Friday, 28 September 2012

The Crossover



Generally once the school bell rang at 3:00pm I would rush out of that place as fast as I could. I never understood why a lot of kids chose to hang around after school socializing with each other, that's what class was for. I was a man on a mission and once that final bell sounded I always bolted home as quick as I could to watch the power hour on much music and videotape metal vids. I was now practically spending every day after school at Steve's place, so I started bringing my VHS cassette to school with me so I could record metal videos at his place. I had recently discovered through experience and failure that it was essential for me to record every video played on the power hour each day, as sometimes I would miss out on discovering a new cool band. Once I started recording a video that I didn't like, I would stop the tape, rewind a little, and cue it up for the next one played. 

This technique ended up very useful on one particular day while recording videos at Steve's place, as I captured and discovered a whole new world of music. There were a series of videos that day that would fall under the categories of thrash, crossover, & hardcore. These videos were "Indians" and "I'm the man" by New York  thrashers "Anthrax", "Voracious Souls" by Bay Area thrashers "Death Angel", "Institutionalized" by Venice Beach outfit "Suicidal Tendencies", "Trapped" by New York's "The Crumbsuckers", "Anthem" by New York hardcore punkers "Agnostic Front" and last but not least "We gotta know" by yet another New York crossover group "The Cro-Mags" For those readers who may not understand this last genre, crossover was a mixture of thrash metal and hardcore punk, which would go on to be my all time favourite genre for the rest of my life, and myself, like this genre of new music I'd discovered, was crossing over.

All of these bands were incredible in their own right and each of them had their own distinct sound. Anthrax was very thrashy and heavy, yet the vocals were a bit more reminiscent to standard heavy metal, except for their song "I'm the man" which was a rap metal song. This concept, song and video blew my mind as my two favourite genres of music had been mixed into one. I would go on to adore this blending of styles for decades to come. Death Angel were also very thrashy with more melodic singing. They were all Philippinozs who were cousins and their incredible drummer was a mere 12 years old. The boys were skateboarding in the video and I was a fan instantly. Suicidal Tendencies were a trip. These guys all looked like Hispanic vatos and gangsters similar to the characters I had seen in the movie "Colours" the song was more so spoken than sang, and the story told was easy for any teenager in angst to relate to. 

The last 3 bands all had somewhat of a similar sound, as they were all crossover bands from the New York area. The Crumbsuckers were very fast and technical, and their singers voice was the most unique vocal sound I had heard to date. To this day he still stands as my all time favourite singer. Agnostic Front all appeared to be skin heads, and although their style could be considered crossover, they somewhat leaned a bit more to the hardcore side of the spectrum. The Cro-Mags also all appeared to be skin heads, yet their crossover style leaned a little more towards the metal side of things, as they had somewhat intricate guitar riffs and a bit of melodic-ness to the vocal delivery. 

This monumental day still stands out as a very crucial and important turning point in my life, and I can still vividly remember it like it was yesterday. This day stands out in my mind as the day I stopped being a "headbanger" and became a "thrasher" and it was just the beginning of a long and wonderful musical journey...







Thursday, 27 September 2012

Hardcore 101

Shortly after my first visit to The Graveyard with SkaterPunk, who had now changed his sysop alias to "NivekOgre" (lead singer of Skinny Puppy) or to put it more simply "Steve's house" I found myself digging through their record crates once again, when I stumbled upon a most interesting and provocative piece of album cover art that demanded my attention. It was a portrait of Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, in what appeared to be the White House. In front of them on a platter was a fresh fetus covered in jelly beans. The band was called "Day-Glo Abortions" and the album title was "Feed Us.A Fetus" cleverly designed to at first glance appear to read "Feed USA" I pulled the record out of the bin and promptly asked Steve what this was all about. His eyes gleamed and his smile broadened as he insisted I hear this album immediately. 


The first song he put on was called "Kill the hosers" although I remember at first thinking it was "kill the posers" The song started off with a very fast, higher toned, raunchy guitar riff followed by a lightening quick drum roll that brought the band together in what was easily the fastest song I had heard to date in my life. The only thing I had heard prior that was mildly comparable in speed was Motörhead, but the sound of all the instruments, including the vocals, was completely different in sound and approach. The guitars were actually quite different from what I was used to hearing in all the rock and metal I listened to growing up. The drums were constantly full speed ahead with the exception of the odd breakdown or slow part, and they just sounded more raw than metal drums generally sounded. In fact everything sounded more raw, which a portion of the reason being that the recording quality wasn't as slick as a major label artists would be, but none the less this shit was insane and I was fucking loving it! 

The vocals were also very unique in their own right. The singer had a bit of a higher pitch to his voice, with a nice blend of raunch, very similar to their guitar sound. I didn't think for a second this guy had any form of vocal training, as he was more so yelling than singing, but in rhythm that fit perfectly with the music. There was definitely an intense energy to this vocalist as well, which was also a clear observation just by looking at the band photo on the back of the LP. The photo was a shot of the band performing, and that still, black and white image clearly captured the energy and intensity of this band. The lyrical content was extremely controversial, yet comical if you actually got what they were doing, which I perceived as blatantly and sarcastically portraying stereotypes associated with hard music. Kill your father, rape your sister, kill yourself type of stereotypes, and I dug it immensely. 

