Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mykel Checks To See If He Can Still Do It! (MRR 335, May)

You're Wrong 
An Irregular Column
Column for MRR 336
May 2011

by Mykel Board

aka  Mykel Checks
To See If He Can Still Do It
"My prayer for the women of the next millennium: have hard hearts; and
learn how to kill.” --Andrea Dworkin

“Nursing is great, Mykel.” Donn tells me. He turns to Gwera.  Should we tell him the bowel story?” he asks, before going ahead anyway.

 “This is so wonderful,” he continues. “We had this guy... an old guy... street crazy... really just a poor street bum... never saw a doctor... no teeth... scraggly gray beard... came in screaming. Stomach pain... horrible nausea. Later we find out he has an obstructed bowel... like a knot in your lower intestines. The shit can't get through. It builds up... then backs up.”

I nod like it happens all the time.

“Course, the guy has to eat,” says Donn. “And if you eat, the food turns to shit. And the shit goes down the large intestines. But it can't come out... it just piles on the old shit already down there. The guy eats more. That turns to shit and piles more on the old shit. Pretty soon it backs up into the small intestine... like traffic in front of a bridge toll... in rush hour.”

 Uh oh. I think I know what's coming.

 “That small intestine is pretty long... about twenty feet... big as a house...still, there's a limit. It fills up...after the small intestine comes the stomach... This guy is there...on the gurney... dressed in hospital drag. He starts to gag... rumbling from the stomach... his neck muscles tighten... relax... tighten again... gray cheeks bulge... I get the puke tray... put it next to his head... Then it comes out. This huge brown turd... solid... like a junkie turd...right from his mouth... he's puking shit... backed up from his stomach...”

I feel like puking shit myself.

 “It's not only one turd,” he continues. “It's a series... each more viscous than the last... mixed with more stomach juices... digested... redigested... Gobs of brown coming from this guy's mouth.”

 I begin to taste my just-eaten tortilla... again.

The speaker is Donn, drummer of Sin Arte. He's a also nurse here in Arizona. Donn used to live in Connecticut. He's an old timer from the 80's hardcore scene. He tells me we met at The Anthrax, before you were born. I forgot his band then. Citizen something or other I think. He's a funny guy, with my kind of sensibility. Besides being a nurse, he's a punkrock drummer in Tucson.

Before we get to the plot, you'll need to know some other characters in this story. I introduced them a couple months ago. Here's a quick review. Gwera's real name is Berenice, she looks Irish and comes from Northern Mexico where the “GU” sound is pronounced like a W. (Like Where a?) Add to that, she's a great guitar player. Add to that she's smart and attractive.

 Then there's BEEF, a big white guy who's a great cook. You met him in an earlier column too. Beef is not in Sin Arte, my band for this trip, but he plays a part in the story. You'll see later.

Ivan is not Russian. His full name is something like Ivan Restokovich, but he's Mexican. More than one immigration agent accused him with the legal equivalent of “you're fucking with me,” when he gave his name. You also met him before, in an earlier column. He's the bass player for La Merma, maybe the most famous band from Sonora... the North Mexico state where the Sin Arte tour did not take place. (You can read about my Mexican adventures in my travel blog

While I was in Mexico, Ivan got kicked out of his Nogales apartment and had to move in with Gwera. Not a bad had to, if you ask me. 

The original plan: My Mexican friends have decided to put together a tribute band. The tributee? Me! Or at least my old band ARTLESS. They'll learn ARTLESS songs. I'll sing. We'll play half a dozen shows in Mexico and a couple in Arizona. The
new band, called
Sin Arte, will tour with Cojoba, a Puerto Rican band based in New York. Together, we'll play with a buncha Mexican bands, many of them on the revival circuit, getting
back together just for us. Yowsah!

Having encouraged a boycott of Arizona for its ethnic cleansing law...requiring the police to stop and ID anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant, I'm a little hesitant to play in Arizona. My image is a place filled with intolerance. Anyone a different race? Ship 'em to Mexico. Different ideas? Ship 'em to California.

