Comic-Con

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

July of 2007 I made the trek out to San Diego to attend the Comic-Con show. This was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life

On Saturday, July 31, 2007, there was something like 150,000 people crammed into the place. It was difficult to look at anything, you just moved along with the sea of people in this kind of a human pinball machine

Anyway, I found myself at the far end of the building trying to find something to look at when I saw the Fox Studios booth; they were promoting the DVD release of Wrong Turn 2 (I didn’t know part two was made). I walked in and Henry Rollins was sitting there. I was blown away. Other than his small cameo in Heat, I hadn’t been keeping up with his film career. He stood up, we shook hands, and I was blown away at how small the dude was. Very thin, gray and he looked about 5’6” or 5’8”. My memories of him somehow put him at 7’ and bulletproof. But he was 46 and somewhat frail looking. I kept the conversation short “Big fan, bought Damaged when I was 14 or 15, and reread Get in the Van a few months back.” Henry’s response was “Cool, thanks.” It was definitely a flashback to my youth.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Hells Angels

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Years ago, my dad and I had an argument on the phone one night, and it resulted in us not talking for two or three years.

While this was going on with my dad, I was also not in communication with my mom or brother. After a couple of years of this, I missed my dad.

I’ve gone through this with my mom and brother a few times. But for some reason, it really started to bother me with my dad. I never saw him as being this petty.

So after a shit-load of soul searching and talking to myself, I decided I was just going to go to his house to see what would happen. My wife was pregnant, and I figured a little one coming into the world would be a great reason to bury the hatchet. No calls, no letters, just pop-up. If he didn’t want me there, he could tell me to take a hike or hit me.

But, he opened the door and said “Hey Mike, come on in. I hear you got a baby on the way.” I walked in, and we talked for a few hours and made plans for lunch the next week.

This was definitely a case of us both sulking for a bit and then time just getting away from us. No hatred or petty bullshit. We were mad and then once we saw each other we put it behind us.

It’s a good thing too because inside of two to two and a half years, my father would pass away.

In this time period, we shared a lot of conversations, music, and lunches. One of my favorite stories is this:

My dad and I ate lunch at a little Mexican restaurant called Vic’s on Tampa and Sherman Way in Reseda. I’m not sure if the place is still there. My dad and I probably hold the record for napkins used in a single meal. Pass by our table, and you see dozens of balled up napkins all over the table.

Anyway, we’d eat lunch there at least once a month, and then grab a cup of coffee somewhere, and hit a bookstore, or record shop.

This particular afternoon, we were going to kill two birds with one stone. We headed down Tampa towards Borders bookstore, to read, drink coffee, and shoot the shit.

We hop in the car going north on Tampa, and for those of you who know the Valley, we get to the Pony Rides (near Parthenia), and there is a crosswalk there with no light. Dad is busy chatting away and doesn’t notice the crosswalk until the last second. He stops two feet before these two twenty-something guys. I don’t say anything because I can tell he’s a bit shaken. But the guys crossing the street weren’t so smart. One guy throws his hands in the air, while mad-dogging my dad, and says “What the fuck, man?” The other guy does the finger.

My dad was a tough ole guy and wasn’t going to take any shit, so he jumps out of the car, and says: “What did you say?”

These two clowns decided to be tough, and surround my dad. My dad was 58 or 59 at this time. Through all of this, no one saw my fat-ass in the car. As the two started to get close to my dad, I shot out of the car, and said something melodramatic like “You fuckers are dead.”

One of the guys started to bolt, I reached out to grab him, but he was moving so fast all I could do was give him a kick in the ass.

So, I turned to the other guy, who was now the target of my anger, and said “You think you’re a bad-ass, trying to fight an old man? You fucking punk!” He turns to face me as I have my hand around his throat, with his voice shaking, and says “I was scared, man! I thought he was going to run me over!”

“Bullshit,” I say, “scared people don’t flip people off, or curse people out.” I then lifted this guy off the ground and tossed him onto the hood of my dad’s car.

Then, as I have my arm cocked back, and ready to put a little dent in this guy’s nose, my dad honks the horn and yells at me to get into the car.

I yank the guy off of the hood and toss him into the street. He scampers away like a crab.

I get in the car, buckle up, and get ready to ask my dad how he is? Did he get hurt, etc.? He unloads: “What the hell are you doing?! You have to control your temper! Were you trying to kill that guy,” etc?

