Top 50 Musical Acts, An Unpublished Story

Ages ago I was sent this list to complete. It was my top 50 bands that I could instantly remember seeing live. It was a fun trip down memory lane. I could probably add another 100, but here’s what I could remember:

1. Freddie Jackson
2. Color Me Bad
3. Eddie Money
4. Richard Marx
5. Céline Dion
6. L.A. Guns
7. Cher
8. Weirdos
9. Duran Duran
10. Luther Vandross
11. Andy Taylor
12. Belinda Carlisle
13. Beach Boys
14. Cherri Currie
15. Earth Dies Burning
16. Sheila E.
17. Cherry Bombz
18. Chicago
19. David Bowie
20. Prince
21. Tuff
22. Warrant
23. Poison
24. Wasp
25. Suicidal Tendencies
26. Youth Brigade
27. Wasted Youth
28. 7 Seconds
29. Mau Maus
30. Flipper
31. Public Nuisance
32. DOA
33. Sin 34
34. TSOL
35. Jeffrey Lee Pierce
36. Henry Rollins
37. Sebastian Bach
38. Helmet
39. Guns N Roses
40. Skid Row
41. Motley Crue
42. Kiss
43. The Pretenders
44. Steve Jones
45. U2
46. Secret Affair
47. Edgar Winter
48. Human Hands
49. Romero Void
50. Danzig

#michaelessington #salvation




Assistant, A Story From Salvation

A little while back, I received an email from a young lady in Europe. She asked if I was a writer. For some reason, I said, “No, I’m more of a reader.” She asked if I “Liked Bukowski.” I said, “Sure.” Then she said I, “Must have good taste then.” She asked if she could send me some of her writing so that I could give my opinion since I like Bukowski.

I didn’t want to. If I say I like it, I might be stuck in this circle of correspondence forever. If I don’t like it, I’m the asshole who ruined her career.

Years ago, actually five, I did a novella with David Gurz, called Under A Broken Street Lamp. It was fun. Nothing groundbreaking. We won an award or two. Then I had a bunch of “edgy” authors sending me stories that they were sure I’d love and would compel me to stop everything and do a chapbook with them. One particular author was very cool. We corresponded for a month or two. Finally, I relented and said, “Send me a story.” The story was decent. He wrote well. Then I hit the middle of his story and he segued into this whole other sub-story about being sexually attracted to his mom, and you know what? Not my cup of tea. For me, mom was a mom, not somebody I was cruising. So, I said the story wasn’t right for what I was working on.

The young lady from Europe sent me a poem. I anticipated a story, but she sent a poem. It was a page of nothing but clichés. “The days of our lives are like grains of sand.” “The days fly away like leaves from an old tree.”

I read the page and muttered, “Fuck.” I am yet to respond. I don’t like being mean to people, but this was a bit much. I have no idea why she asked me about Bukowski. Her poem was more like a Hallmark card than it was Bukowski.

I need to hire someone to answer this stuff for me. Something like:

“Mr. Essington is busy searching Los Angeles for the ultimate plate of Nachos. He will be unable to answer your email for a minimum of eighteen months.

Thank you for emailing.


#michaelessington #salvation



Anarchy, An Unpublished Story

Back in August 1980 a band called Jethro Tull put out an album called A. When it came out I thought nothing of it, I vaguely remember seeing the album cover in an ad in, Creem magazine or something. Well, a month or two later I was at my uncle Rick’s place, and Rick came walking into the kitchen wearing a white dress shirt with a big red anarchy symbol painted on the back. Rick had created a stencil out of cardboard and painted this thing on the back. It looked cool as heck. The only problem was — I didn’t know, at the age of fourteen, what the hell anarchy was. So, in my ignorance, I ask Rick, kind of disappointed, “Do you like Jethro Tull?” He answers, “No, it’s anarchy.” I, again, answer stupidly, I’ve never heard of them. At this point Rick sits me down, explains the theories of Crass, the meaning of the Black Flag, and how anarchy isn’t chaos. It’s a concept of self-governing, the concept of elected government and man’s laws being eradicated. The deepest conversation I had had at this point in my young life, next to my father’s very bizarre version of the facts of life that I received two years earlier.

Fast forward two years, 1982. I am wearing a sleeveless T-shirt that Rick had made for me. It was a huge anarchy symbol on the front of the shirt. Rick had used the stencil twice. Sprayed it with red first, let it dry, and then sprayed it with black. It was cool, the black symbol, and it looked like it had a red shadow around it. Anyway, I’m walking to lunch and this long-haired rocker dude walks by me, looks at me and scrunches his face up and says “You like Jethro Tull?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience that my uncle had with me, so, I said: “Hell yeah, Jethro Tull Rocks!” And longhaired kid walked away perplexed.

