I’m THEE WHISKEY REBEL..every straightedger’s nightmare..friend to drunken janitors and egghead social outcasts everywhere. I’ve written loads of columns printed elsewhere (particularly CARBON14 and the now defunct HITLIST) along with a couple books and a pair of self published zines. For the purposes of THIS..my FIRST column for AMP I’m gonna pretend you know nothing about me or what advanced long-term readers have come to appreciate as “THEE WHISKEY REBEL LIFESTYLE”.
I think it’s pointless to take seriously opinionated rants in publications like this if the columnist doesn’t pull off his or her mask at some point and reveal their hidden agenda..any particular causes they’re hoping to advance. Likewise in the case of a music oriented mag like this I sure as hell believe that as a writer if you’re going to hype the hell out of a friends band (and there’s no reason you shouldn’t) that you should make that clear to readers. Be up front with your bias in other words.I’ve felt for 20+ years that local music weekly’s are the lowest slime ball publications this side of the “Nambla quarterly” or whatever the hell those assholes call their rag. From friggin’ Maine to California in every major city people pick them up every week to check out valuable listings of live shows.
Unfortunately these papers all hype the crap out of both #1) the bands with “friends” on the staff..or #2) tame, inoffensive bar bands who “play ball” with the club owners who buy regular adds. New bands, innovative bands, bands with rude alcoholic members are more often than not swept under the rug (unless of course one of these bands moves away and becomes successful; then the mag will proudly boast how they helped “discover” them). The music BIZ is loaded from stem to stern with outrageous liars and hired exaggerators. If you choose to read all their phony soap opera bull crap about what darling local band is being “scouted” by some label..go right ahead. I WIPE MY STINKIN’ HAIRY ASS with YOUR local music weekly...because their “interests” are shrouded in secrecy.Anyway, here’s a wandering introductory thumbnail sketch of my basic ideas, allegiances, biases, vices, etc.
First...let’s get RELIGION out of the way. Against all odds I’ve been agnostic since I was 9 years old. I was raised in a super fundamentalist Christian home literally surrounded by relatives who are all nowadays lay preachers, church organists, preachers Wives, gospel singers, etc. I’ve been the proud undisputed “black sheep” of the family for many years of course. I write quite often about the ways the various organized religions of the world FUCK THINGS UP. I firmly believe your religious faith is your business. I’m not out from the get-go to challenge anyone's private treasured beliefs. BUT..when you or your religious institution begin to blather your beliefs about publicly to influence the society I’m forced to co-exist with..THAT’S when thee Whiskey Rebel considers it “open season” on you and your church. It’s obvious to we free thinkers that religion has historically been the root cause of the lions share of wars and social stress over the years.
A lot of columns written for music magazines are political in nature. I have opinions about political matters, but I’ve NEVER been the member of a political party. Since I’m an agnostic, live a hedonist lifestyle and have defended my pal Jello in print quite a few “righties” consider me a “leftie”. Since I’m white, male, bearded, beer bellied, pro-gun, hate rap and hip hop and have defended the confederate battle flag in print ”lefties” often assume I must be a Republican, fascist,racist/sexist/homophobe.I’m PERSONALLY SICK AND DAMNED TIRED of living in this age in which every “weird” person must be categorized and tagged like an endangered species of bird for commiting the sin of having an unpopular opinion or two.
I’m NOT a leftie, a rightie, a middle-of-the-roader or EVEN a libertarian. I’d make a piss poor racist/sexist/ homophobe. Why? Over the last 23 years my band RANCID VAT has included Jewish and Mexican members, gays of both sex and was at one time 3/5th’s female. When I ridicule rap and hip-hop I’m NOT attacking anyone’s skin color..as an occasional anonymous emailer or anonymous “punker-than-thou internet scribe might suggest. I’m merely ripping a fad or “lifestyle” that someone has CHOSEN to follow. If that OFFENDS you, well guess what?? I’m not busting anybody’s balls any more than the folks who write for other music mags that cover hiphop, techno, alternative, country, etc.
I worked for TOWER records a few years back. I’d spend boring lunch hours in the employee break room thumbing through “the source” “mojo” and other popular periodicals. Every damned one of them published plenty of anti guitar oriented rock and roll comments. Every damned one of them included “trailer trash” or “Bubba” or “redneck” or “mullet” jokes that can be laid at the doorstep of country music or classic rock. The techno oriented mag’s seemed especially frustrated that so many of us still own and record music with guitars. It’s not about color...it’s about writer’s covering one genre of music having a laugh at the other genre’s expense.If in the future after reading (or I’d predict in most cases partially reading) one of my columns you notice I have a Texas address and try to attack me as some sort of fat, dumb Southern-Bubba-cretin-redneck I’ll slap your argument down faster than a Stone-cold Steve Austin stunner.
Fat?? I do have a beer belly..but it’s ALL muscle. Dumb?? I have an IQ of 142 and a den loaded with 22 chess trophies (I was a minor child prodigy). Southern?? Only by the grace of Hertz truck rentals. Oh..I WAS born in Southern Oregon if that counts. Bubba-cretin-redneck?? Come on now..I play in one of the longest running punk rock bands in the US. When we started out the REAL Bubba-cretin-rednecks hated us along with all the other bands. I’ll admit that I love the Southern States especially as opposed to the West coast. I wouldn’t know which end of a frigging cow to milk though. Personally I think there’s a higher percentage of blatant racists (of all colors) in my old Northern hometown of Philly than there is in most corners of the South I’ve visited.
When I lived in L.A. 15 years ago I would often be the only white guy at one of my jobs. I didn’t give a shit...REALLY. I’ve been screwed over by more white dudes in suits at work over the years than anyone else. One of my core beliefs is I HATE and distrust BOSSES. I spent 25 years in the work force dealing with lying, manipulative bosses and (just as bad) two-faced, big mouthed, nosey co-workers. What I DO stand for as my #1 solution for dealing with this often rotten and stinking fucking existence is ALCOHOL; LOTS OF IT..EVERYDAY. Besides the bottle I advocate the use of anything you can grope, watch, taste, read, sniff, drink, chew, smoke, suck, pet, poke or tickle for your own amusement as long as you stay in your own damned yard while you do it.
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Enough of my basic profile for now. I’ve got on my mind today a hopefully entertaining and classic example of cliché, vague, “concerned” idealism RUNNING AMOK thanks to a small handful of absolute morons a few miles down the road in lovely San Antonio. A few people who’ve been innocently fucked with by these dumbasses might suggest that I not write about them since they might get all excited over reading about their exploits as misguided and hypocritical as their actions seem. Personally, I don’t think they’re smart enough to be AMP readers (if they ARE..what have I gotten myself into??).
