Written in 1999 and 2000
A BOOZE INSPIRED LONGSHOT HOPE FOR THE NEW AGE 11/19/1999
Last January, I finally got wise and quit my job for good. Unlike all the OTHER times over the years that I have exchanged one shitty job for another, this time when I said I QUIT it was for real. I’ve been totally beaten to a pulp mentally in the work place. My occasional twice a year visits from those nasty little suicidal-impulse demons had increased in frequency to twice a week. If you want to read the long version of my rise and fall in the warehouses, retail stores and office cubicles of the American workplace (plug, plug!) my new book “JOBJUMPER” is at the printers as I write this.
Would you believe that for a year or so I was a 3 piece suit wearing manager for a big national company?? I also worked for RADIO SHACK for 3 years. I even sold toilets at SEARS. It’s a helluva story if I do say so myself. For info on acquiring a copy of this 300+ page masterpiece, either email me, write me. For the purposes of this column lets skip over the misery and injustices I’ve suffered for almost a quarter of a century working shitty, degrading jobs. Instead, simply try to picture me last January..happy as hell to be finally free from bosses and co-workers for the first time in my adult life. Drinking beer and knocking down shots of “REBEL YELL” whiskey in my “Whiskey Rebel throne” every night..ALL NIGHT LONG until it’s time to drive my kid to school in the morning.
For almost a quarter century my existence had been a repetition of a pattern I’m sure most of you are familiar with: wake, shit, eat, work, eat, drink, sleep. A week into my new life as a self employed man I was startled to find that I was sleeping less, working more and..GASP! drinking less!...MUCH LESS..than I was used to. I’ve drank almost every day since I was 15...usually starting by 6:00 pm at the latest. After the pressures of the job were removed I found myself not even thinking of that first ice cold brew until almost fucking midnight! Some nights I felt so relaxed I had to FORCE myself to get started drinking. Fortunately with a bit of effort I eventually found a new groove..a new alcoholism pattern that is damned comfortable. My freedom from the workplace was made possible by one of the greatest technological advancements of my lifetime..the INTERNET. I’ve been a thrift store/garage sale hound for the last 20 years. I mostly have looked for records over the years. A year ago, a friend finally got around to telling me that vinyl rarities sell consistently on EBAY...an internet auction marketplace.
For years and years I’ve been finding rare as fuck records for pennies in thrift stores and flea markets. Unfortunately, since I don’t have the dough or the desire to start up my own record store, I was at the mercy of asshole ripoff record store owners that did if I wanted to sell a record for profit. If I found a $20 album at a thrift store for .50 cents, a record store asshole would give me $3 for it. Oh BOY! A profit of $2.50! Nowadays, I list the same $20 album on ebay for $10. Lots of items don’t sell at all. Happily, sometimes I get $10, sometimes $20 and sometimes $50 or more!!
You oughta hear some of the asshole record store owners cry about the internet!! The smart ones have bought computers themselves. Lots of them keep ‘em right by their cash drawers and key in new items when their store isn’t busy. There haven’t been many other instances during my disappointing lifespan in which technology has clearly made my daily life better. I can spend a few hours a week digging up rare vinyl and then sell them on an equal footing with retailers who have owned record stores for years. Some anonymous customer in Arizona or Sweden doesn’t give a flying fuck if I own a store or not..or if I drink while I work..or screw knotholes in my backyard fence wearing a Nazi uniform.
Unfortunately, as the last days, hours and minutes of the century and the millennium are dramatically counted down by irritating, moronic media idiots, it’s damned hard for me to see how my life is going to be any better in any other way in the next millennium. I consider it a fluke bit of luck that the internet rescued me from having to spend 9 hours a day bowing and scraping to supervisors. I had resigned myself to a lifetime of working alongside co-worker fools who were slowly choking the will to live out of me. What's more, I still wouldn’t put it past the Christians or the “concerned” liberals, or the “old money” aristocrats that own dwindling retail outlets to fuck up the internet for me. Not a week goes by in which I don’t hear the news media (who have in some cases been sponsored by “old” retail money for years) attacking EBAY. I view my break from the world of 8:00 AM Monday job interviews, dress codes and “playful teasing” from co-workers to be a much needed though probably temporary rest.
When I look back over my lifetime I see a distinct pattern of things getting WORSE rather than better all around me. My motto even as a teenager a long fucking time ago was “PEOPLE ARE WORTHLESS”. You know what?? People seem even dumber these days than they did back then. A LOT DUMBER IN FACT.
People seem overjoyed in 1999 to allow the media..PARTICULARLY TELEVISION..to dictate what they will wear (MTV, VH1, etc.) and what their beliefs will be (Rikki Lake, Oprah, etc.). When I was a kid, average people seemed to be disgusted by brazen media manipulation. Even though they were fools back then too at least they resisted it. Unless I’m reading current day people wrong, I think that today lotsa people actually believe its shrewd to accept lifestyle tips from the fucking boobtube. They don’t seem to see that they are being manipulated by advertising agencies into wasting their money on trendy purchases. The dumbasses brains are actually DETERIORATING! The products we use have seemed to plainly deteriorate in quality over the last 25 years too. We drink soda out of ugly, shitty plastic tubes instead of stately ice cold bottles. Alcohol and tobacco are regulated and taxed beyond belief! Sure, we were given the pocket calculator and the VCR and cool home video games like “DOOM” over the years. But, almost everything else around me is worse.
New AUTOMOBILES have been steadily getting worse for years; over the last 25 or so years they’ve been increasingly designed so that the average Joe can’t make repairs on his car..you need to take your car to a dealership to be repaired. (DID THE AMERICAN CONSUMER COMPLAIN?? HELL NO!!) They’re increasingly too small and uncomfortable. They’re fucking made of 99% goddamned plastic for fucks sake! They just aren’t any fun to own. Chalk one up for the “do-gooders” who have lobbied for all the mandatory expensive safety and anti-pollution equipment.