My jaw dropped a bit. All I could get out was “No, sir.” But in the back of my mind, I was yelling: I just saved your ass. I did what any son would do if they saw two guys coming to whip ass on one of their parents. But I didn’t say that I just nodded, and let him chew me out, and tell me about my temper.

I told you all that to tell you all this:

In early 2004 I was given a flyer for a Hell’s Angels show, by one of my delinquent friends. I tell my dad about it, as we were both bike fans. Jesse James was going to be showing a couple of his bikes there, and Chuck Zito, of the New York chapter, was going to stop by. So, dad and I thought it would be a cool thing.

We get to the place in Woodland Hills, find parking, and start walking around. My eyes light up when I come across a few parts built by Arlen Ness. Met him, with my dad in the ‘70’s, and he’s been a bit of a hero ever since.

Anyway, after we walk around for a while, we sit down for a minute, and my dad turns to me, and says: “Look, I’m not feeling well today, so if you start some shit today, I won’t be able to back you up.”

My jaw drops, for a number of reasons. First, I didn’t start the shit we were in last time. He almost mowed people down, and then jumped out of the car. Second, if I was feeling feisty, and wanted to start shit, would I be so bold as to start shit at a Hell’s Angels convention?

So, I was a good son and said: “No problem. If I decide to take on the Angels, I’ll leave you out of it.” He gave me a look, and then said: “Yeah, let’s go to lunch.”

As we head towards Tampa, on our way to Vic’s, I give my Dad a glance. As crazy as he seemed sometimes, I love him. Never in a million years did I know on that day that I would be delivering his eulogy in a year.

I miss him every day.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Manhood

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Growing up in the shadow of such an imposing guy as my dad, I think my brother and I picked up a lot of his, for lack of a better word, boldness.

You see, my dad didn’t back down from anything . . . ever. I remember hearing a story where an ex gave two black bikers, some money to “finish” my dad with tire irons. My dad opened the door and invited them in. This spooked them and they talked some shit and left. My dad more than likely had a shotgun just inside the door.

Anyway, I had developed my own theory on being a man. I always knew how to fight, and I was pretty decent at it, that together with my dad’s never-back-down attitude.

My theory was based on a guy’s action after he was hit. Might sound strange, but being hit says a lot about a man. Watch somebody in a fight, after they are hit, do they tear up, retreat, or does the punch amp them up to win said fight?

It may be strange, but that was my theory on manhood from the age of fifteen to about thirty-eight. Can you take a punch, and what do you do after you take that punch?

Then something weird happened when my Son was born. I don’t know if I softened or his three weeks in the Natal Intensive Care Unit or the very indifferent attitude certain family members took towards him and I during this time.

My whole mantra changed. It wasn’t attitude or toughness anymore. It was me lifting him past a few crappy people that failed to acknowledge him.

My new definition of manhood was making sure my family had a better life than me. I had created this weird little internal poem, which I used to pray with while my Son was in the NICU. I would repeat, “For every person that fell out of love with me, may three love him. For every tear I cried, may there be three days of smiles for him . . .”

So, have I succeeded in my definition of manhood? Sometimes, life is fucking hard. Sometimes I elevate the people around me, and other times they rejuvenate me. But on the whole, I try to live up to my definition.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Planet of The Apes

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

In 1972 my world changed in a few ways. First, my dad moved out of our house. I was six, my brother was two and my mom, a young twenty-four. I really didn’t know what was going on. There were arguments behind closed doors. I would knock and give them the rundown on what they were missing on an episode of Super-Friends.

Finally, one night my dad pulled me into their room and told me that he was moving. “From now on you are going to be the man of the house.” I was very happy about this promotion. I never felt my mom liked it, but I did.

Anyway, this transition affected me. I didn’t think it did at first, but shortly after my dad moved I was put into what my brother calls the “tard” class. My elementary school had a class for kids who were either slow or just plain had behavior problems. I guess after my parents split my mind was somewhere else.

I wasn’t aware that this class was a bad thing. It was a small class of kids, and I was smarter than most of them, so I became “king of the ‘tards.”

It was about this time that my uncle Rick first introduced my brother and me to the Planet of The Apes. I loved the movies, and a few years later we would be addicted to the Saturday Morning Cartoon and the Thursday Night show. My love of this show would have a lasting affect on my “tard” class.

One day I came to class with a book I wanted the teacher to read to the class, in other classes this would be an easy task, but the teaching style used with us, “the den of tards” was to ignore any interruptions or noises. This didn’t fly with me. I, sometimes, had something to add to a story or a question.

