Friday, 30 November 2012

Cashing cheques & Captain Caveman

Although my new job at Via Post was somewhat boring to say the least, there was one very exciting aspect about it...getting paid every Friday. I was taking home about $250.00 a week after taxes, which was quite a lot of money for a 15 year old kid in 1988. The coffee truck driver used to give us credit all week long and then on Fridays he would cash our cheques for us and take his cut, this was pretty awesome to me seeing as I didn't even have to goto the bank. Every week I usually owed him about $40-$60 for all the food and cigarettes I consumed over the week. The rest of the money was mine to do what I pleased with it.

Being young and naive I typically spent the remainder of my cheque by the end of each weekend, and I really didn't have a lot to show for it. Most of my money was spent on alcohol, marijuana and fast food. The only material items I was continuously buying were band shirts, most of which I ordered out of heavy metal magazines, clothes, shoes, and skateboard decks. I also became an avid reader of Thrasher Magazine, and was ordering stuff from them quite often as well. All the shoes I bought at the time were $7.00 sonics, converse rip offs that you could find at BiWay (miss that place dearly) I'd adorn mine with killer artwork, always using a circular symbol on the heels such as a D.R.I. logo for example. After awhile people started to really take notice, to the point where they were paying me to design custom shoes for them.

These are a few of my favorite things
Skateboard decks were probably the one thing I spent the majority of my money on now however, as I was practically buying a new deck every week! I wasn't even getting to skateboard as much either as I was always working or was up at the trailer. The odd day we would skate however instead of playing Nintendo, usually at the French school down at the bottom of our street, or if I was up early enough I'd venture over to Ching Park for a late morning shred session. I ended up meeting quite a lot of different skaters at the Ching bowl and people were always trading or selling boards there, so I'd bring my old decks with me and open up for business.

I remember showing up there one day and there were some older thrashers ripping up the bowl, there was one guy in particular who definitely stood out from the bunch. This guy was barely taller than 5 feet and had red hair that was all one length, that stopped somewhere between his waist and his knees. On his board there was a small SLAYER logo in white on top of the grip tape and I was instantly curious as to how that was possible. The dude resembled Cousin It from The Addams Family, or one of my favourite old cartoon characters Captain Caveman, he had by far the longest hair I'd ever seen! I later learned he was actually the older brother of one guitarist from the Epileptic Brain Surgeons (Paul Donohoe) and apparently he had his own band as well called "Distortion" if I recall correctly. His name was Steve Donohoe.

Little did I know on that day way back in 1988 was the fact that this guy was going to be an important part of my life and my musical ventures in the years to come...And how did he do that grip tape job???

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Trailer Park Boys

Typically on Friday afternoons we would skip out on our regular Nintendo playing so we could get Dennis' car packed up with all our gear for our weekend excursion to their Uncle's trailer. Mainly clothes, sleeping bags, food and beer, that way when Dennis came to pick us up after work we were ready to roll.

The trailer was up in a small northern town named Midland, about an hour or two north of Toronto. Smith's Trailer Park was the name of our destination. Jerry's uncle actually had two trailers side by side so us boys actually got our own trailer to stay in for the weekend. All we really did up there was drink, smoke, swim, and try to meet girls, which was almost effortless seeing as we were the "fresh meat" of the park. Plus being city boys with some swagger and attitude and unique looks only helped us out in our quest for the ladies. We would usually take a drive on Saturday or Sunday afternoon out to Penatanguishine, to visit Jerry and Dennis' cousin "Kevin" who was a patient in the mental health facility. That was always interesting to say the least.

Jerry and I were only 15 but it wasn't uncommon for each of us to put back 12-24 beers a day every weekend we were there. The park also had a small arcade with vending machines so we hung out there quite a bit during the days. Plus it was always a good place to meet girls. Eventually I became romantically involved with Jerry's cousin, who's father owned the very trailer I was using to seduce her in every weekend. Looking back on this it seems like I was up to some risky business, but back then I was blind to that fact.

One day we were bored so we decided to venture into town and see if we could find anything interesting. We had heard murmurings of a shopping mall in town so we opted to see if we could locate it, which we did with ease since the town wasn't much of a town at all, it was more so just a small strip if road with a few businesses occupying it. This was the smallest mall I had ever been inside of in my life. It literally took 5 minutes to walk from one end of it to the other. There were really no stores of interest there whatsoever, until we came across a small booth in the far end of the mall.

This booth actually had some cool pins and patches of bands, including some thrash and hardcore bands much to my surprise. They also had the old typical iron on transfers for t-shirts like most t-shirt booths in malls did. As I flipped through the pages of cheesy designs and bad quotes my eyes were caught by a very familiar image....Anthrax's "Spreading The Disease" album cover. Needless to say within minutes I was the proud owner of a new kick ass shirt!

We had a lot of good times up there that summer and it was really our only escape from the working life each weekend for 3 months straight. By the end of the summer I had broken up with Jerry's cousin so things became a bit awkward when we were up there, but regardless it was an important place for me and another factor in defining the man I was growing up to be...

Penatang Mental Health Hospital

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Via Post

Summer was in full motion and I was very curious to see what it held in store for my friends and I. In the beginning it was a lot of skateboarding at Ching park during the day and a lot of hanging out at 7-11 during the night trying to find parties to crash. That all came to a halt quickly when I landed my first full time job.

