Friday, September 24, 2010

Had ourselves a little punk rock show last night at the cafe, and I wanted to share some of that with you all.

Aka: Sean Davis. Sean used to work at the cafe, starting way back in 2001, I think. I knew him from before that, from my cop days. Sean never got in any trouble, let's just say that I was at his house a number of times when he was a kid because of the adults in that house and leave it at that.
When he started at the cafe, as a buser, I think he was around 17. We had hired his friend Kluthe around that same time, both of them were in a punk band called Backwash with a couple of other kids, one of whom, Joel Hixon, is now the front guy for Absent Minds down there.
At that time smoking was still legal in restaurants here and the owner then was aggressively pro-smoker. The restaurant is tiny, but even if it had been larger I don't think John would have created a smoking area. If someone asked, they were told that the whole place was a smoking area. And that included behind the counter. Everyone smoked. I think that the one waitress (John also had a rule against hiring women, an attitude acquired from the first owner, and one that he eventually softened on) and I were the only two out of a summer staff of around 14 who didn't smoke.
John did have to tighten up on the smoking a little bit though when one day Sean and Kluthe were both working as busers and were filling an ice cream order. Kluthe was bent over the ice cream freezer, his eight inch multicolored spiked hair threatening to knock all the junk that immediately fills any blank spot at the cafe into the open freezer. Sean was standing behind him, holding two ice cream cones, waiting on the third to take them to the table, all with a lit cigarette in his mouth with about an inch of ash hanging.
I can still picture him standing there, this awkward and shy kid, trying to portray to the world a toughness that I don't think he's every really had.
Sean lives in Las Cruces now and runs a small restaurant there and plays punk as Sean Bond Goon and his Psychological Voodoo. He's a true one man band, playing guitar and drums all by himself. Hit the link up there and give it listen. It's rough and it may not be your thing, but it's all him.

I've known Joel for around the same amount of time. He was already balding at 14 or 15 and has Tourette's which causes his head to rock to the right. So, of course, his friends dubbed him Tick Tock.
Joel eventually ended up working at the cafe as well, as a prep cook and then pizza cook. He's funny as hell but slightly exhausting because he argues about everything just to argue and is extremely opinionated. He and I have had an ongoing argument for about six years now about the historical origins of cheese.
Once, a few years ago, we were both on the line and there was this very pretty girl sitting at the counter. Joel kept looking back toward her and then leaned in, his head bobbing from side to side, and said, "Dude, that chick is totally into my shit, she wants to fuck my brains out." This was something Joel was convinced of any time any female showed him more than any passing interest or, in some cases, none at all. He said that exact line so many times that Brett and I still say it from time to time when an especially pretty woman comes into view.
Later that night, when I mentioned this to the waitress who had been taking care of the young woman, she snorted, "No, she told me that she couldn't stop staring and him and asked me, 'What the fuck is wrong with his head?'"
After high school Joel moved to Portland and got a bachelor's degree in a field he'll probably never work in. At least I hope not. I hope he keeps playing music and living his dream. He's been playing with Absent Minds for a few years now in clubs around Portland. For the past couple of weeks they've been touring, playing several shows in California, before moving on to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and finishing up tonight in Denver, CO.
And Kluthe, their spiked friend and former band-mate? He's traded his spikes for sideburns and is starting his second year of law school and is brewing some pretty damned good beer in his house. Like Joel, he is opinionated and I think he'll be happy as a lawyer.


John Gray said...

I hate smoking... I really do,,, but you can sanitise things a little too much....... a few beers, music and a big of cig smoke... goes together!

Eric said...

I can't stand smoking either, John, but I have to agree that sometimes it just fits.

Maria said...

I love to listen to guys talk. Seriously. I am reading the books of this guy called Jonathan Tropper now and I swear to God, I would marry him if he asked me. Which he hasn't. His loss. Poor sucker.

But, the thing is...I read his book because I love the way he portrays his male characters and their "guy speak." It is brilliant. You should read him, Eric. He has a sense of humor that I think you would get.

I smoked from the time that I was 14 until I was 24. Then, I was thigh deep in my medical career and I would have been an idiot to keep it up. But...I still miss it, still have very vivid dreams where I am smoking and I wake up and I am just jonesin' like nobody's business for a cigarette.