I’ve been playing with my bands at punk rock shows for around 23 years or so. During that time period I’ve experienced one major riot in a suburb of Philly, one stabbing during a set in Portland, one instance of a teen firebug setting a fuse to chemicals that would’ve turned the club into a fireball, scores of fights in the audience, a dozen or so brawls between our band and ignorant boobs (including an instance where one fellow had a quart of sticky borscht dumped on his head!) and a few overly dramatic and vague threats that weren’t followed up from both racist and non-racist skinheads.
The plug has been pulled on our set 20 times or so in a half dozen States and of course we’ve had a few “disagreements” and an outright melee or two with clubowners and their bullyboy bouncers. The imbeciles in San Antonio have to be the stupidest Motherfuckers yet simply because their antics have been premeditated over the course of months and therefore can’t be excused by a mad night of drunkenness. In spite of the fact that they’ve been told to their faces over and over by many people how misguided they are they’ve persisted and in doing so managed to turn a simple misunderstanding into a fiasco worthy of Beevis and Butthead involving dangerous weapons, a pier 6 brawl and wanton destruction of completely innocent out of state band's property.
They’ve earned as the fruits of their political-punk vigilance the ultimate reward..the banning of themselves due to their own heroic goodhearted deeds from multiple local venues.It all started during a Rancid Vat set on January 1st. We were the last band of the night of many. This particular club is one of a few I’ve observed recently who have made the questionable decision to not employ any bouncers. I agree that sometimes over the years the club bouncers I’ve dealt with have been more trouble than they’re worth, but a smarter solution seems to hire decent, intelligent bouncers rather than not have any at all. For instance there’s another club right in the heart of San Antonio that we’ve played at that employs pro-wrestlers in training as a security force. Even I wouldn’t argue with a member of the wrestling Brotherhood.
Peace reigned at THAT club whenever I’ve been there. Not so at the club where all this crap started.On that night we had played 8 or so of 12 scheduled songs to an average decent reaction from the audience which was very, very drunk it being 1:30 am or so. What the hell...we were mostly very very drunk ourselves too. During the last song we played, to satisfy the blood lust of the fans and myself I grabbed an empty beer bottle from the floor..busted the bottom off..and stabbed myself in the forehead a few times. (I might point out here that in spite of the complaints I’ve heard from a handful of critics that juicing “has been done before” my band continues to use it as a means of getting a cheap pop from the audience.
Maybe it’s because none of those stuffy critics to my knowledge have ever played in a band that only used gimmicks that no other band has ever used). A nice stream of warm blood was flowing down my face..so, not needing the jagged portion of the bottle I tossed it into the audience like I always do. For that matter, I lobbed a couple other empties into the audience that night. No one was hit...SORRY!! I don’t TRY to hit people from the stage with bottles. I hate to reveal a precious and time honored show biz secret..but the fact is when I lob empty bottles into the audience I aim BETWEEN people. Well, most of the time..I did get carried away once in San Francisco and bounced a few off the back wall of a neighborhood bar. What the hell..It’s PART OF THE SHOW..just like it’s part of the show in many other cities and villages across our fair land where bands like ours perform songs about the joys of guns, drinking, pro wrestling, etc.
After I juiced, we started cranking up the next song...until I saw a guy start climbing up on the stage. I couldn’t tell WHO the guy was or whether he seemed particularly happy or pissed off about our set. I don’t wear my glasses on stage and can’t see peoples expressions very well from more than a few feet away. Our rule in the band has been for many years to immediately clear the stage of anybody dumb or drunk enough to get up on it. I saw our singer the Texas Stud adhere to official band policy; he proceeded to discourage this fellow from mounting OUR stage by pulling a big knife out of his pocket and waving it in his general direction. About that time the plug was pulled and our amps went dead. My first thought was that the club had been offended for some chickenshit reason by something we had done. That’s when the Texas Stud filled me in on what I couldn’t see without my glasses.
The guy who was attempting to get up on OUR stage had first pulled a knife (much smaller) on HIM. Anticipating a visit from the San Antonio police the rest of the band packed up our equipment while the Stud and myself spent several minutes talking to a friend of the moron who had pulled the knife on us. The guy was friendly enough..he apologized that his friend was VERY drunk and confused. He charged the stage because he thought one of us had thrown a beer bottle at him. AH HAH!! I immediately explained that I physically can’t really aim a bottle at ANYBODY in particular because I can’t see without my glasses. We told him that the stage belongs to US when we are playing and that it’s standard practice to keep it free of idiots and drunks.
The moron meanwhile was lead away by friends. According to my Son he was actually crying he was so drunk and upset. Whatever, we were paid by the club anyway and we chalked it all up to yet another in a long history of shows ended suddenly. In the days after the show the Texas Stud once again talked to the moron’s bandmates to patch over any hard feelings from the incident. He learned that the fool had been so wiped out that night that he was telling anybody who would listen that I..yeah..cuddly harmless ME..had been the one who pulled a knife on him. We all had a good laugh at that. Fact is, I wear sweat pants on stage without any pockets. Where would I carry a knife?? It didn’t seem important that the guy was running his mouth telling the people in his circle that I had pulled a knife on him. And..I guess that should by all rights be the end of that story. If the moron and his small circle of borderline retarded friends had even a smidgen of common sense that would’ve been the last we ever heard from him.
Did the moron go to an attorney to fabricate a silly lawsuit against us?? No..that would require a certain amount of savvy and intellect on his part. Did he go to the police to file a complaint against us or the club?? No..as pointless as that would be (since HE pulled the first knife..and no one was injured anyway) that too would require him to set a “plan” in motion; such as he’d need to convince Mommy to dress him up in something other than his punk rock costume and write him a note to pin to his shirt in case he got lost and confused during his bus ride to the downtown police station.Here’s what happened. I got a phone call late one night a full four months later from the Texas Stud. He had just returned from a show at the same club featuring a band he and our drummer Bobo play in called SHIT, our friends from Austin the BULEMICS and a couple other bands.
The Stud was laughing his ass off; it seems that the Moron and his girlfriend and a couple other genius pals came down to the club with the intention of KICKING OUR ASSES. In the intervening months the fool had quickly forgotten the incident with the knives being drawn. Instead he and his brave friends had been persuaded somewhere by someone in their circle of scumbags who sit in front of record stores begging for change that RANCID VAT and SHIT were in league with bands like the dreaded meat-eating ANTISEEN and therefore must be evil fascists and racists. When they learned that the BULEMICS are longtime friends of all of ours they evidently tarred them with the same self righteous brush in typical ignorant vague “leftie” punk rock fashion.
Friend...if YOUR band was on the bill that night and these dumbshits thought you were in cahoots in some way with this imagined sinister cartel of bands..they’d likely have lumped YOU right in with all of us. What did the Bulemics do to be labeled by these fuckfaces as “racists”??? Were they seen drinking beer with the Texas Stud and Bobo?? I’m familiar with all their CD’s..they don’t have any lyrics political in nature by a longshot. All their songs are about the finer things in life..such as getting fucked up, fucking things up, Satan, etc. And why in the blue hell do the guys from ANTISEEN (who live 2,000 miles away) have anything to do with what happens in some dive bar in San Antonio??I think these half-baked politcal punk boobs have been conditioned by reading certain dominant and VERY JUDGMENTAL punk rock zines (you know which rags I’m talking about!) for years into believing that it’s OK to accuse people you disagree with of being nazi’s, Fascists, racists, homophobes, blah blah blah.