When I was a little kid riding in the back seat of my parents car, the view was improved by cool neon signs and bridges and buildings that were designed to look different and unique. The last few years before the millennium change have seen classic neon signs yanked down by the forces of progress..who have replaced them all with yuppie-preferred emerald green and brass awnings. Almost all of the beautiful old indoor theaters are gone..wiped out. Drive-in theaters were one of society's greatest sources of pleasure 50 years ago..and they’ve been totally eliminated in favor of 12 screen mall cinema’s that all look alike. (I can’t attend movies anymore. I’m tired of having the movie ruined by mouthy hip-hop mentality assholes who shout “clever” catch phrases at the screen non-stop). GUITARS?? Who wouldn’t rather own a vintage guitar rather than one of the soulless hunks of crap manufactured nowadays?? Sadly, the decline of the quality of goods manufactured today hasn’t brought about any major complaints from consumers. Hell no....collectively people seem pleased! As I’ve already pointed out , it’s frightening how stupid the masses are these days.
We’ve never had more scientific data available to cast doubts upon society’s superstitious religions. Yet, the churches are doing land office business..raking the offering plate loot in. Look at how many ripoff cults have come along during the last years of the millennium?? They thrive these days compared to the years when I was a child...manipulating fool’s by playing on their fears. And HEY! When todays generation of yuppies who are currently in power were still hippies, I thought they stood for personal freedoms?? Didn’t they?? HHMMM??? FUCKING HYPOCRITES! Here’s an example of “freedom” in politically correct America: My 15 year old son was asked to write an OPINION piece for an English class. His chosen topic was “this is NOT a free country”. He read his paper aloud in class. He touched upon age restrictions upon freedom, limitations upon our rights to guzzle alcohol and own firearms, and the impact that perceived hatred between all the diverse racial groups in our country has upon our FREEDOM to even walk down many streets in our country. As a result of reading this paper to his class, poor Elvis was sent to be “counseled” the next day. Why? an anonymous classmate interpreted his paper to signify that my son was about to go off on a “COLUMBINE” style rampage. WHAT???
Is this what POKEMON has done to the brains of todays youth?? This wouldn’t have happened during the so called “dark ages” of the Eisenhower administration. Not to mention the fact that kids have been programmed that “it’s all right” to be a fink..a fucking rat. There are so many shockingly IDIOTIC TRENDS being happily lapped up by the masses these days; for instance the “beany baby” insanity that currently has a grip on America. Ebay hosts literally hundreds of thousands of beany auctions every fucking week. People shell out up to hundreds of dollars for worthless little beanbag animals that cost .20 cents to make. WHY?? What the fuck can you do with them?? I DON’T GET IT.I JUST DON’T FUCKING GET IT.
I feel lonely and out of touch...because I DON’T UNDERSTAND what the goddamn appeal is??? They’re just stinking little beanbags??? Yet there are HUGE beany baby dealerships that fucking RAKE IN mountains of money. The “beany” mentality is only the latest of a series of unfathomable hobbies that I see people totally obsessed with. How ‘bout “Furby’s??” Remember “Cabbage patch dolls”?? How about all the lunatics that deal in McDonald’s “happy meal” cheap plastic toys like they’re rare gems?? I’m not talking about a couple hundred isolated nuts...thousands and thousands of Americans are totally fucking obsessed with worthless, juvenile, plastic hunks of JUNK. Elsewhere on the net, classic toys from the 40’s through the 70’s are also sold. Board games with at least a modicum of challenge to one’s intellect. Doll’s that were manufactured to LAST and be passed down from generation to generation. Metal toy cars that are BEAUTIFUL works of art . Unfortunately, in the “beany baby” era you’re not going to find quality toys like these in stores. You WILL however see plenty of heavily hyped cheap hunks of worthless plastic that are designed to last about a week.
It’s hard to conceive of a better example of how the world has gone down the toilet than by turning to music. Ever since the promising flurry of punk rock creativity 20 odd years ago, I’ve been watching music go nowhere. The punk rock rebellion in England soon degenerated into a boring, same-y sounding “movement” of lame synthesizer-pop. American punk rock evolved into generic hardcore in the early to mid eighties. A set of rules was erected, and bands that strayed beyond the accepted set of hardcore fashion and ideology rules (like mine for instance) were treated like dirt by the hardcore scene. And generic hardcore begat speed metal. And speed metal begat grunge. And “punk”..stripped of any gut level rage..neutered..and unrecognizable from “punk rock” of the late 70’s..was watered down enough to finally “break” in America. 20 odd years ago, “industrial” music appeared to me to at least show some promise..some sincerely evil people were making some truly ugly sounds; metallic scrapings..tape loops.
Nowadays of course the authentic madmen have been weeded out of the commercial “industrial” scene. They’ve been replaced by aspiring career musicians to whom scary sounding tape loops are a viable career option. With money at stake, instead of creating their own ugly sounds they “sample” (STEAL) other peoples. Rap?? It seemed like some of the early rappers were true outsiders..outlaws; nowadays rap IS THE MAINSTREAM. God is thanked in the liner notes of almost every successful commercial rap release. If you don’t believe me, GO LOOK! At the same time, frequent ugly racist vibes (anti-white anti-oriental, etc) are expressed on MAINSTREAM rap releases (go back and reread my column in HITLIST#1..”racist rap hurts my feelings”).
