The Walk of Fame

Dive bar, that’s a term that gets tossed around a lot these days, like serious actress, or non-contagious, am I right? Oh, the hipsters find some place that still serves beer in the can or–get this!–has an actual jukebox full of 45’s.

The kids furiously wave their hands over glowing Ipads, like Priests trying to rub the semen off of bibles, sending out tweets and updates on the delicious irony of this joint.

And a before ya know it, they’ve chased out the honest neighborhood drunks, installed kitschy black velvet paintings of Cantinflas above the bar, and the internet jukebox starts blaring Johnny Cash at 110 decibels. You look down the bar and it’s all fedoras and pork chop sideburns, hovering over tallboys of PBR and squawking smartphones.


Take a ride around Hollywood, and a few of the old places survive:

….for all my friends!

Sadly, most of the good ones are gone…

And this is what they call…..
…..fuckin progress?!

There was a time when your Friday night was already planned for you, bub! No searching the internet for where to go or what to do, nah. You parked your car –free!– off of Argyle and you were set for the night: The true Hollywood Walk of Fame, that between the Cathay De Grande and the Firefly!

I know, I know……., you actually cut across that empty parking lot, but tell that to Google Maps!

Ah, Cathay, home of a thousand hangovers and bad decisions!

It must’ve been quite something in the day, but by the time the punks and lowlifes inherited the space, its velvety smooth makeup had worn and cracked, and she now looked like the weary middle aged whore of the Boulevard: Discounted by half, but still game for a good night, goddamnit! We must’ve played there a dozen times at least, usually a 3am set on a Thursday night (or was that Friday morning?) The crowd would be done for the night, nursing that precious final Bud ordered at last call, loafing around til they got a ride to the Zero One.

The late Ed, Ed the Buffalohead!

We’d spend the night pestering Dobbs for free beer or pawing at one of the Pandoras in a darkened booth.

And when told that yet another band has shown up and pushed our set back another hour, no problem! That was our cue to saunter out into the warm Summer night and make our way over to Vine off Hollywood, and settle into the Firefly…..

Where everybody knows your name. Unfortunately that name is on the 86’d list!

Firefly , where the drink wells would regularly be set aflame, where the special was 2 bucks for a shot of hideous gin or whisky and a Budweiser.

Reason # 6 why we don’t pass out, head down on the bar anymore…..

Oh, stop drooling, mate…it was only a 7 oz bottle of Bud we’re talking about…..but still! 2 bucks?!

….gaaaa! Either the beers are shrinking or I’ve grown hideously large! Either way, bad news!

Clever, clever boys that we were, we would set up camp just in front of the stacked Budweiser cases next to the bathroom and clandestinely exchange empties for full warm beers all night long.

…..yeah, but they can’t guard that stash all night, now can they?

Drinking shot after shot of bathtub gin, holding wee beer bottles that made us look like twinkle-eyed giants, we passed the night singing along to the jukebox and hitting up any chums who may wander in to buy a round. Perhaps Keith Morris or Bob Forrest, back in their tottering days, when they would come rolling in after being kicked out of The Roxy or The Palace.

Bob attempts to pursuade Kimm into moving into a little place he knows of in Pasadena……..

And now a round of Flaming Blue Jesus’, a shot of 151 and Ouzo lit aflame, we’d hold them aloft a moment before extinguishing and choking down the molten licorice: The wan blue flames flickered like the hopeful torches of an approaching search party.

Someone thankfully has the bright notion to glance at a watch, and we are corralled back up the street, back into the Cathay.

But by now the bridge is guarded by a new troll, malodorous as a goat, witty as a Catskills headliner: ElDuce!

Breakfast time!

Drummer of the The Mentors, victim of Courtney Love, ElDuce was the soul of that little stretch of Hollywood. Oh, he might stop you at the door and threaten to pull out your lower lip with the pliers in his back pocket, or wave his precious pecker at the ladies in your group.

El Duce introduces El Pepe into the mix……

But by the end of the night, you could usually find him curled up inside the front door, naked as an innocent baby and snoring through the sweet dreams of the blessed!

