In the early 90’s I used to roll around town in a developing mullet. Those days were rife with rebellion and destruction whereas I had just discovered this dirty, mostly British, violent political noise called punk and long-haired, headbanging songs of guitar solos and secret devil signs. I was indeed on the brink of my salad days, walking around with a scowl and a chip on my shoulder during a time when my only source of stress was my school and my curfew. If only I knew of the tension and bottled insanity that awaited me in adulthood I would have listened to much more Ace of Base and Bryan Adams and saved the heavy stuff for when I got a job and had to slave alongside chimpanzees dressed like people. Where competence was a foreign word and “I’m both and idiot and a tool” was the common moniker, I seem to have wasted all the intense music while I was carefree and young.
By “roll around town” I mean walking, skating, taking the bus or riding my chrome Mongoose around (until it got stolen by some jerk offs in Gresham, Oregon.)
Used to drink, used to rock, used to party in the park in ripped jeans and brainstorm ways to get little bags of weed we smoked out of pop cans on playground play structures. Adolescence was the time you either flew high or flew right. I was doomed to be the former first, then the latter later.
Memorial Coliseum Assembly Hall was a concrete bunker beneath the grand glass box that was Portland’s largest arena at the time. An underground sweat-hole where rock bands too small to fill the real joint up above would hunker down for the capacity crowd in the basement and blow the kids’ eardrums clean out of their skulls. Those shows were some of the roughest I ever saw and when Suicidal Tendencies came to town from Los Angeles, the sheer violence in the pit rivaled any thrash fest I’d seen.
I had a leather jacket and a Levi jacket with the sleeves ripped off and on the denim I had my aunt sew a Suicidal Tendencies patch across the back. It was so great because the adults couldn’t read it but all my friends could.
Turned out one day in the 9th grade I was walking out of a downtown Portland McDonalds and got my ass severely whipped by 4 guys who didn’t like Suicidal’s music, apparently. They definitely didn’t like my mullet because they had shaved heads. That was my first taste of getting a certifiable beat down in front of bystanders and all I really remember was me throwing a few but taking a lot more lumps and those waiting for the bus just watched. No one said a word. I suppose no one wanted 4 skins beating them up, either. That patch on my back then became my badge of badassness. I didn’t take it off until a year after I graduated.
Skinheads terrify me, though, even today. Yikes. Who wouldn’t be afraid of a drunken and pointlessly violent contingent of the world’s most supreme ignorati?