How about electronica?? Will it take over in the next century?? I dunno. From what I’ve read the music “biz” experts are still concerned that despite all their promotional efforts a huge percentage of teenage boys don’t “connect” with electronica. I’ve suffered through many hours of listening to electronic horseshit at TOWER..and I just don’t see how it’s “progressed” beyond old 70’s KRAFTWERK albums. Sadly, country music went down the toilet years ago (see issue #5). Novelty songs are gone without a trace. I remember hearing lots of novelty songs on the radio up until 1980 or so. What happened?? Did the music industry lose its sense of humor??
There’s still lots of great obscure rock and roll bands to be enjoyed..but, you need to read a publication like this one to find out about them. Back in 1980 I never expected that by the year 2000 kickass rock and roll would be the endangered species that it seems to be...I expected it to be thriving. My band started out in 1981 trying to be “different”..trying to shuck off the restrictions of rock and roll. Nowadays even though we are known as a band of cynical assholes..we vocally, enthusiastically support keeping rock and roll alive. Why have we changed our attitudes ?? Why do we feel that it’s worth saving??
Why? Because nothing has come along to replace it yet. The music industry is doing everything it can to destroy rock and roll (just like they have destroyed country beyond all recognition) and replace it with rap and electronica. They’ve just about succeeded..take a look at the top 40. I read a statement years ago by Mick Jagger in which he predicted that after the year 2000 music recorded BEFORE 2000 would be either consciously or subconsciously considered obsolete. Is Mick right?? I want to make a few things clear. If the new era brings about better automobiles, staplers that don’t jam, toilet paper that doesn’t disintegrate into a hundred balls of pulp that cling to my ass, a political system that produces candidates worth voting for and a genre of music that’s BETTER than rock and roll, well hells fucking bells!! SIGN ME UP!! I’ve gotten used to gradually sealing myself off more and more thoroughly from the human race and the modern consumer products that delight them so. I’ve never expected things to magically turn around during my lifetime.
An idea popped into my head the other day though; what if the much ballyhooed approaching end of the century and the millennium has somehow been responsible for the steady decline in the quality of life I’ve experienced through my lifetime?? I’m not a sociologist, just a drunk who strains his brain now and then. But, it seems to me possible..perhaps even logical that the pendulum could swing back in the other direction after the first of January. Perhaps the mass behavior that upsets me so is merely a reflection of humanity simply holding back it’s best efforts in the face of the milestone we are approaching. It’s not THAT unreasonable. Look around at the people you work with or attend school with on a daily basis.
You NEVER see people busting their asses or beginning new projects a half hour before the end of the workday! Friday afternoon in every office I’ve ever worked in always means a sharp decline in productivity. Perhaps next January will usher in a NEW ERA in which human beings will take pride in their long neglected intellects. Maybe the long awaited “next big thing” musically speaking will burst out of the starting gate of the new millennium. HEY..HERE’S ONE; What if all the religious kooks who have been brainwashed into expecting it all to end on January 1st..what if they all get fed up when nothing happens...and a new era of rational, logical agnosticism is ushered in?? This could lead to the biggest fucking age of unabashed fun, substance abuse and gluttony since the Roman’s!!
That would RULE!! Just think...it could be right around the corner; what more likely time for the pendulum of fate to swing upwards in a hedonist, jolly reversal of the last several suckass years. I almost NEVER have optimistic feel-good hunches about the future. Like I have said..I resigned myself to things getting gradually worse throughout my lifetime a long time ago. I’m NOT convinced that the rotten human species will gravitate towards wising up after January 1st..but I DO recognize it as a possibility. Wouldn’t it be great??Of course a fucking airplane could fall out of the fucking sky and strike me dead just as things are about to get better...so, I’m not getting my hopes up. Back to _________________________________________________________________________________________________ FUCK MOM AND POP 05/01/2000
It’s 4:14 a.m. here in HOSTILE CITY. I’ve been drinking a variety of corporate beers.....Bud..Rolling Rock..new Pabst draft for many hours. A birthday bottle of JIM BEAM is sitting on the mouse pad. I’ve lowered the level significantly in the last few hours. I’m not blind drunk as I sit here..but I will admit that a less experienced alcoholic would probably cash in his chips right now this minute. Fortunately, thee WHISKEY REBEL see’s a drunken mood like this as an opportunity for enlightenment. That is, YOUR ENLIGHTENMENT. Let the fucking squares sleep..it’s time for another booze-fueled intellectual joyride with thee Whiskey Rebel.
First off, a few comments about the wrestling scene. Now I know that a lot of you would be disappointed if I DIDN’T cover wrestling now and then in these columns. But..for those of you (and I don’t think there’s many of you judging by the mail I get) that are turned off by wrestling I’d like to point out that when I write about what may seem like mundane doings concerning professional wrestlers and the latest storylines the various promotions are blessing us with..I’m not simply going to rehash results like all those internet nostril mining pudwackers.
There are life lessons to be learned from the doings surrounding the squared circle. Jesus so they say told stories (parables) to get HIS message across. Likewise, very often when THEE WHISKEY REBEL appears to be simply writing about wrestling he is actually expressing a crucial message to all of you brown-baggers that are too slow to figure things out for yourself. First off...what the fuck is Vince McMahon thinking lodging the goddamn World title evidently permanently with HHH? From what I read on the net, WWF management believes that the fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for the ROCK to finally rescue us from Triple H’s lackluster title reign. They are allegedly building tension for an eventual title change.