To be quite honest I don't even remember how I got this particular job. I have no recollection of ever applying for it or being interviewed for the job, but I had a job none the less. Jerry also got a job at the same place the same time I did so we would be working together on a daily basis now. Our shift was from 3pm until 11:30....or perhaps midnight I can't remember. We were getting paid $6.25 an hour which was roughly $2.25 more than most kids our age were making at their minimum wage jobs.

The place was called Via Post and we worked on an assembly line bundling flyers, the kind of flyers you would typically find inside your towns local news paper. The job was fairly boring and repetitive but having Jerry at my side kept things interesting since I had a friend to talk to. The place was fairly fun to work at despite the boringness of the job and I even met my first official drug dealer, he was a receiver there and was my first real contact to score weed and hash from.

Our daily ritual was the same, I'd get up about 11am, shower and dress, then head over to Jerry's to play Super Mario brothers or Punch out on his brand new Nintendo entertainment system. We would play straight through until 2:30 pm at which time his mother would drive us to work. On last break we would always blaze some goodies with the receiver which was the highlight of the day to me. When we were finished work Jerry's brother Dennis would pick us up and drive me home. The next day we would repeat the routine. This was all I knew all summer long.

On Fridays however when Dennis picked us up the routine changed dramatically, he wouldn't drop me off at home. Instead the three of us would head up to their uncle's trailer for a weekend of fun and non-relaxation...

Friday, 23 November 2012


Within the blink of an eye spring had transitioned into summer and my first year of high school was coming to an end. I had pulled my socks up so to speak as far as my grades went and I was ready to take my exams in full confidence. I managed to keep my nose pretty clean that first year with a mere single visit to the principals office after exchanging some harsh words with my French teacher one day. I sat in the office waiting to be disciplined but no one even acknowledged my presence there. When the bell rang for lunch I simply got up and left.

As far as our band went we seemed to be doing more talking about it than any actual progress. We still jammed on Saturdays but we spent the majority of our time learning cover songs instead of making our own original material. The Epileptics had teamed up with another local Brampton band named Curious Mold and they recorded a demo, which I was lucky enough to receive a copy of from my old pal John McCuish. Both the bands had business cards made so we decided to follow suit. Ryan's dad worked for Kodak Canada and he linked us up with some bright yellow business cards he made at work. We now felt another step closer to becoming a real band.

I think the party life consumed us once we got a taste of it, which in turn put G.P.K. on the back burner. Our friday nights were like a ritual now. I'd take an empty beer bottle from my dads beer case and fill it half way with various shots of liquor from the old mans cabinet. I'd fill the other half of the bottle with pop for mixer and I was set for the night. Typically we would hang around the 7-11 parking lot in hopes of catching wind of a party. Most of the time we would eavesdrop on other people's conversations and then show up party crasher style. It seemed the more parties we went to the easier it was to get in as people were starting to know us. Plus grade nine kids were having parties now as well which made it much easier for us to get in without the anxiety and fear of being beaten and kicked out in humiliation.

I ended up passing all of my exams with ease, even my English exam that I decided to get drunk prior to for some unknown reason. I downed a Mickey of gin walking to school that morning then stomped on the empty bottle which resulted in broken glass. One of the shards managed to find its way through the sole of my shoe and into the bottom of my foot. Being intoxicated definitely silenced the pain for the time being. As I wrote my exam I noticed a slow but steadily growing pool of blood on the floor under my foot. Regardless of my stupidity I managed to ace the exam with flying colours.

I passed all my courses and completed my first year of high school without any serious incidents that would be detrimental to me. Summer break was now here and I was very excited to see what it held in store for me and my friends...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sacrifice Sisters

Whenever I was at the mall hanging out and getting up to no good, I would make a point of stopping by Mr.Sub to see the sacrifice sisters and chat them up. They were the best of friends. Their names were Lydia and Laura. Both of them were of European descent and they both were towering, curvy amazons standing at around six feet tall. Both had dark hair and dark eyes and they were both very talkative and friendly.

I believe Lydia was Croatian and Laura was Italian, Lydia being the more attractive of the two. Laura wasn't hard on the eyes by any means, but she seemed a bit more butch and had a very deep voice. Her brother was also a well known tough guy who wasn't to be fucked with so I had no desire to pursue her, but Lydia on the other hand I definitely had a soft spot for.

Lydia always used to say that I reminded her of Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe. This used to bother me somewhat as I felt we looked nothing alike, plus I was a hardcore thrasher and he was a make up wearing "glam fag" as we used to call them. Over a decade later I saw the Tommy Lee/Pamela Anderson adult video and I didn't mind the comparison so much anymore! HA!

Whenever I hung out with the sisters at Mr.Sub we usually had some good laughs at other people's expenses. We also gossiped about whatever or whoever was the hot topic at the time, but mostly we would talk about music since we had a lot of the same common interests as far as bands went.

I definitely felt some type of spark or vibe with Lydia and I embraced it. When I spoke with her it was like Laura wasn't even there, that's how lost I would get in the moment. I started getting the notion that the feeling was mutual with her, as she seemed happier each time she saw me. Eventually I mustered up the courage to ask her for her phone number. If I remember correctly I used some big party that was going to take place as an excuse to get her digits with the promise that I'd call her to give her the address and details.

