Heckling

Heckling’s a lost art. Back in my punk rock days being heckled meant they liked you. Unless they heckled because they didn’t like you. It was a subtle distinction. Same with the beers thrown at you…if they threw them unopened it could mean they were tossing you a beer, a good thing. Then again, the first punk show I ever saw the opening act—some completely bogus glitter bunch who tore their jeans for the occasion—were bombarded first with empties, then with half fulls that made cool beer arcs as they sailed through the air, and finally with unopened cans because they could actually hurt. The band was that bad. One well aimed can knocked over a ride cymbal and they fled for their lives.

I came back to my pad back then thinking this shit was soooo cool, better than all the miserable post hippie sell out rock or mewling singer-songwriters or disco or the jazz players in ludicrous side burns playing loud fusion crap. I was ready for some craziness. Everything sucked in 1977. Everything. If you were young and broke—and who wasn’t by 1977—you were fucked. No future, Johnny Rotten sang, no future for you. He wasn’t kidding.

A couple years later, having become a lousy but spirited and sometimes violent drummer,  there was a show once where a we were pelted with beer bottles (which was a good thing at this show…since we were trying to bring the crowd to the edge of rioting—-don’t ask why, but it made sense at the time)…and I managed to nail an airborne bottle with a stick and it shattered into a shower of golden shrapnel. Alas the rest of the band was in the way. But that was punk rock.

And there was the time I kicked over the kit at the set’s end—I kicked over my kits  many times, loved it—and remembered as the drums crashed and bounced across the stage that, ummm,  it wasn’t my kit. It was the short little fuck of a drummer who we’d intimidated into letting me use it. We’d kinda stormed the stage. Had enough of that shitty new wave band. Hated new wave bands.

Man, we were assholes in them days. Ha! Punk rock, baby. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. That, by the way, was my wife’s slogan. No wonder I fell head over heels for her. Later, after seeing Repo Man, she added “Normal people, I hate ’em.” She did too.

How I wound up a jazz writer I’ll never know.

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