digital landscapes washing over your shore
the vision is luminous but still i want more
the key to the ocean is all over my chin
and the tides pushing me further and further
and further in
(“The Panoramic View of You,” Slitting Throats circa 1982, from the “Lush” album)
I begin my Essay of Me with this quote because I like it, and I listen to the Lush album a lot. I think their lyrics are really evocative and like, vivid, surreal, just dripping with visceral imagery. I wore my hair like Sid Branton’s for a while, too: I had it dyed purple and everything. I like to play bass a lot. There’s just something about plucking those fat strings that’s so satisfying. I don’t know that many people understand that. Everyone seems to think that playing guitar is like the ultimate, like you have to wah-wah and screech and clang in order to be somebody. Shit, try taking the bass line out of your favorite tune, man, it will blow your fucking mind. It’s totally necessary, completely necessary. It grounds the whole thing. It would all fall apart otherwise. A bass player’s got to make a lot out of nothing. Just simple, grounded stuff. I like that meatiness to it, that solidity. It’s like a feeling that I can only compare to like, surfing, when you’re riding the wave. Once you’re up on it, and the rhythm is solid, and you’re carrying the whole tune with you, you just feel like nothing can stop you, like you’ll just keep going and going forever, and then the song ends. I jump around like a monkey when I play that shit. Everyone seems to think that the guitar player has to do all the theatrics, like they have to look all crazy when they’re strumming chords, or bending a note or some shit. But I think the bass player should be the one getting crazy. They’re thumping the fucking whole room with their plucking. They’d better be moving. I dance like crazy when I start plucking that thing. I shave my head now, too, so it’s cool when I wag my head around, I look all hard-core.
What else to say about me? I smoke American Spirits. Have since I was 10. It’s ok with my mom; she says I’ll be lucky enough to die by natural causes like cancer, rather than something like a car crash or a bullet or something. I see her point. I figure, what the hell. If I’m going to die this way, then at least it’s by my own fucking hand, you know? Besides, I’ve got an uncle who’s like 87 and has been smoking forever and he’s doing just fine, other than for a shitload of liverspots. I always try not to stare at them, but they’re like all over his hands and stuff, it’s kind of weird looking. But he’s a cool guy. He used to make shoes for Frank Sinatra–no fucking kidding. He was hip with the mobsters like that. He still smokes cigars. He’s a real cool guy. I wouldn’t mind being that old, even with liverspots, if I was like him. He has a house with a swimming pool in Arizona, it’s a nice house, it’s got a game room and everything. I’ve tried to get him to let me throw a party with all my friends there, at the pool, with the house to ourselves, that would be so crazy wild. But he never lets me, the selfish old bastard. He’s going to a retirement home for sure when he breaks a hip. I wouldn’t want to be old enough to be sent to a retirement home. That would suck a fat one.
Let’s see. What else about me. Now that I’ve shaved my head, I’m looking pretty hardcore. I’m thinking of removing my earring to look even harder, but I don’t know, I’ve had it in so long it would feel weird without it. Like I’d be naked or something. I have this one friend who wears a hat everywhere he goes, like all the time, he’s got this same hat on. I’d never seen him without the hat, until just the other day, I saw him without his hat on. It was pretty weird. I didn’t even know who he was at first. That’s why I’m scared to take out my earring. It’s like people start to identify you with certain things, and then when you change it it fucks everything up. Which is cool. But I don’t know if I want to do that just yet with the earring, because I already just did that with shaving my head. That was a pretty fucked up thing to do, because before I looked like Sid Branton.
Well, that’s pretty much all that I can think of to write about me. There’s a lot more stuff I could tell you, but it’s hard to think of it all right now. I could tell you stories from growing up, but I don’t know if that’s pertinent to this essay. I have some pretty fucked up stories, though, if you want to hear them. I grew up with 3 older brothers; they did some pretty fucked up stuff. I did some pretty fucked up stuff, too, when I was little. I’m more normal now. I play bass a lot and hang out at The Moribund Cafe. It’s cool there because they let you smoke cigarettes inside, and use your coffee cup as an ashtray. They don’t give a fuck there. I play my bass there on Thursdays with my band, The Brazened Nuts. All of our friends come to that. It gets pretty wild. We had a girl flashing her boobies at us one time. We’re probably going to keep playing there.