This notion is reinforced by signs they see at protests (or on TV) that compare President Bush to Hitler for instance. How else would people who are so inherently stupid suddenly declare out of the blue that certain bands they’ve decided they don’t like are racist/sexist/homophobic/nazi’s??When the BULEMICS took the stage the moron’s girlfriend managed to somehow get up on stage and get the microphone from singer Gerry. She started screaming and ranting into the microphone “fuck racism!!” repeatedly. Gerry evidently at first nodded along..agreeing with her sentiment..not realizing yet that he and his band were being accused of being racists. ONCE AGAIN..for the SECOND TIME in this column a show is disrupted because this same club didn’t have the sense to have a bouncer on the staff. Out of necessity a Woman friend of one of the band members dragged the moron’s girlfriend off the stage and all hell broke loose.
Bobo and the Texas Stud both of course jumped into the melee which wound up with the moron and his brave bullyboys and his girlfriend all being jettisoned from the club.Next, copying the brilliant punk rock band from that old “C.H.I.P.S.” TV episode the brave defenders of the vague political punk idiom headed to the parking lot where they slashed the tires of a couple innocent touring bands from Portland Oregon thinking they belonged to the BULEMICS. ALL THIS....Because I tossed a broken off bottleneck into the audience 4 months before after juicing during a gig??? Of course not...that can’t be. But in some eerie way that’s what seemed to touch off the trail of events. Of course as you might expect alot of people were really PISSED OFF after the disrupted show. Isn’t it about time that club realized the need of having somebody on their staff to deal with I.Q. 72 FOOLS???
I’m told that these losers were banned from that club and a few others after the Stud made the rounds of venues in the city to expose those bad apples. Maybe the non-existant gods will do the right thing and lure them to Berkely. Scratch that..I don’t even wish them upon the East bay. Perhaps my old hometown of Portland though!! BOTTOM LINE: FUCK those assholes. Remember..we’re not talking about a bunch of 17 year olds. These are grown up adults in their 20’s. PATHETIC!! In my 23 years of playing live music in front of #1) half-baked politicos and #2) out of control substance abuser’s, the moron and his pals have managed to COMBINE in an ugly fusion the worst faults of both groups of pests. They exist as a living example of the undisputable fact that: BEEVIS and BUTTHEAD are only funny when they’re on TV..and not in person. All for now..thee WHISKEY REBEL
Crusading Christians don’t think of themselves as overbearing nut cases when they preach at you in the break room at work when you’re trying to eat. They’ve been programmed to believe they’re SAVING you. 99.99% of people I’ve worked with over the years avoid holy Joe’s at work like flooding septic tanks. They don’t feel like they’re being “saved” by the Christian..they feel like they’re being pestered with a religious pitch they’ve heard before. Hard core animal rights folks scream equally loud whether or not their specific protest of that day involves furs, chickens, dogs or rodents. Their style seems to be to revolt anybody not in their camp as if that’s going to get people to see things their way. They seem ignorant to the fact that they alienate potential people who might support them when it comes to the treatment of lovable animals with tirades about the rights of vermin.
Mainstream Americans believe that animal rights advocates and conservative Christians are on opposite sides of the fence. To me they’re all a bunch or CAUSE ORIENTED zealots. Likewise it doesn’t matter to me if you’re blocking the door at an abortion clinic or blocking rush hour traffic at a war protest. If you’re blocking MY path...SHOVE YOUR FUCKING CAUSE!!! Get the hell out of my way. I don’t give a rats ass (oops!..I might offend the staunch defenders of rats rights) whether you’re a krishna with a goofy haircut and robe working marks for change in an airport or a Mormon missionary riding a bike around sporting a blue suit..I take your “causes” equally seriously: SHOVE YOUR FUCKING CAUSE!!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against people practicing whatever religion they get sucked into. Where they cross the line with me is when they start knocking on doors like brush salesmen or standing in public places with their hands out or in the case of the very worst religious kooks when they start cornering co-workers by the water cooler. Often I openly sympathize with the “cause” of the day being protested in the streets. But if you don’t respect my right to agree or disagree with you..if you randomly block my vehicle and the vehicles of others who have daycare children and bottles and TV sets to get home to..I say SHOVE YOUR FUCKING CAUSE!! And don’t feed me that line of bull I’ve heard a hundred times before from the mouths of protest leaders. “The ends justifies the means..it’s more important that our CAUSE be made known than people being inconvenienced”.
When you take an attitude like that you’re taking away MY RIGHT to disagree with you. You’re playing god with innocent peoples lives..every bit as much as if when you got home to the suburbs after the protest you found a gaggle of Jehovah’s witnesses blocking your front door for a couple hours. The right to protest is one of the most important ones we enjoy as Americans. Likewise the right of each individual to choose from the cornucopia of faiths that exist in this country or to choose none at all is a privilege allowed in damned few nations. Freedom of speech is extremely important to me; I’m an outspoken agnostic with a lot of controversial opinions which are expressed in print and on the internet on a regular basis.
I know damned well that in many countries of the world I would’ve been dragged in to jail by the authorities for questioning or in many cases simply taken out and shot. Yeah, I have my opinions and they piss off a lot of people from all sides of the political and religious spectrum; but you’ve got to buy a magazine or book or have a reason to visit my website or you’re never gonna know about me. If you want to agree with me on one issue or another..FINE. If you don’t..well, I’m not going to try to force you to. I don’t go around knocking on Motherfucking neighborhood doors and I NEVER swung my soul at work. I consider the streets and highways and sidewalks to be NEUTRAL. KEEP ‘EM CLEAR!!! Go ahead and protest within view of passer’s by but when you start stopping people or confronting people you’re pissing on their rights.
When you piss on MY rights..I say..SHOVE YOUR FUCKING CAUSE!! In my lifetime there’s been a huge explosion in the sheer number of “CAUSES” that individuals dedicate themselves to. Thee Whiskey Rebel’s theory is that all these vocal groups screaming at once simply cancel each other out. I see causes to the left of me, causes to the right..CAUSES CAUSES FUCKING CAUSES. Bicycle rights “CAUSE” people stop traffic during the afternoon commute in a major Northeastern city..while 500 miles South Klansmen hand out recruiting pamphlets on the streets of some small town you’ve never heard of. Out West in San Francisco a gay pride parade is held with a tremendous amount of local support; the parade is seen on CNN by Christian “family” type Republicans across the country. It upsets so many of them that the next time the archaic sodomy laws of their State are contested they’ll blindly vote to support them. At the very least the parade being publicized on television guarantees a helluva lot of sermons from scores of Sunday pulpits nationwide targeting the “gay agenda” gay marriage, etc, etc. I’m NOT saying the gay pride parade shouldn’t be held..remember, my theory is that the CAUSE ORIENTED groups are all shouting each other down.
