Hey Maximum! What’s up dude, I just got back from two months of tour. I was touring on this book I wrote called Nevada, which like… I mean, everybody knows that reading isn’t cool. Or punk. But whatever, sometimes we just write and publish a novel and go on a two month tour for it anyway. And it was really good, dude. My publisher fucking paid for gas! I stayed with friends and friends of friends everywhere… this girl gave me a joint in Houston and this guy gave me a bunch of mushrooms in Asheville. Pretty much, like, it turns out that touring in bands is the fucking worst compared to touring on a book. Which actually brings me to my first point in this month’s column, which is about
1. Punk Rock Fucking Sucks
Halfway through tour I ended up spending a week in the Montpelier, Vermont area. Some circumstances happened and I ended up having to drive down to Brattleboro and back in the middle of the night one night- only I didn’t have my own car at the time, so I borrowed my friend Katy’s car. It was a very fancy rental car, like one of those big square cars they advertise at suburban boys with money who think they might grow up to be rappers one day?
I was totally stoked to borrow it because some circumstances had transpired in Phoenix that led to me having a very fancy pen in which you can unscrew the top part and it turns out there’s a two gig USB drive tucked away in there. I did what anybody would do when confronted with a two gig USB drive, which was to fill it up with Fugazi and Godspeed You Black Emperor mp3s. So I was like, coooooool, Katy’s car is new and it’s going to have a USB port thing and I’ll be able to listen to all my cool mp3s!
I was wrong, though: the USB port didn’t work. Like I plugged in my cool thing and the stereo would, like, acknowledge that I had put in a thing that said Fugazi on it, but not play any of the mp3s? It was dumb BUT it turned out that the car also had a fancy satellite radio thing in it! Turns out satellite radio kind of sucks too, but- I am getting to the point- on one of the satellite radio stations- the punk station- a very old and crotchety still alive member of the Ramones was doing a punk music show! For like four hours or something!
Well. Turns out either my understanding of what constitutes “punk rock” is really skewed, or else the drummer from the Ramones is wrong about it. And I get how canon works, I know my dumb understanding is wrong. I mean, the punk stuff I like is all either pop punk I liked when I was fifteen, scrEaMOcore I liked when I was twenty, or made by women and the occasional non-woman queer. But Marky Ramone played a four hour barrage of songs by angry teenage dudes singing about angry teenage dude bullshit, punctuated by like one Plasmatics song! Or else angry men singing about teenage dude bullshit.
I mean, I know I’m a big queerdo who plays in a doom metal band with a cello sometimes or whatever but I just forget, most of the time, that this is what punk rock mostly is. And I mean I know that I’m a humorless feminist lesbian anticapitalist witch who doesn’t think anything is funny except this joke Francesca told me:
Ice cream eating motherfucker
But I just forget that when people talk about punk rock they’re usually talking about like… Agnostic Front, or something. I dunno maybe Agnostic Front rules and I just wasn’t paying attention right when Marky Ramone played them but when I think punk rock I think the Maple Rabbit song “Fuck Macho Bullshit Forever” way before I think, like, “Bro Hymn.” I just completely forget that punk rock is full of dudes being tough and singing about their boring problems or the boring things they are angry about, like heterosexual sex or “politics.” Like, when a bunch of white twenty year olds get interviewed in Maximum and say dumb stuff about the way they don’t believe themselves to be implicated in the gentrification of their cities? Turns out punk rock is mostly closer to that than it is to fucking +HIRS+. I just forget!
2. Everywhere Rules.
Everywhere I went was awesome! I’d get to Tucson and TC Tolbert would show me the top secret Melrose Place pool in the back part of Casa Libre, and then the next day I’d walk around downtown and find multiple biographies of Yukio Mishima in multiple used bookstores and be like, oh my fucking god, Tucson rules, I had no idea!
Or I’d go to the middle of fucking Tennessee and a million queers qould show up at Austin’s house and an older lesbian with short grey hair would listen to my synopsis of Nevada and be like, that sounds borning, I wrote a story recently about a Jewish lesbian who ends up in heaven and is like, what the fuck, but then she finds out that heaven is actually just a farm where aliens keep souls until they eat them. And I’d be like, fuck man, I could live in the middle of Tennessee!
Or I’d go to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where I’d hang out with Alice and AJ and smoke all their weed and then Alice would sneak a bunch of fancy makeup (which is a thing she knows a lot about; one time she was like, can I do your eyebrows, and I was like, okay sure, and then she was like, can I do your makeup, and I was like, sure, and then it was basically the scene in The Breakfast Club where Molly Ringwold gives Ally Sheedy a makeover to look less like a fucking gross mess) into my bag without telling me and I wouldn’t find it until a week later, when I was staying at the Arlington Hotel in Maynooth, Ontario, which my friend and a couple of her friends bought last year, where they have like open mics and music and book reading and all the things, out in a town where the main other things you can do is go to the general store or go to a diner that closes after lunch. And then I’d be like, fuck, Maynooth, Ontario rules!
I got to hang out with Morgan Page and Trish Salah and Zoe Whittall and all these other amazing people in Toronto, which made it almost okay that the border guard rifled through everything in my car on the way up. Although, admittedly, my story sounded totally bullshit: uh, I am… a student, I guess?I rented this car with New York plates in Vermont, I don’t really live anywhere… okay yeah I’ll pull into a numbered space. Luckily though, check out this border crossing tip: keep hormones in your trunk! The border patrol people might be so interested in your hormones that they overlook whatever contraband you’re smuggling over the border.
Not that I was smuggling anything. Except love! Love for places. Turns out if you stay with cool queers everywhere then you will fall in love with everywhere. Kinda makes sense when you put it that way I guess.
3. Nothing Else.
I try not to learn stuff.
You can still get that book at topsidepress.com/nevada. If you want to explain to me what’s so cool about Agnostic Front, email firstname.lastname@example.org