Pandora Bambi and Eldon strike the pose, Kimm holds his tongue.

So you played your sloppy set and dreaded the thought of hauling the gear back up those stairs, but really— where else would ya rather be?

And if you were lucky, the doors would already be locked, and you were invited to stay for an after hours session, only to emerge blinking and reeling into the bright sunlight of another Hollywood morning.

And then you’d put on the sunglasses that you knew you might very well need when you grabbed them the night before:

On your way out for a night in Hollywood, our Hollywood.

CH3 Sells Out! (…or tries to, anyway)

Oh those golden puffs of wheat
Got a crunch that’s crisp and bold
Gets me moving and a grooving
With a taste that’s solid gold!

Say, what’s that yer sayin?…….
is that what you wanna know?

Milton? Rimbaud?

Perhaps a few penciled lines, scrawled on the margins of a Racing Form discovered next to Bukowski’s cooling corpse?

I read those four lines over once again, trying to memorize their genius stupidity and trying to find the meter of the bizarre stanza.

We are sitting there, Kimm to my right and Jay to my left, in the polished reception of a mid-Wilshire casting office.
The year, I’m putting this right around Spring 1985 or so, judging by the wardrobe:

Kimm’s hair is freshly bleached out and teased to impressive heights.
Jay has on 4 clashing silk scarves and is wearing a neon night-crawler fishing lure as an earring.
I heft one white cowboy boot over a seat arm, gouging the Naugahyde mortally with a proper English style riding spur.

...Oh my...look at these jolly young women!

And we’re waiting in this lobby to read for a commercial.

That’s right, so sue us already!

See, we were in the middle of our hey, nobody gives a fuck about us, so we don’t give a fuck what they think! phase of our career, when the punks had enough of the harmonica solos and midtempo weepers and left us for dead.

Aimless, restless, we worked on new songs that amused only ourselves during the days, and played sets at The Music Machine under phony names at night.

Oh, are Straight Edged Feminists playing the Machine again tonight?
The Rodeo Clowns opening up another show already??

Yep, that was us.

We played undercover since the clubs didn’t want any punks to show up and trash the bathrooms, but truthfully we didn’t want any punks to show up just to be disappointed and weeping in the parking lot, left shattered by the sight of their once fave hardcore punks dressed like trapeze artists.

We had some new manager, someone who I’d certainly never met, and he had directed Kimm to round us up and report to this address on a Wednesday afternoon.
Seems that Post was going to go a little sleazier in the new campaign to get kids to eat their crap!, trust me on this one. It's a win-win for your career!

Rockers in commercials?
Oh, we heard the legend a million times, about how the goddamn Police dyed their hair specifically for a Wrigley’s Gum commercial…and look at them now!
Why, there’s no harm done…in fact, this will be a good thing!

...we hate each other, but we love Wrigley's gum, wot?

We looked around the lobby and saw a couple other groups of groups here for the same gig. A few of them, the other unlucky singers, studied the lyrics while the rest of their band members were teasing hair and putting on more eyeliner or rummaging through impressive looking makeup chests.

I put my sunglasses back on and popped a zit, about the best I could do…

A set of double doors opened and out came a glammy looking quartet, all black hair and Cuban heels.
Jay knew some of the guys—of course!—turns out it was Candy, a great pop group that’s probably best remembered as Gilby Clarke’s band back then…..

They looked drunk, happily disgusted, and way comfortable in their carefully sloppy outfits.

See, that’s how it goes for little guys, am I right?

Us big guys, well, we try to glam it up and we end up less like Michael Monroe, more like Rip Taylor, ya know?

Mike Kimm and Jay go glam--sexy!

Someone actually fired up a salon-rated blow dryer in the lobby at this point, and I started feeling a little sick.
How had we got here?

The current commercial was running and we’d seen it: Bruce Springsteen fantasy based in a military boarding shool, all homoerotic undertone, corn syrup and subliminal directive:

And then someone calls out, Channel Three! and we’re next.

I dunno, I was expecting some sort of stage set up, at least some unplugged guitars to hold or a mic stand.
But instead we entered the room to find a man and woman seated on folding chairs facing a table, a wall.
She, all frizzed red hair and bitten down finger nails.
He, J Crew and Topsiders, clearly unamused with his career path.