Well, sorry Vince. I actually fucking got so sick and tired (YAWN) of watching the same lame DX run-in week after week that I actually gave up on wrestling entirely for a few Mondays earlier this year. Now I know that the injury situation (Austin, Undertaker, Kane,) and the untimely deaths of Owen Hart and Brian Pillman...and the departure of Bret Hart and Vader over the last few years hasn’t left the promotion with too many strong choices for champion. Kane doesn’t “talk”..and Mick Foley was determined to retire. I could understand HHH holding the strap for a few weeks..but GODDAMN. Helmsley isn’t convincing enough to wear the belt for 6 months at a time. On second thought, considering the fact that probably half the WWF’S present audience got into wrestling within the last couple years and have never seen what a TRUE HEEL wrestler is like I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that HHH is satisfying the masses. HHH is to wrestling what watered down, “safe” MTV “punk” bands are to REAL punk rock.
IVAN KOLOFF was a heel...PLAYBOY BUDDY ROSE was a fucking heel..ABDULLAH the BUTCHER is a fucking monster. DR. “D” DAVID SCHULTZ was too much of a heel both in and out of the ring to continue working in the wrestling biz. NOTE! I respect Helmsley for his ring skills...and you should too. He’s pretty young and I admit that I may be eating my words one day if he continues to improve..which he should. He’d fucking kick my fat ass any day of the week..that’s for sure..which leads me to another wrestling gripe: the ECW World title reign of Justin Credible.
Now look..I know DAMN GOOD AND WELL that he’s had year and years of training to get where he is...and I sure as hell respect him for that. I also know DAMN GOOD AND WELL he’d kick my ass too if we tangled. The problem is, If I didn’t know who he was..if he lipped off to me in a bar or at one of our shows..I wouldn’t hesitate a bit to scrap with him. He looks so goddamn much like the 30 million bald-headed baggy-britches wiggers walking the streets of America that his physical appearance doesn’t intimidate me a bit. When I see a guy with that look walking down the street (which is about 100 times a day) I don’t feel any fear. To me they’re simply suburban white Mama’s boys trying to live out a black urban “gangsta” lifestyle...which they will grow out of. On the other hand, if I saw a dude that looked like the great BALLS MAHONEY...or some stocky Japanese dude with a forehead crisscrossed with 1/2 inch deep scars like Kanemura, or a musclebound gorilla like Mark Henry or a big dude with a crazy gleem in his eye like Terry Gordy...I’d watch my step.
Are ECW fans such pussies that a guy like Justin Credible looks scary to them?? Oh yeah...one more thing...WHY IN THE HELL does HHH do his big entrance every match with a little bottle of water? what in the hell is inherently dangerous or rebellious or cool looking about a guy spitting out a mouthful of water entrance after entrance, week after week, year after year?? In Japan wrestlers enter the ring area with chain saws and scythes. BRUISER BRODY would make his entrance by chasing fans..throwing folding chairs at them. Even Gorgeous George would do a routine with a can of air freshener to rid the ring of the stench of the fans. And the reigning WWF champ threateningly waggles an 8 oz. water bottle?? NOTE!! I don’t have anything bad to say about WCW because their promotion is so bad that it’s BENEATH MY NOTICE. Every 3 months or so I watch as much of one of their shows as I can stomach. The latest from WCW is that they have awarded the same strap worn by a TRUE champion Ric Flair to a scrawny actor named David Arquette (who the fuck is He??). Why in the hell would they want to cheapen their own championship belt by making a joke out of it? Enough wrestling. It’s time to pop open the can of CARLING BLACK LABEL beer I just found in the back of the refer. Uummm...uurrp.
Even though the sun has risen and I can hear little birdies chirping out my window I’ll be damned if I’m going to hit the rack before venting my spleen on another hot topic that actually came up at Jello’s spoken word show up in Allentown a few weeks ago. He got a HUGE pop out of his audience when he recommended that they patronize “Mom and Pop” businesses instead of humongous corporate retailers and restaurants. That was one of the most loudly applauded statements he made all night as far as my kid Elvis and I could tell. As I told Jello later on our ride back to my place..maybe it’s preferable or feasible to avoid corporate chain stores and fast food joints in favor of “Mom and Pop” businesses in San Francisco or Allentown..but NOT IN HOSTILE CITY USA (that’s Philly for you first time readers).
A few years ago a huge WALMART was built right down the street here in South Philly. There were protests and demonstrations and picket lines for a while to try to prevent it from being built. As for me...I couldn’t fucking WAIT for a WALMART to close up some of the small family owned businesses in our area! I couldn’t help but remember how when we first arrived here in Philly, we found the ideal house to rent..but we were openly discriminated against by a “Mom and Pop” landlord who admittedly wanted to rent to Catholic Italians. We eventually had to go to a big rental service and settle for a crappy apartment. Soon we began to discover that lots of corner “Mom and Pop” stores didn’t post prices on products. Why? What was the angle??
We soon learned that if you’re a recognized neighbor..an “insider” you pay a reasonable price for a cheese steak or a bag of potatoes. If you’re an “outsider”, look out! You’re gonna pay way the fuck more. By the time we had lived for a year or so in Philly I was at the END OF MY FUCKING ROPE trying to deal with “Mom and Pop”. One of the first signs that family businesses were fucked up in Philly was that Pizza’s that I ordered delivered never showed up. We had to ALWAYS call them back at least once to remind them. It would take at least an hour and a half to get a goddamned pizza delivered. If I had an Italian last name or if I was “Vinnie” or “Paulie” from down the street I’m sure I’d get my pizza in 15 minutes.
A local Mom and Pop record store that had been ordering records from us for years seemed like the best place to buy records when we moved to Philly 6 years ago. This place is EXACTLY the kind of record store that Jello had in mind that we should all shop at as opposed to an evil corporate store like TOWER. RIGHT?? Everyone of you out there would rather spend your money at the tiny Mom and Pop store..right?? Well, I used to fall for that line of horseshit too. Then, I went to work for TOWER RECORDS on South street in Philly for a couple of years.