Up to this point I had briefly dated three different girls since I stated high school, none of which lasted more than two weeks due to my impatience. If they weren't putting out then I would put them out. Looking back I realize how ridiculous I was being, assuming that now i was a high school guy meant girls would have sex with me within the first two weeks of dating. I really liked Lydia a lot and I vowed not to make such hasty decisions like I had in the past 7 months. I called her to give her the details for the party and we ended up talking on the phone for hours. My hunch was right, as she expressed her feelings for me as I did her.

I decided to ask her out and she said yes! I was ecstatic to say the least, I had a new hot girlfriend and as if that wasn't good enough she was also a metal queen! Life was shaping up nicely...

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Haunting the Chapel

After discovering the new Public Enemy album via my friend Jeff, I was eager to ask Wayne if he had heard it. In case you've forgotten Wayne, he was one of the few white b-boys in my high school who was once a metal head. The same guy who gave me the Mercyful Fate record I never got to listen to because the older guys melted it with a welding torch.

I asked Wayne if he had heard the new P.E. album and he had, just like myself it was his new favourite rap album. As we talked about the album I brought up the song "She watches channel zero" and went on about how amazing and heavy it was. Wayne agreed with me on that one and he even knew the name of the guitarist from Slayer who's riff had been sampled, his name was Kerry King. Wayne also knew the name of the song it was sampled from...Angel of Death.

I proclaimed that I needed to get my hands on a Slayer album. To my surprise Wayne mentioned that he owned a Slayer record that he was willing to part with for a mere five dollars. I told him it was a done deal and we made arrangements for the following day.
The next morning I wrangled up a five spot and eagerly headed to school. Wayne and I only had gym class together which meant we wouldn't see each other until 11am. It was a long morning of anticipation.

When the time came we met up and sealed the deal. I was super stoked that I now owned my first Slayer album. I decided not to show it to the older metal guys in fear of them sabotaging my sweet vinyl again, so I tucked it safely in my locker for the remainder of the day. When the bell rang I rushed home to partake in my usual listening ritual.

The record was called "Haunting The Chapel" and it was a four song e.p. The cover art was nothing fancy, just the circular Slayer logo and the album title dripping in blood. When I threw it on my ears were subjected to the heaviest sound I had heard to date. I was quite shocked by the blatant anti religious banter within the lyrics. These guys were evil and felt no need to hide it or sugar coat it. I wondered if God himself was going to cast me out and strike me down for listening to this record, but by the end of it I was still in tact.

All in all I really enjoyed the album but I was a bit disappointed that the riff Public Enemy sampled was not on this album. I now had yet another new mission to accomplish....find the record that contained "Angel of Death"

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Elanor Rigby

Although this post isn't really music related I feel like it was another defining and shaping moment in the journey of my life, so I've decided to share it with my readers.

Jerry's older brother Dennis had started dating a very attractive girl who was a die hard bible bumper. Generally I would have hated on such a person but this girl could have easily been a super model. One day Dennis told us she had a sister who lived in London England that was coming to visit, her name was Elanor and she was 19 years old.

Jerry's folks had gone away on vacation so the brothers had the house to themselves. Jerry and I harassed Dennis to invite the girls over and we also told him to see if they could bring another friend with them to even the odds. She agreed to bring her cousin and her sister with her. When the girls showed up we were all in heaven. Jerry immediately called dibs on the cousin, leaving me to try and land Elanor.

I had just turned 15 a few weeks prior and had no clue how I could try and hit on a girl who was four years older than me without surely facing rejection. I told Jerry and Dennis I had an idea I needed them to play along with. I told them I was going to claim to have just turned 17 instead of 15 with the hopes of standing a chance with Elanor, if I was even attracted to her.

When they showed up I was instantly enamoured with her. She was short and curvy with sparkling blue eyes and soft blonde hair. Elanor had a gentle voice with a thick English accent that lit my fire. Her skin was porcelain white and unblemished, and she definitely had the largest breasts I had ever been in that close of proximity too. I gave the boys a nod meaning the plan was a go and they had to stick to the story. Before long all three couples were in separate rooms and things began to get hot and heavy. It was a great night considering both Jerry and Dennis hit home runs while I contently hung out on second base.

The next day at school after gym class I started telling a few guys about her in the locker room, the next thing I knew I had peaked the interests of the whole class. They were all wide eyed in disbelief and paying me their full undivided attention. I was 15 dating a 19 year old, so needless to say I was like a legend amongst my peers. Elanor was only in town for two weeks and we made the best of it, spending every possible minute of every day together when the chance presented itself. And like clockwork the guys in my gym class would huddle around me in the change room to hear the erotic tales from the previous night.

A few of them started questioning the validity of my story claiming Elanor was someone I had fabricated, so naturally I brought her to the one place where I knew she would be seen, the mall! As we walked around holding hands I received nods and thumbs ups from fellow classmates who spotted us, Elanor blind to the public display she had been put on. When the two weeks came to an end I was sad to see her go, we said our goodbyes and never saw one another again. Although it was somewhat heartbreaking I had a sense of glory and victory. Even though I was still a virgin I had been with a real woman, and not a school girl...I felt like a man now!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Fast Crude

I mentioned this briefly in a previous post, but during grade nine it seemed half of my classmates were working at McDonalds for $4.00/hr, my guitar player Jerry included even though he went to a different high school. My parents were on my case about getting a job so I decided to go apply at McDonalds. As I was filling out my application someone I knew who worked there mentioned I would have to cut my hair if I got hired. Needless to say I immediately crumpled the application up and threw it in the garbage.