“Alright then, you are……Channel Three, is that it?”
The redhead marked off a tick on the clipboard and stuck a raw cuticle back in her mouth.

We nodded, and I suddenly regretted not having the Rodeo Clowns come in for this gig in our stead.

“Hah.. okay, funny name. So why don’t you just go ahead and we’ll run through it one time, ok?”

There was one video camera set up, maybe a couple lights, a boombox on another chair.
And that was it.
They hit a button on the boombox and the room was now filled with that goddamn jingle.
And then we started to…..forgive me! rock out.

Imagine if you can, the sight of us jumping up and down in an empty office room.
I’m lip synching those inane lyrics which are now and forever burned into my brain.
Jay does a Townshendian windmill with nothing at all in his paws: air guitar, I believe that’s what you kids call it today.

And Kimm, I think they made him do one take playing air drums, and then another, God Bless him!, where he had to hunch over and play an air keyboard!
He looked like a grumpy Republican, typing out an angry Letter to the Editor in the middle of the night.

The music stopped and we avoided looking at each other while they rewound the cassete for another take…this time you, the tall one….you play the drums, kay?

We had sucked on the cock of the Sugar Bear, it was neither sweet nor crisp……..Bitter, oh, it was bitter!

mmmhmmm....he's got a sweater on, sure. But if you'll notice--no pants!

On the car ride home, we were quiet.
It would be a good story, some day.

But how about we not talk about it for now….to anybody!

Surprisingly, we got a callback, but in the end it was Candy that got the gig. Naturally.

Yet sometimes there I’ll be: Albertson’s on a Monday night, pushing a cart loaded with barely drinkable Zinfadels and 2 for 1 cannisters of solid albacore.

Life seems never more routine than when you are in the Supermarket, where you measure your immediate future in the meals and guilty desserts that you will consume in another identical week.
We eat this food and crap it out, and mark another day off the calendar, that much closer to the end.

But I’ll pause, sometimes, in the cereal aisle, and look into the heavy-lidded stoner gaze of that goddamned bear.
And I’ll think, if just for a moment, what could have been if I would’ve worn the eyeliner with just that much more faith.

The 100th Episode!

Well, well—The ol’ blog-o-meter clicks over to post #100 today, eh?

The goddamn Century Entry (huh? huh?) , if you will.

As I look back on these webpages of text and photos, one thing becomes instantly apparent:
Anthony and I desperately need some new t shirts!

Sheesh! Don't these guys ever leave anything out on the curb for Goodwill??

It’s been swell, really, to have this forum to jot down some thoughts and memories.
After all, it surely won’t be long before the Alzheimer’s and Syphillis catches up to us, and these fleeting images will be stripped from Amygdala and Hippocampus alike.

But there we’ll be, pawing at drool covered Ipads in the Punk Rock Retirement Center, able to relive those glory days with the palsied swipe of a jaundiced fingertip!

Oh, we have history all right.
Let’s look back on the earliest CH3 blog entry on record, recently discovered in a cave deep in the Borneo Rainforest: roughly translates: Fireball in sky come not so often. Large animal need to hunt.
Also, promoter was a dick, shorted us on drink tickets, but found a fairly decent chicken fried steak next door to the club!

We soon discovered what an invaluable tool a blog could be for promotion and information!
With technological advances, we were able to bring our devoted readers up to date with timely previews of tour dates and gig reviews……

Huzzah! Won't you join us on the evening of the morrow for a night of original song and jovial proceedings. The two-penny cover charge also entitles you to a sarsaparilla beverage. Please do not accost us for guest list, you unkempt heathens!

Of course, we were archiving our adventures long before this inter-web thingy took to the ether.
Have a gander at the original CH3 tour diary:

Ah, smell the memories......

Although it looks like any regular semen-encrusted notepad you might find tucked under an adolescent boy’s pillow, within these crumbling pages a thousand nights of punk heroics comes to life!

See now, this is what a page used to look like---and no, don't try to flip it on a!