I found it amazing and inspiring that the band was from my native land of Canada, but on the opposite coast hailing from Vancouver. Each band members name and instrument played was listed on the back of the record, and with aliases like Jesus Bonehead & Wayne Gretzky, you knew they had a sense of humour, and just didn't give a fuck. I thought to myself "how cool is it that these guys don't even care if people know what their names are? They could care less about the fame and fortune, it was all done for the love of the music" music I was now in love with called "Hard core punk" better known as "Hardcore" If someone had told me on this day in grade 9 that I would go on to perform with my band as an opening act for the Day-Glo Abortions a decade later I would have suggested they check themselves into a mental health facility.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Graveyard

A few weeks into grade nine I was chatting with Skater Punk on his BBS The Graveyard when we made a startling discovery, we both were in grade 9 at the same high school. The next day we eagerly met and began to chat. I immediately recognized him, as we were both goaltenders in the same hockey league. His name was Steve. Steve invited me over to his house after school to meet his brother the Necromancer aka James. I instantly agreed. Steve and James literally lived across the street from the high school, so once the final bell rang we met up and headed over to the graveyard. What a small world I thought to myself, it seemed even smaller when we approached Steve's house and I discovered that he was actually the next door neighbour of my good old buddy Patrick Yang. 

Steve introduced me to his brother James, whom I also recognized, as he was in our high school as well, but he was a few years older than us. We headed down to the rec room where they ran their BBS. James was a DJ and he had some turntables and a mixer set up. Being a huge fan of vinyl, I went straight to his record bins and started digging through the crates. The brothers knew I was a huge fan of the film "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and they wanted to play me a song that contained samples from the film. The song was called "chainsaw" and it was by a Canadian industrial group named Skinny Puppy. This was my official introduction to industrial music. 
I remember it being quite different than the metal I was used to. At first I didn't know what to think of it, but I must admit the song grew on me very quickly. I'm sure being inspired by one of my favourite movies made me more inclined to listen with an open mind, which I did. The guitars were heavy, the vocals were highly distorted, and the drums were electronic. I'd never heard anything like this before and I was digging it. We listened to the record a few times while Steve and James gave me an inside look at their BBS. 

These two guys seemed very nice and genuine, as was their father who I met later that day. I remember him razzing me for being a smoker and he warned me that I'd better not get his sons into smoking. For a man of small stature he was somewhat intimidating, plus most parents in the past dismissed me as a bad kid and a bad influence. It didn't take me long to figure out their father was joking around with me, especially once James lit up a cigarette at the kitchen table. Their dad was actually a really nice man and was quite laid back despite his loud voice and intense eyes. We sat around the kitchen table chatting and smoking for what felt like hours. I can remember thinking to myself "why isn't my dad this cool?" Regardless, I really enjoyed this new environment and the time I spent there. I'd definitely be coming over again soon..

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

She's On It!



Grade 9 was a whole new world for me. I was no longer king shit of the school, once again just like in grade 6, I had been bumped down to the bottom of the ladder. I was reunited with a lot of old friends I hadn't seen since grade five, and there was also a lot of new kids who I did not know. It was quite exciting to lay eyes on all these new potential girlfriends. The structure of classes was much different as well, and even though classes were longer, the time just seemed to fly right by as the subject matter was much more intriguing than it was in middle school and grade school. Peer pressure was at an all time high now. It seemed like everyone smoked cigarettes, and if you didn't you were ostracized for it. I hadn't smoked since grade 6 and I was quite proud of that. I stuck to my guns until one fateful, stressful day, when I broke down and had a smoke. Who would have thought that one cigarette would propel me into decades of being a smoker. 


North Park Secondary School

My parents had finally let up on my leash as well, I was now allowed to stay out later, as well as sleepover at friends houses every weekend. The best part of my new found freedom was the fact my folks were now allowing me to take the Go bus to Toronto with my friends....and NO adult supervision. It seemed like every weekend we were heading downtown to shop, and it was usually the same 4 guys, myself, Jerry, Sanjai & Jay. We always had a blast, especially laughing at the bums and other assorted street trash we would encounter on our journeys. 

On what I believe was our first trip there ever, Sanjai and I were on the hunt for Beastie Boys records, more specifically the 12" for "She's On It" I clearly remember going into Sam the record man on Yonge street and asking if they had it, the clerk informed us it was upstairs. When we got up there we spotted the record on a rack at the other end of the store. Sanjai ran down the left side of the aisle, and I ran down the right side. Being an entire foot taller than Sanj obviously meant I had a longer stride, so naturally I got to the rack before he did, and I quickly snatched up the last copy the store had in stock. Sanjai was furious! I told him I'd make a dub for him when we got back home, but that wasn't good enough for him, he had to own the real deal. 


