Last Night at The Blasters

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blastersposterblog

I rarely go out.

RARELY go out.

You can ask anyone.

Over the years my aversion to shows has become so legendary that when I do appear people think that I am a figment of their imagination.

But I have recently been dipping my toes in the water again…

Feeling the need to swim back into music…

A show here… a show there….

An impromptu trip to Bakersfield to see Johnny Two-Bags and Salvation Town with X, and a walk around the Buck Owens museum and suddenly…. I’ve been feeling “all in…”

Bobby De Luna:

Bobby D.

a known musical recluse as well… must have been feeling my “itch” because he began to call and harass me about it.

“You went to Bakersfield without me fucker? Call me back.”

And so, it wasn’t surprising that he would be the one to ask me to go to The Blasters, The Knittters and X at The Observatory.

And I really wanted to go… I did.

I wanted to see the music… I wanted to watch the performances of many of the musicians I grew up with… I just didn’t want what goes a long with it: Huge crowds of people, a flood of memories related to my sketchy rock-and-roll past, and a night wedged into uncomfortable clothing.

But the drive for music was pulling me… added with Bobby’s way of forcing me out of my rat hole… the way he always does… with messages like:

“If you don’t come with me I’m going to come over and slap you in the face right in front of Nana”

or…

“I swear to God D.D. Grish, if you even think about cancelling mother fucker…”

or my personal favorite…

“I’ll let you out of dinner before the show but… if you try to cancel going with me… I will come over and make your children orphans”

Fine Bobby.

I get it.

I’ll go.

I spent hours working my way into about five pairs of spanxs and then a corset to really hold in those years of massive cupcake eating.

I knew that I had succeeded in looking pretty decent for an old lady when Dylan, my son walked into the bathroom and said, “You look really good mom. Wow… Your boobs are huge.”

I thanked him for the compliment and was pleased to see that Lexi, my daughter, had done my hair and eyelashes in such a way that for once I actually looked put together and not like the disheveled high school professor I had become; hair in a messy bun, glasses somewhat askew on my face, tell-tell coffee stain or cupcake smear down the front of my shirt.

At The Blasters

I waved goodbye to my kids, teetered off on my four-inch red heels towards the street where I wobbled at the curb and waited for Bobby to pick me up…

I watched as he drove right past me.

I called his cell phone and before I could even say anything he said, “Jesus… was that you I just passed? I thought it was some really good looking tranny.”

Fucker.

We road off to The Observatory, parked about ten miles away, and walked our pilgrimage with a multitude of others until we arrived at our musical mecca.

It had been about fifteen years since I had been to the venue.. back when it was still known as The Galaxy… and as I walked through the corridors, past the small band room to the main stage… I was overwhelmed by the packed house.

Years of being in just these types of band situations caused my instincts to kick in and I found myself immediately jockeying for a position: across from the emergency exit, tight against the rail… close behind a photographer with a very large tripod, and Bobby standing behind me to block my back.

I settled in.

The Knitters were already on stage and the sound was fantastic.

Deep and rich, each instrument blending together in a fine mix of Americana… the members at home on stage and in their own skins after so many years of being seasoned performers.

It was amazing to see so many people wedged into one place, now way too old to slam dance, fight or push… everyone bobbing to the music and having a really good time.

For a moment I actually felt comfortable and safe.

For a moment I thought “Hey… maybe I can deal with a crowd if it is as passive and happy as this one…”

For a moment it all seemed okay until the only walkway turned into a bottleneck of people, backed up from the stage door to the front entrance, and I felt panic set in.

Having almost been trampled once at a rabid ACDC concert some time circa 1986, my fear of being trapped in the crowd intensified in magnitude until I gave Bobby a quick nod… barely waiting for a response… before pushing my way towards the outside smoking area where I actually text’d my man to come and pick me up and bring me home.

“Where are you?” was not the response I was looking for but, was the response I got from Bobby De Luna who text’d me back first.

I was about to type him back when another text from him rolled through…

“You better not fucking ditch me D.D. Grish”

I looked around at the other panickers sitting in the smoking area with me, heard their own hushed whispers to spouses and lovers through a variety of smart phones… and thought, This is ridiculous, before I plastered on my best Barbara Stanwick steely face and strutted back into the club.

I made it as far as the small band room before I heard the roar of the main stage, freaked out, and detoured into the quiet sanctity of the small space, where the next band was just getting ready to take the stage and only a few of their die hard followers were waiting to hear them play.

It was there that my messiah appeared in the form of: Steve Cunningham.

Thank God for my friends who work the shows.

Steve’s face lit up and so did mine as we hugged and laughed before he gave me a backstage wrist band and told me to go get comfortable.

I almost ran outside to go around to the back where I called Stephen, my man, and told him I didn’t want to go home yet.

“I’m almost to the club,” he moaned. “What the hell?” but being the good man that he is, turned around to kill some time before we agreed he would come back and get me at 10.

I walked through the backstage gate and was greeted by the faces of many of my old friends.

Suddenly, I felt like I was 20 again… on stage in my petty coat, bullet belt, half naked except for a small leopard skin jacket and a bra:

LeopardJacket

I watched as John Doe walked past… and smiled to myself thinking that he looked like a 60’s version of my grandpa now, with his little skinny pants, funky leather vest and cowboy shirt, gray long hair parted to the side, greasy and straggly and remembered the night that I once hula danced for him at Disgraceland, Tupelo Joe on ukelele, Pleasant and the Lame Flames dancing by my side, Joe, my ex-husband, grinning from the couch as he watched in quiet admiration.

Exene was standing in the corner, looking like a cute little punk plump sugar cookie, cigarette in one hand, beer in the other, whispering conspiratorially with a girl in a green cowboy dress, yellow and black bumblebee boots, and purple hair about God knows what… but still courteous enough to hide her smoke and booze, in the photo I instagramed to my students as she smiled as innocently or as innocently as Exene ever possibly could…

Exene and Wood

I crossed through the lot and headed backstage to find Drac, my friend in charge of the event, and ran straight into Jonny Ray Bartel who plays stand up with The Knitters.

I smiled, not realizing that no one recognized the woman that was here tonight… no longer the skinny blonde in the petty coats, my long dark hair and black glasses, my twenty pounds of plump frame, hiding the girl I used to be.

“Hey Sassypants!” I said.

He walked past me, turned around and give me a dirty look, until about five minutes later when he realized who I was and came up to give me a big hug.

“Shit, D.D.” He said. “Sorry I was upset. My bass pick-up kept falling out during the set.”

It was a nice lie…not recognizing me… the way he hid it in the truth.

I told him it sounded great from the front… no one knew… and I wanted to add; Can’t do anything about it now… you’re done playing… But he rolled his eyes as if I was just appeasing him and went off in search of his brother.

My phone whistled.

“Where the fuck are you fucker?”

Bobby De Luna.

“Backstage.” I text’d back and couldn’t help but smile knowing the response I was about to get.

“Fucker. I’m gonna stand out here and be a civilian.”

I giggled to myself, I could just imagine what he was going to say later, once he found out that I was ditching him at 10.

I listened to The Blasters, caught up on the lives of all my old friends, lamented the people we had lost over the years, to drugs, disease, and alcohol, before taking one last look around, making a mental photograph of the moment, Exene now singing Jackson with Dave Alvin from the stage, Phil waiting to make a grand entrance, the new up-and-coming baby musicians huddled together in their own little group, before heading out the gate and walking to the marquee where I would wait for Stephen to come and pick me up.

Later, I would be half naked in the car, removing corset after corset, unwilling to sit in pain the entire ride home, not caring who might see Ms. Wood, their favorite high school teacher, rolling down the freeway in a state of undress…. dying for relief, and a late night Del Taco red burrito with a large coke….

But for right then, for just that moment… I sat on the curb… and listened to the last few songs of The Blasters and felt the melancholy of the evening washing over me… wishing that I had documented every moment of our young musical lives in each of my writings, in each of my songs, a photograph of everything we once were… locked in time… forever immortalized.

Joe Screams Like a Girl when Confronted with Aliens in the Gauntlet of our Hallway

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Fire In The Sky2

During the late 80’s early 90’s there was a huge resurgence of alien movies and Joe, my ex-husband, was obsessed with most of them.