I did however hang out there quite a bit, mainly to wait for Jerry to get off work. On my way there I would always stop in the "Pay less" and pick up a big fat cigar for one dollar. At the time you could still smoke in McDonalds and I loved nothing more than sparking up a cheap stogie in there and stinking the place up. To pass the time waiting for Jerry we would also play frisbee with the cheap aluminum ashtrays they provided. We would also kill time by mixing up concoctions of condiments which we would leave on the table for the next person eating in hopes of disgusting them.

I had also met all the other guys in the band Epileptic Brain Surgeons, and their lead singer Steve Waller also worked at McDonalds. Steve had a fairly bad case of acne way back in those days, and rumour had it he would pop his zits into the secret sauce. Once I caught wind of that I refused to eat there anymore until he was eventually terminated.

Not long after his dismissal Steve got a job in the mall working at Mr.Sub. Since I was a dedicated mall rat, I would always go by and visit him and shoot the shit. There were also two hot metal girls who worked their which made my visits even sweeter. We referred to them as the "Sacrifice Sisters" because they could of passed for siblings and their favourite band was Sacrifice, a thrash band out of our great city of Toronto. One day I went by to see Steve but he wasn't working so I decided to chat up the "sisters" who informed me Steve had been fired for doing the "chain trick" in front of customers while he was working.

The chain trick was something we learned from pro skater Fred Smith who rode for Alva. To pull it off you had to snort a chain, or string, up your nose. From there you let the one end fall down your throat and then you spit it out of your mouth. This resulted in one end of the chain hanging out of your nostril and the other end hanging out of your mouth. From there you grabbed each end and pulled back and forth, much like flossing your teeth. I started doing this at parties whenever things were slow or boring in an attempt to liven things up.

I was totally bummed that I couldn't visit Steve anymore but he was a fellow mall rat too so I didn't stay bummed out for long, but now that I had my chat with the Sacrifice Sisters, I still had two good reasons to visit Mr.Sub....or 4 good reasons if we are counting boobs...

***Correction Notice***

I tagged Steve on Facebook for this post and he informed me I had made a mistake. It was Burger King he worked at. Home of the "popper" ;D

Friday, 16 November 2012


Before long there were three different music videos for songs off of the new Public Enemy album, and I was fortunate enough to catch them on Rap City. To be quite honest with you, I'm not sure how I over looked the fact that Rap City existed until mentioning it at this point in the story, so lets have a quick history lesson.

According to Wikipedia the show began several years after MuchMusic first went on the air in 1984, so perhaps I didn't over look it since it more than likely did start airing somewhere between 1987 and 1988. The show featured selections of the newest and vintage music videos from Canadian and American hip hop artists. At the time there was nothing like it in existence. The show was created by producer/director Michele Geister after petitioning that a show of this nature was overdue for the Canadian market as well as the stations credibility. The show was the first of its kind in Canada and it also predates any of MTV's black music programs.

The first P.E. video I happened to catch was for the song "Don't Believe The Hype" and visually there wasn't much to it. The band was performing a live concert and the song had been over dubbed. The film quality wasn't the greatest but it was cool to see it none the less.

The next video to drop was for the track "Night of the living base heads" and let me tell you it definitely made up for the lack of effort and creativity that the first video suffered from. This one was a masterpiece, presenting itself as a tv channel with news anchors and commercials. Base heads are exposed, beeper ties are advertised, and the groups front man Chuck D is captured by a racist anti rap group known as the Brown Bags.

The third video was for the song "Black steel in the hour of chaos" which had actually become one of my favourite tracks on the album. The story Chuck told in his lyrics was very powerful and illustrated the story without a video very clearly in my mind. Chuck receives a letter from the government issuing a draft order for the army which he declines and consequently lands him in jail. From there Chuck is left to fend for his life and try to plan an escape. After seeing the video for my first time i quickly noted that it was just as powerful as the song.

It was a great album and I was very thankful the group released three videos in such a short span of time. I ended up getting a P.E.shirt for $5.00 from my favourite head shop and I wore it proudly...despite the mixed reactions from certain cliques at my school, including thrashers, skin heads and "the brothers"

Thursday, 15 November 2012

It Takes A Nation Of Millions...

When I got home from school I was once again a man on a mission. I went straight to my bedroom, dug up a blank cassette tape, and popped it into my dual cassette player. I put the Public Enemy tape in the second cassette slot and hit play/record to commence the dubbing. Instead of listening to the tape right then and there, I decided to do some other stuff around the house. My tape deck would automatically switch sides when one side completed, so I kept myself busy for 90 minutes until I knew both sides of the tape were completed. It was now time to give this thing a serious listen from start to finish...and then some.

