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About Me

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New York, NY, United States
Formed Reagan Youth and House of God during the 80s with the late great Dave Insurgent. Now I'm back to burn with my new band DUST ANGEL and I've got the urge to record one last Reagan Youth album about the life and times of Stig Rotsky. My blog is where I rant, it's like a diary, an account of my trials and tribulations that occur with my band's past, it's present and a future that I presume will be fun and interesting as well.

Monday, May 27, 2013

THIS MUSIC Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk by Lewis Dimmick

     Some time ago I was contacted by Lewis Dimmick to give some information on Dave Insurgent and as usual I was happy to hear from someone who wanted to know about my dearly departed singer. Sure Dave was like most of us, he had his good points and he had his bad points but unlike most of us, he had these amazingly great ones. So I messaged Mr. Dimmick back the answer to his question and didn't think anymore of it. Then recently I was sent a book titled THIS MUSIC  Pieces on Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk. I immediately glanced through it and the first pages that opened up for me were pages 44 and 45, which just happen to mention the song "Anytown" as well as a quote by me, about how drugs took away all of Dave Insurgent's creativity, humor and goodness. To be honest I only glanced at the the second paragraph from page 45 and saw my 'punk name' as well as my 'legal name' and the quote attributed to me and then I put the book down, I had a bunch of things I've blown off already and I was going away in a few weeks.I didn't have the time nor the attention span to read it so I put it down for some other time.

   Before I left for a tour of the mid west I saw the book and thought "why not?" and slid the book alongside my lap top where I put my computer and off it went with me. I shuffled off to Buffalo and then went to places like Warren, Michigan and Chicago but still I hadn't taken the book out every time I went for the lap top. Then I played Milwaukee, which has a strong Heavy Metal following and it was time to drive to Madison, the capital of Wisconsin. I was bored in the back seat of the rental so I decided to take the book out and see what it had to say.
First thing I want to tell you about THIS MUSIC is that once I picked it up it wasn't something I could put down. It's not a difficult read as it's only 'pieces' on the subjects of Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk, but that wasn't why I couldn't put it down. The reason was, besides being well written, it was like Lewis Dimmick was telling my story at times. There was his relationship with his friend Hobi which I automatically associated with my relationship with Dave Insurgent; two youngsters enraptured with music and the vinyl that carried that music to our ears. Lewis' older sister taking down her Robert Plant poster and deciding to grow up, that was kind of like my older sister doing the same shit, only my sister went on and destroyed one of my albums when she and my mom decided to kick me out from the only home I'd ever knew. I left and I guess my parents thought I was going to come back with my tail between my legs but I was popular, so my good friends made damn sure I didn't go back (once, just so I could pick up my measly belongings) until a few years had past. Eventually Dave Insurgent and I needed to pick up the amplifier that was in my parent's building's basement as we had already stopped playing gigs but with a new band on our horizon, House Of God, it was time to take care of the Marshall bottoms once again. I kind of made peace with them but it was always going to be weird as I never forgave them for not backing up my career choice; bitchin' lead guitarist instead of being a lawyer or some job like that.

     Now Lewis didn't have it as bad as me and yet, when reading his story, it seems at times he had it worse. His father passed away where as my dad is not only alive, but I just can't see him dying anytime soon. I never knew Lewis nor his friend Hobi but his description of their first rehearsals did strike a chord with me ( pardon that pun ) as I'd have to say I sucked when I started out, or at least I heard enough people, including my so called friends, tell me that. Nothing was funnier to me than when Dave asked me to play for his father the first song I ever wrote, a song that ended up being the last song we ever recorded; "Back to the Garden Parts I -IV", and of course he had to say it sucked. Dave's dad even brought our first release "Youth Anthem's For The New Order" to a man who lived down his block, who was 'in the music business' and as Dave's dad put it "he said this record sucks". Wow, with that kind of support, how could his son not beam with pride? I  saw Dave's father much like my father, a miserable prick who was still around to make our lives miserable and I couldn't help but wonder, was Lewis luckier than Dave and I for having a father pass away before his time? Or maybe it was that both Dave's dad and my father had endured World War Two and had become plain ole' mean.