Every time the media reports some huge lawsuit against a gun manufacturer, the NRA undoubtedly receives an avalanche of contributions. Every time 60 minutes televises a segment about the folks fighting for huge money settlements for the ancestors of slaves CAUSE ORIENTED hate groups sign up a few thousand new members. I’m NOT kidding. When the fate of the rebel battle flag was being debated in the media in South Carolina a while back, every time a protest was held vilifying the flag a corresponding number of huge flagpoles adorned with the stars and bars could be seen popping up in yards in the State. Every time an abortion clinic is bombed or a doctor working in one killed, there is a drop in church attendance and a wave of donations sent to Planned Parenthood.
Historically in the U.S. cause oriented extremists rarely get their way quickly. If they’re very successful they shift the center of gravity of the overall political scene to the left or the right just a bit which in turn leads to an iceberg slow adjustment of some law or other. There’s a great dealing of fluctuation back and forth across any individuals lifetime. For instance the same..the VERY SAME generation that was the first to demand the legalization of drugs turned as a group AGAINST this idea when they grew up (these are the yuppie parents whose current battle cry is “do as I SAY..not as I DID!!”).
It takes a DAMNED long time to claim final “victory” in our society. There are STILL people out there who are against the notion of paper currency for instance! There are plenty of people who are still fighting like mad to remove science books and sex education from public schools. And how about the small army of advocates who want to do away with the minimum wage in the workplace?? To each and every one of them I say: SHOVE YOUR FUCKING CAUSE!! Again..I’m not saying everybody should all drop their “causes” at once. If you feel a burning need to express yourself on an issue I think you should follow your heart.
But pal, if YOUR cause gets in my face or knocks on my door or prevents me from getting home to my ice cold loved ones..then YOU can expect me to act in the interests of MY CAUSE..which is to tell YOUR CAUSE to SHUT THE FUCK UP!! Yeah..that’s MY cause. I began my one man crusade when I was 18 years old. I was walking on my college campus minding my own business and a soapbox evangelist got me involved in HIS cause by pointing at me and making some sort of comment to the 50 or so people listening to him that I was going to hell for some reason. Maybe it was the T-shirt I was wearing..or maybe he mistook me for somebody he had argued with before. All I know is it began a public war that was waged over the course of 3 years and many, many public battle sites.
A friend and I would deliberately go out looking for the guy several times at week at the parks he preached in. We had discovered a half dozen biblical loopholes that the guy had no answer for. We’d show up and ruin his day by insisting that he answer them on the spot, which would destroy his mission for that day. It got to the point where the preacher..who was an opinionated big mouth blowhard with no tolerance for anybody belonging to any other organized faith..finally he took us aside and admitted defeat. He practically begged us to allow him to preach without interruption. A classic example of MY CAUSE..telling somebody else's cause to SHUT THE FUCK UP!!
When we started my band RANCID VAT 22+ years ago we had no intentions of aping all the naive, half-baked political rhetoric both lefty and righty spewed out by most of the other bands of the day. The “cause oriented” nature of the songs irritated the shit out of us in fact. Since day one our “CAUSE” was being the band that showed it’s disgust towards the other bands. Some scenester dumbasses predicted we wouldn’t last a month..but here we are after 22 years having outlasted virtually every “cause oriented” band in our path. THINK about it..some of them could be YOUR parents. If so, I bet they sing a different tune nowadays politically for that matter. I bet a lot of them go to church now or 12 step programs. I hope they have a good bar to drink at the end of their day of selling insurance or being a cog in a wheel at some office. That reminds me..MY CAUSE has one other key function. That is to educate the small percentage of human beings who will listen about the best path I know of for waging peace amongst ourselves instead of growing apart. I’m talking about the path to the liquor store or tavern or bar and grill in YOUR town and MY town. In Washington D.C., Waco Texas, Fargo North Dakota or Salmon Idaho.
I don’t give a damn what your sexual preference is..or what your skin color is. I don’t care if you’re male or female and whether or not you refuse to kill flies or are an avid hunter. If you will DRINK with me..we can sit down together and hammer out some sort of agreement or at least an agreement to disagree. JOIN MY CAUSE...DRINK WITH ME. Isn’t it obvious that the nations of this world (the middle east for instance) that forbid alcohol consumption are the ones dragging the rest of the world into their never ending problems??? So let’s learn from their example and DRINK together. If you WON’T drink with me..then as far as I’m concerned I’ve extended the olive branch to you and you’ve spit in my face in return. So, from this day forward I have just four words for you: SHOVE YOUR FUCKING CAUSE!!
THANKS A LOT FOR RUINING ALL THE BARS ASSHOLES
Are you into the sort of music covered in these fine pages...and those of other music mags? Of course you are to some extent; unless you’re one of the elite minds who bought it just to read my column. Do you drink in bars with your friends? Do you sometimes like to go to those quaint sort of dive bars with old school decor and neon and dated furniture where you usually see a gaggle of older alcoholic regulars seated at the bar? You know; the sort of bars that people who write local zines sometimes go on and on about.
The sort of places that perhaps sport signs of having been full blown “tiki” bars at one time...places that seem “retro” to you? Yunno...ancient beer coasters, stained old tables, dated signs hanging on the walls and from the ceiling and behind the bar and a sour smell from over the ages emanating from the urinals? The kinda places that people write about in local hipster bar guides as “discoveries” as if the brave adventurer who “discovered” the oftentimes 50-100 year old establishments was the first patron who “mattered”? AHH HAHH!! I thought so. You FUCKING PIECES OF SMARMY COOL SHIT!
You’re the thoughtless air head trendies who have RUINED thousands of once decent bars from coast to coast. It all starts with a small group of fashion mongers like YOU...and YOU...and YOU..and especially YOU...penetrating the sanctity of a bar that caters to thirsty people who NEED a place to go to get away from their spouses...thirsty people who have problems to ponder. These aren’t people flaunting some music sub-genre “look”. They’re normal folk..shoe salesmen..retirees...lonely old gals...who are quite content with the pleasures of a normal bar that serves potent drinks so that they can get loaded and find a bit of peace. That is, until YOU and your ilk “discover” the bar and begin touting it to all of your trendy hipster friends.
Destruction of a decent bar STAGE 1) You and your pals and maybe a dozen or so of your mutual friends infiltrate the confines of the joint. You smooth over the initial funny looks you get from the regulars due to your dress or piercings or hair-do’s. You’re accepted by the bartenders.
BAR DESTRUCTION STAGE 2) a few dozen more of your friend’s friends and your friend’s friend’s friends find out about the “new” (HAH!) bar and swarm in like body crabs. On weekend nights you and your brood begin to outnumber the normal drinkers.
