True West

Ah parenthood.

Is there a more defining moment in the Father/Daughter cultural exchange than when you sit upon couch next to the kid and she starts watching her favorite show….

....wha tha? Did the tubby one just wipe her ass on TV?!
….wha tha? Did the tubby one just wipe her ass on TV?!

Alright, alright–we get it—the lead chick is big and beautiful, proud of her body and all that.
But still, would it kill her to put a shirt on when I’m trying to eat my Pasta Puttanesca on a Sunday evening, hmmm?

Listen, if this wistful peek into the world of young woman in the city is based mainly on Lena Dunham stomping around the apartment naked and cussing like a neutered GG Allin, so be it.
Just don’t expect Dad to sit there and listen to this crap—-I’m going upstairs with my Huell Howser dvds yo!

You try to raise your children right.
The rule was: For every track she would download off Itunes I got to choose one for her as well.
And her ipod was soon filled not only with Miley and Demi Lavato, but also Cramps and Rezillo tracks….it takes a village!

But soon enough, when they go off into the brutal wilderness of High School and beyond, they are attacked on all sides by terrible, terrible influence.

Forget the bullying and drug abuse, I’d like to know who’s suggesting they all get tickets for the goddamn 311 concert huh?!

Oh my gosh, they're white kids! I thought it was a bunch of Rastas straight outta Kinsgton!
Oh my gosh, they’re white kids! But them heavy grooves—–
I thought it was a bunch of Rastas straight outta Kinsgton!

And then comes the sterile little Itunes receipt in your inbox, and the following texts (our preferred method of communication these days-much easier to ignore teenage sarcasm through Helvetian-font alphabetical character ) look something like this:

Dad: ??
Kid: yeah popop..?
Dad: Um, this bill I have here..wish to explain?
Kid: U said I could buy a whole album!
Dad: Yes, but..Sublime? really? Do you know how old that goddamn album is?
Kid: LOL
Dad: And am I hallucinating here, or is there a Blink 182 song on my account?
Kid: Their so good!
Dad: THEY’RE……and yuck.

I can almost hear her eyes rolling across cellular connection…..all is lost.

So it was quite the shocker when I received this text last week:

Kid: Hey da–that song True West? IS that U? I like it-
Dad: who is this?
Her: LOL–is that you? it’s good–it dzznt sound like you!
Me: Gee-thanks…?

But it sends me to the internet, and sure enough there it is on YouTube, where more than one wag has seen fit to somehow digitize this song and post it up for the world to hear:

We reported to Mad Dog studios in Venice, oh, let’s call it late winter 1984?

Having been left adrift for a season since fulfilling our Posh Boy contract and letting our glorious hair grow out beyond the approved hardcore standards, we’d come to an agreement with scrappy Enigma Records to lay down some magic.

Around this time, there were a lot of burnt out punkers out there in the wilds of Southern California.
Jaded veterans of the music biz at the age of 23, wandering the burnt out club scene for a spark of the past like post apocalyptic Zombies fighting over the last gray fragment of brain.

And Enigma was right there, with open arms, allowing us all to commit to vinyl and film the embarrassments that would haunt us ad infinitum.
The what? Internet ya say? Never heard of it–hah!

...ah jeezus--the Aqua Net is getting to 'em!
…ah jeezus–the Aqua Net is getting to ’em!

A good crew, we now had Jay Lansford in the band full time, easing us into a world where the guitars were not always distorted and pegged, where the lyrics were not always screamed…..and the hair looked fabulous!

Banging on the drums around this time was wildman Mat Young, who besides having such awesome Pokemon’ styled locks was one of the greatest drummers ever.

..and this was before anime' was such a big deal with the kids!
..and this was before anime was such a big deal with the kids!

On tour Mat’s good looks kept the girls close, just wanting to cuddle him and take him home to give him a hot bath…..

And when Mat would inevitably run away due to his shyness and a girlfriend back home, well, I guess old Uncle Kimm was right there to pick up the pieces, eh ladies?!

1984: CH3 version 2.1
1984: CH3 version 2.1

At the helm in studio was rock solid Dusty Wakeman at the knobs and the nutty man about town, Ron Goudie acting as producer.

Ron living the good life in Amsterdam--And I mean, really, the good life!
Ron living the good life in Amsterdam–And I mean, really, the good life!

And so in just a few nights we lay down those tracks that would eventually become the Airborne EP—-unanimously agreed upon as our declaration of mutiny aboard the sinking S.S. Hardcore!


But I sit there, and give it my first listen in a decade I guess.

The drums swing, Mat actually playing a song on those skins.
Some different things going on, now, in terms of guitar as a condiment instead of a porterhouse.
Some jangly accents, and empty spaces where the song is allowed to breathe– this was new stuff to us!

I have to type out the lyrics, reloading the track over and over, as I can’t find any trace of them: Any copies of the ep with lyric sheet intact have been sacrificed to attic or Ebay long ago.

And though I cringe a bit as I dictate the over-earnest lyrics, thematically cliché’ as they come, I can somehow forgive my 23 year old self for being focused enough to jot down an idea that somehow fits the music:

True West (Lansford,Magrann)

I never took a dime, My eyes were clear and blue
Wanted nothing more, Than Love and God and Truth

You wait for dreams, you work toward goals
I’ll pay with youth, I’ll sell my soul

Followed setting suns, Knew my wrongs from rights
Funny how it all Turns dark as country night

I never knew what morals were
Until I realized I had none

True West…
They never tell the truth about frontiers
Another dream is tossed to the Sea

Had my fill of lies. And California dreams
Ain’t that how life works-It’s never what it seems

From airline windows
Oceans glow blue and green, you know…
From the beach they’re dark as sin

True West, I’m standing on the coast again
True West, I’ll never be the same again
They never tell the truth about frontiers
Another dream is tossed to the Sea

I like it!

And who knows, as we climb on the stage next, armed with our setlist of 30 year old songs and stale stage banter, we might just surprise ya.

And in between playing Manzanar and Got a Gun for the twelve thousandth time, we may just turn the guitars down 2 notches, and give it a whirl….

Dad: Yeah, that’s us—cool
Kid: I thought you guys were punk..?
Kid: But it’s not fast like wot you play…?

Dad: ….sigh.

3 thoughts on “True West

  1. just re read this, been forced to think about this period again thank you, TSOL was in there also, I had no alliance to the old sound, (U could make an argument I should have), I was ONLY interested in perusing the creative vision, and this was fresh then. AND, it wasn’t so much after this all the street rock came on the scene which this was a precursor. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it… 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s