But, Communion freaked him out so badly, that he actually became terrified of extraterrestrial beings.

When alone, at night in our house, and our house was a big dark house… he would often let his imagination get the better of him and believe that around each corner these guys were lurking:

comalien2-thumb

And that they would gang up on him and do this:

fire-in-the-sky

I can’t say that I did anything to reassure him otherwise.

Like the rest of the members of the Grisham family, I have quite a penchant for childish yet evil practical jokes and so… I often times would listen to Joe rant on, as he smoked a cigarette on the porch swing, his eyes sketchy, sure that he had just seen a little scary man eyeball him from behind one of the large neighborhood trees… before I would look over his shoulder and shout, “Joe! Watch out! He’s after you!” Taking great joy in watching him scream and squirm before running pell-mell into the house to hide.

I have to admit, there is something very pleasurable about watching a big, dangerous man that looks like the devil, scream in fear.

So much so…. that when Fire in the Sky came out on pay-per-view cable, and Joe wanted to stay up late night and watch it, I knew beyond a doubt that this would be the time to pull one of my best pranks ever.

I had already seen the movie, caught on a flight back from Nashville, and watching it on the airplane, mid-day, drunk on gin and tonics, made it seem almost comical more than terrifying.

But I could see that in the stillness of a great, dark house, how the mood and music of the film, could weigh heavy on your soul and lead you to believe that things were going bump in the night.

I told Joe I would be happy to stay up and watch it with him, even though I had already seen it, and so, we settled in, Joe in the blue recliner by the stairwell and me in the black recliner by the far wall.

I watched as Joe’s eyes grew large, his mouth turning into a small little terrified “O” shape.

The dark wood paneling of the room….. the large glass sliding doors reflecting images of pale white aliens all around us… the cold drafts of the old house blowing under the closed doors… the creaking of the beams… had Joe curled up tightly in his chair.

He was almost in the fetal position as he absorbed every moment of the film… his gaze barely lifting from the screen… only from time-to-time looking to me for some sort of maternal reassurance and still… he couldn’t stifle his weird “Oooooo! OOOOOOooooooos” a sound somewhat a combo of a siren and a guttural growl type of scream… each time a new and unique creepy little man appeared.

I tried not to giggle each time he reacted.

His dark hair spiked up wildly all about his head.

His heavily tattooed arms covered in skeletons, demons, and dragons.

A living oxymoron in my family room.

It was hard to keep a straight face.

I pretended to be just as terrified as him, by the idea of being captured by a small little man, saran wrapped and anally probed but it just somehow didn’t work for me.

I always wondered why Christopher Walken’s character in the film, didn’t just take a bat and “swing away” like Joaquin Phoenix in the film Signs.

They were little guys!

Christopher Walken, creepy in his own right, should have been able to take ’em!

We were about thirty minutes a way from the end of the film when I put my prank into play.

I yawned loudly several times before I got up from my chair, walked over to kiss Joe on the forehead, and told him that I was just too tired to finish the film.

He looked at me in total disgust.

“I know you’re gonna hide somewhere and scare me,” he said.

I smiled lovingly.

“Don’t be silly,” I kissed him on the head again and brushed back his hair. “I wouldn’t do that.”

He glared at me… he knew a fake when he saw one.

I walked away from the living room, and hid behind the kitchen bar, way back in the corner between two bar stools.

I knew that if I just stayed there, I would be able to trap him in the “gauntlet” of the small hallway and hopefully make it near impossible for him to open the hall door in time to get away.

I snickered to myself as I breathed quietly and waited.

“I KNOW YOU’RE  HIDING!” I heard Joe yell from the living room.

I stifled a giggle and held my breath.

A few minutes later I heard him again.

“D.D.” he shouted. “Knock it off! I know you’re over there.”

I didn’t move.

I didn’t breath.

I waited and sure enough, the grandfather clock soon struck 11:45 and fifteen minutes had passed, and Joe had forgotten all about me.

By midnight, the film was over, and I heard Joe rise to turn off the TV.

I realized at that moment, there was only one light left on in the house: the laundry room light on the far side of the kitchen.

Joe would have to pass me to turn it off before going to bed and if he looked in my direction, my prank would be ruined.

I pressed my body deep into the shadow of the corner and watched as he walked bravely past me, head held high, to turn off the laundry room light and walk the very short distance from the kitchen to the front hall, alone… in the dark.

He made his way into the small room and I took the opportunity to creep out of my corner quietly and hide against the wall by the front door.

Once he turned off the light, I would be completely hidden in the darkness and Joe, his eyes not yet adjusted to the night, would be completely defenseless.

The house went black.

I dropped quietly to my knees and waited for his footsteps to approach.

Once he passed by the front door, I waited for him to be trapped in the small closed cult-de-sac that the front wall of the house, the closed hall door, and the small half-wall separating the passage way from the living room created, and knew that he was screwed.

I made a horrific high pitched gurgling noise… and grabbed at Joe’s legs.

He rushed forward and ran face first into the closed hallway door: It was a loud and terrible crash of a sound.

I reached for him again, this time barely nipping at his heels as I gurgled some more.

He shrieked in misery… it was a banshee of a howl.

He kicked and clawed at the closed hall door, crying out as he tried to basically climb the wall and find solace from the monsters, somewhere up high in the corner of the ceiling.

It didn’t work.

He screamed again and threw himself backwards into the wall, smashing a framed antique photograph of a long deceased family member before dropping like a lump, into the corner of the small space, as the upstairs stairwell light suddenly flashed on and my mom screamed,  “YOU KIDS STOP THAT GOD DAMN RUCKUS DOWNSTAIRS!”

Now at this time, Joe and I were already way into our late 20’s but… the sound of my mother’s voice on the stairs stopped us COLD… as if we were two naughty little children.

For a moment, we stayed silent in our solidarity.

We waited.

She stood at the top of the stairs, assessing the situation, deciding if she would come down the steps and berate us.

A few moments passed, before we heard my mother’s bedroom door slam shut and I began to laugh like a maniac as I slid down the front entrance way wall.

“I hate you.” Joe said as he got up, turned the hall door knob, hit the light switch, and stomped off towards the bedroom in a huff. “I fucking hate you.” He repeated.

I looked down at the floor and saw that he had broken the frame of the antique painting.

“Oooooooh!” I taunted. “You are in so much trouble now!”

He turned one more time and flipped me off before he barricaded himself in the bathroom and to this day… I don’t know if it was protection from me…. or protection from the aliens that lived in all the corners of our old family home.

I got up and readied myself for bed, not sure if my husband would be joining me.

Finally, I tapped gently on the bathroom door.

“Joe?” I said.

No answer.

“Joe,” I repeated.

“What?” his response was sullen and somber.

“Are you coming to bed?” I asked sweetly.

“What about the broken frame?” he said. “What am I supposed to tell your mom about that?”

I tried not to giggle as I gave my response.

“Just tell her you were so afraid of aliens that you broke it in your mad rush to escape their carnage.”

“Fuck you!” he snapped.

I gurgled at him one more time and went off to bed.

Joe and Dave Light the Street on Fire: A Cautionary Tale

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Joe and Dave

When I first married Joe, he was the lead singer for a well-known punk rock band and Dave Mello, was his best pal and his new bass player.

They were always together making surf boards, surfing, working on cars, having their little “bromance” and as any good wife knows… it is a joy when your husband has a best friend.

Their “boy” project at the time was a 1959 Ford Fairlane that Joe was in the process of restoring.

He had just had the engine rebuilt at a shop, and he and Dave had the block back under the hood and were in the process of priming the carburetor when all hell broke loose.

I was minding my own business, upstairs in our small apartment across from what now is the Long Beach Towne Center.

I was keeping an eye on Dylan, who was barely 18 months old, as he rode on his favorite rocking horse, which sat sideways next to the large picture window, watching his Dad and “Uncle” Dave work on the car down in the street below.

“Da,” Dylan said which he used freely for both Dave and Dad and just about every other thought he had under the sun in that little baby brain of his.

“Yes,” I cooed. “Dad and Dave are working on the car.”

He rocked on his little horse excitedly repeating, “Da! Da! Da!” as he watched the boys work.

“Yes,” I repeated. “Da. Da. Da.”