A lifetime together, you tend to collect.

Flyers and photos, a guitar pick from Rick Neilsen….Jay’s thinning scissors.
Guitar cord stolen from Youth Brigade, a photo of Danzig driving the blue and white van, seat all the way up.

The digital revolution saw all of these tangible things—words, music, photos–sent through a Seussian hopper, only to emerge as a blinking series of 1’s and 0’s.

Gone were the days of cutting and pasting—with actual scissors and glue, goddamnit!–a flyer for the show in 2 weeks.
Making telephone calls to book tour dates, staying out after the streetlights flickered to life.

Now we create an event on Facebook, invite a thousand people we’ve never met with the press of a keystroke-cntrl-I, and then blog about how shitty the soundman was 36 hours later.

...ok, now how do you bring up Facebook on this fuckin thing again?

But we’ve come to embrace these technologies, and the exciting opportunities on the horizon!

Of course, just as with any poorly written sitcom, once you hit the hundredth episode,
it’s ka-ching baby!
I’m talking syndicated reruns of course!

We’ve already signed a lucrative deal to start 5pm reruns on Facebook and Ask Jeeves, as well as a Japanese version of the blog to be produced immediately!

...oh brother! Another post about fried food and nobody showing up for the gig. These round eyes are like a broken record, neh?

And with the animation market red hot these days, plans are already in motion for the new CH3 blog animated series!
As we speak, 3 dozen South Korean animators are busily preparing the cels for the upcoming 20 minute web series.

Here’s a little sneak peek at an upcoming episode:

San Francisco II

As a kid–and this is the 60’s I’m talkin about, natch!~-San Francisco seemed like an evil and twisted place.

All we knew of the fog shrouded Gomorrah up yonder came from Dirty Harry Movies, newsclips of moustachioed biker gays dancing with smelly looking hippies, and of course, the Zodiac Killer!

.....why yes, we do feel like lucky punks! Why do you ask?!

To a sheltered suburban child, it was a frightening thought to visit this place.

(Of course, the stacks of R. Crumb comics that my older brothers brought home from secret visits to the Head Shops on Haight brought a begrudging consolation!)

...this beats the hell out of Veronica and Betty for whack material!

Oh sure, Ghiradelli and the Cannery were jolly distractions.
But still, you had the feeling, even when walking hand in hand with Ma along the tourist trap haven of Fisherman’s Wharf, that at any second you could be snatched from parent and swept away to the bowels of Chinatown to serve out your youth as a sex slave – or worse! – kitchen worker!

Then there was that maniacal 30 degree intersection of Columbus and Broadway, where the city proudly advertised its sleaze with signage that thrust phallically into the inky skies above! that's what i call sleazy good fun!

Ah, but punk rock changed all that–doesn’t it always?!

How we grew to love that intersection, as The Mabuhay and later, On Broadway became our favorite clubs away from home!

You just never see the word Fartz lit up on the marquee any more, do ya?

Yeah, and I’m not the only one to look back fondly on those times and places.
That Jennifer Egan pulled down nothing less than a goddamn Pulitzer with her recollections of blow –and blowjobs!– at the Mab, it only leaves the rest of us wondering if we shared such clarity and romance back then…..nah!

Too busy destroying our rooms at the Broadway Manor and running from Beer Truck drivers, sweating flats of 24 Budweisers in hand!

Alright sister, we believe you were there---but we're keepin an eye on ya!

We fell in love with the city and took the slightest excuse to come back.
Through the years, circumstances changed, the band rode waves of popularity and ridicule, yet that nutty town stayed there, just how we liked it, reliable and comforting as a childhood memory that is recalled during crackling thunderstorms.

..we left our heart, not to mention brain cells and numerous house keys here.

We’ve left the TV on, again, and I wake to RamboII on the box.

Oh, Rambo, you yoked up vigilante, we love ya!
The fellas all stir as our favorite scene comes on: Rambo actually jumps out of the water and straight into a helicopter—Swear to God!
And this is before CGI, people!

...oooh, you russkies are gonna get it now!

It is a fresh Sunday morning in Berkeley with the day off, so we jumped out of jammies, wet down the cowlicks, and made straight for the city!!!