The rest of the day was quite unpleasant as Sanj was in a foul mood and somewhat pissed off at me because I got the record and he didn't. As we shopped up Yonge street he was completely disinterested in everything we did and every store we went it, until we discovered a small record store called "Play De Record" From the outside it was clear this place catered to DJ's, as the window display was full of rap records. We stepped in and it was like heaven, and right before our eyes was a rack FULL of She's On It 12 inches. Sanjai immediately purchased one and was happy as could be. I busted his balls a bit for being an asshole all day when there was really no need to be, plus shit always seemed to work out for us, he just didn't have the patience like I did. 
With the two of us completely satisfied, we rode the bus home in silence, staring at our new records. I could not wait to get home and drop the needle. There had been a lot of mystery the past year as to the origins of this song. We had heard it in a movie, we had seen the video, yet we could not for the life of us figure out how to get this song. The mystery had finally been solved!



Monday, 24 September 2012

B.B.S.

Before the summer ended there was a certain something I needed to acquire. After my good old buddy Pat brought me to his cousin Bernard's house, where I saw him using a modem hooked up to his Commodore 64, I had to get one. For the life of me I cannot remember how I finally got my hands on a modem, but I did. I do not think I bought it in a store, as I remember only playing $20-$30 for it. I do remember it was 300-600 baud (speed) and whoever sold it to me did so because they had just bought a newer, faster 1200 baud modem. Never the less I was stoked to get it and immediately went home and hooked it up. 

The modem plugged into the back of the 64 similar to a game cartridge. You had to run a phone cable from your wall jack into the in port and plug your telephone's cord into the out port. So what was so special about this modem? Well just the mere fact that it was the newest way to download video games via the BBS (Bulletin Board System) and here's how it worked. Sysops, or system operators, would create their own BBS or  "board" that was generally a reflection of their own personal interest. For example, one sysop who was a fan of The Beatles, had a board called "Octopuses Garden" the title of a Beatles song, and the sysop's alias was "Sgt.Pepper" another Beatles song. 

You would find BBS numbers on loading screens of games, so you would write them down on an ongoing list. When you were ready to rock you would dial a number, wait for the modem to answer on the other line, then flick the switch on your own modem to connect. You were now inside someone's "board" or computer, this was essentially the first p2p sharing technology long before the Internet would grace our lives. 


Once you were in there would be a title screen for the board, and some of the artwork people were doing with the c64 was just incredible. Once past the title screen you came to a menu which usually had 3 categories: the message board (for posting messages), the bulletin board (for posting user created artwork), & the game room, obviously for posting games. Every BBS lived by the same rules of conduct: you had to post in the message forums EVERY login before you could access the game room. When you were in the game room, there was a 5:1 download/upload ratio, meaning for every 5 downloads you took, you had to upload one. If you broke the rules you would be banned from the board, and possibly blacklisted from all the other boards. Needless to say everyone followed the rules without question. 

Due to the fact a BBS worked via phonelines, there could only be one visitor on a board at a time, so most the boards had a 60 minute time limit that you also had to abide by. If you didn't, chances were the sysop would disconnect your ass simply by picking his or her phone up. There were a variety of boards with various themes to suit anyone's interests. I ended up spending most of my time at a place called "The Graveyard" which was run by two brothers, SkaterPunk & Necromancer. They ended up giving me an assistant sysop position under the alias "Leatherface" and eventually hooked me up with software to create my own board "Texas Chainsaw Farmhouse" much to the dismay of my parents, who got tired quickly of the phone ringing all the time at all hours of the day and night. Eventually they got me my own phoneline and a phone that you could turn the ringer off. 

I lived on the boards to the point where I hardly ever went out, and if my friends wanted to hang out they had no other choice but to come hang out at "the farmhouse" I had made a lot of friends via the message forums and I got into cracking games. Cracking a game consisted of breaking into the code of the game where you could add in your own loading screen that promoted your BBS. I had more games than ever now and was constantly elevating my illustration skills to post on the boards for everyone to see. 

At the peak of my fun, somewhere in grade 9 or 10, my modem speed was deemed to slow for the BBS world, as everyone had upgraded to 1200-2400 baud. I could not find a new modem anywhere and they were quickly becoming obsolete, plus money was an issue. I was however getting into partying and having a social life, so I slowly faded away from the BBS world. Who would have ever dreamed of having something as powerful as the Internet years later? I was just thankful to be apart of the pre cursor to the World Wide Web...

Friday, 21 September 2012

Ching Park

When I wasn't stealing cassettes like LL Cool J and Public Enemy, and I wasn't being a mall rat, I'd usually be hanging out at Sanjai's watching Benny Hill, or we'd be at my place watching The Little Rascals, or one of our favorite movies like Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science, Krush Groove, or Aliens. This seemed to be our morning ritual on the days I wasn't working. 



Other than that the only place you might have found us was Chinguacousy park. Ching Park was close to the City Centre and it was full of things to do. My neighbour of 10 years Joanne, worked at the snack bar, so she would hook us up with free munchies, popsicles, and tickets for complimentary rounds of mini golf. We could easily kill a few hours putting balls through the small, but enjoyable course. Ching park also had a nice barn where you could pet the animals, as well as a man made ski hill that was formed from a landfill of garbage. Every summer the park held the "Nitty Gritty" a kick ass fair with rides and all kinds of games where you could win cool stuff like mirrors with rock band logos on them. The park even had an outdoor band shelter, where I'd sometimes find myself standing on the stage fantasizing about performing music for a rabid, cheering audience. That dream would come true many years later.