I walked into the other room for just a moment, when I heard a sound that any parent knows is trouble: the sound of complete silence.

The rocking horse had stopped.

The baby made no noise.

I paused in my housework and listened before I heard the words “Uh oh” from Dylan’s baby mouth.

Now, I had never heard Dylan say anything but “Da” so that was shocking enough. But the word that followed just about floored me.

“Shit” I heard the baby say plain as day and then the springs creaked on the horse, his feet padded a few steps, and his little hands began to bang against the plate glass window as he shouted “Da! Da! Da!” at the boys below.

I dropped the laundry I had been folding, and rushed into the living room to find the baby now quiet, head leaning against the window, his eyes large and round, his hands pressed flat against the glass, his mouth in a tiny exclamation of an “Oooooooooh” and before I could even start to comprehend my two-year-old’s first full word being “shit,” I saw a large plume of smoke hanging above the hood of the car in the air, and Dave yelling at Joe, “Try it again! But no more gas!”

To this day, I don’t know if Joe actually really didn’t hear Dave say “No more gas” or if he was just being obstinate, but… he completely ignored Dave and poured a large stream of gas from the gas can in the carb before he raised his empty hand in a big “thumb’s up.”

Dave, oblivious to Joe’s actions, hidden behind the protection of the driving wheel and the opened hood, hit the ignition and I watched as a large fireball exploded out from under the hood of the car and blasted into the air.

“JESUS CHRIST!” Dave screamed as he jumped from the car and then stopped short as he watched Joe, gas can in hand, jump backwards flailing his arms wildly as the flame shot up through the carb, ignited the stream of gas coming from the can, and left a trail of fire that blazed steadily across the sky, lighting Joe up as if he were holding a giant Roman candle on the 4th of July and using it to make fiery decorative loops.

“Throw it Joe!” Dave screamed. “Throw the fucking can!”

Joe panicked.

Mouth open.

He looked back and forth from each hand. I could see from even where I was that his rock-and-roll 90’s hair-do, his giant bushy eyebrows and hipster goatee had been singed to a crisp.

If it wasn’t so terrifying… I would have laughed at the comic farce playing out in the arena below but, I knew enough about combustion to know that if Joe didn’t throw that can within the next few seconds he was toast.

“THROW THE GAS CAN JOE!” I screamed through the glass and though he couldn’t hear me… it seemed my urgent need for him to listen had somehow broken the spell and Joe flung the gas can as far as he could.

I saw both boys rush to outrun the explosion.

For a moment it felt as if I were back in time watching two small children play soldiers at war.

They made it to the curb before the can hit the ground and exploded into a fiery bomb that was quite astounding.

Joe did some weird Chuck Norris tuck-and-roll before he leaped to his feet, leaving Dave behind him face down on the grass, as he ran into the building next to ours.

I watched Dave raise his head.

His look… one of dismay.

Joe had left his man behind.

A cardinal sin when in the midst of the heated passion of a bromance.

We all heard a loud crashing of glass followed by Joe dashing back across the street with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze as Dave smiled, now sure in his best friend’s love for him, as Joe raced throughout the street, trying to right his wrong, putting out large patches of flame, as Dave looked on in admiration.

“Ooooooooooooh!” Baby Dylan said as he watched from the window.  “Uh oh Mama?” he pointed towards the street and then looked up at me.

I picked him up and cuddled him in my arms, glad to know that he was becoming a virtual vocabulary savant from this apocalyptic event.

“Yes baby,” I said as I kissed his cheek. “Uh oh.”

“Shit,” he said again.

I turned to look at him.

“No, baby,” I said sternly. “No!”

I thought he might actually begin to cry for a minute, but then the fire truck rounded the corner, sirens blaring, lights spinning, and Dylan became mesmerized by their brilliance as I heard the boys’ cowboy boots pound up the stairs and then bound through the door where they pulled the curtains closed, dropped to their knees on the floor, and hid low from “the man.”

They watched quietly, afraid to make a sound, afraid they might be seen, as the fire department assessed the incident.

Black 59′ Fairlane: gas trail circling the motor.

Broken glass: fire extinguisher thrown empty to the ground.

Entire street: burnt and black as if some type of car bomb had just gone off in Beirut.

Neighbors peeking from the windows but unwilling to rat anyone out to the authority: the unwritten rule of all good neighbors.

“Shit!” Joe said.

“Shit,” parroted Baby Dylan.

“He said a word!” Joe exclaimed.

“No shit Joe!” I snapped without thinking.

“Shit,” Baby Dylan said again.

“Jesus!” I snapped. “Are you happy now?”

Dave, always the peacemaker, and afraid that I actually might be angry enough to turn them in myself, snatched the baby from my arms and said calmly, “No baby, no.”

I gave Joe a hard look and mouthed the words, “Great.”

Dylan lay his head on Dave’s shoulder and curled his tiny little fingers through Dave’s long hair and said, “Da. Da. Da.”

We watched hidden for the next thirty minutes until the fire department finally went away, sure that the flames were long since extinguished, as baby Dylan slept in the crook of Dave’s arms.

“D.D. did you see that shit?” Joe whispered, teasing me, as both boys started to giggle in silent fits of laughter and tried not to wake the baby.

“Oh I saw it alright,” I said before I rolled my eyes at both of them. “Not funny!”

They sat on the couch, pretending to be forlorn until I exited the room in a over-dramatic huff.

Like any good mother… I let them believe they were in serious trouble, due for a scolding, and a complete disappointment to me.

I went back to folding laundry in the other room when I heard Joe whisper, “Did you see that shit Dave?”

And Dave, pretending to have a coughing attack just so he could get away with laughing like a naughty little boy, giggled as he held my sleeping baby in his arms happy to be in cahoots with his best friend.

Peeing Out the Window of Karen Smith’s Car

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peeing statues

In high school, I was notorious:

Always up for a dare.

Always up for a brawl.

Ditch a class? Steal a car?

Sure… why not.

I was bored.

Diabolical.

A punk rock gangster trapped in the “gifted”  program with a bunch of other Mensa maniacs.

But I swear… there was one girl that I HATED to stand up to and that was my friend; Karen Smith.

It was no surprise that Karen and I became friends: she was street-smart, a brawler, a trouble-maker, a punk rock All-American beauty.

Captain of the Girl’s Swim Team.

On the record board for her stellar backstroke time (a record that actually stood well into the 90’s).

Great at just about everything.

She had giant shoulders, a big blonde high school Rosie the Riveter.

When a girl tried to stand up to Karen, she knocked them down without a second thought.

She looked so sweet: her big blue eyes, her tanned skin, sprinkle of freckles across her nose and then she laid them out: A cherubic angel with a bad ass right hook.

It was terrifying.

I never got into it with Karen.

Smart enough to make her think I wouldn’t fold.

Smart enough to always play it cool.

And although she was more brawn than brain, she knew enough to know that she shouldn’t underestimate my abilities as a worthy adversary…

I stayed a bit standoffish… and acted worldly… as we formed a bond of understanding and silent admiration that was dusted with a fine layer of mutal fear.

She would push me every once in awhile, usually to beat someone up for some ridiculous reason:

She stepped on your shoe… beat the shit out of her.

Or…

You gonna let her walk in front of you like that? Punch her in the back of the neck.

I got in the habit of rolling my eyes, shaking my head, acting as if I was way too cool to waste my time on something so trivial but I knew there would be a moment when I would have to stand up or she would see it as a weakness and might use it to take me down from an equal to a follower.

I had no idea at that time, that I would win the war by peeing out of her car window.

We were driving home from a gig one night: Karen and me, driver and shotgun, and three other girls wedged tightly into the back seat of her small fastback puke green Datsun.

We were a bit giddy really… stoked that our horrific fake ID’s had served us well once again and got us into a 21 and over show for The Damned, one of our all-time favorite bands.

We were full of stories about our night out… laughing, happy, ready to make it to the closest Naugles for a late night order of greasy nachos.

Karen was driving like a maniac down the empty street, probably trying to scare us all with her wicked show of speed, when I asked her to pull over so that I could go pee.

“I’m not stopping,” she said as she flipped a glare at me and accelerated the car.

“Karen, come on,” I laughed. “It’s still like fifteen minutes to Naugles. Pull over so I can go pee.”