To understand what I did next let me explain a scene from one of my favorite Planet of The Apes movies. In Battle for The Planet of the Apes, there was a war between the different breeds of monkeys and apes. One side ran out of ammunition, so they all played dead until the enemy came. Then the ape general screams “Now, fight like apes.” They leap up, overpower the enemy and won the war.

I played this scene out many times on the playground. My classmates were my ape army. So, when the teacher was reading my book she wasn’t showing the pictures. All teachers should stop and show the pictures. I suggested she pause and show the related picture, she ignored me. So I put my hand up and said excuse me a few times. She continued to ignore me. At this point, my ape army was getting restless. So, I tried one last time, the arm up, and the excuse me. Nothing. The whole class was staring at me. I had no other choice, I stood up and yelled: “Now, fight like apes!”

Every desk was overturned, chairs thrown. I sat back down and just took it all in. The teacher tried to continue, but finally yelled: “Make them stop!” My only reply was, “You could’ve shown us the pictures.”

This could have been the Genesis of the punk in me, or merely the inner asshole fighting to get out. Who knows?

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Skatercross

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Back in September of 1978, after a year or so of idolizing all the Dogtown guys, my father took my brother and I down to Skatercross in Reseda and got us memberships; I was twelve, my brother was eight.

One of the funniest things about Skatercross was their application. At the age of thirty, you qualified for a discount, because you were considered a senior citizen. My father was thirty-two, and not amused. Another of the things I remember most about this application was the three categories: “Novice, Intermediate,” and “Pro.” I was horribly pissed, because my dad checked, “Novice” on mine. I remember freaking, asking my dad, “Why novice?” And he said, “Because you are.” I was very disillusioned, hadn’t he seen me hop off of curbs? Grind along the edge of the sidewalk? Obviously, he knew nothing of skateboarding.

Skating into the starting point of Skatercross was frightening. You had your choice of going up to this two-story ramp, and skating down into the bowl at top speed or starting out at ground level. This was my first attempt at a skate park so I started at ground level just putting along as fast as I could go, and suddenly half a dozen kids come barreling down on me from the ramp, everybody’s screaming look out to your right! Lookout left! A few sailing over me via the bowl’s walls. It was crazy! My brother and I skated for a few hours until dad scooped us up for dinner. I remember feeling very cool after that. Every street skater wants to attempt a park. I remember looking at pictures of Tony Alva airborne at skate parks in Santa Monica, wishing it were me (minus the crazy hair). So, for the next few months, I showed everybody and their momma my Skatercross membership card. I later acquired the nickname Mellow Cat (from Linda “Ziggy” Daniels) taken from the Skateboarder Magazine comic by Ted Richards.

Fast forward thirty years to July 2008, my four-year-old Son and I spent a Sunday afternoon restoring an old Kryptonics skateboard I had. It was missing a wheel, bearings were rusted, screws and bolts were rusted. So, over the course of an afternoon, I replaced the screws and bolts, put on new wheels and bearings, my son, Lucas, put on the wheels, I just tightened them. The same kind of stuff I used to do with my dad (when he had the patience) before we lost him in 2005. Eventually, everything comes full circle.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Canada

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Sometime in the middle of 2005, I caught a really good flick called Secondhand Lions, starring Robert Duvall and Michael Caine. In a nutshell, it’s a story of a young boy who is dumped on the doorstep of his two eccentric uncles while his mom takes off to find herself a man.

On the way to the uncles’ house, the mom tells the boy rumors of the uncle’s hidden wealth, and stories of them being bank robbers. The boy is dropped off, and he and the uncles are not wild about each at first, but slowly it all comes around. The script is somewhat predictable.

Later that week my dad stops by to see my son (who is about a year old at this point), I tell him about the movie, thought it would be something he would dig, as he always had a fondness for movies where the lead character was crotchety and unlikable. Cobb (starring Tommy Lee Jones) was his favorite film.

So I summarized the flick, two crazy hunter uncles, a young boy dropped in the middle of nowhere. My dad then looks at me and says, “That’s like my life.”

Now I’ve known this man most of his fifty-eight years, and I thought I had heard damn near ever story there was to hear, but this . . . was brand spanking new news.

So, of course, I had to ask, “What do you mean your life?”

So, he digs in and tells me that his father, my grandfather, didn’t care for him too much, and every summer he sent him to stay in Canada with my grandmother’s two brothers, his uncles.