The album title was "It takes a nation of millions to hold us back" and I found it very fitting since this was such a powerful recording. On their first album Public Enemy resembled any other rap group, having a drum machine, minimal samples, scratching, and rapping...mostly tales of urban street life straight from Long Island New York. Now on this new beast of a release they had upped their game in a major way. The music was much more interesting, boasting tons of samples and faster tempo beats in comparison to their first album. The DJ work was easily some of the best I had heard to date, and the lyrical content had become so political that I actually thought the government would try to extinguish them before they caused an uproar of protests and riots and hostile takeovers from the black community. THAT is how powerful, controversial, and profound I felt it and found it to be.

Public Enemy also seemed to have a new found attitude and aura about them. To me the first album sounded somewhat lazy and generic as far as rap music went, but now they were seething with anger, aggression, rage, hatred, and energy, all within the confines of positivity, but in the same vein as hardcore music it made me want to uprise and destroy shit! This record was magical and that day it became my new favourite rap album which to this day still stands in my all time top 5 greatest rap albums.

At the time I didn't know it, but because the tape I dubbed was a dub, I didn't know which side was which and that led to me labelling side one as side two and side two as side one. I was unknowingly listening to the album in the wrong sequential track order which normally would have been a big issue with me since I've always felt records are created to be played from start to finish just like a book or a movie would. I could never understand why people went out and spent hard earned money to buy a shitty record from some shitty band just so they could listen to the one hit song it contained repeatedly.

I read a few weeks ago on Wikipedia while doing some research on this album that it was originally designed to be played the way I was listening to it but for some reason I cannot currently recall the group decided to switch the sides up at the last minute. I always regarded this album as a masterpiece, even years before I officially bought it to discover I had the sides mixed up, and in my mind that just proves how classic it is. You can listen to either side first and it still translates as a great musical journey which stands the test of time in any rap fanatics books.

You can only imagine how stoked I was when I discovered there was a video for one of the songs from the album shortly after...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Channel Zero

With spring fever in the air all kinds of new things were coming to life and unfolding right before my eyes. As I roamed the school hallways between classes, I bumped into my first "producer" Jazzy Jeff, who seemed extremely anxious and excited. I questioned him on his giddiness and he explained the reason why he was so pumped up, he had just bought the new Public Enemy record and had dubbed it to a tape. 

I owned the first Public Enemy album and I liked it, but to be quite honest there wasn't anything that special about it. All in all it was a good album but it definitely wasn't one of my top favourites nor were P.E. one of my top favourite bands. None the less Jeff was ecstatic and insisted I had to hear a specific song, and before I could even answer him he was forcing his headphones onto my ears.

The track started off with Flava Flav stating "you're blind baby, you're blind from the facts of who you are because you're watching that garbage" then came the sound of television static, the type you would here on a channel with no reception. From there a slamming, hard beat kicked in, topped off with one of the heaviest guitar riffs I had ever heard. After a few seconds I quickly recognized the riff, it was the same riff from the intro to muchmusic's power was Slayer!

When Chuck D came in with his rhyme you could feel the aggression and hardness in his voice and words. I stood there in the hall mesmerized, and banging my head along to the beat. This was by far the heaviest rap song I had ever heard in my life, it was called "She watches channel zero" I've mentioned before that most my friends didn't see the parallels I saw between rap music and hardcore music. They surely couldn't deny that fact now if they heard this song. 

I begged Jeff to let me borrow the tape so I could dub it, but he wasn't so keen on the idea. I proclaimed that he owned the vinyl record and I assured him I would bring the tape back to him the following morning at school. Jeff agreed under one circumstance, he would let me borrow the tape but not until the school day was over, as he wanted to listen to it for the remainder of our time there on that particular day. I was cool with the conditions and agreed to his terms.

When three o'clock hit, I met Jazzy out by the usual smoking area, where he handed me the tape with serious conviction, similar to a government official handing important documents over to one of his secret agents. I rushed home in anticipation to see what other incredible sounds and songs awaited my ears...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Chaos After The Storm

\Most people are familiar with the saying "the calm before the storm" but today I have decided to put a twist on those age old words, which is quite fitting in this story considering after the storms of winter had passed, my life became even more crazy and chaotic. By crazy and chaotic I mean that in a positive way I assure you, life was just taking more interesting turns for me. 

Now with spring in the air I was back on my skateboard and hitting the streets with a vengeance. Craig and Jerry were also skating now so it was nice to have my band mates thrashing the streets with me. For march break all we did was surf the streets in unison, Craig skillfully holding his oversized JVC boom box on his shoulder blasting out the hardcore soundtrack to our every move. 

The party scene was starting to come alive again and I was definitely ready to try and sneak into some more parties, or perhaps actually get invited to some....or even one. Now that I was somewhat "in" with the older metal guys I had first hand inside information to all the goings on as far as "bashes" went. 

With the new leaves and flowers in bloom things were being reborn all around me, including myself. One of the older guys named Noel started referring to me as "Theo" since my last name was difficult for most people to pronounce. Over the years I had been called things like Snuffleupagus(from Sesame street) and Popadopolous(Alex Karras' character on Webster) but they were just hokey jokes to me. 

Noel, the man responsible for dubbing me "theo"
All the older metal guys had nicknames, and now that one of them had dubbed me with one I felt like I was one step closer to becoming apart of their circle. Before long everyone was calling me Theo and I had no idea the nickname would stand the test of time right up until this current day. 