I was a supervisor for most of the time that I worked there, and was responsible for dealing with “returns” and customer complaints.Tower, along with many other huge retailers would rather go out of their way to hire minorities rather than risk lawsuits. Of course, they probably had to be placed in a position in which they had to pay off a few big settlements before they decided to be so fair-minded. Never the less, when I worked for “M.T.S.” (Tower’s corporate parent) the store I was employed at bent over backwards to hire and promote gay, female and minority employees.
As for the “Mom and Pop” record store, all the guys that have ever worked there have been white males. Should that mean something to you folks who are steadfastly against the big corporate record store? Furthermore, If a customer of any racial stock were to complain to my boss that I had mistreated or insulted them, whether or not he even believed the individual..they would likely be awarded with a gift certificate to make them feel that the store “Cared”. On the other hand, according to at least a score of disgruntled customers that I have personally spoken to..the guys at the “Mom and Pop” store are well known for poking fun of “how bad” a customers selections may be at the cash register.
The “Mom and Pop” store runs an ad in the yellow pages that promises “top dollar” on used records and CD’S. Of course in reality they have NO INTENTION of paying anything less than a few pennies on the dollar for anything a stranger carries through the door. They want junkies, thieves or other people in desperate need of cash to drag boxes of records to THEM FIRST so that they can have the right of first refusal. Of course, in spite of the fact that half of the records on their shelves show obvious wear...they will chastise you if you should happen to try to sell them records that show wear. Anyway, indy record stores fully intend to SCREW people who aren’t savvy enough to know the market value of the records they bring in to sell. Why are stores like this worthy of your support? Musicland would NEVER fuck you over like that!
If you should want to return a purchase from the Mom and Pop record store...well, unless you have a friend working there..you can fucking FORGET IT! That’s the way it is from coast to coast as far as Mom and Pop record stores go so far as I have seen. At the very best, you might be able to sell back records at a fraction of their value.
At TOWER RECORDS, or SEARS or RADIO SHACK or any of the other horrid retail stores I have worked at over the last 25 years (it’s all in my book “JOBJUMPER”..plug plug) all you have to do to receive a refund is to keep asking to talk to a higher ranking manager every time you are refused. Eventually you will get your money back. Guaranteed. This is a very important point: you have absolutely NO RECOURSE with a Mom and Pop business. If they want to assume a “fuck you” attitude, you are screwed.
Not long ago, my wife and I were swindled by a local “Mom and Pop” air conditioning contractor. Once we realized we had been ripped off, we began trying to get in touch with the thief to demand satisfaction. Unfortunately, he simply quit answering our calls. He hid behind his answering service...and we will have to sue the bastard if we want to ever recover the money he literally stole from us. JESUS! How I wish we had arranged for air conditioner servicing through those “evil” retailers HOME DEPOT, Sears or K-Mart. We wouldn’t have to go to court..we’d simply need to go to the store and complain. Likewise, if I order a “corporate death-pizza” from Pizza Hut or Dominoe’s...if the pizza doesn’t show up in a timely fashion.....all I have to do is complain to the shop manager, and I’ll at least receive my pizza eventually for free.
If I walk into a “greedy” corporate 7-11 instead of a corner store to purchase soda or milk or goddamned chili-dogs, AT LEAST I’LL KNOW the price I’m going to pay ahead of time..and that the price I pay will be the same as the most regular customer. I’m the FIRST to admit the superiority of the food that you can find at a good diner over the predictable-mediocre chow they trowel out at McDonalds. But, the key word here is “GOOD”. How do you find the “good” diner in an unfamiliar town? I’ve been served horrible, inedible slop at Mom and Pop diners. If you complain in an unfamiliar town you have NO RECOURSE. They often KNOW that you are a stranger passing through..they can merely say “FUCK YOU!” and tell you to shove off if they feel like it. As a result, even though I rarely darken the doorway of McDonalds in my hometown..I often find myself settling for the familiar mediocrity of a quarter-pounder or a whopper when I’m on the road and in a hurry.
Lets examine the local independent record store in your town that you support against the corporate outlet in a different light. How many of you out there have ever found yourself in a band trying to sell your new record or CD to a local store? Unless your band is already pretty popular, or unless you have a friend working at the store..what will you undoubtedly be told when you carry a stack of CD’S to the local “Mom and pop” store for them to stock?
“Well...we could maybe consign a few”....In other words, these stores want YOUR support...but they won’t help YOUR BAND out when you could use a helping hand. Of course, they stock CD’S and records by bands from all over the fucking world..they BUY those..but they will only CONSIGN your bands release. Of course if your band was from a city far away with a trendy music scene..New York or San Francisco..they’d stock it without question. I recommend to all new bands with new recorded product to sell...when a local store that you have patronized insists on “consignment”..tell them they can either buy a few, or expect your band and all your local fans and friends you are in touch with will start shopping elsewhere.
Same goes for a local club that you’ve been paying cover at and buying beer at for years when it comes time to asking them to book your new band. Why in the fuck should they expect your support and patronage if they aren’t willing to cut you a break in return?? Tell the bastards that thee WHISKEY REBEL said that they better book you or fucking ELSE.
Jello told me that the residents of San Francisco successfully petitioned to prevent HOME DEPOT from building a store within the city limits of San Francisco. Well, I say...REAL FUCKING SMART San Francisco. I suppose if you only buy hardware or home improvement supplies every now and then it might give you a warm feeling in your tummy to prevent a corrupt evil corporate retailer from baring its fangs in the bay area. But, for those of you who work at roofing, landscaping or construction jobs...people whose livelihood depends on keeping costs at a minimum...I can only tell you how my friends here in Hostile City who are in your line of work have come to appreciate the lower prices offered by Home Depot. Why would you WANT to pay a higher price for lumber or paint or hardware??