My dad’s uncles were very large Swedish men that were raised in Canada. They made their living as hunters, trappers, and hunting guides.

Let me give you some background on my grandmother’s family; her father was in the Swedish army. During the morning inspection a Swedish sergeant made a remark to my great-grandfather that he didn’t care for, so he shot the sergeant. The man lived, but great-grandfather was thrown out of Sweden.

With his engineering background, he secured a job building the first railroad across Canada. As his children got older they all went in different directions. One son, Eric, moved to the Pacific Northwest and started Nordstrom’s department stores, my grandmother moved to California and worked as a cook for silent film star Clara Bow. And the other two sons became the hunters of Canada.

My grandparents met at a dance on the Santa Monica Pier in the 1930’s. My grandfather, who was there with his friends, was taken by my grandmother and wanted to drive her home. She told him “no” several times, but he was persistent. Finally, she gave in, with one condition, “Tell your friends to find another way home, I’m not riding in a car with all of you. You I can beat up.” They married a short while later.

My dad’s uncles definitely lived by a different code, unlike men nowadays. My father was, basically, left to do as he pleased. The uncles would come home late from hunting, toss my dad the keys to the car, and say drop us off at the pub, give him a watch, and say be back to pick us up at this time.

After he would drop them off, my dad, who was ten years old in 1956, would have to stand up, while driving, to see over the dashboard, and work the pedals, would go and explore the Canadian countryside.

In the countryside where my dad was staying those summers were so far from any city, that there were no traffic lights, farmland for as far as the eye could see. My dad, at least in his mind, had free reign of Canada.

It wasn’t until almost twenty years after these summer trips that it dawned on him why he got to stay with the uncles, while his sister, my aunt Deanne, stayed back in California. My grandfather wanted him out of the house. Deanne was his favorite kid.

I thought he had experienced an incredible adventure that I wished I could’ve lived; the reasoning behind it was kind of screwed. I’ve seen the movie twice since then, and I can’t help, but to think of my dad driving these two huge Swedes home in the middle of the night. God love this crazy family of mine.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Hit The Road Jack

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Lately, a bunch of my friends have been going through breakups and/or divorces. For whatever reason, I’m the guy they come to for advice.

Now, when I was around twelve, or so I wanted to be a priest. I had a close relative tell me that if I couldn’t be nice to family how was I ever going to be able to be kind to strangers? That, coupled with puberty, and a new interest in the broads, my aspirations for priesthood fell wayside.

I still respect anyone who can truly follow this calling; not many can really do it.
So, even though I don’t wear the collar, I somehow end up in the booth listening to confession at least once a week.

Anyway, one night, about four or five years ago, I’m driving home from work on the always fabulous 5 freeway, and this guy calls me up (I won’t identify him, other than to say he married into the family), and he is teetering between rage, and crying like most of us guys do when we get dumped.

He had just found out, fairly certain, that his Wife had been seeing somebody else. So, he’s giving me the rundown of everything he’s found out, and how she hasn’t touched him in ten months, at this point I have to stop him.

I tell him in no way, shape or form do I want to picture any of the women in the family getting their freak on. He sort of mumbles, “Yeah, OK.”

Then he continues with all the problems, and bullshit. It turns out he has called every single person in the family with the same details, about being cheated on, and not being touched.

So, I tell him, this is the last call to anybody in the family. And this is what’s going to happen in your breakup. I have definite rules about how people get back to normal.
See, the problem is people put way too much into relationships, that when the relationship crumbles, they are completely lost.

So, I tell the guy, “Pay attention, and write this down if you need to. These are the definite steps you HAVE to go through in order to become yourself again.”

1. When you first get dumped you blame everything on the girl, and you trash her reputation. Example: “She never loved me,” “Before me, she slept with half of the NFL.”

2. After feeling sorry for yourself for a while, depression sets in, and you want the broad back, so you reverse everything you previously said, and blame yourself. Example: “If only I loved her a bit more,” “She was an angel sent from heaven to look after me.”

3. Track down all your old drinking buddies that you abandoned once you met your girl. You drink everything in sight for about four to six months. Try to stay out of jail.

4. Find another chick. This will not be your girlfriend. This is the girl you hose until you are emotionally healed, and are ready to meet the woman you will eventually marry. Now, this girl you meet will end up having things done to her that would make the donkey at a Tijuana animal show blush. She will be someone to distract you from your breakup, and ultimately pay for all the wrongs your ex did to you. Between the booze and this broad, you will come close to losing your job.