FINAL STAGE 3) somebody from your “scene” cons a bartender or employee to squeeze something relatively contemporary onto the jukebox. This will sure as hell drive away 98% of the original patrons who made it such a “discovery” in the first place. The bar soon orders only a fraction of the BOOZE they used to serve; it’s been replaced by fashionable 16 ounce cans of PBR to serve to the hordes of gas station jacket wearing guys (whom of course have never worked at one) and their fashionable looking girlfriends out for a night of slumming it. Of course about the same time the last few poor normal drunks are driven away from the bar never to return a few of the geniuses who “discovered” the place have decided the now jammed super trendy toilet has lost it’s appeal and have started seeking out new watering holes that they can claim to “discover”.Does this sound familiar?
If you live in a city where the slacker and post-slacker and post-post slacker generations haven’t swarmed down on all the “old men bars” and dark Chinese restaurant lounges and quaint neighborhood dumps with cheap draft beer and strong affordable shots.....let me know. I’ve lived on both coasts and here in Texas and traveled widely playing with my bands, giving enlightened boozy book readings and just rambling in general. I don’t have statistics to prove it, but its obvious to ME and a lot of pissed off NORMAL drunks I talk to that this syndrome has effected bars on the West coast especially.
There are still NORMAL places to get sauced at in a time honored manner in cities that respect tradition relatively more like Philly and Baltimore and Chicago. These are cities where hostile defensive alkies will still rally together to drive out dipshits in band T-shirts who talk like jackasses, want to foul the air with sweet smelling hippie clove cigarettes and music they hate and try to con the owner into booking self indulgent open mic horseshit. These stalwart booze-apolitans DON’T WANT their nice retreat ruined.
The west coast has been hit really hard by this syndrome. Up through the 80’s it was still fairly easy to find bars in major cities that hadn’t been polluted by attention seeking “LOOK AT ME!” punk rock goofballs. The 90’s ushered in the Nirvana generation and a rather different tribe of slacker morons who reacted to venerable old watering holes as if they were Disney style theme park sets. Instead of minding their own business these clowns all had to yuk it up loudly and annoyingly at the incongruity of hip and fashionable people like themselves and their friends drinking in such prosaic surroundings.
I lived in L.A. and Seattle during the 80’s and was horrified that a mere 10 years later many formerly great bars had been contaminated. The city that had more bars ruined than any other was the other burg I lived in...a place I wouldn’t live in again if they made me mayor: Snoreland (Portland) Boregon (Oregon).
Up to 15 years or so ago Snoreland was LOADED with great bars. The Space Room, The Alibi, the Sandy Hut, Sewickley’s addition, the Pirates cove were a few of my favorites. Unfortunately, it developed a reputation as being some sort of hub for alternative music loving types. When I go to a bar to see live music I expect to see a lot of music fans and people from bands and those who want to rub up against them. When I go to a nice, dark and quiet lounge with vintage decor I don’t want to be in a jammed room with morons from bands scanning the room with their eyes looking for familiar faces. I want to be around NORMAL people without musical pretensions...unless that person happens to be an old drunk who sits behind a house piano and starts playing boozy singalongs Buddy Love style.
Portland alterno-trendies fanned out across the remote neighborhoods of the city spoiling and soiling the blue collar bars in Sellwood, the stiff drink emporiums of South East, the soothing lounges of Chinatown and even the rundown skidrow bars of Burnside street. Even the bars up in the St. Johns area which were somehow exempt from the encroachment of hippies and their paisley crap in the 1960’s were “discovered” by the fashionable and written about in chatty bar guides. I’ve made reference to the disgusting fate of Portland’s bars in other columns.
Every time, I’ve gotten emails from Snorelanders who whole heartedly agree. It’s obvious. One of them pointed out how revolting it is to see the last 2 or 3 simple alkies that aren’t driven off by the trappings of trendiness. They’re often “adopted” by the fashionable much like “pets”; living inside jokes for the cool to smugly pretend to befriend. There should be bars for all kinds of drinkers. Seriously, I believe that in a perfect world there would be bars where people into stuff I both love and hate can congregate. I DON’T WANT everybody to be like me on any given night of the week. I think it’s incredibly tacky and rude for people who like their bars to be a certain way to encroach upon the fun of people who are different.
“Diversity” and “tolerance” are two words that are driven into the ground these days; how about using them in conjunction with respect for the bars people are drawn to? I am not gay...I am straight. But, I’ve drank in many gay bars over the years. When I do, the last thing I would consider doing is trying to change the place. I’ve been married a long time and have no need to pick up women. But, I’ve drank in many hetero pickup oriented bars too. When I do...even though I’m often chuckling inwardly at all the trite pickup lines...I keep my mouth shut and recognize that all people can’t be as smooth and lovable as me.
There are bars (such as Irish pubs) where primarily folks of a certain ethnic group socialize, bars that cater to veterans, bars where methed up rednecks go to fight because they ENJOY fighting. Bars that play urban R&B sounds that would drive the rednecks crazy. There are “brew pubs” that cater to microbrews (spews) where you can be snubbed by pompous post-hippie jackasses for drinking simple corporate beer...and where they play music that makes me want to slice my ears off I don’t want to change ANY of these places. LET THE PEOPLE have their bars. Do you agree?? THEN WHY IN THE FUCK do you have to spoil good, quiet, venerable old fashioned “neon” encrusted bars by bringing yourself and your friends and your attitudes and your music there?
You should all be ashamed of yourselves. You cry and and piss and moan and are outraged everytime a longstanding music venue or hipster watering hole is bought up and altered into some sort of miserable dump decorated with phony brass and green trim or maybe a brightly lit yuppie gourmet bistro. Why can’t you see that when you encroach in a human wave upon a classic tiki or “old man” bar, dated disco or sweaty blue collar tavern you ruin it for the people who’ve considered the place home for may years? There’s something refreshing about an unpretentious bar that caters to “real” drinkers as opposed to stylish young people. If you can’t spend an evening now and then away from people who share your love for a certain kind of music and lifestyle you’re pretty fucking shallow.
If I’m getting through to you..if you finally realize that you’re one of the spoilers of bars I’m talking about, I suggest the next time you find some out of the way ginmill you should just KEEP IT TO YOUR FUCKING SELF. Take a few friends along now and then if you want to..but make it clear to them that you don’t want to see another bar relegated to grist for the hipster mill. If you do this..you’ll be saving a bar for a lot of everyday boozehounds who might not have anywhere else to go. Think of it in terms of a human wildlife sanctuary if you prefer. Go observe the denizens..but be respectful, keep your noise down, tip the bartenders and buy a round now and then for the house when you have a little extra in your pocket. If you follow these guidelines, maybe..just maybe I’ll let you buy me a shot if you run into me in one of these joints.