If you aren’t in the retail business yourself, why are you worried that a few “Mom and Pop” businesses might go under if a huge corporate store is built in your area? They wouldn’t hire YOU if you needed a job (unless you know somebody that works there)...if you are female or black or gay in many instances they’d never consider hiring you. The government doesn’t even EXPECT them to. So, why the fuck should you support them?? So, I say..FUCK MOM AND POP!
I hate K-mart...but why should I pay a local sporting goods store $49.99 for an item the “evil” chain store will sell me for $24.99?? (based on a true experience from last week here in Philly). If there are some great family owned stores and restaurants in your bailiwick, I suggest you continue to patronize them. But before you get bogged down in bullshit “boycotts” that are going to cost you money fucking THINK! I’m a goddamn dumbass when it comes to shopping for lots of things. I don’t even think about coupons at the grocery store...I’m concerned with getting the hell in and out of the store with as little possible contact with human beings. Whereas Mom and Pop store clerks tend to be nosy and overly inquisitive..the main reason that I hate shopping at WALMART is the slug like pace of their fucking cashiers.
I actually haven’t personally shopped at the WALMART that was built down the street since the time I threw a temper tantrum there a couple years ago. Elvis and I spent 20 minutes looking at various kettles...we both like to cook (our motto is: whatever we’re cooking, at least one can of beer MUST BE POURED into it). After a great deal of deliberation we went to the checkout area. Now, I’ve gotta point out here. I’ve spent YEARS...SEVERAL FUCKING YEARS of my life ringing up purchases for various retailers. I’m not proud of that of course..I’m simply saying that I’m especially aware when a clerk is a slowpoke shithead. The time we had picked out a kettle to buy, we spent 15 minutes in the shortest of 5 lines available. Finally, after a long wait it turned out that the jackass in front of us wanted to buy a bedspread that was unmarked.
The clerk asked him to stand aside while somebody looked up the price..and the bastard simply said “no..I’d rather not”.I blew my fucking top. I SLAMMED the fucking metallic kettle down on the check stand. I brushed past the bedspread motherfucker and stormed over to where the WALMART “greeter” stood. The greeter was a pathetic minimum wage senior..a chubby old guy that a phony smile plastered on his puss. I told the old fart in no uncertain terms that I planned to go to KMART to shop..since WALMART evidently didn’t have sufficient manpower to take my money in a reasonable period of time. That’s the last time I shopped there.
A couple weeks ago, I found myself wedged behind 3 unmoving lines at KMART. One line was plugged terminally by a clerk who was leaning over the counter thumbing through a KMART newspaper flyer with a customer. Another line hosted a customer with an overstuffed cart that included several rolls of carpet remnants..I FUCKING KNEW from bitter experience that they’d be calling a time consuming price check.So, as Elvis once again stood aside and chuckled I slammed my purchases down to the counter and stormed over to the “greeter”. I swore on my Mothers grave (she’s still alive of course) that I was heading straight for WALMART where the lines are SHORT damnit! I’m not the only one who throws temper tantrums at retail stores when confronted with chatty slowpoke clerks. Brother Jeff Clayton down in South Carolina can match me story for story dealing with variety store clerks in an entirely different demographic location. He’s totally flipped his goddamned wig a bunch of times too.
Recently, Elvis and I shop every couple weeks at midnight on Friday or Saturday night at a huge PATHMART grocery store. We’ve learned that here in HOSTILE CITY very few people are out shopping at that hour and the lines are damned short. We guzzle a bunch of beers in the parking lot and do a couple weeks worth of shopping at a time.Well...I’ve drained a huge number of beers and its about 9:00 AM. I can hear one of the fat ugly twin sisters next door yelling at one of their daycare charges..so, it’s time to close the window and head for bed. My eyes are burning and anything I drink after this point will surely do me no damned good, so..it’s definetly time to go.Remember...I love getting email..and
I eventually answer letters.. THEE WHISKEY
I WIPE MY ASS WITH YOUR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BALLOT!!
I’m serving notice here and now..publicly...to all you politically minded chuckleheads who love to spout off with that old cliche: “if you didn’t vote, then you don’t have any right to complain”. I challenge you...ANY ONE of you...to step forth and explain to me why I should waste my time...my precious time..voting for the obvious Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates. The field of candidates is so weak this time around that it inspires even ME..a man who FUCKING HATES the entire political game to waste the opening part of a column on it.
Lookey here...the ONLY election in my entire adult lifetime that I’ve ever gotten worked up over took place in Minnesota last year. I was incredibly interested in Jesse Ventura’s campaign; I signed up to be added to his email list...I followed the election campaign closely, even though I couldn’t vote for “the MIND”. On election night, I spent several hours monitoring the returns from Minnesota. When Jesse appeared to be the victor, I drank a 6 shot salute in his honor!! I’ll admit..at first, his candidacy caught my attention because he’s one of my all time favorite wrestling hero’s. After reading transcripts of press conferences and the radical position statements that were posted to his web site, I realized that Jesse Ventura was no joke. Usually it’s pointless to support a 3rd party candidate (or 4th or 5th or 6th..) in an election in America. No where else perhaps in America is this fact so obvious as my present hometown: “HOSTILE CITY USA”..Philadelphia.
People here in Philly see elections as black and white..REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT. There is no gray area.3rd party candidates are ignored here. They’ll get to appear on a couple local talk radio shows..that’s about it. The local’s here are not about to deviate from family and social class political traditions to vote for a candidate that stands no chance of winning. Jesse Ventura wouldn’t have been elected here in Philly..even though it’s a helluva wrestling town. I don’t know what it is about the voters out in Minnesota...but I salute them!! I hate like hell to say it though, but Jesse’s victory was a 1 in 10,000 shot fluke. 3rd party candidates everywhere will probably stand LESS of a chance of winning a major office than before now that the Democrats and Republicans have been caught napping once.
