Cracking the Code

April 9, 2007 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

I’m mourning Rick D but I’m not gonna be nostalgic and say the 90s were better than the 00s. I’d say that every time has its highs and lows. There are very few places where I feel like I belong. For me, real life was never really Fugazi. Back in the early-mid 90s, I was a wide-eyed stupid, crazy kid just trying to find my way, instead of a tired, stupid, crazy old lady still trying to make my way today. The time before the internet was a little more innocent and a little dirtier. You had to go out into stinky bars and awkwardly face people to find out anything or at least call them up on the telephone and have awkward conversations.

In 1993, I started writing for the Philadelphia Weekly towards the end of the Welcomat era, when it was like a fanzine for grumpy old men. Strangely, grumpy old men were my early advocates. We had some sort of mutual understanding. Old men understand sadness and weirdness and angst. It doesn’t scare them one bit. I found them dignified instead of old and they weren’t too busy proving themselves to give you the time of day. They didn’t make me feel bad for not knowing something, they made me feel honored to find out abou it. They talked to me like a person. Gender and age were incidentals. We were all just misfits at the end of the day.

Young indie dudes expected young indie girls to be fourth grade crush innocent or to be tomboys. People cloaked their emotions in faux sincerity or irony. They called me a sellout for writing for the pittance that the Weekly paid me and not a fanzine, for not being there when they were, for not being a member of the club. No one admitted to being any kind of sexual being or even admitted they had bodies. Look at the oversized T-shirts and flannels. Everyone was just a walking, talking jukebox of wit. All smart-ass but not really smart. I still wanted to crack the code.

Back then I was curious about everything and there was no internet. So I’d call up promoters and ask them what bands they were booking. This is how I really learned about music. Two of the people I talked to the most were Bryan Dilworth (back when he booked The Khyber) and Rick D. Bryan wasn’t a big phone guy, so I used to go to his house in Old City and pick up records (back when he ran Compulsiv) and talk music. But Rick and I were on the phone for hours. He’d fax over some scrawled out schedule to The Weekly and I’d call to be debriefed. He frequently loaned me CD’s just because it was crazy that I’d never heard about Band___. I had a lot to learn. I still do.

Obviously, it’s easier now to just to go to bands’ websites and myspace pages, but something’s lost in the translation. Being a human being. Today, whenever a young, curious, hungry, lost person calls me up or e-mails me or approaches me in a bar, I give him or her whatever I have. Whatever piece of myself will help them along in the world. Rick D wouldn’t do it any other way and neither would I.

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Entry filed under: Blah Blah Blah, Music, Rick D, Someone More Interesting Than Me, They Served.

Pricked In His Own Words

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