5. One day you will wake up go to work, meet up with some people for dinner, and as you are ready to go to bed you’ll realize that you haven’t thought about your ex all day.

Congratulations, you’re ready to meet your next long-term relationship. If this works for you, feel free to mail a thank you check to Mike E. care of Mike’s Advice Column (my mail is delivered to me in the alley behind the office).

A couple of other helpful hints that have worked for me are: listening to music from people that have gone through the same crap. For example, Rancid’s Indestructible. Tim Armstrong wrote this album while going through his divorce from Brody Dalle from The Distillers. You can feel the renewed need for friends, and camaraderie

And the song of all songs, the guy version of I Am Woman by Helen Reddy, is Return of The Mack by Mark Morrison. I had this sucker on cassette single; damn near wore it out, and then gave it to a friend after he got his walking papers.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

The Fetish Club

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

I remember when I first heard about Hanoi Rocks it was in 1984 or early 1985. I was in my post-punk phase, hair grew out a bit, and clothes, kind of looked like I robbed a gypsy (or rolled a bum). Anyway, I was out on a date with a punk girl from Pasadena named Meredith. And she decides we should go downtown (Los Angeles) to a place called the Fetish Club. I’ve been to a lot of rat holes in my time, but this place really was one of the worst places I had ever been to. We paid to get in, and I excuse myself to go to the bathroom, I go in, and the bathroom has no doors, and the stalls have no doors. Basically, everybody in the club can see you. So, I’m standing at the urinal doing my business when I hear “Oh my god, look at these sexy men!” I turn my head to see a six-foot 4-inch black transvestite in a blonde wig. He . . . or she comes running over to get a better look so I turn as much as I can, and when he gets too close I stick my leg out to keep him at bay and he says “I like them feisty.” I finish up and leave the bathroom for the night. I meet up with my date and explain what I just went through, and she just laughed and said: “This is the Fetish club.”

So, we hang out a bit, and discover one of the rooms in this place is a rundown bar with a wall-sized video screen that was showing all the stuff that I normally didn’t see on MTV, like Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Bauhaus (you know, “Undead, Undead”), and Hanoi Rocks. The first video on was Hanoi’s cover of Up Around The Bend, corny video, but cool song. I remember saying to the girl I was with “I wish I had seen these guys live.”

Another weird part of the evening is when we entered the “video room” is over in the corner was a guy I went to High School with, I didn’t know his name, dressed in a Misfits-type style complete with the “Devil-lock.” Which is fine, but in school, I remembered in Polo shirts. I did a double take when I saw him, and he ends up giving me the casual “What’s up” nod. How cool.

After an hour, or so we stepped outside to smoke a clove or two, in the 1980’s this was still cool, and a block or two down I heard what sounded like a brick go through a window, then an alarm going off. About three minutes later a black guy comes running up to me with an armful of dresses, and asked me if I “Wanted to buy a dress for my woman?” I thanked him for his great offer, but I passed.

A year or two later, my friend Chris, from around the block, comes by to tell me that some of the remaining members of Hanoi are going to be playing up the street from us, did I want to go? Definitely. Somehow, Poison was headlining the show, they didn’t have an album out at the time, but they had a decent following in Los Angeles. Cherry Bombz had their album out, and were reasonably established – but they opened. Anyway, we get there and the place is full of the type of people you would see in Decline of Western Civilization II. After sitting through an opening act that I can’t remember I pushed my way up front to check out the Hanoi boys, this is where things get bad, I’m amped and the band comes out and. . . nothing. No energy, no charisma, nothing. The guys just stood there doing Pete Townshend poses. Most of the show there was no movement, then at the end of their set they did Loverboy’s Hot Girls In Love, and then they exploded, jumping all around, running from one part of the stage to the other, freaking bizarre. I was heartbroken; I figured with this line-up how could you go wrong?

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Ray Campi

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

In 1979 I was enrolled in Columbus Junior High, I was thirteen or fourteen. I was enrolled in the eighth grade in the middle of the bussing situation that was sweeping through the Los Angeles Unified School District.

My mom had just gone back to work, and they wanted to bus me to Crenshaw, and I wasn’t going to be home until after 6:00 pm every night. So, my Mom sought out other ways to keep me closer.