That spring also brought the birth of a new local band and none other than my old chum John McCuish was their drummer. The band was called "Epileptic Brain Surgeons" and they would go on to be my favourite band, idols and role models. 

With spring fever in the air there was all kinds of new things coming to life before my eyes, including a soon to be released record that would change my life forever.

epileptic brain surgeons

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Once everything was wrapped up as far as dealing with the parks & rec crew went, we humbly packed up our "snowboards" and headed home in the bitter winter cold. Everyone seemed pretty down about the fact that we couldn't build jumps on the ski hill anymore. We could however still ride our decks down the hill but with no sweet jumps to hit along the way it just wasn't the same. I was going to share the news with the guys about the name I had discovered in the office, but all of our band mates weren't present so I decided to hold off.

 The next day after school was a Friday and the time had finally come to move all our gear to Ryan's house. I don't remember exactly how we got the stuff there since none of us were old enough to drive yet, so I'm assuming our parents helped us out. In Ryan's basement there was a small room off to the side that contained a bed and some bookshelves, this would be our new rehearsal space. We combined the two drum sets into one and we now had the power of double bass drums, a staple in the world of thrash and hardcore. I had previously taught myself to emulate double bass on one kick drum, now trying it out with two seemed very awkward to me, but Ryan got the hang of it in no time. We placed the amps where we wanted them and we were good to go.

Saturdays were now our official jam day, so the following morning we collected at Ryan's place just before noon. Having the bed in the room was a great stress reliever, we could now have wrestling matches if the tension between us got to high, or if we just wanted to have some fun. Before our first official jam at Ryan's kicked off I brought up the band name I had in mind, G.P.K. or Garbage Pail Kids. Everyone instantly agreed upon it. The name still was a bit juvenile to say the least but it was a perfect reflection of us. We were all kids still, well teenagers, and we were all fairly unkept in our appearances. None the less it was settled and we would now be known as G.P.K.

Craig & Ryan wrasstlin'
Inspired by our new name and an artist named Sean Taggart, I was eager to draw up a cartoon picture of our band. Taggert had done some amazing artwork for The Crumbsuckers "Life of Dreams" album as well as Agnostic Front's "Cause For Alarm" album. Sean's style was cartoonish yet exaggerated with a bit of a new wave comic twist to it. As the boys made some sweet noise with their instruments, I sat on the bed working on my drawing. I never did finish it up at jam, so as soon as I got home I was right back to work on it. Essentially I stole some of the faces he had drawn on the Agnostic album and incorporated them into the drawings I was doing of us. There were so many faces on the Agnostic album that I was able to wisely pick ones that reflected or resembled each of us. When I finally finished I was very happy with the final product.

The following Monday I brought it to school with me and made some photocopies. I wasn't much for colour in my younger days so the entire piece of art was all done in black pen, which translated better anyhow for xerox purposes. Initially I believe I had plans to colour the drawing in but I never did get around to it. Regardless I was more than satisfied with what I had created, and the time had come to spread the word of G.P.K. via photocopies of our new band art.

The library in our school was the only place with a xerox machine so there I was pumping out copies while all the scholar types read books, studied, and worked on assignments. As far as I was concerned guerrilla marketing was the way to go, shove things in people's faces and ram it down their throats. Instead of literally doing the above mentioned, we roamed the school stuffing the copies into the breathing holes of everyone's lockers. We were now getting our name out there despite the fact we hadn't even written one song yet as a five piece band, but the way I saw it we were jumping the gun and making people aware that we existed...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

3 letters pt.2

I can't actually recall how long we sat around contemplating a new name for the band that was made up of three words. It was deep into the winter now and the wheels were slowing down so to speak. We did however have five brains combined, well six actually if you counted our trusty sidekick Sanjai, who was always quick to come up with good ideas. In fact he was the one responsible for the name we eventually settled with a year later, but that's another story for another blog. 

 During the winter months we ended up spending a lot of time at Chinguacousy hill in Brampton. The hill is tiny but none the less it was a ski hill, and Ryan our drummer was an avid skier. Some of us other guys would ski once in awhile since it was inexpensive and fun to do, plus my old pal John McCuish was now running the ski lift. One day I had a brilliant idea that was inspired by some friends of mine. They had ripped down a steel sign and removed it from it's post. The sign was a warning cautioning skiers not to go down the back side of the "mountain" the boys were all taking turns standing on the sign and sliding down the slopes on it. They were even going down the steep, treacherous backside of the mountain on the sign telling them not to do so. 

 A lightbulb went off in my head and I came up with an idea to try out the next time we went to the hill. I had quite a few spare skateboard decks kicking around at home since I was somewhat addicted to buying new decks, so the next night I decided to bring one with me, it was the timeless classic Powell Peralta "Ripper" I was a pretty skilled skater and without missing a beat I was racing down the hill on my "snowboard" At the time you couldn't even buy a real snowboard in Brampton, hell I don't even know if they were invented yet to be quite honest. None the less it was super fun and everybody wanted a turn. 