THE HIPPIE'S ARMPIT
An old friend of mine living in Eugene Oregon emailed me a few days ago. He signed off by referring to his town as being “the hippies armpit”. I was amused at first. It’s a sign of inner strength on his part that he can live in a place still totally emersed in post-hippie culture like Eugene and maintain a sense of humor without being a hippie himself. On the other hand, since he’s a man whose lived in real cities like NYC and should know better I have to deduct some points from my scorecard evaluating him.After a while though, thinking about him and what could possibly have induced him to live voluntarily in Eugene for over 20 years made my head hurt. The thought of living there again in that patchouli saturated toilet makes my stomach churn.
I’ve had a few hippie friends over the years and have no problem dealing with them in small numbers. To be totally outnumbered by an army of them is just TOO MUCH. I visit the place every few years to see my aging Mother. It never fails to “blow my mind” to use an old hippie phrase to see that rather than fade with time Eugene like a handful of other college towns in the U.S. (like Ann Arbor, Burlington and Berkeley) seem to be more steeped in deadhead / Phish friendly, earth Momma pleasin’, mellow hippie ways with the passage of time.
I have to force myself to stay calm when I’m visiting Mother. I had a startling panic attack one trip there brought about by focusing too much on my surroundings. Wouldn’t it be ironic if I lost it and keeled over dead there and funds weren’t available to ship me back to Texas for disposal? What if I wound up after a life time spent loathing 60’s culture being buried in the big cemetery off of Willamette Blvd. in South Eugene? I’m making a mental note to specify in my will that NEVER happens. Even though I have morphed into a Fred Flintstone type hothead when exposed to certain hippies my entire adult life, I’ve come to understand that hippiedom has had a huge influence on my life. What’s more, if I hadn’t grown up in “the hippies armpit” I wouldn’t be who I am.
When the Sex Pistols eventually got me interested in punk rock part of my enthusiasm was based on the whole anti-hippie schtick. It was the late 70’s and for the first time in my life I actually met a gaggle of people who loved loud music and getting shitfaced but HATED asshole acts like the Eagles or CSN. If I had grown up in a nice city like Philly (which didn’t welcome hippies in the 60’s) I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to become so thoroughly PISSED off at extended exposure to tie-dye, birkenstocks, VW vans, posters with moronic idealistic slogans, etc.
In Oregon in the 1970’s pretty much wherever you went to shop for records or see live music the business was run by maturing hippies. That meant incense, a sometimes random looking assortment of Indian bric-a-brac, too many plants and irritating amiable “mellow” grins everywhere you looked. There are many, many things I don’t like about hippies..but I suppose the greatest criticism to be made about them is to point out the GREATEST LIE concerning them. They were (and are) supposed to be all about “peace” and “love. They claimed to want to beautify the ugly world built by the “establishment”. All one needs to do is look at the greatest event in the annals of hippie history..WOODSTOCK..to see their brand of beauty and peace. It was a chaotic multi day fucking MESS.
A humongous overgrown crowd of mud covered losers freaking out on drugs. It wasn’t a music fest, it was a drug fest with a large number of amateur users. Sounds like my version of HELL! The Altamonte festival turned even uglier of course. I was too young to attend festivals like those, but frankly I didn’t WANT TO. I had already seen a hippie rock festival close up. An aunt of mine dragged me and my sister to one when I was 11 years old. It was the same story: creepy looking out of control scumbags under the influence of drugs they couldn’t handle. THAT’S “PEACE?” THAT’S “FREEING YOUR MIND?"
Wherever you saw hippies congregate in the old days there would be enough drug addled ones acting unpredictably that it was unlikely you could consider the scene blissful unless you were loaded too. Hey, I might remind you...I have nothing against being loaded obviously. I’ve consumed my share of substances over the years. I’m sure I wasn’t exactly the personification of peace and love and beauty when I did.....but then I never CLAIMED to be. Also, I never saw the advantage in getting high in public places with large numbers of people. For acid (or what passes for it these days) a controlled atmosphere is clearly safer and better.
Hippie ideals never “changed the world” in any significant way due to the fact that humanoids are for the most part incapable of universal Brotherhood and selfless, loving behavior. Organized religions have been missing that unrealistic target for centuries. Materialism is a universal human attribute. Armys have slaughtered infidels in the name of high minded churches throughout recorded history. “Peace, “Brotherhood” MY ASS! It was all just an excuse to get high and try to put a nice happy face on a style of hedonism.
As for “LOVE” that was just a convenient feelgood catchphrase to chortle on cue accompanied by a two fingered peace sign. Hippies love didn’t extend to the cops they threw flaming bags of shit at cops or the “rednecks” they were terrified of or “uptight” conservative members of society. No, hippie love wasn’t all inclusive. They picked and chose who was worthy of “love”...just like all the “establishment” folks they criticized. What sort of “love” do hippies show to their dogs they neglect by forcing them to live with them in their vans when they travel around to see Phish? It’s similar to the love shown to many poor children who have to grow up in a hippie crashpad environment.
I have a friend who played in a very well known 70’s-80’s punk band who had disturbing memories of being raised in a series of chaotic hellholes that sound even worse than the melodramatic “crash pads” you see Joe Friday bust in old “Dragnet” episodes. If you were to transport a group of average locals from Los Angeles or St. Louis or Omaha to the portion of central Pennsylvania where real, live, genuine Amish people still live in their time warp...many of them would be SHOCKED.They’d marvel at the shiny old horse and buggies and the old fashioned clothing. They’d be amazed to hear that those folks have lived like that 24/7, 365 days per year for a damned long time. Likewise if you transported a similar group of normal people from cities across our fair land to Eugene Oregon their jaws would drop just the same. Like some ancient, lost civilization the denizens of Lane county Oregon exist in a day to day world where Birkenstock footwear is the norm and Jerry Garcia is as much an icon as Bruce Springsteen is in Jersey or Elvis Presley in Memphis.
Just as the Amish have their buggies, the Eugene hippie tribe have their ancient Volkswagen vans and bugs garnished of course with scores of fading cause oriented bumper stickers. When my Wife (who was raised in Seattle) first visited Portland Oregon in 1975 she was shocked to see so many hippie leftovers from the 60’s. That was NOTHING compared to her reaction when she made it 100 miles south to Eugene. She thought the locals were living in a TIME WARP. All these years later the place seems even more over the top. Everywhere you look it’s white guys with dreads, hemp shops, food “co-ops” (?) fully grown adults playing hacky sack at bus stops, childcare “co-op’s”, bicycle lanes even on minor streets, patchouli shops, cosmic looking book nooks, hippie womyn dressed like they’re on their way to a renaissance fair, lanky tofu fed male hippies in Birkenstock’s throwing frisbees to dogs. Posters for “Alternate” hippie bus services.
Hey, I don’t give a rats ass if Eugene ever changes...and I’m not suggesting it does. If for some insane reason I wound up living there again I wouldn’t expect the majority to conform to my ways. I know when I’m outnumbered. I’d find a good meat market on the edge of town where at least a handful of normal mill workers live and pull my blinds when I got home to my compound every night. I’d avoid the hippie brew-pubs and drink at home. But, of course it’ll never happen. It’s amazing to me that I could spend my formative years in Eugene and elsewhere in hippie sympathetic Oregon and not carry away a joy for even a smidgen of their culture. My wife and I haven’t even had an indoor houseplant in at least 20 years. I HATE hippie beer. I HATE alfalfa sprouts, granola and lovebeads.
