Somewhere around the spring of 1991, my friend Frank Benson played the Cramps for me for the first time. He said “hey, check these guys out, I’m going to take a shower real quick.” By the time he came out of the bathroom, my head was full all kinds of sweet and rotten mutant fruits.
A year later, his mom took me and him and a date to see the Ramones at the Boathouse in Norfolk, VA and nothing was ever the same again. My glasses got knocked off and ground back into sand during the first 5 minutes of the show, and I took a boot to the face by the second set. The next day, I was half-deaf and limping around the house, clutching the walls to feel my way to my bedroom and all I wanted to do was get up on a stage and be Joey Ramone.
A week after that I quit the rec league soccer team by throwing my shirt in the coach’s face. During a game.
Something didn’t add up, though. Me and Frank were scoring acid from drag queens at the Rocky Horror Picture Show and had a direct line to all the best music this new burning world had to offer. With all this newfound punk rock swagger and the confidence of finally being down with the coolest guys in school, we figured girls would finally start paying attention.
As it turns out, it took a little while. We had no idea why.
Anyone who tells a teenager that “these are the best years of your life” is only telling half of the truth. In my experience, we got to taste the potential that the world had — but actually feeling it fall into place day by day and year by year is even better. Frank and I hang out now. We both live in Brooklyn, but we’re both busting ass on our own art careers.
We don’t see each other as often as people who live three miles away from each other might. But every time we do hang out, one of is getting the other one really excited about some cool new stuff. We’re still kicking each others’ doors wide open.