Band shelter from behind & the pond
 In behind the band shelter was a dock and a small pond with paddle boats, that same pond is the first place my father ever took me fishing when I was five years old. We caught lots of sunfish and catfish. Who knew back then that I'd be tripping balls there years later. Above everything else at the park there was one thing we cherished the most...a large concrete structure for small children. It was a water slide that went down into a kiddie pool. You may be asking yourselves why teenage boys would cherish something for toddlers and small kids, and the answer is quite simple. Around noon time the city workers at the park wound drain the kiddie pool thus ending the days fun for the little ones. We would sit around on our skateboards waiting for the sun to dry up what we referred to as the "Ching bowl"

the greenhouse was a great area to skate.

On a hot summers day the bowl would dry up pretty quickly and we would commence the shredding. We'd have the ghetto blaster blaring metal as we all did our thing. There was always a picnic table near by that we would pull up to the edge of the bowl, giving us something inspiring to try and trick off of. Most people either went down the slide and tried to pull tricks and airs out of the bowl, or they rode the bowl from side to side like a half pipe. Asides from the bowl, the park had alot of other great areas to skate. There were no skateparks around back in those days and I'm thankful we were lucky enough to have Ching Park around in a time when skating in public places wasn't an issue or considered a crime. It's nice to see in this day & age Ching Park still caters to skaters, as they now have an actual skateboard park on site.


the infamous Ching Hill

Thursday, 20 September 2012

You can call me Teef

I'd like to start today's blog post off with a sincere apology to all of my readers. I went five days without posting and I find this unacceptable. I've been a bit sidetracked with work, fatherhood, and my social life. From this point forward my goal is to post every day of the week with the exclusion of weekends. Let's see if I can make this goal happen, now let us continue on with the story...

We went looking for Sanjai but could not find him anywhere, needless to say I feared the worst. As the evening sun was setting I heard the phone ring, it was him on the other line when I answered. Sanj went onto tell me he had been caught red handed and busted. The police picked him up, brought him to the station, and booked him for theft under $5000.00. The part of the story that shocked me the most was the fact that his mother decided not to tell his father about it, as he was a very abusive man. This blew my mind considering my entire life growing up I had always begged my mother not to tell my dad whenever I got in trouble, but like the faithful wife she was, she could never keep a secret from him or lie to him. I was sad that my best friend got busted but at the same time I was thankful he didn't have to endure the verbal humiliation and physical ass whooping that his raging father was known for.

The summer of 87' had now incurred the first and last negative blow. I can't remember if Sanj learned his lesson or if he kept up with the thievery, but I was bringing my theft tactics to knew heights. It seemed I had the uncanny ability to steal anything at anytime and never get caught. Sometimes I'd steal things right in front of my friends without them even noticing, that's how good I was. My catch phrase was now a line I had modified from the RUN D.M.C. song "Hit it run" and it went a little something like this:

"How devastating can an mc be? 
My name is Theo, but you can call me Teef! Hit it Run!" 

Every time I teefed something unbeknownst to my friends in company, I would sing that line and reveal whatever I had stolen, which always got hilarious reactions from my friends. Most the stuff I stole was smut, books, magazines, art supplies, batteries, cassettes, and pranks from the "It store" such as fart bombs and whoopee cushions. Whatever I needed to amuse me essentially. I stole a lot of tapes from the various record stores in the mall, mainly because I browsed there a lot and all the clerks saw me as "that kid with no money who never buys anything but browses all the time" so they wouldn't even pay attention to me when I was in the store. In fact I had became such a mall rat that it got to the point where clerks in stores treated me like a ghost. They never so much as said hello or even looked at me, so I figured "Fuck it. Nobody's watching me"

I got so pro at stealing that my friends started paying me to steal things for them, which would be the way I made all my money the first and second year of highschool. I just didn't know it at the time...


Who needs wishes when you can steal things?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Summer of 87'

I don't remember much about my grade 8 grad with the exception of lining up in front of parents in the gymnasium to receive our diplomas, and of course the grad dance afterwards which I don't remember being different than any other school dance. Mr.Q had given me a wake up call as well in regards to attending high school the next year, as I had barely passed grade 8 and there was a slight chance that I may have to attend North Peel, a trade school that fellow Bramptonians referred to as "the half knowledge college" None the less I had passed and the summer of 87, one of the most formidable summers of my life, was here. 

My father got me my second job ever, the first being a paperboy delivering "the penny saver" with my pal Duane, but now I had a gig my pops landed me at his place of employment, Bell Canada. The job was quite simple, I was to clean the parking lot every morning, which generally took one to two hours. 2 hours of work a day didn't seem like much, but I was getting paid $20 an hour while other kids were slaving at McDonalds for $4.00/hr and free Big Macs. I was quite frankly rolling in dough for a kid my age, and I spent most of my money on records, tapes, junk food, smut, & skateboards. Every day after work I'd head to the Hex Arcade in the Bramalea City Centre, where one quarter would keep me occupied for hours playing TWA Wrestling. Eventually my friends would meet me there once they were awake, then we would figure out what the day would hold in store for us. 

