JOURNEY SUCKS- NEW WAVE RULES

In 1983 I had to give a presentation in my 9th grade English class, so I chose to do it on New Wave Music. I stood in front of the room with a sturdy school district portable phonograph player with a built in speaker. I was nervous and not so great at public speaking yet, so it was a horrific and scary endeavor. I took a deep breath and began.

“A lot of people like Journey and Def Leppard, but they are horrible.

New Wave Music is taking over and bands like them won’t be around anymore.

Some people think New Wave Music all sounds like this…”

At this point I had Devo’s “Time Out For Fun” from their OH, NO, It’s DEVO! Album cued up. It’s a great song, but I thought it was a good typical dorky synth beat that would get the class on my side. I only played the first 15 seconds, because the song actually starts kicking major ass at that point and didn’t want to undermine my argument. I continued…

“But there’s a lot of great New Wave Music out there. Like this great song by Sparks and Jane Weidlin called “Cool Places”

I played “Cool Places” (which I still love so much) and stood there, staring at the class, while the song played in its entirety. I wrapped up with, “So there it is. Don’t be surprised when we’re all listening to New Wave Music soon!”

I went to my desk, records in hand, and wondered what the hell I had just done. The presentation made no sense at all, and the premise was basically, “Journey Sucks/Sparks is Awesome!”

Oh how I’d love to watch a video of my 14 year old self giving that presentation again.

Jerrold Wergeland’s English class at Arroyo High School was actually very important for me as a performer and a writer. He encouraged us to get out of our shell and had us read poetry to the class. One assignment was to find a song that reads well as a poem and read it out loud. I chose The Police’s “Synchronicity II” (which I’ve since memorized) with great lines like “Every other meeting with his so called superior, is a humiliating kick in the crotch!”

Mr. Wergeland also had us write short stories. I was obsessed with Tales From The Crypt, Edgar Alan Poe, and about every DC Horror comic book ever made, so most of my work was horrific and goofy spooky tales with some sort of ironic Twilight Zone twist at the end. He liked them enough where he’d read them to the other classes, and I’d often get stopped at recess by someone who really liked my story.

I recall one day when Mr. Wergeland was telling us about “The Hero’s Journey” in a story, something the character has to overcome to make a compelling tale. He said, “For example, give me an obstacle in a story about a woman who wants to be a dancer”. I replied, “She has no arms or legs!” The class laughed and he shook his head with mock disgust but he told me after class that his was hilarious.

One day we had to read an excerpt from a book we were reading in front of the class. I decided to go for maximum shock value and read a portion of the book Alive, about a rugby team that had crashed in the Andes Mountains and had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. The portion I read went into sickening detail about how they ate brain stew out of someone’s skull.

Jerrold Wergeland was an awesome guy with a Vincent Price demeanor about him that I truly dug and he was a major inspiration to me. He passed away a few years back, and I couldn’t make it to the funeral, but my friend Randy Waage went there and told them how much I personally dug the guy. I wish I would have hung out with him as an adult and talked about spooky stories some more.

And Journey still sucks.

SEE HA HA HEATHENS IN NY

Here's a fun flyer I made for my friend Keith Lowell Jensen's comedy show in NY on September 19th. I had the pleasure of performing the San Francisco show last month. Check it out! Keith's CD/DVD "Atheist Christmas" comes out this November on Stand Up Records.

Mr. T's EROTIC BUTTER TRICKS

A year or so before I started retroCRUSH, I wrote for Matt C's great pop culture humor site, X-Entertainment (which is still on the net, but has morphed into the wonderful and regularly updated Dinosaur Dracula!. At the time, it was quite a fun thing for us to tell comic strip style stories using action figures and toys we had lying around the house. I specifically bought this gorgeous 12" Mr. T figure just to use for articles of this sort. Anyway, I was digging through some old articles and read it again it was horribly written and contained references barely made sense, but there was something so fun and silly about it that I decided to clean it up and modernize it. I with the photos were bigger, but this was written in a time where people were still using Dial Up Modems and bandwidth wasn't cheap, so we kept the photos grainy and small so the pages didn't take forever to load up. CLICK HERE TO ENJOY THE REST OF THIS TIMELESS CLASSIC.