The next thing you knew over the weeks everyone was bringing a deck with them. We were making jumps, having races, the fun was endless and it was a hell of a lot more exciting than skiing. One of the city workers who sat in a small booth at the top of the ski lift decided to rain on our parade and start wrecking our sweet jumps we were making. We would spend half the night making a good one only for him to come along and wreck it. Frustrated by this we decided to bring a lock with us one night. We built a killer jump at the far bottom of the hill opposite side of him so we could be conspicuous. Then we went up the lift, locked him in the booth unknowingly, and began hitting airs off the jump. 

When he finally noticed us he was outraged we had locked him in. We ended up in the parks & rec office getting chewed out and bombarded with threats of being banned if we kept making jumps. As we sat there in the office I was observing the stickers on my skateboard when I saw three magical words on a sticker..... Garbage Pail Kids..... G.P.K. Had I found our acronym and our new band name?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

3 letters pt.1

So our band now had two new members and a new name, The Little Thrashcals. As the weeks passed on the name bothered me more each day. At first I found it quite clever but as time passed on I found it to be corny and silly. Eventually I felt it was flat out ridiculous. In my mind I assumed no one would take us serious with such an asinine name. It was time for another change.

 As the world of thrash and hardcore unfolded itself to me I noticed yet another trend that I became obsessed with. A lot of these bands had three words for their name that were acronyms simplified into three letters, or initials, however you want to look at it. Some may dispute the fact that the "MC5" is considered the first 3 letter band, i am one of these disputers since 5 is technically a number and not a letter.

 You had bands like G.B.H.(Grievous Bodily Harm) who I believe to be the first band that started it all. Out on the west coast you had skate rockers J.F.A.(Jody Fosters Army) then there were crossover pioneers like S.O.D.(Stormtroopers Of Death) who's front man Billy Milano went on to start his own band M.O.D.(Method Of Destruction)

 Out in Texas there was D.R.I.(Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) who were by far the fastest band on the scene. Rumour had it their drummer Felix kept an oxygen tank and breathing mask beside his drum kit so he could pump oxygen into himself between songs. This was later confirmed when they released a home video called "live at the ritz" of a live performance. M.D.C. was another Texas band and I think they intrigued me the most due to the fact that their three letters changed with every new album, ie: Multi Death Corporation, Millions Of Dead Cops, More Dead Cops, Millions of Damn Christians, etc.

 Out in North Carolina you had C.O.C.(Corrosion Of Conformity) one of the more technical crossover bands with a lot of cool time signatures and sick breakdowns. Even Toronto had its own 3 letter outfit, M.S.I. (More Stupid Initials) and out on the Canadian west coast there was D.O.A.(Dead Or Alive) other honourable mentions goto A.O.D.(Adrenaline Over Drive) and R.K.L.(Rich Kids on LSD) I'm sure there were a few others but I can't remember anymore at the moment.

 So now here we stood as a band looking to change our name to a three letter acronym. The question now was what threw letters would we choose and what would they stand for?

Monday, 5 November 2012

the age old question

today's post is not music related nor was it written by me, but I thought I would share something interesting with the readers in regards to love.

Why Do We Hurt the Ones We Love?

There are many cases in which lovers are likely to hurt their beloved without intending to do so. Love is a close and intense relationship. Lovers spend considerable time together, and many activities of each have significant implications for the other person. Naturally in such circumstances, the lover may unwillingly hurt the beloved. For instance, one may devote a lot of time to work, thereby neglecting, and unwillingly hurting, one's beloved. In many cases a by-product of an enjoyable activity to one person is an unpleasant situation for another. The more time two people spend together, the greater the likelihood of such situations. The great significance in our life of those we love is that these people are both a source of great happiness and deep sadness; they may benefit us as well as hurt us.
The phenomenon of hurting without intending to do so can also be explained by referring to the trust and sincerity which are essential in love. Accordingly, the role of politeness or good manners, which may prevent some kinds of insult, is of less importance in such a relationship, and lovers are less careful in what they say and do. This opens the way for a lover to easily get hurt. The price of being able to behave freely without having to consider every consequence of your deeds is saying and doing hasty things that may hurt your lover.
There are many cases in which we unintentionally hurt our beloved as a result of external circumstances that are beyond our control. Take the case of two lovers who are married to other people, but profoundly in love with each other. The woman, who can and is ready to get divorced, may be hurt by the man's inability to leave his wife, believing that it indicates that his love for her is more superficial than hers for him. However much the man might really want to make her the happiest person in the world, his external circumstances are beyond his control and make him behave in a way that hurts her.
Hurting the beloved on purpose indicates the presence of conflicting perspectives, such as short term and long term perspectives, or partial and comprehensive perspectives. Cancelling a date with a married lover may hurt her in the short term, but might be beneficial in the long term, as their short-term separation could facilitate their long-term relationship. In such cases, the hurt caused to the beloved at this moment for the sake of her comprehensive well-being in the future can emanate from love.
Hurting the loved one can also be a last resort which the lover takes to bring this dependency to its appropriate proportion. Mutual dependency has many advantages, stemming from the fact that two people are joined together in an attempt to increase each other's happiness. However, a sense of independence is also important for each person's self-esteem. Sometimes lovers hurt their beloved in order to show their independence. Other times, however, hurting the beloved expresses an opposite wish: the lover's wish for more dependency and attention. Indeed, a common complaint of married women, far more than of married men, is that their partners do not spend enough time with them. Hurting the beloved by stopping, for example, communicating with him, may be the last alarm bell that warns of the lover's difficulties; it is an extreme measure signaling urgency. If the relationship is strong enough, as the lover wishes it to be, it should sustain this measure.
I do not want to say, as Oscar Wilde did, that "each man kills the thing he loves"; however, hurting one's beloved is frequent. Since the beloved is a major source of happiness, this person is also a major threat to our happiness: more than anyone else, the beloved can ruin it.
Adapted from The Subtlety of Emotions