#michaelessington #salvation



Top 10 Addict Books, An Unpublished Story

Over the years, there have been many books written by and about those that are addicted. These are currently my top ten favorites:

1. Permanent Midnight by Jerry Stahl

2. Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll

3. Dry by Augusten Burroughs

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

5. Barfly (script) by Charles Bukowski

6. Stark by Edward Bunker

7. Another Day in Paradise by Eddie Little

8. Steel Toes by Eddie Little

9. A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

10. 86’s by Dan Fante

#michaelessington #salvation



Security, An Unpublished Story

After I put my son to sleep last night, I came down the stairs and noticed the wife had gone outside to have a cigarette. I thought it would be a great idea to scare her. Hey, a man has to entertain himself somehow.

So, I threw the door open and yelled, “Get your ass back in here!” At that exact moment, the three hundred pound security guard for our complex was walking by. I guess I scared him more than I did my wife; he hightailed it to the exit gate and didn’t look back.

I feel so safe and secure.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#‎salvation



Gangsta, Gangsta, An Unpublished Story

December 17, 2015, my son and I accompanied the wife to the mall today to finish some Christmas shopping. She ended up buying an armful of stuff at a hip clothing store for various family members. Once in line, she said that I should walk around and to see if there was anything I wanted since they were having a big sale.

Lucas and I wandered around a bit. And eventually, we found a leather jacket for $40.00. I have a couple, so I was thinking of getting one for the boy. I say:

“Nice leather jacket, want it?”

The boy says:

“No, you should get it since you’re the gangster.”

Then he walked off grinning.


‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#‎salvation



The Invader, A Story From Salvation

There was an article I caught a little while back from Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the founder of eHarmony. It was a lengthy piece about how marriage as a whole is pretty much dead. Not unions, per se, but the institution of marriage is not functional nowadays.

My brother-in-law likes to say “Every man needs a good woman behind him.” I’m not sure if he truly understands this quote, or if he caught it in a Humphrey Bogart movie. You see, his definition of what a good woman is very antiquated. He wants a woman standing by, waiting at his beck and call.

Now some women like that role, then people like Alfred Hitchcock had someone like this and flourished. His wife Alma would collect screenplays, read them, choose the next picture, draw storyboards, design the costumes and Alfred would show up and direct.

Then there are women that can completely destroy you. If a good woman can build you up, then a bad woman can tear you down.

A couple of years before my dad passed away, he told me about going to dinner at a co-worker’s house. He had never met the coworker’s wife until that night. Everybody was talking, eating and having a decent time. My dad’s coworker clears his throat and starts to tell a story, and as soon as he utters his first sound his wife yells: “Shut the fuck up. Don’t say one word. I know everything you’re going to say, I know everything you’re ever going to say. I’ve heard it all. You’re never going to say anything new. I’ve had it.”

Naturally, the evening wrapped up pretty quick after that. I remember my dad saying once, people, like Hollywood, only have five stories. And they just keep re-shuffling those stories. You spend enough time with people and you’re bound to be beaten over the head with those stories.

The point is if you have a good woman she can make you think that those five stories are the greatest anecdotes known to man.

In modern times, that though is hard to find. Everybody is pressed for time and agitated; no one wants to sit through a story. So maybe Dr. Warren is right, use eHarmony to meet somebody nice, and then move on as soon as your five stories get stale.

#michaelessington #salvation



Hell & Back, A Story From Salvation

I wake up to another roll call. This time I’m moving to a cell. I can’t remember where in the jail I moved. I know it wasn’t Charlie or Abel row; those are restricted as the Blood and Crip tiers. I was told I was being moved to a four-man cell. I roll up and follow the guards to my new home; the four-man cell has four guys in it already. Once in the cell, I’m told that the new guy sleeps under one of the bunks. Great. After chow, I laid out my bedding and started to nod off under the first bunk. An hour or so after lights out, I wake up to a small mouse sitting on my chest staring at me.

While in this cell I received two visits. The first visit was from my brother and my mother. Neither of them was ecstatic or proud.

The next visit was from my buddy Lance and a friend of his named Todd (I would call him Grape Ape, so I wouldn’t confuse him with the other Todd). A little bit better of a visit. Not that I didn’t want to see family, but the look on their faces reminded me of what a tremendous mistake I made. Lance brought his son’s mother along, but she was wearing shorts, so they denied her visitation privileges.

Just like the other four places, I was sleeping in; 3:00 a.m. wake up call. Get in line to catch the chain to Pitchess Detention Center. I don’t remember much about this bus ride. I slept through most of it. I woke up when we were passing Magic Mountain, and thought to myself, “If I escape from this place I’m going to scale the fence and ride the Colossus.”

The whole bus unloads, we strip, spread ‘em, lift the sack, the feet, then one of the inmates screamed, as we are bent over, “Cough.” Everybody starts coughing, the sheriffs lose it “Stop it, stop it now you faggots.” At this early hour of the morning, it was hard to figure out who shouted “Cough,” I thought it was one of the sheriffs.

