirrored shades, the other one looked like a china doll Joe Perry, or young Wayne Kramer, we were young blades, making new art riot music. What a real insurrection sounds like, kinda loud and outta tune. Some drunkard hillbilly always seemed to fall into the bonfire. Not my fault. When locals say there was "a riot" at our shows, that's a gross exaggeration-what usually happened is some country music band redneck on the bill would abruptly turn the power off, offended by my sex and drugs and rocknroll incitements, and all the young people who dug our scene would roar and pushback, until the power was restored.

Bouncers would throw me out of the downtown bar for even suggesting people be allowed to pogo or slamdance. That's a big thing for males in that part of the country-like a machoman rite of fratboy passage, becoming bouncers, and receiving their STAFF t shirt and the license to throw people hard on to the sidewalk. Males were raised by booyah gung ho fathers and racist wrestling coaches to become sadist abusers. I got more than my fair share of that tool-time bullshit. These older clowns just HATED the notion of someone they considered odd or ugly or weird or "gay", becoming recipients of positive female attention. We were 18, liked it, had a lot of pretty girlfriends.

On weekends, we might have 30 or 40 people from the tristate area watching our band rehearse our sets of mostly like Gun Club and Dogs D'Amour covers. Rabid dog packs full of Skoal chewing, stonewashed denim wearing, male mullets would drive by my house real slowly, threatening to burn the place down, which was a legit threat, we knew a nice guy named Nathan who got his house burnt down for merely taking care of a pretty woman who got her wisdom teeth removed one weekend-her envious ex-boyfriend set fire to his place and totally got away with it. I had a hardass roadie living on our frontporch who'd go outside with a crowbar whenever a car full of meatheads would show up to threaten me for dressing like a girl and/or attracting the women they found most desirable.

When I first came around that dump, I knew I would not stay. I was always dead, jail, or rocknroll, like from birth. We still got summa the pictures. So now that I am old and unrecorded  and so very few of those tunes were ever fully brought to light in a proper studio, my teeth and knees are fucked up and I got a mind full of bad memories, agoraphobic tendencies, life of trauma, you might think that would have changed me by now, but I am what I am. Still anti-war, still anti-racism, anti-lynch mob, anti-police state and I still got love for the streets. I probably would have split for England or Australia  but I always stayed here like a fool, for my kids. They don't even call the old man up on a Sunday. Not even a peep on the holidays. Radio silence. That's gutting, between you and me. Last few friends all say I probably shoulda gotten that passport years ago when we first got invited elsewhere. So yeah, kinda depressed today, nothing to do, nowhere to go. Mind filled with echoing memories of the nightmare years and I know it's getting worse. I still wanna rock.

The book "BARBED WIRE KISSES" is essential for all fans of the Mary Chain but only goes up to like the era of Munki, really. If you are part of MY LITTLE UNDEROUND, my ever shrinking, ever vanishing underground, you'll want the book, "Munki", "Damage & Joy", everything the Mary Chain do is pretty much perfect and thanks to Zoe Howe for writing this wonderful biography. I'm in with the out crowd. You know the book is good when you feel all gloomy because you finished it. God Bless The Jesus & The Mary Chain.

Tags: jesus and the mary chain, zoe howe, barbed wire kisses

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