      As the book progressed the only thing that could pop into my head was "oh, this guy was around for it all for sure" and what I mean by "it all" was hanging out in the east village and seeing how rock changed from what is now called 'classic rock' into Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk. I remember that exact moment for me, when the main scalper in the Rego Park/Forest Hills neighborhood mentioned kids were asking him for tickets for a show to some band he'd never heard of; Metallica. I laughed when I heard him say that and when some kid, in junior high, asked if I had ever heard of Metallica, it was pretty funny seeing his jaw drop when I not only told him I had heard of Metallica (he didn't believe me) hut that I actually brought up "Trapped Under Ice". The astonishment to this kid's facee that I could know all about Zeppelin.... and Metallica.

     It was guys like that scalper that made guys like Dave Insurgent and I look towards a better place to hang out. A place that didn't play by the old set of rules, where you could go and play and not hear the people say your songs or your playing sucked, and there was only one place that was like that; New York City's East Village/Alphabet City aka Lower East Side. That place remained a sanctuary for guys like Lewis, Dave and I and countless others until, as Mr. Dimmick explained so aptly, when the hardcore matinees at CBGB's had to have a line outside the venue so you could enter in order. Who the fuck wanted order? Dave Insurgent put it so well with his lyric "New Order, No Order, DISORDER". That shit was too much order and the matinees ended right soon after that 'getting in line bullshit'.

    When I got to the page where Lewis writes about Dave Insurgent, how he spotted Dave walking down the block and Lewis asks Dave how he could get a Reagan Youth tee shirt but Dave, as usual, is too busy, I remembered that way too well. Lewis's description of Dave is so spot on and to tell you the truth, being that I always viewed Dave Insurgent not only as a friend but as a mentor, I was always running around with not enough time as well. That's what usually happens when drugs start dictating to you what you should be doing. The evil law of diminishing return. You buy the same amount but it does less and less for you so you end up buying more and more...... until your band dissipates, your friendships disappear and your life ends up being the biggest fuck up that you've never imagined. When I look back I see how Dave tossed away his life over some white powder because, and I'm quoting from the book now; "I wonder if the difficulty of achieving an independent, idealized life apart from society fueled Dave Insurgent's addiction? The drugs took over, leaving no room for the person, the man who carried the idea. Or was Dave's life, and death, the realization of the idea in all its ugliness?". All I was able to think when I read that was I can't believe how this guy could write such insightful stuff about my dearly, departed singer, Do I know this guy Lewis? It was cold out driving to Madison, Wisconsin , even for April, and the snow and then the hail was hitting the windshield pretty frickin' hard and I wasn't able to tell if my eyes were watery from the weather or Lewis Dimmick's description of Dave Insurgent.  Probably a bit of both but regardless my heart swelled up for sure from what I had just read.

    Now I could go on and on.... and on about what's in the book but I think I can say it best like this; If you ever wondered what it was like growing up during the 80's, going to all the Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Hardcore Punk shows during that era, then reading THIS MUSIC should be a must on your list because I can't see anyone describing it better then the creative writing professor from the College of Staten Island; Prof. Lewis Dimmick. He has the same gift that Dave Insurgent had, though with a different art form. He, just like Dave I., can say so much by using the  least amount of their words possible. a true gift. Pretty fuckin' amazing shit so yes I suggest everyone to pick it up. Go find it and buy it, borrow it or better still steal a copy of THIS MUSIC  Pieces in Heavy Metal, Punk Rock & Hardcore Punk and check it out because it should be an essential for anyone interested in the kind of stuff that pissed off your dad, embarrassed your mom or disappointed your sister because you just had to go live your life the only way you knew how, by being real to yourself and your calling.

   Thank You Lewis

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
My brother is a huge source of pride for my mom and I. Our lives were irrevocable changed by my dads passing, but trust me, my dad would have been beyond proud of Lewis as well.
His book made me cry and laugh –all within minutes.
Thank you for your kind words.