Let me set the stage for you, intrepid readers. You're a partner in a small business that is part of an ever-shrinking brick & mortar market sector, and have been working tirelessly to increase online revenue. To make yourself more valuable to your business, as well as the workforce at large, you drop everything, and enroll in a 12 week boot camp to learn some shit that most people attend a 4 year to get a grasp of. And for a minute, everything is coming up just fuckin' rosy. You kill it at said boot camp, get courted by a big company for a cushy gig that gives you shit like pet benefits and unlimited paid time off and weekly massages, while still allowing you to devote necessary time to your beloved brick & mortar. You're about to stack some loot, get that one girl you've had your eye on for a few minutes, and you're feeling pretty good about where everything is at for the first time in a while.
And then, that bitch we all know as Life says "nuh-uh". Within a month's time, homegirl is ghost, and that company that's had you jumping through more hoops than a fuckin' circus hits you with the "While we appreciate the time you have invested in our interview process..." handjob. Good old, all-too-familiar Square One™. So what do you do? Hit the gym, and work on your personal health? Buckle down, act like the responsible adult that you damn well should be at 34, and relentlessly bury yourself in your studies to build upon the education you just received?
Well, unless you think Tony Fucking Robbins himself is writing this, no. That's not what you do. When your friend of over 10 years calls you telling you that his band is hitting the road for a weekend with your other friend of over 10 years' band, you throw some shit in a dufflebag, make sure you have your charger, apologize to your liver (and other vital organs) in advance, and meet at the rally point.
Now that you're up-to-speed, let me make sure you know a little history. I'm sure you all are familiar with a band called Suicidal Tendencies. I really shouldn't have to give you any history whatsoever on this band no matter what you listen to, but just in case there is someone out there existing in the world who has never heard of them, watch this. What you may not know, however, is ST was the result of an entire punk rock renaissance that would forever change the genre, from how punks dressed to how punk sounded. There were bands like Beowulf, No Mercy, Neighborhood Watch, and others. There was the infamous and coveted Welcome To Venice LP. Suicidal was more than a band, it was a movement, a way of life. And one of the earliest bands to emerge from this umbrella was Cycotic Youth.
The original 1984 line up consisted of Jason "Clown" Brown along with his brother Jimmie AKA "JB" on drums, guitarist Marcus Luna, and Ingmar Herland on bass. They released a few demos, played legendary local gigs like the infamous Roxy Theater show (work on that one yourselves, children), and eventually broke up in 1988.
Cycotic Youth, 2016
However, as anything truly worthwhile is prone to do, Cycotic Youth has been resurrected, playing their first show in almost 20 years this past February at Cafe NELA. The 2016 line up still consists of the Brothers Brown on vocals and drums respectively, along with Cruz "Cruzer" Fino on guitar, and Smiley "Filthy" Rich on bass.
With that being said, the other factor in this equation for a 72 hour shit-show is North East Los Angeles' original Hardcore band, Countime. Since 2003, featuring members of Difference of Opinion & Set Aside, vocalist JR5150, brothers Mikey and Erik on guitar and drums respectively, are joined by Johnny Sheen (ex sleeper) on bass, and British Bastard Liam on guitars for their current line up. Retaining the uncompromising sound that made them stand out with their 2005 release "Broken, Blinded, Betrayed", they released their new EP, "Ostracized" digitally last month, with vinyl coming soon.
Part of this unholy union is due to the fact that JR and Jason co-host "The Stewed, Screwed, & Tattooed" Show on Los Anarchy Radio, a station on Dash. With slots on Mondays and Wednesdays, they currently reach approximately 350,000 poor souls each broadcast, with recent musical guests including hardcore supergroup World Be Free, The Nomads, Death March, DFL, and Brick By Brick, as well as names in the tattoo industry such as JJ Ortiz from 805 Ink, Hilmar Ramos from Reservoir Tattoo, and Mario Dagget of Holistic Tattoo. So it was only a matter of time that their bands would collaborate, as they already have on the radio show, with successful results.
Now that you're all caught up, I'm gonna post some flicks I took along our three day descent into madness. Video and stories have been omitted to protect the innocent. I'll tell you one thing, though. The driver we hired for the weekend was BUMMED.
Your tour guide on this hell ride the morning of departure.
Jr stocking up on supplies.
Shortly after supplies were consumed.
Upon arrival in Vegas.
Countime live at East Side Joe's, Las Vegas, Nevada
Cycotic Youth live at East Side Joe's, Las Vegas
Mimis Time en route to Tucson.
Countime setlist up for auction on eBay any day now.
Cycotic Youth live at The Surly Wench Pub in Tucson, AZ.
Our friends from Bricktop joined us in Tucson.
Solid Hangs in Tucson.
Always Watching Over Us.
Cruzer getting ready to do his thing in Phoenix.
JB doing his thing in Phoenix
Countime setting it off in Phoenix
Cycotic Youth is For The Children.
Mandatory posse shot in front of the styrofoam tweaker castle in Phoenix.
Uno mas for the road.
So, when it was all said and done, did I come away with some great spiritual enlightenment? With my perception altered greatly, and in a positive fashion? No. I had a good fucking time with my friends for three days, and didn't worry about the bullshit that plagues me when I'm not in a different city every day doing stupid shit. And that's exactly what I needed. When I was a kid, Punk Rock and Hardcore were a way for me to escape the harsh daily realities of life in Venice in the 80's and 90's (It wasn't always Silicon Beach, no matter how hard they try to make you think it was). 20 something years later, and it still is an escape. An escape from the relative banality that is daily life in a watered-down LA as a dude in his mid-30's who's still trying to figure out how to be an adult without selling the fuck out. A chance to reconnect with old friends, see people I don't get to see very often, and strengthen the bond with those who I do. Keep an eye out for new Cycotic Youth material. They're writing a new record as I write this, and there's a good possibility of a split with Countime. Last weekend was a great 72 hours with some of my best and oldest friends. Oh, and I came back to more work and job offers than I had before I bounced. So maybe, just maybe, it DOES pay to be irresponsible every once in a while.