She accelerated again.

“You have to pee so fucking bad,” she said. “Then hang your ass out of the window and go.”

The girls in the backseat stopped giggling.

The car grew silent.

Anyone with half a brain could see there was a brawl about to go down.

If I gave in… pathetically sitting in the car with my legs crossed… waiting to go to the bathroom… Karen would win.

I would be nothing more to her than one of her other flunkies currently sitting in the backseat.

And so… I did what I had to do: I took her dare, rolled down the window, lifted up my skirt, pulled down my panties, and hung my bare white ass out of the car.

I heard the girls cackling at me from the backseat… sure that Karen had just thought up the best way to humiliate me and anxious to show their loyalty as minions in her army.

Little did they know… none of them would be laughing for long.

I felt the ice cold wind blow against my naked butt cheeks and thought for a moment that I wouldn’t be able to make myself go… but then I adjusted to the night air, and felt the urgency to urinate return with a vengeance.

I smiled a sinister smile at Karen who was looking smug in her warm driver’s seat as she tapped the gas and the brake intermittently to see if she could shake my concentration or scare me into giving up.

It didn’t work.

I knew then that all of my years in the gifted program were about to pay off.

That today…. brain would really win out over brawn and that this would be a lesson Karen would never forget.

I released my bladder completely and watched as the aerodynamic lift of the wind blew the hot stream of urine back into the window and throughout the entire car, saturating all of the girls in the back seat whose giggles soon turned to screams of disgust, hands over their faces, knees pulled up to their chests, as they begged me to stop peeing on them.

I giggled as I continued my work… happy from my little perch on the window’s edge.

I watched, as they became drenched in it and Karen’s face change from one of smug self-righteousness to one of total shock: stunned that she had been stupid enough to set up her adversary for a chance at her total public annihilation.

She raced to roll down the driver’s side window in hopes that she could beat the speed of the urine.

I looked at her and laughed with glee, still peeing away.

She cranked that window as if she was trying to complete a 50 meter butterfly in under 20 seconds.

It was beautiful to behold.

I watched as my urine exited the car, out the other side, but not before a brilliant splash of gold nipped at Karen’s cheek.

It was just enough for me to see… not enough for the toadies in the backseat to witness… but Karen glanced over at me… worried that I had caught the humiliating moment from my perch and I had.

I smiled at her with a steely knowing grin… it was enough of a “look” to let her know she had been conquered.

It was up to me now to decide if I would push my hand… make her pay… demean her in front of the others.

I took my time.

I finished peeing and waited a moment longer as the wind dried my ass before pulling up my panties, pulling down my skirt, and dropping back down into the passenger seat.

I turned up the tape player and listened as The Damned’s “Smash It Up” blasted through the car.

I hummed along to the words enjoying the moans of disgust from the backseat and Karen’s total silence as she continued on to the Naugle’s hoping that I wouldn’t rat her out.

I let her sweat it all the way there.

We were just about to order from the drive-thru when I watched Karen break.

“That was fucking funny,” she said. “You guys are so bummed. I’m so glad I was in the front seat. Right D.D.?”

I looked at her… she looked at me… the pause was immense in it’s intensity…

If I outed her now… it would mean full scale war.

If I let her keep this bit of power… I would always have a hardcore brawler as my second-in-command.

“Yep,” I said, big smile on my face. “bumming.”

We ordered our food.

The girls in the back clamoring for extra napkins at the drive-thru window, Karen gabbing away excitedly as she told the story for the rest of the ride home… again and again, and me now smug in my own self-righteousness, blissfully content and urine free.

Kicking Joe’s Big Toenail Off: A Lobster Tale

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Lobster

I have always been… what you would call… a troubled sleeper.

It wasn’t like Joe, my now ex-husband, didn’t know this going into the marriage: He’d already been quite at home in my bed for several years.

He knew about my walking through the house in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, talking about someone in my sleep whose name was “Mr. Pig.”

He tolerated my hitting, slapping, biting as I slumbered… but I guess when I kicked off his big toenail during the lobster incident…it really was the final straw in our night time sleeping routine and maybe… actually the catalyst of our marital collapse.

We were living in our apartment at the time, and I had just watched a National Geographic special about lobster migration.

I didn’t even know that lobsters migrated and Joe, already queeeeezed out by the large numbers of lobsters migrating across the bottom of the mid-Atlantic ridge, via our TV screen, begged me to change the channel before he totally freaked.

My mean streak however, caused me to hedge a few moments longer, enjoying watching him squirm, before giving in… but I have to admit… it really was an odd and seriously disturbing sight.

There were thousands of giant lobsters, piled together like bright red cockroaches of the sea, propelling themselves backwards at an alarming rate, towards God knows where, their tails flapping rapidly, pinchers acting as flippers, as the line crossed miles and miles of ocean floor.

It was creepy.

I shut the TV off and went into the bedroom to read.

Now, I’m not really sure when exactly I dozed off, but when I woke, I sat up in bed and stared at the giant lobster sitting at the bottom left hand corner of the mattress.

He was startling in size.

His beady black eyes glaring at me.

He seemed to be daring me to make a move, to put up a fight, his pinchers pulsating in-and-out ready to snap off my finger if I even tried to take him.

I knew what I had to do.

I gently pulled my foot out from under the covers and swung my hardest kick right to the lobster’s face.

He screamed as if I had just thrown him into a boiling pot of hot water to be cooked before I heard his body make a large “thump” and land at the foot of the bed.

I was ecstatic!

I had saved my husband from the lobster’s inevitable wrath!

I was Queen of the Bed!

Queen of the World!

And so…unable to separate my sleep disorder from real life, I woke completely to find Joe, writhing on the floor, screaming in absolute pain, confused and alarmed.

I turned on the bedside light and looked at his face: He was bewildered, eyes the size of saucers.

“My toe!” He screamed. “My God my big toe! What the hell was it? What the hell happened?”

How do you look at your spouse and tell them the honest to God truth?

I tell you… it isn’t easy.

I looked at him with my best pouty face and said in my littlest voice, “There was this giant lobster migrating across the bed and…”

His face changed from one of total confusion to downright anger.

“Fuck you!” He screamed. “Seriously D.D. fuck you!”

“But Joe,” I tried to explain as I pulled back the cover and crawled out of the bed to help him, “It was…”

I stopped.

I knew that what I had just seen was about to escalate this incident to about ten-fold in a matter of seconds and I was preparing myself for it.

“Joe,” I said calmly. “Um, I think we need to go to the hospital.”

Joe ‘s face went from anger to total panic.

He looked down and began screaming. “You’ve kicked it off! The whole fucking thing! Oh my God! You Mother Fucker! My toenail is gone! It’s gone!”

Blood was everywhere.

I began circling the floor as if I were Jackie O. trying to find JFK’s piece of head and stick it back on.

“Joe,” I cried, “I’m gonna find it. I’m gonna put it back on. It was the lobster… I swear I was saving you and…”

“YOU CAN’T PUT IT BACK ON!” He screamed as he rolled into the bathroom and kicked the door closed with his good foot. “FUCK YOU!”

It was actually the most “fuck yous” ever used towards me at one period of time in my life.

If I hadn’t been worried that Joe was gonna come out of the bathroom and shank me with the toilet plunger or the nose hair trimmers, I swear I probably would have chided him on his lack of vernacular.

I sat on the bed in silence… listening to my husband moaning in the bathroom.

I waited patiently until he came out, towel wrapped around his foot, one flip flop on the other, a pair of old athletic shorts and a t-shirt that read “Eddie Would Go” hanging loosely from his tattooed frame.

I watched as he grabbed his wallet and car keys.

“Do you want me to go with you?” I asked sweetly.

“Fuck no,” he said as he stomped across the living room, kicking baby Dylan’s Mr. Magoo car with his bad toe, which resulted in another slew of curse words and a wild swinging of both arms, before he reached for the door, walked out, and slammed it behind him.

It was two hours later before he returned: big toe swaddled in bandages, bottle of extra strength Tylenol in his hand and it was two months before I was forgiven for the incident and to be honest… I really don’t think I ever was.

It’s been over fifteen years since I tried to save my husband from the giant lobster on our bed and yet it was just three weeks ago that Joe reminded me, how I ruined FOREVER… his absolutely perfect toe.