Most of the summer we would bike ride or skateboard as a means of transportation to our destinations. We hung out at the mall a lot, arcade, food court, record stores, even book stores, where we would sneak porn mags inside of rock magazines while we "browsed". The Beastie Boys "licensed to ill" record was the soundtrack to the summer, and it was apparent by looking at us, since we were emulating their look and style. There was one aspect of the look we didn't have though, so we decided it was time to solve that problem...we needed VW logos. Mike D of the Beasties was always rocking a fat gold chain with a Volkswagen emblem straight off the grill of any VW product. Sanjai and myself were the two biggest B-Boy fans amongst our friends, so we came up with a plan to obtain some VW logos for ourselves and our pals.


Our plan was pretty simple, we'd walk around parking lots and look for Volkswagen vehicles to steal emblems off of. Sanjai would take care of the removal aspect, since he was smaller and could sneak around easier without being seen. I'd be the lookout man and make sure nobody was taking notice of him. This arrangement worked out great and in no time I was rifling through my moms jewelry boxes looking for chains to borrow. Sanj got a bit carried away in the whole process and started stealing emblems off of other vehicles, to the point where he had multiples of almost every car emblem out there, his pockets constantly carrying every type of screwdriver imaginable. I remember hanging out somewhere on our bikes one day when a jaguar drove by, an emblem he had yet to conquer. The next thing I knew he was off in a flash, furiously peddling his bike down the street in pursuit of the car, in hopes of finding out where it's owner lived. Later that night he went back and got it. 

I also got into theft that summer, which looking back on doesn't make much sense considering the fact I was making decent money, although I'm sure I was spending it as fast as I was making it. Sanjai had in a sense became obsessive compulsive with his car emblem collecting. One day while having my usual undefeated morning run of the TWA Wrestling arcade machine, he had the jones to go jack some more car emblems. I told him I wasn't ready to give my game up yet. Nobody could defeat me at TWA so I'd spend the first few hours of everyday on one quarter playing kids, teenagers and adults, until I finally got bored and would usually let a small child defeat me. Sanjai was very eager and impatient that fateful morning, and he decided to venture out into the parking lot without me. He never came back...

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Main Event pt.2

    There was no way in hell i was losing my hair! I knew Bob had no chance of beating me, yet the thought of my locks being cut off filled me with feelings of anxiety and worry. I had to come up with a fool proof plan to assure my hair would remain unscathed. All my friends had their own ideas to prevent me from losing but I liked my idea the best so we rolled with it.

My plan was simple, I would only wrestle defensively and let Bob make the moves. I knew I could stimey and reverse anything he threw at me so I decided to just keep shutting him down, proving to him I was the superior wrestler. Then when there were mere minutes remaining in the time limit, my boys would pull a run in which would result in a no contest and we'd both keep our titles respectively. Nobody would lose their belt and nobody would lose their hair....or at least that's what the plan was. 

The day of the big match arrived and do did the end of grade 8. I excused myself from whatever class I had before lunch minutes prior to bell time so I could go suit up. My wrestler persona was "Killer Kevin Piper" an amalgamation of my two favorite singles wrestlers at the time, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jason the Terrible (Karl Moffat) My gear consisted of my high top Adidas sneakers, some colorful "jam" shorts or skateboarding shorts with one of my mother's kilts over top, my "hot rod" shirt I bought at a WWF event that year at Maple Leaf Gardens, and the coup de gras..... A hard plastic street hockey goalie mask donated to me by my good friend Jay Poole.


I knew Bob would immediately try to remove my goalie mask, so being the master of head games I decided to start the match off with one offensive move. I still had whippersnappers left over from my Boston trip, so I used masking tape and attached a few to the mask. I then exited the side doors of the school and made my entrance onto the soccer field with my bag of tricks and radio blasting Black Sabbath's "Iron Man". Bob and I now stood face to face as the ref checked us over for illegal objects. As soon as the bell sounded I quickly head butted bob repeatedly causing the whippersnappers to explode on contact, which resulted in numerous small burns on his forehead. As expected Bob pulled the goalie mask off and tossed it aside. 


We locked up. Stalemate. We locked up again but this time Bob went for a quick arm bar, which I easily reversed and broke. Another lock up, Bob puts me in a hammerlock. I spin around behind him putting his arm in a hammerlock then I pushed him to the ground. He makes a shoot for my legs while he's down, but he can't get me to the ground. Back to his feet now, he rushed in for yet another lock up. This time he applied a side head lock, which I eanded up pulling out of, and again shoved him from behind forcing him to the ground once again. I could see the frustration starting to build inside of him. Bob couldn't keep one hold on me nor could he fathom why I wasn't attempting any moves of my own. Confused, he kept attempting moves and holds which I kept escaping or reversing, generally resulting in Bob on the ground.

On his feet again, he came in for another lockup. This time he quickly scooted in behind me and applied a full nelson. Bob was applying the pressure hard and asking the ref to check if I wanted to submit. Obviously not. The move was synched in deep. Generally I could escape this move with ease but I had to give him credit, he was locked in for dear life. I threw my head back attempting to smash my skull into his face but he had his head down, our skulls colided and dizzied us both. I stomped on his foot a few times so he readjusted his legs so I couldn't stomp any more. I threw a few kicks back at his shin and groin, which connected but he didn't brake the hold, I made comments about how he must have no balls seeing as the groin kicks didn't affect him. I put my arms straight up and attempted to slide down, a textbook escape from the nelson, but Bob knew of this trick and he lowered his body with mine. I was now sitting on the ground still in the hold with Bob behind me on one knee and one foot. 

