As/Is







6.18.2015


from Systematic Derangements ('12)

During the This Charming Lab days, there was one tussle between myself and Dan Baker over a girl. She was a blonde from the West Coast named Tracy. Tracy lived at 4th and Lombard, across from the Philly Java Company. One night, Dan and I got stuck at Tracy's apartment at the same time. We both spent an hour and a half trying to get Tracy to signal for the other to leave. Finally, she kicked us both out together for the arrival of her "real" boyfriend, who was a sugar-daddy. When the same thing happened between myself, Dan, and Genevieve Walsh, I won. Dan wasn't vindictive enough to take his revenge- I was lucky.

In the summer of 2001, Gaetan and I went canoeing on the Delaware with a girl named Kim. We stopped on all the little islands to smoke another bowl. By the time the day was over, we could barely stand up. And the drive all the way from New Hope to Center City was a long one. Kim drove, and we came within inches of being annihilated ten or eleven times. Yet, I was infected enough by Gaetan's laissez faire mood that I couldn't have cared less. The psyhology of the mood was simple- if you believe in life, you won't die.

One night during the heyday of the Philly Free School, Mike Land and I dropped acid at my flat at 21st and Race. We eventually migrated to the basement of the Last Drop at 13th and Pine. From there, we decided to drop in on Jen Cho, who lived on Lombard. I was holding my own, and Mike appeared to be too. Jen was having her U of Delaware crew over. We decided impulsively to smoke up with them. I was in a miasma but could at least function well enough to talk; Mike became catatonic and was rocking back and forth in his chair. I had to wheel him out of there.

Gaetan had a girlfriend in the Free School days named Anastasia. She was a wild child. At one of the Free School shows, she got more than halfway towards jumping out of one of the windows. Melissa and the rest of Gaetan's crew (the Peek-a-Boo Revue crowd) had to drag her back in. That was the night we were bombarded with teenagers from the 'burbs sneaking in. It was so chaotic we couldn't stop them- whoever was supposed to be working the door was AWOL. So, what did we do? We at least put away the nitrous tanks.

There was only one night that Mike and I invaded the Bad News Bats' compound. Liz was on a Bukka White kick, so he was blasting. She was also having a screaming fight with someone. We helped the Bats carry their gear over to Tritone at 16th and South. This was during the "Abby era" of the Bats, when the surf-punk emo scum-rock was shot through with more melody and polish. By the time they took the stage (and as was often the case) they and their whole audience were wild and drunken. Liz always set this tone.

On New Years 2007, I took Matt Stevenson to a party in South Philly thrown by the U Mass Amherst poets. They were a dainty crew, and Matt started picking on them instantly. We found ourselves at a bar in Northern Liberties, and Matt didn't particularly ease up. It was warm- Nick Moudry and I decided to hike it back to Fairmount/ Logan Square on foot. When Matt Stevenson got into a cab with Laura Solomon, he leered lecherously, and I was sorry not to be a fly on the wall. I later found out he got nowhere, as if I couldn't have guessed.

During the days when Dawn Ananda Hulton and the Nooses were playing Free School shows, I went out drinking one night with Dawn at Dirty Frank's. She had no way of getting home. I took a cab with her, for $35, back to Upper Darby. I expected to be ushered into her bed. Instead, she had me crash downstairs on a couch in her living room. Meanwhile, upstairs, she had a screaming row with her Mom. At a certain point, I heard her Mom coming down the stairs. I was scared and intimidated. Pulling a move out of Judy Blume, I pulled the comforter over my head so as not to face her. I heard footsteps come up to the couch and stop. A few seconds passed. Then, she strode past me towards the kitchen. That was the weekend Dawn played me a big chunk of Wire for the first time.

At one point in the early Aughts, I formed a Peter, Paul, and Mary folk-rock band with Mary and Abby. The songs I wrote for the band were folk-noir. One of them was called "She Slit Her Wrists." We went so far as to play one show, upstairs at the old Book Trader on South Street. When Abby broke up the band, it was because she didn't want to play George Harrison, and decided her songs were as good as mine.

In 2005, I recorded half an album's worth of demos with Gaetan Spurgin. Gaetan's studio at 13th and Carpenter was as Philly noir as it could be. One afternoon, Gaetan and ElektroWorx were mixing their own album and I happened to be there. Everything was being cranked through the main studio speakers. Two girls, Pia and someone else, were collapsed and asleep in each other's arms right up against the blaring speakers. By that time, I was used to such sights there. And to getting flu symptoms from smoking their pot.

I only ever jammed with Greg Foreman once, in the early Aughts. I played him "Darkyr Sooner," and he played me some of his solo material. He also talked about meeting Ian McLagan and Keith Richards. Greg was very tight with Dawn Ananda Hulton at one point. When I heard that he'd joined Chan Marshall's band, I wasn't surprised. I always thought Chan and Dawn Ananda were very similar as songwriters. "Dawn Ananda and Chan Ananda," I called them. The last night I spent with Dawn Ananda Hulton, in 2010, she was up to drinking a six-pack for breakfast.