Now that you politically minded readers know that it’s possible after all for an acknowledged apolitical creature such as myself to get interested in an election..I challenge you to explain the appeal of ANY of the major candidates. I remember years ago when my ol’ pal Jello was waging war with Tipper Gore, he commented to me how scary it was that a shitheel like Al Gore was so close to the whitehouse. I listened to what Jello had to say..but after thinking it over I personally pooh-poohed Gore’s importance at the time. I admit now, Jello was RIGHT! Furthermore, I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes if Al and Tipper are elected!! Gore is the most disgusting kind of politician...a creep who grew up with an influential politician Daddy who handed anything he desired to him on a silver platter. When Al breaks down on camera and pretends to be “concerned” I feel about as touched as when they work a phony injury angle on “WWF RAW” or when a shoe salesman pitches extra shoelaces or socks to me.
Then there’s George W. Bush..ANOTHER creep who grew up with a famous politician Daddy who handed anything he desired to him on a silver platter. It’s pretty plain that in the eyes of men like Bush, and his Daddy and his supporters..citizens life Jeff Bale and I (and maybe you the reader) who lead a rock n’ roll lifestyle are childish, immoral, suspicious kooks that need to be watched. Furthermore, they suspect that we’re all “high on drugs”. I know a lot of you think that you’re sticking it to the “cause oriented” Democrats by voting for a guy like Bush..but remember: If you aren’t a Christian with “family values”..in other words a FUCKING SQUARE.. Bush and his ilk have NO NEED for you.
So I ask..why would anyone who reads HITLIST vote for BUSH?? If you do, you’re like a Jew voting for Hitler. These two aren’t significantly any different ideologically than the last several pairs of candidates American’s have chosen from to select a President. I must say though, they are two of the most transparent personalities to come along in a long time. So, tell me all you “get out the vote” advocates. Instead of ragging at people like me AFTER the election, that we have no right to complain if we don’t vote for one of these jerks, please instruct me why I should support either of those two?? Why shouldn’t the American political system be able to produce several remarkable, sincere, talented, visionary candidates every Presidential election?? Why is it always two dunderheads to choose from??? What's that ..???
I can practically hear a few of you mumbling that I’ve skipped over Bradley, or Hatch, or McCain, or Barry Commoner, or Pat Paulsen, or Mickey Mouse or Bob Backlund. I skipped all of them, because I don’t think that any of ‘em stand the chance of a fart in a whirlwind being elected President. If any of them actually share many of my beliefs, the VAST MAJORITY of Americans wouldn’t elect them anyway!! And then there’s the “god” issue. The voters of the U.S. have NEVER..and undoubtedly WILL NEVER in my lifetime seriously consider electing a President who doesn’t profess to believe in the Christian god. If the candidate DOES believe in “god”...for real, he’s as gullible as all the other Christians. He’s just a mark..who prays to a nonexistent entity that invented crib-death and testicle cancer. If he only pays lip service to believing in god hoping to be elected, well..that makes him a goddamn PHONY. All you registered voters out there..which do you prefer?? A sincere but moralistic Christian?? Or a shrewd phony?? Hot piss or cold piss?? American’s PREFER Christian candidates..Americans PREFER handsome, smiling, slick tongued candidates. Americans are suspicious of “egghead” candidates with new ideas and solutions to problems. They feel somehow safer with professional politicians and their smooth talk at the wheel. That’s not going to change any time soon.
As for me, I prefer to cynically sit in my basement “WHISKEY REBEL THRONE” and drink while all you suckers vote. And by the way, I don’t need to ask permission from any of you TO COMPLAIN whether I vote or not. Intellectuals can hash over “issues” all they want...but in the end it won’t matter. On election day our democratic form of government guarantees that the ignorant, square masses will have their way. The next wave of voters to come of age appear to have been fooled by “pokeman” and rap-metal. Don’t expect them to change anything. I don’t want to waste an entire column on politics. It’s time I devoted a few words to a truly sick bunch of prickfaces..RECORD COLLECTORS.
Now don’t get me wrong..I’m crazy about vinyl. My primary hobby for the last 20 years has been searching out cheap records at thrift stores and fleas markets. I fucking LOVE records. BUT! After working many years as a dealer at record shows where I’m exposed to the “collector” mentality, I flatly REFUSE to consider myself a “record collector”. Record “collectors” scurry around the tables at record shows like hunchbacked rodents on hind legs. They scurry around from one table to another sniffing for a sucker dealer who has underpriced records to feast off of. Even though I’m at the record show to make a buck too, I’m always disgusted by the predatory gleam in the eye of a “collector”. These fucker’s have NO CLASS! So many of them run about in a mad rush with their faces screwed up into a mask of desperation!
If you observe their actions for awhile, and listen to them speak to one another in cocky arrogant tones, It’s obvious..they aren’t there to find music to listen to; the record “collector” is there to symbolically RAPE an unsuspecting dealer who doesn’t realize the value of a record that has caught the “collectors” eye. After a big find, the collector will crow and crow loudly for all to hear about the stupidity of the dealer who priced his record too low. The collector’s cronies will gather around to gape at the prize; even though they pretend to be happy for their “friend” (HAH! ) you can see them burning up in envy beneath the surface. “Collectors” somehow transform what could be a peaceful marketplace for buying and selling music recordings into a COMPETITIVE event.