I was starting to run out of gas by this point so I was actually happy to be on my ass and getting some rest. For the next 20 minutes or so Bob kept asking the ref to check if I was ready to give up. Hell no. I told Bob he may as well break the hold and try something new, as there was no way he was going to submit me. He refused and held onto the belief that this would be his finisher. We sat on the ground for what seemed like an eternity until the time keeper announced there was only 5 minutes left in the time limit. This was the cue to signal the final part of the plan.

My buddy Chris ran in and drop kicked Bob square in the side of the head, which broke the hold and caused the ref to end the match due to interference. Technically I had lost by disqualification but the last laugh would be all mine. Before Bob could collect his thoughts another wrestler ran in and threw a bag of the mysterious "white powder" in Bob's face. It was actually a bag of flower from my mother's pantry. Now blinded and dazed, we all started laying the boots to Bob. Someone put him in a Boston crab and another kid applied a camel clutch. The combination of the two submission moves simultaneously caused Bob's body to resemble the letter U. 

Now folded in half and screaming in pain, it was time to end this once and for all. I reached into my bag of tricks and pulled out the scissors. Bob had a haircut similar to Tony Hawk at the time, a skater cut, short with a side part and long bangs. I frantically started snipping away at his bangs as well as the hair on top of his head, making sporadic cuts which resulted in him looking like he had a fight with a lawn mower. The bell sounded to end lunch, so we all ran off laughing and yelling victoriously. Bob was so humiliated that he got up and walked home, instead of returning to class for the second half of the day. With my hair still in tact and title around my waist, I declared the BWA was officially dead. I shouted out "long live the BWF" repeatedly and my chant was joined by the entire roster. We all cheered as we marched back into the school. No one ever heard from or saw Bob again until the first day of grade 9, where he acted like he had never known or met any of us before...WIN!!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Main Event pt.1

    Grade 8 was winding down to a close, all in all it was a fun, mischievous, music filled year. Towards the end of the year this kid named Bob started wrestling with us in the BWF. None of us liked him so we came up with a scheme to rid him from our fed. 

One of our buddies agreed to team up with him and we started having tag team matches, all of which saw Bob as the legal man being double teamed for the entire match without ever tagging in his partner. We ran this angle for about a week and it finally culminated in Bob's tag team partner going berserk due to the fact his partner kept loosing their matches. In a fit of rage he joined the opposing team, which consisted of me and my partner, in stomping Bob to a pulp and torturing him with every submission move under the sun. Bob realized this was for real and got the fuck out if dodge before he was seriously injured. 

Over the next week or two Bob completely ignored us, until one day in class he came up to us claiming he had started his own fed, the BWA (Brampton Wrestling Association) which he boasted was a superior product in comparison to our BWF. We quickly grilled Bob about who he had on his roster to which he retorted "Bob the barber beefcake, the macho man bob savage" and other wrestler names with "Bob" worked into them in an un clever manner, his roster was nothing more than him as multiple characters....or personalities. 

My friends and I were in hysterics as we made fun of Bob and his imaginary wrestling federation, to the point where he snapped and actually manned up for once in his life, issuing a challenge against your humble narrator. Bob demanded a title va title match. My BWF title belt against his BWA title belt, which we were sure was also imaginary. The bout would have a one hour time limit, and would take place on lunch hour, during the final day of the grade 8 semester. I quickly agreed to Bob's list of demands with a cocky laugh, which he tried to cut short by adding one final stipulation...the loser would have his hair cut off by the winner...

My lucious locks that were at stake

Monday, 10 September 2012

Skate or Die!

    Another fundamental ingredient in the development of my childhood took place during grade eight, the re introduction of skateboarding. Back in the late 70's I had a small, plastic banana board. The wheels and trucks were like those off of roller skates. I played around with it a bit from age 5-10, mainly using it to coffin ride down my driveway or street. For all you un-hip non-skaters, a coffin ride us when you lay flat on your back on the board and coast down a hill. 

BMX biking became quite popular in the early 80's and I was apart of that trend, yet I never really felt much of an attachment to it, I was more into riding bikes for the transportation and freedom aspects of it. Now skateboarding was taking over the extreme scene and I was right on board, no pun intended. My mother brought me over to toys r us, or k mart, or sears, or some store along those lines, to get my first skate. It was only about $30-40 from what I remember and was made by DSC, the Dominion Skate Company, who coincidentally had a skateboard factory downtown Brampton, where we would rummage through dumspters for scraps of griptape and defective products. DSC was one step up from no name, but was frowned upon by kids who were riding pro decks like Powell, Vision, & Santa Cruz. My deck was emblazoned with a dark, masked, medieval knight mounted on his bad ass looking horse, both of them were entombed in flames. 