We turn in our dark blue scrubs from L.A. County and put on a pair of baby blue scrubs. From there we marched down to the lower yard at Wayside. The sheriffs refer to this yard as Beirut. By the time I got to Beirut, I had been locked up at County for two weeks. Once I get to my assigned barrack, I am told to gather around, the “head of the wood car” looks like a human skull, with a blond stripe running from his bottom lip to his Adam’s apple. He was tattooed all over with various white power slogans and the two lightning bolts. Again, we got the speech: “No eating with the toads, no using the shower if there are toads in there. And if shit jumps off, the Southsiders got our backs.” Some of us nod; a few of the others love this. Within three days we were all marched to the main office, stripped of the baby blue scrubs and moved into bright orange scrubs. Once fitted with the new gear we were then marched into the second barrack from the mess hall – the fire barrack. Now the fire barrack is the worst place to be. Out in Castaic Lake during the summers there are tons of brush fires and the local fire department can only do so much, so Wayside volunteers its less favorable inmates to join in and fight fires. And when there are no fires they run through the hills doing training exercises, wearing fire gear and carrying hoses. Like the previous times, all the “new” woods are called together, and all the rules are gone over again. The head of the white car in this barrack is borderline retarded, something is just off, and the second in command is a kid who looks fourteen, but says he’s “Almost nineteen.” As if the Alka-Seltzer story wasn’t bad enough — the head wood says “If you stay in the fire barrack you’ll be given one of these great firefighter belt buckles,” he then lifts up his shirt and the head of his penis is sticking out of his pants. All at once everybody lets out a big “Dude, what the fuck?” I head over to the front of the barrack to try and find something to read.

#michaelessington #salvation



Peachy Keen, A Story From Born Frustrated

Born Frustrated

Back in 1993, I took a trip with my dad to East Los Angeles for a fourth of July party. As it was, one of the guys my dad worked with was having a huge blowout. The guy’s son lived next door to him and they knocked down the dividing wall to open up a huge backyard.

The guy tried for weeks to get my dad to come, but my dad kept saying he was busy. Finally, he pulled out the big guns and said the party was going to be catered and plenty of fresh carnitas. That was the deal changer.

My dad called me and said, “We are going to East L.A. for the fourth.”

I said, “OK, why?”

He said, “Carnitas, lots of it.”

I said, “Let’s go.”

The party was fun. Within a few minutes, my dad had some woman hitting on him. They had a live mariachi band playing and this woman kept dragging him out to dance. After four times he convinced her that she should dance with me instead. I danced with her a few times, but she had her sights on my dad.

Each time I got up to dance he was at the food table, smiling at me, holding up a carnitas taco. Shit.

The guy throwing the party, let everybody know that there wouldn’t be any fireworks. The cops were pretty hardcore out there about the stuff. I remember the drive to his house – every corner were these intense billboards of a kid’s hand covered in bandages, missing a finger, and in Spanish, it said something about, “Don’t let your kids play with fireworks.” I remember thinking that nothing that graphic had been posted in the Valley.

That day was the first of only two times I ever saw my dad dance. The second would be at my wedding.

It was one of the coolest fourth’s I ever had.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ #bornfrustrated



Comic Book Shop, A Story From Last One To Die

As I write reviews, I oftentimes remember where I was at the time I first heard the album, or where I bought it or a really cool experience I had while listening to it.

Around the time China White’s Dangerzone came out, 1981, my mother took my brother, and I to a comic book store in Studio City called American Comics, on Ventura Blvd.

The guys that ran this shop were, as the British say — right bastards. We went there one afternoon, and my mom was over on one end of the store, and I wandered over to another end of the place, and my brother was, sort of, midway between us. As soon as I stepped into the place one of the guys behind the counter started following me, and if I picked up a book he stood beside me. So, the guy saw my every move, but as I walked to the front of the store the other counter guy tells me I can’t leave until I open my leather jacket so they can see if I have any books stashed in there. By this time my brother is walking with me, I let out some expletives and left. My mother was completely in the dark as to what happened, she was on the other side of the shop, and the whole process happened inside of four or five minutes, I walked in, they saw the short hair and a leather jacket and figured either harass the guy, or he’ll steal.

My mother wrote the owner a letter asking for an apology, but none came like I said bastards.

We went back a year or two later when they changed locations and owners. It was kind of funny because I was wearing a Black Flag T-shirt, and I’ve been reading for a while and in walks Marco Pirroni the guitarist from Adam & The Ants. At the time all the L.A. punks seemed to hate the Ants, I remember people passing out bumper stickers that said: “Black Flag Kills Ants on Contact.” So Pirroni gives me a once over, and I just nod and keep reading. It was kind of funny.

‪#‎michaelessington‬ ‪#‎lastonetodie