'mornin Sunshine!

Well, after a civilized panaderia and carnitas breakfast at Casa Latina , of course….

Ah jeez---even the baked goods are using emoticons now!

And, yeah, maybe a few dreadful chicken strips from Popeyes for the walk to the BART, yeh?

What? It's a long walk, alright?
Bartin it, and not real pleased about it!

Off at Powell, and after a quick bathroom break at the venerable Gold Dust Lounge (where, swear to god–they mistook us for firemen! No, we did not correct them!)—it was straight to Jack Kerouac Alley.

Ah, that glorious strip of pavement, where we used to illegally park a van loaded with amps before they put up the goddamn street lamps.
You go in one door, into City Lights Bookstore to stock up on yer Black Sparrow soft covers, and then it’s just a 12 stride jaunt across to Vesuvio’s to stock up on Anchor Steam and Jameson! go in one door to fill your head, then go in the other one to empty it!

Is there anything better, really, than to sit up on the second floor of Vesuvio’s on a sunny Sunday afternoon?

The gas lamps flicker just below, and you sit there amongst pals with only pints of pale ales and the rusting bonds of time between ya.
Heaven, I tell ya!

...alright already, enough about Planet of the Apes... Now turn around and shake that thing off!

Good news! Jet Blue has delayed the 6:30pm flight to 9:45, leaving ample time to get across town to meet up with the Doormats crew @ Zeitgeist .
Hell, we even have time to stop into Bings and let the boys roam the whack shacks for a while!

Still horny, and this was on the way out of the joint!

Six people in the cab. I thought it was perfectly comfy!

A cramped cab ride across town and we hit Valencia and Duboce as the day cools.
The joint looks quiet from the street—it always does.

But through the bar and out to the patio, and now you know where the survivors spend their Sunday afternoons, healing the wounds of Saturday night and bracing for another week in front of the digital monitor!

Standoff at the Tamale cooler. No, we didn't get one comped!

Smart phones chime, as Jet Blue has delayed the flight yet again.

We toast this good news with our pals and the same old stories are told again, louder and brighter.
Pitchers are brought in quads, 2 to a fist, and the empties are drained up to make room.

It’s all laughter and tears now:
We sit at our picnic tables like excited third graders at lunch on a Friday: Pizza Day!

...this is how we get Alf to finally take his medicine!

The shadows climb the walls and someone looks at a watch and makes calculations:
Back over the bridge to the BART to pick up the car, drive to the airport in time to be fondled and abused by security: We gotta go!
We head inside for one last round with our Northern pals, and plans are made to meet again, and let’s not make it too long mate!

..wuh oh...Gardener behind the bar, never a good sign!
What I tell ya?
Bro hugs all around! Now get outta here, ya crazy fucks!


Monday morning and I open my eyes expecting the familiarity of my bedroom, perhaps the soulful eyes of my dog abandoned these past few days.

But no.

I am in a corporate hotel in Oakland.
Still in the Bay area, we somehow missed our flight home.

I turn and see Kimm snoring peacefully on the next bed.
He has apparently traded clothes and is now wearing a dazzling Ed Hardy t-shirt that bears a silver foil tiger.
The big cat’s eyes seem to follow me as I make it unsteadily out of bed and look into the mirror.

I am shirtless, and have a red necktie on.
On my head.

I recall something about making it to the airport too late, being given a boarding pass for the next morning and being led gently out to the curb.

We stand on the sidewalk near midnight now, wondering what to do next.
A clattering above, there is a helicopter busy overhead: not unusual for Oakland.

That’s when the red tie ended up on forehead.

...uh oh.

And being Rambo, after all, I jumped for the helicopter.

I jumped again, again, and finally grabbed the spindly rail.
Larger in diameter than it looked from the ground, the powdercoated tubing feels thick in hand.
I adjust my grip and hold on tight.

The whirlybird takes me up, and away, and soon we were breaching the black water below.
We fly back again, back toward the glistening lights of that city.

I wasn’t, apparently, ready to go home.
Not yet.

...just set me down anywhere fellas, thanks!