I had recently heard my first Metallica song "Four Horsemen" and I had started reading "Judge Dredd" comics, which contained the 4 horsemen (or judges) of the apocalypse, so I instantly connected the character on my deck to "Fire" one of the four horsemen. Being a huge wrestling fan there was also a connection there as well, since Ric Flair had started a recent faction known as none other than....The Four Horsemen!


I immediately felt connected to skateboarding. I didn't care that I had a budget board, I was just happy to have one and to be able to skate with all my friends. My buddy Duane had screwed a few screws into the tail of his board, which created dazzling sparks whenever he leaned back on the board causing his tail to touch the ground. We were constantly skating at the French school down the road from us. Nobody really knew any tricks so we just ripped around and did whatever felt right. Our streets we grew up on were all downhill, so most the time we would just bombs the streets and get ridiculous speed, similar to what all the long boarders are doing in the present day. 

Skating gave me such a feeling of freedom and personal expression. I loved nothing more than cruising the streets, crouching and swaying like a surfer would, with my glorious black mullet blowing in the wind. My father had forced me into organized sports my whole life, and to be honest I really had no interest in them, I just wanted to make my dad pleased and have him proud of me.


Now I had discovered a new sport that was unparalleled to any other sport. There was no coach, no team, no uniform, no time limits, and no rules. It was just you and your board and anything goes. You did what felt good, you did what you wanted to, you learned tricks at your own pace as opposed to drilling coaches pushing you to impossible limits. I had truly found what to me was the greatest sport in the world! Next to wrestling of course...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Toronto: take one

I forgot about this memory so we're backtracking a bit back to the winter season of 1986/1987 when I was in grade eight. One of my friends whom often hosted porn parties on lunch hour came up to me one day and asked me an intriguing question, he was curious to know if I would be interested in going downtown Toronto with him on the upcoming p.a.day that was approaching. Normally my parents would forbid me from venturing into the evils of the city but this proposition had an interesting catch to it. His mother worked downtown and she would be chaperoning us on this adventure. 

My folks were a bit skeptical but they agreed and I was extremely eager, they were even kind enough to give me $20 towards my shopping excursion. What they didn't know was my friends mom was actually working that day so we wouldn't necessarily have an adult supervising us. My mother dropped me off at my friends house the morning of, on her way to work. It was still pitch black outside. I got loaded in the car with my pal and his mother, then we drove to the train station downtown Brampton, where she parked her car and we boarded the go train. We arrived downtown and headed to her place of employment, which was a luxurious building overlooking Nathan Phillips Square. We ate some breakfast there, then went ice skating down at the square for awhile. After that we returned to the break room in her building for some hot chocolate to warm us up while we overlooked the newest wrestling magazines that i picked up along the way.

Once we were warm again and ate some lunch, we decided to venture up to Yonge street and begin exploring stores. I really don't have much recollection of where we went asides from the worlds biggest book store, some surplus shops, Warriors, which catered to all your martial art and ninja needs, and rock memorabilia stores which were otherwise known as "head shops" it was here that I felt I had truly found what I was looking for. The one head shop in particular was down a set of stairs that led into a large, grungy, unfinished L shape basement. The place had a few glass counters filled with pins, patches, and smoking accessories. There were a lot of band posters and flags that were only five dollars each. I quickly found my first ever Beastie Boys poster and was happier than a pig in shit! 

the beastie boys poster I bought.

The rest of the place was gridlock full of folding tables that were covered in bootleg t shirts of just about any and every band you could imagine. All the shirts were black with white print or vice versa, and all were also only five dollars! Once again I spotted the B Boys, this time on a shirt which I snatched up with lightening speed.


Proudly rocking my B-Boys shirt @ new years dinner.

I also found a shirt emblazoned with Freddy Kreugar from the film A Nightmare On Elm Street 2, which happened to be a new fave of mine, so naturally I grabbed that one too. I can't remember anything else I bought that day but the trip was a success and I was very happy with my purchases. I rocked those two shirts with pride religiously. My first trip to Toronto was a success and I was already eager for the next time I would get the pleasure of returning...


Freddy shirt very simular to the one I bought.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Q

Our teacher in grade 8 was known amongst the students simply as "Q" due to his last name that matched mine as far as epic last names go. Mr.Quattrochiocci, or Mr.Q for short, was my home room teacher in grade eight. I can't remember if he was a phys ed teacher first and foremost, if he wasn't he should have been considering the fact he stood anywhere from 6'2-6'4 and was in pretty good shape. Q was easily the biggest teacher in the school and could have been an athlete or a pro wrestler without question. I honestly can't remember what his teaching forte was, but being a home room teacher left him to cover all the basics for us like math and English. 

I believe he was Italian. He had thick black hair that slightly receded on either side of his widows peak, and a thick, bushy, black moustache that could put Super Mario's to shame! To be quite frank he looked like a seventies porn star, straight up! In the beginning of the year I found Q to be the most intimidating teacher I ever had, based on his constant scowling face and sheer size, but he didn't hold a candle to Mr.Hoyte as far as belittling students went. Q was actually pretty laid back and even comical at times, but me being a metal head b boy and him being an alpha male jock, obviously led to us bumping heads over the course of the school year. For a teacher he was actually quite the "ribber" (wrestling term for practical joker) and it was hard to pull a fast one on him, although I did manage to make him go red faced a couple times during the school year. All in all he was a bit of a hard ass who always got the last laugh. So I made it my mission to change that.

