Being deployed is one thing, but being deployed and stuck in a garrison-like environment can be brutal at times.
This environment provides me with better access to the Internet than most places in Iraq. That’s great because I couldn’t blog without it; however, it is also what creates the the fishbowl factor for me; allowing me to peer out at the world I’d rather be in.
Today, for example, I received my upcoming-live-music update for music shows at venues in the Phoenix area. This is a great service provided by a local record store back home, especially for live music fans. The bad part to this service is that it is nothing but a teaser for me while I’m here.
There are some great shows coming up, which I don’t stand a chance of making it to, like the legendary LA punk band The Germs. Holy Crap! I mean, I know lead singer Darby Crash is dead, but I’m sure drummer Don Bolles and the gang will be there to make it great. I was too young to see them when they were in their prime – and Crash was alive, so this is as good as it gets for a guy like me and bands like this won’t be around much longer.
Back in 2005 when I was separating from active duty, I cleared through Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C. I had just finished my tour by escorting Henry Rollins (former lead singer of Black Flag, Rollins Band) through the mystical desert of the Sinai during his USO Tour of Egypt and Turkey, when an opportunity to see another legendary punk band presented itself: The Misfits, named after the Marylyn Monroe film.
Fayettenam, as the hosting town is coined, is a great place to see a punk show. Since this community thrives on the base’s economic thrust, a lot of what exists there is what the soldiers want: tattoos, strip malls and seedy bars with live music. Jester’s Pub is where I saw the Misfits for the first time in my life. I had always loved their music, and it was hard not to be attracted to the Fiend Club imagery of the skulls and horror film themes, which has influenced so many modern bands like Arizona’s own Hour of the Wolf.
Although lead singer Glenn Danzig was long gone from the lineup, bassist Jerry Only did a great job of filling in and who could complain about guitarist Dez Cadena – former lead singer of Black Flag before Rollins, and of Redd Cross – and drummer Robo who was in some of the best line ups for both the Misfits and Black Flag in the early 80’s.
Because this was such a great hybrid of Misfits and Black Flag members, the show not only featured Misfits songs, but Only was able to take a break from singing when Cadena stepped to the mic with Black Flag classic Six Pack. It was a spectacular performance that made the hair standup on my neck. It still does just thinking about it.
Even the venue was cool. It was pretty small, so fans could get close to the performers, which made it hot, but exciting with all of the stage diving. And, unlike most classic punk shows these days, this show was not full of young kids flopping around. For some reason it was dominated by men in their late 20s to early 40s, which made for a healthy mosh pit with plenty of physical activity.
I can’t wait to get home and reinsert myself into the lap of luxury we call America. Not so much for the fancy cars, the over abundance of food, or girls in skimpy clothes. I can’t wait for the chance to stand in the close quarters of a venue like the Clubhouse in Tempe where the only violence I have to concern myself with is getting kicked in the head by a lead singer dismounting a stage.