Teaching Sharla a Lesson: Or How Sharla Learned to Always Let Me Hold the Bird

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Sharla

This is Sharla.

Sharla is one of my dearest friends and as you can see… quite a beauty.

And like most beautiful women, she tends to be a bit bratty every now and then… a life time of “getting away with murder” due to her exceptionally good looks.

And though her attitude has mellowed over the years… this brattiness… still appears on occasion.

This is me:

OLD NAVY DOG

Why ANY serious shopper would want to take me to a store is BEYOND my realm of thought.

I loathe shopping.

I hate it with a passion.

I will do ANYTHING to act up and act out when placed in a store or worse yet… a shopping mall but… Sharla seemed to really want me to come along… and because I actually like to go just about anywhere with my friends… even the garbage dump can be quite entertaining with the right person… I decided to join her on the outing.

So let me set up the scenario for you:

The scene: Michael’s Art and Craft store.

The players: Sharla Bafia and D.D. Wood

The conflict: The bird.

I had never been shopping with Sharla before, but since we spent most of our time together being totally inappropriate and usually lost in laughter and unable to breathe… I assumed that she could make shopping fun.

However, as soon as we entered the store, I watched Sharla change into a person I did not know.

She became what I could only describe as a militant mom: on a mission… on a deadline… and I seemed to be the “child” that was annoying her as she fought to complete her very important task at hand.

Suddenly, I was afraid I had made a terrible mistake.

We were barely five feet in the door when I went to pick up an item and Sharla said, “Don’t touch that. We don’t have time to look at non-Halloween specific items.”

I eyed her suspiciously… shocked by her tone… as I put down the plastic foam cone I had been fondling and remained silent.

My thoughts?

I wasn’t sure if I liked being the toadie on her little shopping trip.

I walked on behind her, shuffling my feet, a bit of a pout beginning to show on my face.

I reached for another item.

“What are you doing now?” Sharla snapped.

I stopped, and looked at the item I was now holding in my hand.

“What?” I gave her a dirty look. “I was just…”

“Put it down!” Sharla ordered before I even had a chance to finish the sentence. “God!” She rolled her eyes, “I’ve never seen you like this. Are you going to stop and touch everything in the entire God damn store?”

I looked at the ceramic Paint-A-Gnome art kit that I held in my hand.

By the time I looked up again, she was already ten paces ahead of me, furiously pushing her cart towards the Halloween aisle… sure in her knowledge that she was about to grab hold of the “Halloween Find of the Century” if I would just hurry the fuck up and stop dicking around.

I seriously felt like hurling the gnome across the store and blasting the back of her head with it… but I calmed myself down… sat the art kit gently back in the bin… and admitted to myself that I was obviously unwilling to harm a gnome to make a point.

I sauntered after her now, the rebelliousness in me coming out in my swagger, and found her admiring fake black crows in a large discount bin between aisle 9 and aisle 10.

Her eyes were glassy and glazed.

I knew an addict when I saw one.

She was jonzing for her fix and she had found it in the bin of birds.

“Aren’t they great?” Sharla said as she admired the bird she was holding. “Don’t you think I could really come up with something good with these guys?”

I reached over and took the bird from her hand to examine it.

“Yeah,” I said nodding in agreement.” These are super cool. You could…”

Sharla looked at me and snatched the bird out of my hand, her eyes burning into my core. “IDIOT,” she said. “You don’t get to hold the bird.”

She placed it in her cart as if she was placing the baby Jesus in his manager.

She was smug and self-satisfied and I had finally had enough.

I would teach her a lesson she would never forget.

I have no shame when it comes to acting the fool in public.

I will make a scene anywhere if I believe it will make a point or improve on a comic prank and so…

I did what only the best kind of friends do: I publicly shamed Sharla.

I turned away from her and began to pace furiously back-and-forth in a small neat pattern. I roughed my hair up with both hands before I took my open palm and banged it against the side of my head repeatedly while shouting at the top of my lungs to anyone and everyone in the crowded store that…

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!”

At first, Sharla couldn’t understand what was happening.

She looked at me like I had lost my mind and she seemed genuinely concerned for my well-being.

But when she realized that my acting skills were impeccable… and that to every other shopper in the store I actually did look and sound like a person in the middle of an EXTREME psychotic break… she began to panic.

“Shut the fuck up,” she whispered.

I didn’t even acknowledge her.

I was in character.

I was the Robert DeNiro of the craft mart.

She had gone TOO far and now… she was gonna fucking pay.

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!” I screamed again, banging my head fiercely as I pretended to cry and moan.

“Shame on you!” an older woman, holding a bag of pom-poms shouted from aisle 7. “Shame on YOU!” she repeated. “Let her hold that bird!”

“D.D. fucking stop it,” Sharla begged. I smirked at her as I continued my tirade.

“SHARLA WON’T LET ME HOLD THE BIRD!” I screamed and watched as a man walked up towards Sharla and said, “What the hell is wrong with you? Let her hold the bird for God’s sake.”

Sharla looked at him, tried to explain, but he wasn’t having it. “Give her the bird,” he repeated sternly.

“Give her the bird!” A couple shouted from the end of aisle 5.

Sharla confronted with a store load of DIY’ers…was afraid that they might just make their own torches, light them up, and chase her out of the store, where she would be banned for eternity, from Michael’s Art and Craft Mart, a WANTED poster of her bewildered face posted on each and every craft store wall for the remainder of her life.

She reached into the basket and thrust the bird towards me. “You are such a fucking bitch,” she said as she rushed away from the scene, her cart bobbing wildly as the speed caused the wheels to wobble and bend.

I held the bird close to me, and began to rock gently back and forth whispering, “Sharla lets me hold the bird. Yes Sharla lets me hold the bird.”

The older woman from aisle 7 patted my back and said, “Yes. Isn’t that nice? Sharla lets you hold the bird.”

She shot Sharla a vicious smile and I watched as Sharla stood at the checkstand, pretending not to see it, pretending not to know me, praying that the line would hurry up and move, so that she could pay for her birds and leave the store as quickly as possible.

I looked over at Sharla; my head tucked low, cuddling my bird, wicked smile on my face so that she would know that I had won.

I finished my scene for the shoppers, they all felt content with their good deed for the day, helping a psychotic person hold a fake bird, before heading off down God knows what aisle in search of the perfect glue stick or shiny, sparkly Bedazzler.

I walked towards the front of the store, ditching the bird somewhere around aisle 13, before making my way to the exit where I walked over to the car, leaned against the passenger side door, arms crossed in front of my chest, triumphant smile on my face and watched as Sharla headed towards me.

“I hate you,” she said. “I so totally hate you.”

I watched as she put her bags in the car.

“Are you going to let me hold one of those birds?” I asked.

She pulled one from the bag, and placed it in my hands.

“Fucker,” she laughed hysterically. “I can’t believe you did that to me. I’m never taking you to Michael’s again.”

“Good,” I said. “I hate that fucking place anyways.”

Then I climbed into the passenger seat and held my bird all the way home.

Paul Brashier Drops His Drawers

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This is Paul Brashier.

Paul Brashier has been my friend since I was a very young child and he is one of a small, select group of people who can actually make me laugh so hard that I will eventually end up peeing my pants if I do not run away from him immediately.

It is a quality that I both love and hate in him.

Love? Because it really is fun to have friends that can make you laugh that hard.

Hate? Because he can make you laugh even when you don’t want to… even when you are so entirely angry with him as a human being… so much so… that you truly want to kill him… he can still make you laugh.

You could be standing behind him, with a ball ping hammer in your hand, ready to knock his block off, and he would just turn around, make a face…strike an exaggerated pose… or inhale off of his asthma intake loudly before saying something like “Hey Tappy Tapperson and the Tappets… how about you take that fucking hammer and move along” and you’d be falling out again and unable to get in a good swing.

Paul moved away from my neighborhood for many years but now is back… with his lovely wife and family… and when I recently saw this photo of him on his Facebook wall… it reminded me of a minor moment from years earlier at the neighborhood Albertson’s.

In fact… it was the first time in my life that I have ever seen Paul Brashier totally embarrassed. So much so, that he couldn’t look me in the eye for several hours after the incident.