I’m NOT mellow. I don’t want to be. I have no more interest in Asian mysticism than I do in christianity. I’m not a pacifist. I love meat and corporate grocery stores. Frisbees SUCK. Shampoo and showers rule. If I sound a little intense or mean here it’s nothing compared to my apparent state of mind immediately after returning to Texas after my last visit to the laid-back mecca. Here’s a few words that show my riled up state from my internet diary archive dated 6/18/03:“Marla and I disagree about our favorite cities we visited on this damn longass trip..but as usual we agree 110% on what we hate..and we both HATE..FUCKING HATE Eugene Oregon. I swear I had one of those panic attacks I’ve read about in a “Bi-mart” store from being exposed to too many of the “emerald” city’s local yocal nitwits.
The next morning driving along one of Eugene’s ugly streets strewn with disgusting neo-hippies I experienced a monumental epiphany. I saw a grown man with a red beard riding a bicycle down the sidewalk with a stupid looking home made wagon hitched behind his soft candy-hippie-ass. I started screaming and gesticulating to Marla: “MEN don’t ride bikes on the goddamned sidewalk!! that’s whats WRONG with this fucking place!! Nobody seems to think it’s abnormal for a grown man in his 20’s to ride like a little 6 year old pussy on the sidewalk!! I bet he’s got his frigging healthfood in that stupid fucking little wagon cart!!...BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!”Eugene is LOADED with little under achieving pussies like that cunt who live there because they couldn’t survive in a place where men are expected to ride their damn bikes in the street.
No self respecting Texas male would be seen riding a bike on the sidewalk like a little kid..and in Philly he would’ve been pushed off the sidewalk by the first old Catholic granny that saw him. I’d lay 15-1 odds that the little pinprick SQUATS TO PISS too!!” My, I was pissed off. I’m a little more philosophical about things since I haven’t visited Mother in a couple years. I also see a real benefit now to the rest of the cities of the U.S. by hippies accumulating in the few college towns that they have. We don’t have a very big hippie population here in San Marcos. I think most of your older hippie burnouts planted themselves North of here in Austin long ago. The hippies here are mostly college students...”trust-fund hippies” I’d guess. They don’t seem to maintain a high profile here. Still, I’d bet that quite a few locals would be glad to chip in for a special chartered hippie bus to whisk them away for the summer to Berkeley. Man, I bet that bus would smell great by the time it arrived in the bay area, eh? I hope they remember to wear some flowers in their hair. Thee Whiskey Rebel
The SMART DRUNK
Almost everybody who grows up in the U.S. tries alcohol at one time or another during their life. Whereas many of them go on to enjoy the pleasures of beer, wine and hard liquor for the rest of their lives, sadly there are scores of millions of losers who never figure out how to properly use it. As you should know by now I belong to the first group. I’ve drank happily on a daily basis for the last quarter century or so progressing and learning over the years until I have reached the point where I’m pretty damned sure I enjoy it as much as anybody. I’m not just bragging. I’ve identified what a “perfect” drunk feels like and I dedicate almost everyday to wallowing in that blissful state for hours at a time.
Out of the goodness of my heart I’d like to wise up as many of you readers as possible as to what the hell I mean by experiencing a “perfect drunk” on a regular basis. If you train hard and apply the principles I discuss here you can change from being an amateur “Monday night football” drunk or a wild out of control head case into a proud daily functioning alky like me; ENJOYING the wonders and glow of the bottle more..and suffering from hangovers LESS. Lets get past one myth right away..one that’s been popularized by generation after generation of fratboys, stoners and other ultimately gung ho but CLUELESS drinkers: BLOWING CHUNKS doesn’t MAKE YOU A MAN!!
If you simply must view the art of getting shitfaced drunk as a contest think of it this way: He who pukes first LOSES. If you view drinking as a lifetime pursuit you don’t aim to blow your guts out every night. Heaving SUCKS. It’s inevitable that you’re gonna over do it now and then..but the idea should be to drink stuff that DOESN’T induce vomiting. Puking is hard on your system. Puking wastes good alcohol. Some forms of alcohol are meant to taste good and get you fucked up and be relatively easy to keep down.
Everclear (for example) ISN’T designed to drink and digest. I’m a VETERAN drinker..and I don’t drink Everclear unless it’s mixed into punch at some goddamned party I wind up at. I know it’s just gonna wind up all over my shirt or the rug or the bushes. If I can’t handle it...THEE WHISKEY REBEL...a bunch of 16 year olds trying to act like tough guy drinkers sure as hell aren’t going to have any better luck with it. To the 16 year olds of America: DRINK!!! Drink every goddamned day you can. The bottle is the ANSWER. The bottle is your MASTER...or rather your future master.
A GOOD master you can trust to have your best interests in mind. But shit like Everclear ISN’T alcohol that’s meant to be drank for fun any more than you’d sit down and eat a whole jar of mayonnaise or a slug off the sidewalk. I repeat. DRINK..drink every day that you can. But drink something that’s not going to spoiling the fine lifelong pursuit of drinking for you. If you puke up Everclear and Bacardi 151 and other hardcore stuff enough times it’s very possible you’ll wind up with a negative impression of booze. Frat boys like to think of themselves as big drinkers. I have no problem with that as long as they’re actually DRINKING. Sucking down malt liquor 40 ouncers and bottles of fortified wine through a beer bong isn’t drinking; it’s just stupidity and games engaged in by amateurs who like to think they’re drinkers.
The Whiskey Rebel says..If you’re a REAL man...drink fortified wine slow enough to keep it down. better yet..graduate to REAL drinking pleasure: WHISKEY and ICE COLD BEER. Your beer gutted old man who is clueless about so many things in life is maybe WISE when it comes to the ways of the bottle. If you’re a newbie drinker (less than 5 years experience let’s say) I suggest that no matter how fucked up he is when it comes to other aspects of life that you observe his drinking habits and determine whether or not it’s worth your time to emulate him. I’m sure as hell NOT trying to advocate that you follow the bad example of what I referred to earlier as “Monday night football” drinkers who are a gaggle of pussy-whipped under achiever imbibers not allowed to drink on a regular basis by their wives.
But there’s a goddamned reason why you see them sucking up 5 percent corporate beer. Unlike overpriced trendy microbrew good ol’ corporate beer is a good tasting, potent and affordable means of getting elegantly drunk. If your old man is only unchained by your Ma once in a while to watch football and barmaids massive jiggling breasts at Hooters with the boys and he puts up with that sort of henpecking horseshit...I am truly sorry for you. It surely must suck to have a wimpy Dad without the balls to drink freely and openly in front of his Wife. You can STILL benefit from his example though in one way by sticking to the tried and true beers that HIS old man drink..Bud, Coors, Miller’s and their local regional counterparts from around the country like Yuengling, Ranier and down here in Texas Pearl and Lone Star.