Gilberto assures me that I'll be playing with Mexicans, so it's okay. AND, in Southern Arizona I'll be playing FOR Mexicans, so it's even better. In the tug of war between ego and morals... morals loses. I agree to do the tour.

As it turns out, Sin Arte listened to ARTLESS songs only “once or twice,” and never rehearsed them. Also as it turns out, every show in Mexico is canceled. Why is a long story. It's in the blog.

That leaves two shows. One in Tucson. One in Flagstaff. The Tucson show is at The Dry River Collective. The one in Flagstaff is at The Infoshop. Both spots are alternative.

Being alternative, I figure both places will be pretty intolerant. That means I'll have the first chance to really piss off a live audience since Artless quit playing in 1998. I wonder if I can do it. Do I still have my chops? Maybe I lost the devil inside... like Mick Jagger in Performance.

We have time for one rehearsal. Four ARTLESS songs: Aahrg, We Want Nuclear War, Do the No, and Beer is Better Than Girls Are... The last is our “hit.” It's a satire on those poor guys who can't get laid and drown their sorrows with the sorry excuse beer is better anyway. I took the words from an old poster/t-shirt... been around for years... I just made it rhyme. That one, the PC folks should actually like.

I figure I gotta change the other song names. Make 'em more offensive. It's punkrock and nobody can understand the lyrics anyway. We Want Nuclear War becomes Bombs, Not Food. Aahrg! (that's the only word in the song) becomes Mata Los Gringos (apologies to NOFX). Everything else stays the same.
FLASH AHEAD: We enter DRY RIVER. It's empty... except for a not-so friendly women at the door. She's tall and skinny... died black hair and a severe Nurse Ratched face. I'm surprised to see that Beef is also here... hanging outside... having a smoke with some locals. 

“Yo Beef!” I say. “Wachu doin' here? Come to see us play?”

“Mykel,” he says, “I'm playing tonight... with Pop Gestapo. We're opening for you. Same band... only me singing instead of you.”

Walking up the street is Cojoba. Javier has a shopping bag full of Tecate beer. He hands me one. He hands one to Beef. He hands one to this sixteen year old kid with a skateboard. He hands another to this attractive boy in very short shorts.

Nurse Rached comes to the door and taps him on the shoulder. “Sorry,” she says, “but we can't allow drinking here. The police will shut us down.”

He stops... for a minute or two... then starts handing out the beer again. Aaaaaoooogah! It'll be a club full of drunken' 16 year olds. Yeah!

Inside, I set up the merch table, then look around the crowd. There are a couple femmy white boys in short shorts with skull make-up painted on their faces. I wonder if it's a local fashion. Then I remember today is Day of The Dead. For dead adolescents, they sure look good! Let's hope Javier can get them drunk enough.

Inside, there's no stage, just a floor area... marked off with amps at one end and a drumkit at the other... punkrock.

Slowly, more people come into the club. Another guy with a bicycle and skull make-up. Several girls in wool sweaters... torn at the sleeves. A group of youngsters: a girl with a short purple dress over bright red tights, a muscular blond boy, and the only colored guy in the place (besides Cojoba's drummer)... a good-looking skinny boy about 18.

By now there are about 50 people inside-- not a Mexican among them. At the door waits a jar for contributions. People pay (or don't) what they want for the show. It's voluntary... depends on good will. Not much goes into the jar.

Ok, it's time for Pop Gestapo... a buncha noise and Beef. Beef sings between sips from a glass of water. There's a little moshing. Then come the fire crackers... then the smoke bomb... rolling along the floor... spewing gray smoke... some people run... others laugh... there's shouting.

A guy... scraggly beard... long hair... young Jesus type... comes up to Beef and shouts at him.

“Okay,” he says, “the show's over. Pack up. Go home.”

Beef starts to argue with him. Nurse Rached joins the fray.

“You're jeopardizing the space,” she screams.

“It's only a smoke bomb,” says Beef, sipping from his water glass. “It's harmless.”

“YOU'RE JEOPARDIZING THE SPACE,” she screams louder.