We were riding together in my mini-van with my good friend, Christy Godfrey. Christy is a teacher and has that look and attitude about her that seems very proper and very strict. However, once you get to know her, you find out that she is actually quite a lot of fun.

Paul did not know this yet about Christy, so as we all drove towards the Albertson’s: Christy riding shotgun, Paul in the back… he was, in his opinion, loosening her up with his comedy routine and doing a pretty good job of keeping us both from breathing during the entire short ride to the store.

He was really on a roll.

When we got there…. I wanted to stay in the car with Christy and chat and so… I handed Paul some money and asked him if he wouldn’t mind going into the store for me.

He pretended to fuss… to roll his eyes and make a scene… but then he cracked a joke, jumped out of the car, pretended to jab at me through the open window, before he walked in front of the mini-van, undid his pants, and mooned me.

Now, I knew immediately that it was just his way of  teasing me… a kind of “fuck you” for making him go into the Albertson’s on his own… and that he planned to show just a bit of crack before pulling up his pants and moving along.

Unfortunately for Paul… he lost his grip on his clothing… and I watched as Mr. Skinny Ass dropped his pants completely to the ground.

One minute… he was fully clothed in the Albertson’s parking lot and the next minute… he was buck-ass naked, free-balling it and pants-less in the middle of Middle Class America.

I watched as he panicked.

Even from behind I could tell.

His head did a triple-take in all directions.

He stopped… stunned… and stared at the large middle-aged woman who was now standing in front of him. She stopped… stunned… her shopping cart a shield against the punk rock pervert she was watching.  Her eyes grew large… her knuckles grew white as she clutched the handle of the basket… unsure if she should move forward to her car, which we soon found out was parked next to us, or make a run for the light of the supermarket door and the safety of the rent-a-cop who was napping on the bench next to the magazine rack.

Paul reached down as quickly as possible to pick up his pants… without thinking about the view Christy and I were privy to from behind. He bent over completely, balls dangling, ass cheeks spread wide, and winked his brown-eye in Christy’s face.

I heard her gasp…. Paul heard it too. I watched as he froze… the realization of what Christy had just seen… hitting him full force.

I couldn’t take any more: I threw my head back and howled with glee.

When I looked up again… Paul was scurrying towards the store, not sure what to do: too embarrassed to come back to the van and obviously afraid that the woman he had accidentally flashed was about to call the police and report him.

Luckily for Paul… he had nothing to worry about.

She walked up next to the van, saw that Christy’s window was open, turned to speak to Christy… giant smile on her face… and said, “God bless the youth of America.”

She was still beaming as she emptied her cart, got into her car, and waved excitedly as she drove off: Paul Brashier’s nudity the highlight of her mundane evening and maybe even the highlight of her entire mundane life.

Christy sat quietly for a moment… head down… not sure what to think.

Having never been around a “Punk Rock” group in her life, until she had the unfortunate luck of running into me, she didn’t really know what to do.

“Should I say something when he gets back in the car?” She asked.

I was still in the throws of laughter but managed to get out the words, “If he even comes back to the car.”

We waited.

It was a really long wait.

I could only imagine what was going through Paul’s mind. It must have been agonizing for him.

I knew Paul well… and though he can come off as quite wild from time-to-time he was raised to have some semblance of middle-class manners and I knew that he was really struggling with this moment.

Finally, we saw him come out of the store… baseball hat low over his eyes… Dickie’s jacket buttoned up to the neck… pants cinched tightly… head down… grocery bag swinging… as he made for a quick clip across the lot and hurriedly got back into the car.

I tried not to look at him… I swear I tried not to laugh… but I just couldn’t do it.

Christy and I both lost all control.

I caught his face in the rear view mirror and watched as he looked out the window… first a bit angry and miffed but then… comforted by our laughter… a bit of a smirk returning to his face.

He was still too embarrassed to chime in… recap the events…. and that was alright by me.

It was actually great to finally see him the one totally caught off guard…

FINALLY the person who for once did NOT get the last laugh.

Recording with Flaco Jimenez and playing with The Texas Tornados

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In the 1990’s when I was signed to my first big recording deal with Hollywood Records, I was fortunate enough to have several of my all-time superstar favorite musicians want to play on my album.

So, when my producer said that Flaco Jimenez from The Texas Tornados loved my song, I Wonder Why, and wanted to add his Tejano accordion stylings on the track, I was all in.

I had never met Flaco, I had only admired his work as a fellow musician and a fan and so… the day that he first came to the studio… I was a bit shy.

Lucky for me… Flaco wasn’t.

In fact… Flaco is FAR from shy. He is actually a giant flirt but in a way that is so sweet and kind he could have basically said the crudest of things to me and I still would have looked at him and smiled like a starstruck school girl: He really is that charming.

He showed up in old polyester grandpa pants and an over-sized sweatshirt. His hair smelled of Tres Flores and he reminded me of all of the men that I had loved growing up: greaser grandpas that worked on cars, had tool sheds with pin-up girl calendars on the wall, and always bought you that coca-cola you weren’t supposed to have right before dinner at the old school liquor store while picking up that cigar that grandma didn’t want him to smoke.

Yep.

For me it was love at first sight and for Flaco… it was love when he had a pretty girl standing next to him singing like a bird while he played along… at least… that’s what he said to me in his charmingly witty way.

We ran through some takes and caught the feel of the music rather quickly and so the PR rep began to take the publicity photos.

Flaco has a very thick Spanish accent and though I could understand most of what he was saying… I was a bit confused when he kept asking me to put my head on his accordion.

I couldn’t figure out why in the hell he would want me to put my head on his accordion but… I figured if a musical great asks you to put your head on his accordion well… then you do it.

I leaned over and laid my head against the keys.

Flaco laughed and pushed my head back up and said, “Your head. Your head!”

I put my head back down and pressed it against the keys again.

“Ay!” he said laughing and then repeated louder. “YOUR HEAD!”

After about five minutes of me putting my head down… Flaco pushing it up… the people standing inside of the control room staring at us and starting to wonder if we were playing some musical blow job game, Julian, my producer, finally pushed the talk back button in the control room and said, “What the hell are you two doing?”

The photographer stood mute… not sure how to handle the situation so he just stared at Julian hoping that his production skills went further than just musical instruction.

Flaco shouted out towards the glass, “I want her to put her HEAD on my instrument for the photographer.”

Julian looked stunned for a moment… not sure if we were moving into some type of creepy sex-for-music scandal before I saw his face light up and he said, “Oh! He wants you to put your HAND on his accordion.”

“Yes!” Flaco laughed and nodded his head, “Come D.D. put your HAND on my instrument.”

I tried not to envision my “hand” on Flaco’s “instrument” as I reached over and pretended to play the keys on the accordion.

Flaco put his hand next to mine, leaned in for a giant hug, and smiled big at the photographer waiting for the flash to snap.

“Jesus,” I heard the photographer mumble under his breath.

“You didn’t understand him either,” I snapped.

“Whaaaaaahhh?” Flaco said.

“Nothing Flaco,” I squeezed his arm and then turned to give the photographer a dirty look. “Everything is fine.”

About a week later, the record company called and said, “Flaco really likes you. The Texas Tornados want you to play a series of shows with them. Are you okay with that?”

Were they kidding?

I was ecstatic.

My family was elated.

And I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to meet the boys.

“Just some local shows,” my manager said. “But we want to get a bit of a buzz going for ya.”

Our first show together was at The Coachhouse and I wanted to bring them all gifts so… I talked to my A&R rep and we gave them each the best of the Disney swag: Solid gold Mickey Mouse watches in special collector cartoon tins. They were super cool gifts and though I was nervous to meet all the guys together, I was excited to give them to the band.

I arrived for sound check, walked up the back stairs of The Coachhouse, and found the guys hanging out in the large Green room.

Augie Meyers definitely looked the scariest. He has that old hard biker thing going and I swear if he had shouted at me I would have stopped and pee’d in fear on the spot. He eyeballed me up and down as he sat on the couch, one leg crossed over the other, arms splayed out over the backside of the couch cushions, as if he were sizing me up and deciding whether or not to like me.

Freddy Fender looked up from re-stringing his guitar and smiled. He had always reminded me of a Latino Jerry Garcia, someone I had never seen as much of a threat, so I smiled back and gave him a bit of a wave.