I especially want all the beginner drinkers to gather round me for the next few paragraphs. Guys..here’s a factoid that will save you an incredible amount of pain and grief and money too over the next couple years. Malt liquor is NOT beer. It’s a bad tasting artificial product loaded with artificial substances GUARANTEED to give anybody who sucks more than a few of them down a nasty hangover. If you get drunk on Pabst Blue Ribbon beer you may have a bit of a hangover; if you get drunk on O.E. or Schlitz malt liquor you will have a BAD hangover. Remember now....this is THEE WHISKEY REBEL filling you in on the truth..NOT some goddamned preacher or MADD Mother. I’ve suffered through thousands of hangovers and can vouch for the fact that its best to get annihilated on good pure stuff as opposed to bullshit artificial crap.
It’s a fucking shame that so many new drinkers are steered by other new drinkers and frat imbeciles and inner city ad campaigns into drinking malt liquor. Why do you think that so many people as adults grow away from alcohol??? It’s because they never learned the pleasures of a simple, gradual, SMART drunk. They probably had a beer bong stuck in their face and wound up heaving their guts out as a circle of people laughed at ‘em retching. Now I’ve enjoyed beer bongs on occasion and have had a few memorable drunks shotgunning beers using the magic suction from a second hole in a beer can to launch the contents down your gullet.
I’m not a goddamned rookie though. I’ve talked to an incredible number of non-drinkers over the years who upon questioning reveal the fact that they were introduced to drinking playing some sort of chugalug game that’d make a wino puke. If you’re just learning to enjoy booze anybody who’d stick a beer bong in your face is NO FRIEND. KICK THEIR FUCKING ASS!!!! And then go back and drink the SMART Whiskey Rebel way.
Just as malt liquor is NOT BEER it needs to be pointed out that soda pop flavored wines like Boones farm and Mad Dog are NOT really “wine”. These sticky bottled concoctions are the historical precedent to date rape drugs. Ladies...I think any guy who’d spring a bottle of this crap on you is delivering a SEXIST slap in your face. Yup...that’s right. Soda pop wine is inherently SEXIST and crude. Guy’s who serve this to you are declaring that you’re some sort of weak little slut too delicate to drink what he drinks with his buddies. If I had a Daughter I’d tell her to knee the motherfucker in the groin when he whips out the date rape wine. On the other hand if the fella showed the class to break out a jug of supermarket wine or simply corporate beer I’d invite her to bring the guy around to meet the family. Thunderbird and Night Train are designed for veteran alkies who know the ropes. I approve of and enjoy them both...but you need to TRAIN for a few years before you’re gonna learn to appreciate them without eventually staging a technicolor yawn all over the nearest car seat or sofa. If that’s your goal..why not save the money and just stick your finger down your throat?? HHMMM??
Hangovers from these high percentage “wines” are intense and nasty and in a whole different league from beer and table wine hangovers. I’d like to share some wisdom for SMART intermediate drinkers who’ve been at it for awhile. One of the all time great drinkers was the late great Frank Sinatra. He drank daily for several decades..and got layed more often than any 20 people reading this combined. Now I don’t exactly look like a rat-packer or retro-swing type and you may not be able to imagine me being a huge fan of his but I am. As much as I enjoy a lot of his music I love the way he DRANK and comported himself. Frank knew that the key to a pleasant maximum happy drunk was to find the alcoholic “Jet Stream” just like a jet airplane pilot searches for the smoothest air pocket in his flight pattern. If you fly too high..the turbulence will have you barfing all over the place or passing out early. If you fly too low you may as well be home watching network TV or knitting doily’s with Granny.
The key is knocking back a few potent drinks until you feel a good buzz...and then rather than pushing it.. flowing along..sustaining the pleasant feeling rather than trying to kick it up to an altitude that’ll send you crashing back down. Simply put, people that wind up in 12 step programs never learn about the “Jet Stream”. They just keep pouring it down blindly regardless of the fact that the “turbulence” is making them feel shittier rather than better. What a tragic waste of alcohol. It’s not designed to cause you pain. It only does so when YOU MISUSE or ABUSE it. If you cram your favorite food down your gaping maw in over abundant helpings you’re gonna feel just as sick. All the anti-booze nags and prisspants types blame it on the BOTTLE when people fly too high..but it’s the loser user’s who should receive the blame.
They give us long-term gourmet SMART drunks a bad name. Anyway, back to Frankie. Of course wherever he went out he’d regularly encounter bartenders who’d try to impress him by loading his bourbon and water with almost pure Jack Daniel’s. Rather than give these guys the thumbs up he’d send the goddamned drink back with instructions on how to build the drink properly: 3 or 4 ice cubes, two fingers of whiskey..the rest water in a “rocks” glass. THAT’S how thee Whiskey Rebel drinks bourbon and water. Oh yeah..it’s actually a good idea to let the drink sit a few minutes to let the ice melt and the flavors blend. I always have a couple beers at least handy to drink along with my whiskey whether I’m drinking shots or b&w.
Beer and whiskey of course go together like beans and cornbread..or Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen. Gin or vodka and beer go together as badly as twinkies and tuna..or Chump Hogan and Chris Benoit. I don’t have very much to say to ADVANCED drinkers..you folks all know the ropes just like I do for the most part. I’m just gonna make one crucial observation and then back out of here.
If you disagree..consult your bartender or an older alkie you look up to. Over the years I’ve seen a few common mistakes on the part of experienced drinkers who should fucking know better. No, I’m not talking about occasionally crapping your pants or locking yourself out of your car. We ALL do that now and then..and most of us laugh those situations off. I’ve known a lot of otherwise admirable boozehounds over the years who in all the excitement of polishing off a fifth jug wind up cracking open a SECOND fifth on the same day. HEY!!! I’ve NEVER...I mean NEVER met a drunk who seemed to benefit in any way from cracking open a second fifth in one day. OK..yeah, I’ll make exceptions for the extremely obese, sad drunks who are mourning a loved one or special occasions. But otherwise NOBODY is doing them self a favor by taking on tomorrow’s jug today. Why in the hell do you think ordinary liquor bottles are the size that they are?? Because they are the tried and proven daily dosage for drunks worldwide. You’ve got to cherish your GUTS..your ORGANS..or one day you’ll wake up in a hospital with a ring of irritating sob Sister relatives around you praying for your recovery from the surgery that just sliced ‘em out!!
You can’t find the “jet stream” without wings on your goddamned airplane..and you can’t drink at all if you allow your digestive organs to be overwhelmed and whacked out permanently. You don’t want it..and I don’t want it. So lets watch each others backs and try to keep each other out of the frigging doctor’s clutches. All for now...gotta make a liquor store run..THEE WHISKEY REBEL