Beef pours the remaining water, about half a glass, over her head. Then he walks out.

Next up is Cojoba.

Club Gestapo is already pissed at Javier for giving away free beer. But seeing as the band sings in Spanish, and has Hispanic (and one Negro) members, the Dry River politburo lets them play. And even thanks them. They do a fine set.

And then it's us, Sin Arte.

Mata Los Gringos has the crowd moshing, as does Bombs, Not Food. Then it's time for Beer, the paean to guys who can't get laid.

No matter how cunning their stunts... with a girl there's that time of the month... the difference of course with a beer... it's good every day of the year...

The crowd stops dancing. Over on the right, the young moshers are standing and smiling. Nurse Rached and her pals stand, arms folded. They are not smiling.

Beer is better than girls are... I don't care where their little curls are... when you're out with the boys at a bar... a beer will wait in the car... yes a beer will wait in the car.

The cool thing about this song is that it's orchestrated so you can hear all the lyrics. No music during the verses, light Omm Pah Pah, German bar music during the chorus.

A beer will give you good head... it goes down easy in bed...

Screaming comes from somewhere. I can't make out the words, but they don't sound very friendly.

Handle it, it won't say Stop it... You know if you're the first to pop it...

“Stop the song. Stop the song now!” comes the screaming voice. It is not from Nurse Rached, but from another girl, tall, skinny, wearing a black and white knit sweater and a tuke.

I continue, The label comes off with no fight... it doesn't say headache tonight.

Stop it! Stop the song!”
I hand her the microphone. Creatively, she screams into it.

Then, the same guy who talked to Beef walks up to me. “Okay,” he says, “the show's over. Pack up. Go home.”

He must say that a lot.

I think, “Yes!! I can still do it. I can get us thrown off stage. I've still got it!”

Donn has it even better.

“Wow!” he says. “Thrown off the stage twice in less than two hours. Wadda great night!”

As we pack up, the three young moshers come over. The colored guy says, “You guys were great. Too bad those people can't put up with another point of view.”

Each of them shakes my hand and tells me what a good time they were having. I'm thinking, “maybe not all Arizona non-Mexicans are bad.”

“We're from Utah,” says the colored guy. “We want you to come and play. We won't throw you off.”

They came special to the show... to see us. From U-fucking-tah!! I love 'em!

But Arizona? Arizona is fucked. If you go there (you shouldn't!), hang with Mexicans... or Donn or Beef. Other whites are... I donno... just bad. Flagstaff will change my mind about the state... a bit. But I don't have space to tell you about that show. You'll have to wait for the blog.

The bottom line:

DO NOT PLAY at DRY RIVER in Tucson. They are worse than a bunch of Christians in their censorship. With the sense of humor of a cancer patient, they prohibit what they don't like... without even understanding it. If you play there, you will support intolerance as bad as any xenophobic Arizonan on the street.

DO PLAY at THE INFOSHOP in Flagstaff. Although in Flagstaff, I think of it as a kind of Navajo reservation. It is NOT really Arizona. The Navajos who run the place have a punk band of their own, Let The World Die. They are as open-- and friendly-- as a box of puppies-- terrific people. See 'em! book 'em when they come to your town! And if you're passing through Flagstaff, play at their club. Then get the hell out of the state.

ENDNOTES: [email subscribers ( or website viewers ( will get live links and a chance to post comments on the column]

-->Of course my last column, about the Jews and the blood libel was my annual April Fool's column. Don't worry George, I'll never reveal the REAL SECRET of the Jews.

-->He's right dept: Sid Yiddish, my pal and proof-reader, complained that I was being unfair to white Arizonans who oppose ethnic cleansing and are pretty decent people. These W.A.'s include Sid's parents. He's right. Roger Armstrong also lives in Arizona. And he's a pretty cool guy. The state still should be boycotted, but the residents should not be 100% condemned.

[Because of it's excessive length, (there's a phrase I rarely hear!) we've cut some endnotes from this column. They'll be in the next one.]


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