Friday, 2 November 2012

Firsts & Florida

With my sister now living out on her own, it was just my folks and I living in the house together. Having a sister six years older than me definitely had its benefits, asides from the fact I was getting bullied and beat on by a girl growing up. My sister however did love me a lot and she was very protective when it came to other older kids picking on me. I remember back when I had my broken arm in grade school some big kid pushed me down onto my bad arm at the bus stop. The next day my sister showed up at the bus stop with a baseball bat and told the kid if he ever touched me again she would break his arm!

 Now that I was 14 going on 15 the days of being my sisters punching bag were long gone, plus I had learned a lot of dirty tricks to immobilize her attacks, like pulling on her earrings. My folks had to deal with all the "firsts" with my sister when I was a young kid. By firsts I mean the first time they had to deal with a situation such as finding out she smoked cigarettes, finding out she skipped a class at school, etc. When the time came for me to live out my "firsts" my parents were pretty slack as it was nothing new to them. By 14 years old I was allowed to smoke cigarettes in the house since my sister had been doing it since age 16 or so.There were a few firsts though that my parents hadn't encountered with my sister.

When mid terms came out in grade nine I actually had a D in art class. I don't think I had ever seen my father so livid before, he just couldn't fathom how I was born with artistic talent yet I was failing art. Not only that but I pretty much had all C's and D's across the board. Despite all that winter was here and my folks had booked a family vacation for the three of us to goto Disneyland, it quickly changed to four people with the addition of my nana. We had been once when I was five and now that I was 14 my parents figured it was now or never since I was getting to the age where it disinterested me. The Epcot centre had recently opened so that was the main reason for our trip.

 Disneyland was a bit too kid friendly for me by this age so I pretty much just rode "Space Mountain" repeatedly all day. The rest of our trip we spent at places like Epcot and Bush Gardens. The highlight of the trip for me however was the first day we arrived at our hotel. It was the hottest day of our trip and the air conditioning in the hotel was not working. On top of that none of the pop machines or the ice machine were working either. Our room was sweltering and all I wanted was a cold drink.

My father had a six pack of Old Milwaukee tall boys and it knocked my socks off when he tossed me one, he could see I was clearly dying for any form of liquid.The beer was piss warm and tasted like complete shit, in fact at the time I remember thinking it was the worst thing I had ever drank in my life. I did not care however as I felt like I was in the midst of a special father/son bonding moment, having our first beer together. I truly felt like my father now saw me as a responsible young man....even though it was the furthest thing from the truth.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Wrestler part 2

The next day at school I was telling John McCuish and some of the older metal guys about the happenings at the wrestling try outs. They all had a good laugh about it and gave me some proverbial pats on the back. John then informed me that him and a few of the guys had been doing their own wrestling training at the school during evenings in the same fitness room on the 2nd floor of the high school. He told me I should come check it out and assured me there were no jocks, no instructors, and no teachers supervising, but there was a record player and we could bring our own records to listen to.

 The sessions started at 7:30pm and I found it strange that a bunch of kids could have the run of the school so late in the evening with no teachers in sight. In fact I think the janitorial crew were the only adults in the building. I showed up with my gym bag packed with records and a change of clothes to work out in. I knew John loved AC/DC to death, so I opted to only bring their records as opposed to my new thrash albums. When I showed up it was just a very small crew of guys, maybe five tops, all of whom I had known since the days of grade school.

 Everyone was just kind of doing their own thing, riding exercise bikes, lifting weights, jumping elbow drops off of gym apparatus onto crash mats, all while our vinyl records blasted the sound track for the evening. I can remember thinking "how am I supposed to learn anything here?" There was nobody to teach or train me and nobody here had any form of training, it was merely a bunch of guys just fucking around and imitating wrestling moves they had seen on television. I kind of stepped back and appraised the situation then thought to myself "I've been backyard wrestling a few years now, I've got a bit of amateur experience, and I'm very well versed in emulating the moves off tv without seriously injuring people"

 As far as I was concerned I didn't really need any professional training, all I needed to do was hit the weights hardcore so I could be the size of the Hulk Hogans and Randy Savages. By today's standards I may have stood a chance as a cruiser weight, but in the 80s it was all about having a weight lifters physique. I hit the weights nightly for a week or two and started eating like a champ. Unfortunately I have a high metabolism and can eat and eat without so much as gaining a pound. Without weight gain I could not get bigger muscles, this ended up being very frustrating.

As the weeks went on our "training sessions" turned into a gong show of Tom foolery. Now with my band in full motion and my new found love for partying, I decided to give up my dreams of pro wrestling and continue to pursue my art and my music. Wrestling was still very close to my heart and one of my passions in life, but realistically I knew I'd never make it to the big stage unless it was as an announcer or a ref, but to be a wrestler... I did not have the discipline. Unbeknownst to me I would get to live out my boyhood dream over a decade later...