Doug Sahm, was the funny man of the group… he reminded me of Joe Walsh from The Eagles… always looking for some type of trouble and fun and so he shouted a big “HEY!” before Flaco rushed over and grabbed me.

“This is D.D.” he said to the band, as if he were presenting them with a special gift, and when I saw Augie Meyer’s face light up, I knew that everything was going to be okay. They all stood up to hug me and shake my hand and I felt like I suddenly had my own personal gang of musical bad asses: men who would be more then willing to silence any type of idiotic heckler in the crowd. I knew it was going to be a beautiful series of shows and as I glowed in their presence… I handed them their gifts.

You would have thought that they had never received a present from anyone in their lifetime. They were all overwhelmed with my thoughtfulness and Augie actually bent down and kissed my head, he seemed almost embarrassed to accept his watch but took it out of the case, admired it briefly, before putting it on and preparing to sound check for the show.

That night both our sets went off without a hitch. We played to a sold-out crowd and woke up to stellar reviews. It seriously felt like my life couldn’t get any better and the warm feeling continued until later that night when I watched Freddy Fender giving an interview on television.

He was in the middle of talking about the tour when his microphone kept clinking against something in his pocket.

The metallic sound was so distracting to the interviewer that he actually stopped the interview with Freddy and asked, “What’s going on in your pocket?”

Freddy smiled and pulled out the Disney cartoon watch tin and held it up to the camera. “Oh,” he said, laughing as he opened it wide for the viewers to see. “D.D. Wood gave this to me. I love it. I’m diabetic and I keep all of my insulin needles in this little container. See? It fits them perfectly. Isn’t it a lovely gift?”

I looked at his wrist: no watch.

I looked back at his hand: tin full of needles.

God I hoped people heard the diabetic part and weren’t already sending me hate mail about how I was enabling the habit of “Mr. Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and basically trying to kill off a living legend.

Jesus.

My husband who was watching the show with me looked over and laughed out loud.

“I love it!” He said with a great big growl and a loud clap of his hands. “Freddy Fender just gave you the best shout out ever.”

I wasn’t so sure about that.

“He liked the tin. He isn’t wearing the watch,” I said with a pout.

“Gimme a break,” my husband said. “Keeping his needles in your tin is way better.”

I gave him a skeptical look.

My next show with The Tornados, I walked up, grabbed Freddy, and pulled the tin from his pocket.

“Really?” I said. “Really? On National television?  You tell people you love the tin and you don’t even wear the watch?”

“What?” He said. “The watch is cool and all but… that little tin is just so perfect for my rigs.”

“Hey this ain’t prison,” I said. “Don’t be getting all drug slang on me.”

He laughed and gave me a big hug, “It’s not like I said you were there with me little girl.”

Flaco came up and hugged me. “I heard you brought your mother to this show may I meet her?”

Freddy actually rolled his eyes.

I could only imagine what was going to happen next but I led Flaco to my mom and watched from the stage, trying to concentrate on my set, as Flaco flirted and laughed with my mother.

I couldn’t stop myself from wondering what it would be like to have Flaco as my step-dad and The Texas Tornados as regular visitors at my household.

I smiled at the thought as I finished my last song and bowed to the crowd.

“He seems to really like your mom,” Augie said from the wings as I unplugged my Fender and walked off the stage.

“Is that a good thing?” I asked.

Augie shook his head and laughed.

Doug walked up behind us and said, “You might need a drink child.” Which was a pretty serious statement from someone very much clean and sober at the time.

But Flaco, was a perfect gentleman. He kissed my mother’s hand at the end of the night and she road home with me charmed as everyone was by Flaco’s attention.

I played several more shows with The Tornados before we parted ways.

Several years later Doug was gone… Freddy was too…. and I think of Augie and Flaco and miss our time together… and in my heart I am so grateful that I had my moment with the Godfathers of Tejano, these Kings of country music.

Robbie Tells Reno What For

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Robbie and I have been in a band together for over twenty years.

Sometimes we love each other.

Sometimes we hate each other.

But as it is with most good marriages in life as in art: We can’t seem to live without each other.

Robbie loves to give me a bad time and in fact, just called me at school yesterday and began to verbally abuse me in a long stream of multi-syllabic words, and if I even tried to chime in… would stop and say, “Can you shut the fuck up for just one minute? I mean fuck… just listen to me for once? Just for once!” and then laugh and laugh as if his abuse were amusing… which in all honesty… even though it sometimes does infuriate me… it was.

Robbie, my lead guitar player and co-vocalist in Gypsy Trash, is someone I have always considered as my kindred spirit and so… I would prefer to have attention from him… even if it is totally negative and annoying… them no attention at all: He means that much to me.

And so, I booked a show in Reno and took the “kindred spirit” with me.

I was pretty excited about the trip. I had heard the show was going to be a big event and like the good little “mother hen” that I was… I prepared the mini-van with snacks… plotted our course… had music picked out to perk us up at the boring parts of Interstate 5… and was prepared for a day of fun with Robbie and Corey in the van, Craig, our drummer, following somewhere in his car close behind us with his girlfriend Nickie, and Reno, of course, it’s own entity before us… holding a fabulous string of shows.

There is nothing like being on the road with your band: The camaraderie is palpable.

I pulled up to Robbie’s house, big stupid smile on my face, optimistic about our time together when frumpty-grumpty rolled out of his house with his guitar case and said, “Get the fuck out of the driver’s seat. I’m driving.” Threw his case in the mini-van and said, “Where’s the coffee?”

“I thought we could stop along the way and…”

“Jesus, fuck, D.D!” Robbie interrupted. “You don’t already have the coffee?”

Corey, installed happily in the backseat, rarely the talker, always the introvert, always the peace-keeper mumbled, “I could do with some coffee and then lit up a Lucky Strike, preparing himself for the long drive ahead.”

And it was.

A LONG DRIVE.

Several hours of Corey and Robbie chain-smoking Lucky Strikes over numerous conversations and musical debates, cups of coffee, Robbie’s harassment, Corey’s mumbles, and my people-pleasing all of the way to Reno where… we found out… like most musicians find out at one time in their musical career or another… that the show was not a big festival of fun but a sadly thrown together affair at an old hotel that was currently fighting to regain their liquor and entertainment license.

I won’t even go into Robbie’s tirade here. Just note… that it began with “Jesus fuck” and ended with “God damn it D.D.”

His vehement lecture was close to legendary.

Lucky for me, we were in Reno which meant that gambling and booze were close at hand. So, we met up with Craig, our drummer, played our first afternoon gig to a skimpy audience of about twenty people, before we packed up and headed over to the strip to gamble, booze, and eat before our show the next day.

I didn’t see much of Robbie and Craig… somewhere ensconced in a game of poker… drunk on the free drinks in a matter of minutes… I left to sit at the other end of the casino with Corey, both of us totally sober, as he tried to teach me the finer points of Black Jack.

I wouldn’t say I was a complete and utter failure but, after I knocked my large glass of Coke into the dealer’s chips and cards, alienating myself from almost every seated player and resulting in me being cussed out by two super drunk, spray-tanned orange, bleach-blonde, Reno sluts, I decided to call it a day.

I waited almost two hours in an all-you-can-eat casino restaurant for the boys before I finally realized they were addicted to the cards, and walked back to the hotel where I waited for them to show up.

The next day’s show was not much better… in fact I would say the crowd of twenty had thinned and after a fight with the drummer of Hellbound Hayride, a no talent asshole that almost got his ass kicked by Corey and Robbie for mouthing off to me (one of the perks of being a girl in a band… hardcore violent back-up at your finger tips) Robbie shouted “Fuck this place.”

And we all left to head home to our next gig at the Orange County Tattoo Convention. Supposedly another “big gig” but after this fiasco we just weren’t buying it.

“Fuck that show,” Robbie snapped. “Fuck everything. I need some food. I’m hungry and right now… I fucking hate Reno.”

He flipped off the hotel both hands held high, middle fingers blasting, before we piled back in the mini van to stop for a quick bite at the Donner Pass restaurant before heading home.

“They seriously have a Donner Pass restaurant?” Robbie said as he looked at me and Corey with mock disbelief. “Do these fucking idiots know that the Donner party basically ate each other’s frozen dead asses until a rescue party found them in the spring? Jesus.”

