|537> Unkel Fester's idol-killing family album from the Bay Area down to Panama 1984-85|
7 AUG 2017 | DC> ... continuing where we left off, dear Internet, in our ongoing efforts to archive our existence... mining back to 1983, finds us at a private boarding school (Robert Louis Stevenson) in Pebble Beach. While both Chaulky + i got scholarships the first year there, the next year we had to pay + our mother couldn't afford to send us both so i volunteered to transfer since i hated the place + Chaulky only had 1 year left of high school so he stayed. My junior year i transferred to Mountain View high ... before Google, when Mtn View was far from cool. We lived in an apartment "on the other side of the tracks" off Moffet Blvd, pretty much solo as our mother still lived in Mexico. Going to 3 different schools the first 3 years of high school will make you give up on trying to make friends, so we were pretty much a loner, except for the 2-3 other punkers in the school (most everyone else were preppy kids). We were hardcore straight-edge by this point, didn't drink or do any drugs from the ages of 15-25.
1984—We went from getting straight As at an elite private school to a public school + our grades progressively started to dip... As to Bs to Cs... go figure. Even got a D in physics (funny, as we went onto get a Master's in physics). We took A.P. calculus but never bothered to take the final test. We never skipped classes, we just didn't like taking tests and had better things to do w/ our evenings than homework. We played guitar in a punk band (Unkel Fester) w/ 3 lesbians in Berkeley so had to drive up there (in a 66' mustang) every time we practiced. Here's 3 Unkel Fester songs (recorded on a walkman, so not the best sound quality):
Unkel Fester—"Marine Boy" (1984)
Unkel Fester—"Nasty Nancy" (1984) [...as in Reagan]
Or we'd drive up to San Fran to see shows On Broadway or @ Mabuhay Gardens. Most of our chronicling these days was thru music. Here's our 1° notebook from this era, stuffed full of scraps, mostly undated so not totally sure, but think most of it is from 1984-85:
Mostly they are song lyrics/notes, w/ the occasional dream or typical teenage doodle or rant interspersed.
... not that we used the lyrics, or even made "music," most of what we recorded (on our own) from this period probly qualifies as sound collage. We had a Tascam 4-track, a drum machine, a bass, a guitar, a delay pedal + a recording walkman that we used to go around recording ambient sounds. Here's a few of those tracks...
"Laugh Track" (1984) [sampled sounds from various movies]
"Plate of Shrimp" (1984)
"Lucid Viscosity" (1984) [mostly recorded with a glass of water + a microphone]
"Mexican Spaghetti" (1984)
"Primal Fear" (1984)
"Back to the Mud" (1985)
1985—We also started running cross-country our junior year (at RLS we played soccer), tho never at the level of Chaulky. For gainful employment around this time we worked at Domino's (even delivered a pizza once whose address just said "Hangar 1, Moffet Field" (one of the largest free-standing structures in the world, so large it forms its own weather patterns)) until we broke an axle-rod mid-delivery. We also worked at Crown Books in Sunnyvale (part of our duties included ripping covers off remaindered books before throwing them in the dumpster) + even got promoted to manager after only a few months. We graduated from Mtn View + after that went to the local community college (Foothill College). Around this time we met our first serious girlfriend, S, who we dated for like 5 years. We met her her at a Butthole Surfers show when she stage-dived on top of us.
Besides Unkle Fester, we jammed with various other folks. The "Team Yahtzee" tracks were recorded in the above chicken coop w/ various skate-punks + me on drums (not that we knew how, but no one else wanted to).
Team Yahtzee—"Do Your Really Care" (slow version) (1985)
Team Yahtzee—"Do Your Really Care" (thrash version) (1985)
"Pissed off Jam" (1985)(B on drums, me on guitar + some big Indian guy on bass)
Around this time we took a spontaneous roadtrip to New Mexico + Colorado. If our older brother hadn't sent us these photos we probly wd of never remembered.
+ our passport has a stamp for Panama in Feb 85—as i remember it i again spontaneously skipped school w/o telling anyone + met my mom there to help her on a buying trip. She had a SLR camera that i borrowed to take some photos:
Our music became a little more melodic/structured + more brooding/droning. We became somewhat obsessed w/ The Cure Pornography during this time, we've probably listened to it more than any other album in our life. Also Echo + the Bunnymen, Tones on Tail, Violent Femmes, + all the hardcore stuff: Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains, Minor Threat. We slipped into a depression that lasted a few years... or i don't know, maybe we never snapped out of it. A few more tracks:
"Reverse Osmosis" (1985)
"Hole of Light" (1985)
More excerpts from the above notebooks, circa 1985 (we'll spare you the typically juvenile miserable confessionals):
And some transcribed entries:
This snippet above (based on a dream) got turned into "Six and a Half Feet Below Sea Level" in Poste Restante. And this logged dream loosely forms the beginning of "Hitting from the Wheelhouse" (also in P.R.):
+ here are a few more transcribed pages from around this time:
8 AUG 2017> In real time + space, back on the homefront in DC... our bedder-½ is off to Nepal, then London + Bellagio. Been reading Family Album by Jason Snyder... speaking of memories of growing up + whatnot. And the book takes place in October of 1984, tho the kid in the book seems a few years younger than we were at this time. Not sure how autobiographical it is, if Snyder himself went through similar childhood trauma when he was young, but he sure knows how to write about it, at times downright disturbing. And not in a weepy feel-sorry for me like way, but somewhat abstracted + vague, like how the confusion + anger of post-traumatic abuse surfaces pieced together in run-on sentences like this: «And to answer the tape machine vacancy he is thinking about you will come home tonight because you can feel him align the darkness inside your silence». Staggered w/ incomplete sentences like in this passage:
|536 <( )> 538 > Indulge us w/ textilioma: purging to reinhabit Palo Alto, 1986|