An example. I have shared a table at the WFMU record show in N.Y.C. with my good buddy Jeff Clayton from ANTISEEN several times. At every single show we work together, there’s this same nut who trots around the room with a little record player. He’s a tall, scrawny, and very nerdy looking dude with a huge schnozz and coke bottle glasses. This guy is only interested in oldies 45’s. If you let him, he’ll pull 50 records out of your singles bin (that you carefully organized the night before)...and then proceed to play a little burst of music..3 or 4 seconds at the most..from both sides of every record. He is a very fast worker. He slams the record onto his turntable..he drops the needle down with a flick of his wrist. He grimaces after two seconds..rips the needle off..and flips the ‘45 like a pancake on a grill. He makes NO EFFORT to handle your records carefully..but then, it’s YOUR FAULT in his eyes if one of your records gets scratched; YOU AGREED to let him play them on his portable player with its nail-like stylus. If the guy bought a few of the records he sampled it would be one thing..but he never does. As a final insult, the guy leaves your table with an arrogant scowl on his face implying that your stock of records is a pile of shit.
The first time Jeff and I worked a show together, even though I knew who this clown was, I let the guy check a pile of my singles just to get a rise out of Clayton. After the guy manhandled a dozen or so of my records I looked over at Jeff....THERE WAS STEAM COMING OUT OF HIS EARS. He couldn’t believe what an asshole this yankee bastard was!! Jeff lives in sleepy South Carolina..and is used to a slower tempo of life. His pleasures are simple...slowly rocking in a porch swing cleaning his guns. Napping in his hammock..idly scratching his coon dog behind the ear. If the beanpole “collector” ventured to Dixie and behaved in his woundup manner like he does in New York City, he’d be dragged behind somebody’s pickup truck within hours of hitting town.
Another annoying “collector” jerk that pissed Jeff off was a sour faced fellow who was into female vocalists like Julie London. He pulled a half dozen albums out of Jeff’s bin that were priced at about $15-$20 a pop. He offered Jeff $30 for the whole bunch...and pretended not to hear Jeff when he said “NO!”. He flipped through another bin of albums for a couple minutes..and repeated..”I’ll give you $30”.Once again..Jeff said “NO!” with a bit more of an edge this time. The guy spun on his heel and left the table with the records scattered over the top of Jeff’s record bins. Jeff was mildly pissed, but not for too long. He filed his records away and soon after was able to have a good laugh with me at the guy. We laughed too soon. The guy came back to our table an hour later! He silently pulled the same albums out of the bins again. I guess we both expected the guy to pay Jeff the full amount or make a reasonable offer. HELL NO! The guy said with a deadpan look on his face..”I’ll pay you $30.” There came the steam out of Jeff’s ears again!!The guy stood and argued with Jeff for 5 full minutes before storming off in an arrogant huff.
There’s a method of flipping through record bins that I’ve only seen Japanese “collectors” use. Instead of working through the box front to back one record at a time, these guys begin at the BACK of a bin. They take a deep breath and using both hands they alternate yank one record up and over to the left, and the next up and over to the right. The most striking factor about this technique is the SPEED involved. They couldn’t possibly be focused on any individual record title for more than a fraction of a second! At the end of the bin, they relax their muscles, and exhale heavily.
Have you ever seen one of Japan’s “IRON CHEFS” on television..armed with twin cleavers, dicing up entire pike eels or melons in seconds flat?? When these guys are done yanking your records left and right out of your bin, they are in a total fucking mess. Do you think even one of them would bother to help you straighten up the mess they just made?? Of course not. It’s on to the next table where they do exactly the same thing. Then there’s the dealers...many of whom are merely “collectors” with tables. I usually make the rounds at a show during a slow period. It’s unbelievable how many dealers can annoy me within 30 seconds at there table. A lot of them make small talk while staring at you bug eyed..trying to detect an iota of interest on your part in an album. If you stop browsing for a few seconds and actually pick up a record to examine it, they pounce on you..babbling what a great record that is..blah blah blah. “HEY! I’ll hook you up!” they promise...as if we were old buddies. I REFUSE to deal with this type of dealer.
I’ve learned to shop at tables at which the dealer has obviously left his wife in charge so I can shop in peace! Speaking of wives, mine has been kind enough to help me at many record shows. She once pointed out that no matter what state of the union the record show is in, North or South..summer or winter..by 2 O’clock there is a literal fog of hamburger like B.O. stench wafting throughout the room. My sweetheart is right. I’ve been to gun shows, auto shows, boat shows, toy shows, horror-fests and comic-con’s and I agree: record collectors fucking STINK!! The reason so few of them bring their wives or girlfriends is probably either because no women will HAVE THEM..or perhaps because they are even funkier and uglier than their “collector” freak men. Any woman who would tolerate some of the cross eyed, cash register-jawed dudes I’ve seen scurrying around record shows with little want lists must be REAL SPECIMENS.
I don’t mean to imply that everybody I see at record shows acts like an asshole. There’s a lot of decent people there too, who are in it for THE MUSIC rather than the “collector” aspects. These people know who they are, because I spend as much time as possible talking to them at my table. Likewise, some of the dealers are really cool people you can learn from. Once Jeff and I set up next to a guy that was a dead-ringer for Johnny Paycheck. He told us the life story of Mel Street. Then, there’s the dude in Baltimore who kept bringing me beers at one slow show. He counseled me when I was getting depressed at the poor turnout. “I don’t give a fuck” he said. “I’m here to drink!!”. I wish I had a Dad or Uncle to provide me with sage counsel like that. Yunno what?? baseball card collectors are even worse than the record collectors. Many, many baseball players will no longer sign cards and bats for kids..they see too many of them turning around handing them to their Dad’s who are greedy dealers! THAT is fucking low. Getting your kid involved pestering some guy for an autograph that you fully intend to sell. Whiskey flavored kisses to you all.... THEE WHISKEY REBEL.