He kicked open the glass entrance door with his boot, sat down at the first empty table and began chain smoking.

Corey and I looked at each other but said nothing.

We knew if this didn’t go well, things were going to turn ugly rather quickly… but when you are a member of band… your loyalty requires you to ride the train wreck to the very end and so… we sat down next to him.

I prayed that nothing would go wrong.

I prayed that we could order quickly.

I prayed that the food would appear in a matter of seconds and that we would be fed, content, and on our way but… that didn’t happen.

An hour later we still hadn’t been served and Robbie was irate.

“What do I have to do to get something to eat around here?” He shouted out to the entire restaurant. “Do I actually have to eat someone’s ass? Is that what you people want? Do you want a fucking show? Do you want some fucking Donner party action at this table?”

Corey lit up another Lucky Strike and calmly gazed around the room, almost challenging anyone to speak up.

I sipped my Coke, focused my eyes towards the ceiling, and pretended I hadn’t heard Robbie say anything really of any interest.

Our waitress grabbed someone’s food off of the hot rack, today I still don’t know if it was ours but at that point…I couldn’t give a flying fuck: I just wanted Robbie satiated and satisfied.

“That’s more like it,” Robbie said as she handed him his plate and he immediately attacked his steak.

“Jesus, I hate this fucking place,” he said through a mouth full of food. He pointed his fork at me as if he were teaching me a lesson, “Town of illiterate idiots, D.D. they don’t even have a fucking clue that the Donner’s ate ass.” And then he attacked his steak again.

Corey took a long drag off of his Lucky Strike and smirked as he looked out the window at the pass.

I was trying not to laugh by now, the embarrassment and the reality of the situation way too much for me.

It was a matter of minutes before we paid our bill, climbed back in the car, and drove to the actual historic location of the inevitable ass eating Donner party episode.

“Shall we go check out some history and see where all this shit went down?” Robbie said, excitement taking over, now that he was fed and away from the travesty that was named, Reno, he was full of historical gusto.

“Lead the way,” Corey said as he followed Robbie down the path into the woods.

I walked behind them, glad that it was modern times, spring, and happy in the knowledge that I would not be eating either of the asses walking in front of me.

CBGB’s with Brian May from Queen Resulting in the Worst Hangover of my Life

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You can ask just about anybody.

I don’t drink.

Well, I don’t drink very often.

Maybe once, twice a year.

Seriously.

I believe that years of partying with the “Bad Boys” of the 80’s might have something to do with my lack of interest in drinking today and…

After spending most of my time around recovering alcoholic-addicts, I have a lifetime full of cautionary tales… so I don’t.

But I have to admit… that maybe this night in New York City, with Brian May from Queen, might have had something to do with my decision to give up the “big party” for good.

We were both in town for CMJ: the huge music/publishing festival that takes place annually in New York.

I flew in with my band, Brian was there solo.

But we were both on Hollywood Records and so the president of the record company wanted to take us both out to a schmooz dinner, after we played CBGB’s that night.

Our job was to impress publishers, journalists, radio station owners in hopes that they would find us “down to earth” yet “intelligent and witty” and therefore, want to buy our music or play our music because not only were we talented but heck… we were just damn good people.

Now… I have always been good at schmoozing… it’s just something you have to do when you are playing in “The Show” but deep down inside…. it always made me extremely nervous and super sick to my stomach.

So, when it came time to leave for the big dinner party, my band thought it would be great if I drank a few margaritas and tequila shots with them… just to relax me before the special event.

Well, anyone that has been drinking in New York, knows that the bartenders of the Big Apple really like to make their cocktails strong and so… next thing I knew… I was in a limo, heading to a dinner party… empty stomach… well… now full of booze… and pretty much already bordering on inebriated.

My A&R person was trying to get me to pay attention as she did the run down on who would be there and why it was important to impress them but… I was in a bit of a stupor, looking out the passenger side window, enjoying the street lights, and basically spun out in my own little world.

“D.D.,” she snapped. “This is serious.”

So I gathered myself together and tried to sober myself long enough to at least LOOK interested in what she was saying.

We arrived at the restaurant: Upscale Mexican. Tequila and Margaritas strewn across the table.

This was going to be bad.

My thoughts of getting a coke or a cup of coffee to get myself back on track dissipated.

The record company president handed me a shot and pressed me to down it.

Brian May stood up, towering above me, gave me a giant hug, placed a margarita in my hand and that is basically all I remember.

I have a faint recollection of trying to pull a girl’s ear off her head, believing that she had something stuck in her hair.

And I guess I did actually get up and cross the restaurant to smell Robin Leech, from Lifestyle’s of the Rich and Famous fame because Brian May dared me to do it.

Other than that… my next memory is me on a street corner, outside of CBGB’s talking to a middle aged Italian man in a wife beater, who had a 1980’s Cadillac with a back seat full of hand guns and kept telling me not to worry about anything.

He would take care of me.

“Johnny” would take care of me.

At this time, I knew I was in trouble.

I picked up the pay telephone and called my brother Jack and started to cry.

He could hear  “Johnny” rambling on in his heavy Bronx accent in the background, people outside the club screaming and fighting, and me… having my first breakdown on the road… and he wasn’t sure what to do.

“Where’s your A&R person?” He asked.

“I don’t know,” I sobbed.

“Go back to CBGB’s and get a cab back to your hotel now. Call me when you get there.”

I hung up the phone, told “Johnny” my brother said I had to go now, and so he saluted me with his heavily-clad-in-chunk-gold, pudgy Italian hand, and wished me well on my way.

I did grab a cab.

I did make it back to the hotel.

And when I woke up in the morning, naked in a bathtub full of rusty water in one of the old rooms at the Algonquin… my all time favorite New York hotel… home of the Algonquin Round Table… host to many of my favorite writers and editors: Dorothy Parker, George Kaufman, Harold Ross… I felt like I was going to vomit.

Not only because I was in the beginnings of the WORST hangover of my life but, because I had acted a fool and ended up a physical wreck in my literary place of worship.

I felt like Bukowski was the only writer that might actually applaud me at the moment, raise his glass to me in celebration of last night’s debauchery.

It was horrible.

And when I suddenly came completely to and remembered what I had done… I actually slapped my hand to my forehead and shook my head in disgust… hoping that I might somehow be able to forget the idiot I had been.

Had I actually tried to pull an ear off of a girl’s head?

Had I actually walked over and smelled Robin Leech?

I leaned out of the bathtub, grabbed the edge of the toilet, and vomited.

Ten minutes later the phone rang.

I dragged myself, naked, across the floor, and picked it up to hear Jack, my brother, and Joe, my husband, both screaming at me for scaring the shit out of them.

I guess I never called the house back to tell my brother I had made it safely to the hotel and they had no idea where I was staying until they were able to get hold of one of the record company reps in the morning.

I made my pathetic apologies and hung up.

The phone rang again.

This time it was my A&R rep.

I was ten minutes late for the record signing and press junket for my first album.

“Get your ass in a cab and get down to the Kimmel Center now!”

I had no idea where I was supposed to go but I rushed to get dressed, did everything I could to try and look like I wasn’t a drunken mess the night before, and made it to the Kimmel Center just in time to take some publicity photos with Brian.

Seeing him standing on the red carpet, his arms outstretched ready to pull me in close, a big smile on his face, soft-hearted giant, I felt like I had just been granted an “idiot” reprieve.

I rushed towards him and snuggled close, as he held me tight, and leaned down to whisper in my ear, “I loved that you actually went over and smelled Robin Leech. It was just so great.” and that was the moment that they snapped our photo.

Light bulbs popped off around us, people screamed out our names, questions were fired from all angles, and though I was a bit dazed… overwhelmed from the attention, and sick as a dog from my hell of a night. I made it through.

“Welcome to my world,” Brian said as he squeezed my hand and then sat down next to me at the autograph table where we spent the remainder of the morning visiting with fans, signing our names on cds and posters, and joking about Robin Leech until we both caught the late afternoon flights home out of JFK… me back to Los Angeles and my small home in the suburbs of Long Beach… Brian back to England… to his mansion estate… but both of us forever connected through our mutual love of music, drinking, and Robin Leech.