Closer to the end of the year we got an assignment in music class. We were to group up in 4's and perform a song. I quickly grabbed the reigns for my group and decided we were going to fix Q's wagon once and for all! My brilliant idea was to make a song about him called "Q" which would be a parody of the Beastie Boys song "Girls". Our group quickly figured out how to play the xylophone part of the song, now all we needed was a beat. Thankfully I had bought a drum machine from Toys R Us the previous year, so I programmed the entire song into it and our music was done.


Synsonic drum machine from "toys r us"

Now we just needed some lyrics. If my golden memory serves me correctly it was I that single handedly wrote the lyrics which went something like this:

Q! all we really hate is Q!
Cus in the morning it's Q!
And after recess it's Q!
I hate the way that he talks 
And he's such a big head jock
And you can never make him smile
He gives you homework in a pile

That's about all I remember but you get the idea. So I programmed the beat, one guy played the xylophone and we all decided to do the vocals. 2 of us did the rhymes simultaneously and one guy did the backups which consisted of "bomp bomps" Around this time I was working on some murals with a few other students in preparation for the grade 8 graduation. My music teacher was actually allowing me to cut class so I could help get these murals done on time. On the day of our performance I was painting as usual when my group came to inform me that it was our turn. I told the guys they would have to do it without me as these murals had to get finished. The guys were upset and insecure but I assured them they'd do great without me, as we had been practicing religiously and had our song down tight. I showed them how to run the drum machine then returned to the murals. 

Grad day. Mural of me @ bookfair by Sanjai. My initials "kt" on the other one.

My group returned awhile later and they were all ecstatic! Our song was the stand out performance and we had received the best mark in the class. I was extremely proud of my boys and myself for that matter, as I was the brainchild behind the whole project. Mr.Q was even brought into the music class to witness the performance which left him red faced with embarrassment and sporting a huge smile from ear to ear. Even though our song was a success, inside of me was a feeling of failure. What nobody ever knew until this present day was I actually suffered from stage fright when the moment of truth arrived. I had previously been very outgoing in music class and drama class, but for some unknown reason I was full of anxiety that day and could not bring myself to perform in front of the class. I felt terrible for abandoning my group yet I felt like a proud father at the same time since they had nailed it without me. I used the mural as an excuse to skip out on performing. The only saving grace was the fact we had the top mark in the class, which restored some of my dignity. I didn't know it at the time but this was just the beginning of an ongoing battle with stage fright that would haunt me for years to come...

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Boston Trip


So the big trip for the grade eight students that year was to Boston Massachusetts. Surprisingly I was allowed to go on the trip considering I had more visits to the principals office that year than any other. If I remember correctly it was a close call though and somewhat of a last minute decision which resulted in me being grouped in a room with 5 other guys, 4 of which I couldn't fucking stand.

The bus trip was much more longer than the Quebec trip the previous year, and as always I had my trusted cassette Walkman with me. My Beasties/DMC tape was in effect as well as the newest "LL Cool J" release "B.A.D." otherwise known as "Bigger And Deffer". I'm almost certain the owner of the tape was an Asian kid named Thomas Chen. I mentioned him in anonymous fashion many posts back as the kid at the breakdancing display who had the most epic back spin ever. Thomas let me listen to the tape and that helped kill time, lost in my headphones visualizing the lyrical content in my ears.

B.A.D. cassette
When we finally arrived it must have been well into the evening but the sun was still up. Our hotel was almost a horseshoe shape which surrounded a pool, and every rooms balcony overlooked the pool. I dropped my bags in my room and stood on the balcony examining my female classmates in their bathing suits. We spent the rest of the night having wrestling matches in our hotel room, and yours truly, the biggest wrestling fan in the school, did not partake. Since I was grouped with guys I despised I did not want to interact with them whatsoever....except for the one guy I liked. I opted to listen to my Walkman. 

Our trip took us to all the Bean Town landmarks. The Boston Tea Party, The Green Monster, Cheers, and we also went whale watching as well as to some indoor marine park. The trip wasn't that enjoyable for me except when I was throwing lit firecrackers out or hote window at people, until one day when they took us to an outdoor market type place full of all kinds of different shops and vendors. I bought handcuffs and a butterfly knife. The next thing I knew a bunch of kids came running up to me excitedly, they were in such shock they couldn't even get their words out. They dragged me to the front entrance and pointed down the street where I saw none other than WWF giant Big John Studd leaving the market. My trip had meaning now.

Big John Studd
Unlike my Quebec trip I don't really need 3 blog posts. My memories are a bit vague of the Boston excursion as I didn't really have a great time there all in all. I was at the point in life where I had developed a sense of people, seeing them for what they are, or were, or weren't. At the time I was peering through the fake facades of all these popular kids and seeing the realness of the people they considered lower class or beneath them, like my computer buddies. I had attended their parties in the past and fulfilled them with amusement as "the crazy kid" but my days of being the court jester had come to an end.

Duane & I as  " the turbanators"