One night we attended an anti-bussing rally at Pierce College. The people rallied against our lack of choices for “our children.” Really, there were no solutions, mainly whining. As we were leaving there was a guy outside the Pierce football stadium, passing out anti-black literature, dressed in full Nazi uniform. My jaw dropped, other than a few war movies on TV, I didn’t know that Nazis were real. Most people just ignored him, whereas, nowadays in this Jerry Springer culture – man, woman, and child would’ve assaulted him.

After researching some schools my mom found that Columbus Junior High wasn’t bussing out. They had been doing a voluntary bussing program for years, kids from downtown would be shuttled in daily in such numbers that the “white” student body was less than 10% of the whole student enrollment.

The plan was that my Family (my mom, brother and I) would move from Reseda to Canoga Park to live with my mom’s friend Linda so that we would be within Columbus’ district. Right as we prepared to make this move (even if it was just temporary) Linda’s husband, Don, committed suicide. Don was a great guy, always good to my family, and me, but he suffered from problems relating to alcohol. I believe it was the first funeral, I ever attended.

I started Columbus a week or so later. Because of the turmoil at Linda’s home, we stayed in our place in Reseda, but used her address, and commuted to Canoga Park everyday.

It was one rough-ass school. The racial tensions were overwhelming. Every day during PE my name was “honky,” for a whole year. It was at this school that I learned the significance of the golf cap. Depending on how many golf club pins you had on your cap dictated which street you represented, three pins, you were from Eighty-Third Street, etc.

The two cool things about going to this school were meeting a fellow punk, Linda “Ziggy” D., and seeing a bonafide music celebrity.

One of the teachers was rockabilly legend, Ray Campi. I don’t know if he was a regular teacher or a substitute, but I saw him for the bulk of the year. I think Rodney Bingenheimer used to play him sometimes. I never approached Mr. Campi, I viewed him as too much of a star (hey, I was thirteen).

Eighth grade was by far my worst school year, but as with most things, there were some good memories too.

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell

Von Dutch

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

I was driving through Northridge with my wife and son some time back and as I was heading down Nordhoff, I saw two young guys, about ten years old, on skateboards. Nothing out of the ordinary, but what really got to me was that one of them was wearing a Misfits shirt with their “Crimson Ghost” design on it. That really got me thinking.

Back when I got their Slash Records release of Walk Among Us — in the early part of the 80s—I wouldn’t have been able to casually walk down the street wearing a Misfits shirt without people yelling stuff out of their cars at me, or occasionally throwing stuff at me. On one hand, I’m happy that this music has caught on. But on the other, I feel like the way people from the 60s must’ve felt: “Just leave our icons alone.” When I hear about people enjoying a comment that Henry Rollins has said on his IFC show, it makes me want to say, “Back off.” Henry was my generation’s Jim Morrison, in a weird sort of way.

In the mid-1960’s my father met Jim Morrison at a party up in Topanga Canyon. My dad walked in and the host of the party came up to him and said, “Hey, Tom. There’s someone I want you to meet.” My dad followed him around a corner and through a doorway and, lying on the floor of an unfurnished room, with his head propped on the base of the wall, was the Lizard King himself. Morrison reached out his hand and said “Hey Man, nice to meet you.” And that was it.

Over the years, I’d asked my father to repeat that story a few times and it made me think: Will my son ask me about Henry? Better yet, will the kids on the skateboards want to know what it was like the first time my brother and I met Glenn Danzig—or was it just a cool shirt to buy?

Another trend that throws me is people wearing the Von Dutch logo on their clothing. My father told me about a time he’d been up to visit Von up at his place in Topanga Canyon and Steve McQueen had come by and asked Von to paint his motorcycle. McQueen went into great detail about how he wanted the job done, Von nods his head in agreement all the while. My dad left but went back a few days later, just as McQueen was pulling up in a truck to pick up his bike. They went into the garage, and there was McQueen’s ride, freshly painted, but nothing like McQueen had requested. They all looked back and forth at each other, and then McQueen shrugged his shoulders and paid Von.

A few months later, my father went back up into the canyon for a visit. There was a little get-together going on, everybody drinking, and in the middle of it all Von heard a helicopter flying by. He ran into the bedroom and came running back out with a shotgun. Most of the people scattered, but my father followed Von and watched as he began shooting into the sky, trying to down the helicopter. I guess that happened once too often because the local law eventually asked him to leave the area. Von relocated to Compton.

What’s the point to all this? It’s “Do you know what you’re wearing, or is it just a great design?”

– Last One To Die, 2011

#michaelessington #lastonetodie

 

 

Misconceptions of Hell

Misconceptions of Hell