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Monday, September 30, 2013

The Soul of Andrew Scott, Part 3

One of the best ways to feel the sin in the air of a population is to check out their late night entertainment. When not sewing discontent in the hearts of your brethren, I walk the streets at night scoping out your sick and depraved. From the strip joints where CEO’s watch titties jiggle while they plot to steal your 401k to college bars where you can smell the desperation on the guys known as “dude-brahs” as they try to tag a piece of ass for a late night score. Sometimes I make my way into the joints with live music, not the popular places where bands like Guns N’ Roses once played, but the dives where the bar owners don’t care about quality.
As much as everyone thinks rock n’ roll would be my style, I’m not really into it. Folk and classical are where my roots lie: the old souls of the musical world. (I also used to like country, until Charlie Daniels wrote a little song about a supernaturally gifted fiddle player.) Bob Dylan’s my fave, wouldn’t harm a hair on that old fart’s head if I could; still dig him. Now, when it comes to rock n’ roll you’d be surprised that it’s not the talented ones who try to sell their souls for fortune and fame. Those types don’t need my help, they don’t need anyone’s help and they know it. Then you have the extremely untalented bands that make it big because people have no taste, like The Darkness. Then you have those wannabe rock stars who think they have talent and are trying to find a way to make it. Those people think I’m their lord and savior.
Andrew Scott and the Great Wall of Thunder didn’t have the audacity of a band like The Darkness to gain a following, or the talent of GNR to make the regular rotation at the Roxy Theater down on the Sunset Strip. I had my eye on Andrew Scott for years, his collaborators would merely have been consolation prizes if I wanted to take the whole group down a peg, but Scott was one of my “people”, so to speak. Survival of the fittest is the way Father Nature plays his game, and I enjoy picking off the weak and damaging or collecting them.
It was with that intent that I walked into Billy Goat’s Rockin’ Pub on the outskirts of Santa Ana. I made sure to show up late so I would be noticed, and with only five people in the audience that night it was hard not to be noticed. The nauseating sound of un-tuned guitars and wailing and gnashing of teeth greeted me as I walked through the door, and that familiar feeling wafted over me. It was the feeling of every eye turning in my direction as the hairs on the backs of every neck stood up. One kid bolted for the bathroom making a retching sound more in tune with the music than Scott’s vocals.
I walked up to the bar where the bartender stood gawping at me with his mouth on the floor before he found the will, consciousness, and fortitude to speak.
“I’m sorry sir,” he finally found the gumption to say, “I don’t know why I was starin’, but you got a quite peculiar way about you.”
“I know, I get that all the time,” I replied.
“Well, what can I do ya for?”
“Just a glass of water for now, and if you get it right there’s a big tip in it for ya.” He looked at me with wide eyed wonder (or terror) as he poured the water, forgetting what he was doing until his hands were drenched with Sprite.  After a moment he realized his error and apologized. “Now, Steve,” I said slyly, “that’s not gonna do. I hope we won’t have a problem here.”
“How do you know my name?” he asked, stopping dead in his tracks, practically shaking.
“Just pour the drink,” I said with a slick grin (it might have turned out to be a little more sinister than that, I can never tell anymore) before adding almost as an afterthought, “Steve.” He jumped at the use of his name again and quickly hurried over the glass of water. “Thank you,” I said reaching in my pocket. Beads of sweat sprang up on his brow as I withdrew my hand from my pocket and tossed him a dime. “Keep the change and keep ‘em comin’ Steve.” I walked away not visibly noticing the dark spot that appeared on Steve’s trousers, but I took in the smell graciously.

I took my place at a dark table at the back of the bar, and all eyes turned to the band as if they’d all be vaporized if I caught them staring at me. It’s interesting to observe a room of people who are scared out of their wits but don’t know why. The Great Wall of Thunder kept their eyes on their audience or their instruments; all of them except Andrew Scott, who kept his eyes fixated on me. When I finally caught his eyes I made sure that he’d never look away, not until we spoke.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Soul of Andrew Scott, Part 2

I hated Andrew Scott. Now it’s true that I hate most people, but Andrew Scott was one of those people I hate the most because I admired the heck out of that kid. So full of himself and so cocky; he reminded me of a version of myself back when the world was young and I was a perfect little angel. The kid had it and he knew it, walked around like a peacock splaying his feathers without a ladybird in sight. He was the kind of guy who talked just to hear himself talk, and he had a peculiar cock in his walk which was like his mating dance to let all the ladies know he was available.
Despite what Al Pacino might tell you, my favorite sin is pride, not vanity. (By the way, can someone tell Keanu Reeves to lay off the accents; he’s really bad at it.) Vanity is just an aspect of pride, and what do I care if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror all the time. No, pride is the big one; after all, it is pride that comes before a fall. Pride found Achilles’ heel when he thought he was in a moment of great strength. Pride told Delilah Sampson’s secret. Pride is why your neighbor cheats on his wife every night while she’s asleep, and it’s also why he doesn’t realize that tomorrow night she’ll be waiting for him to come home with a butcher knife in one hand and thoughts of castration on her mind.
Andrew Scott’s pride oozed off of him like thick cologne. At times it reeked of desperation, a smell I know very well. I said earlier that the kid had it, but no one really knew what it was, but they knew it wasn’t talent. I wouldn’t have been surprised if what he had was VD, but I knew he didn’t because that’s a smell I know very well too. What he had was closer to determination, and ignorance to the fact that when he stepped on stage the sound that came out of his mouth was closer to the sound of a cat in heat than angels in heaven. He had the swagger, he had the moves, but he and his band, Andrew Scott and the Great Wall of Thunder, didn’t have the talent or the name to make it anywhere.
Scott was one of those guys who thought his mommy and his daddy didn’t care about him because they put him in an expensive private school and despised it when he started listening to Body Count in middle school. When cell phones became popular when he was in high school they told him he’d have to get a job and pay his bill if he wanted one, so he ran away for a week. I half expected Andrew to punch his dad in the face when his dad scolded him on his eighteenth birthday for going out and getting a tattoo with the money that should have gone to his overdue phone bill.
Instead, Scott moved to my city. No, my city is not Las Vegas. He moved to Los Angeles, the City of Angels by name, and the city of demons by trade; everybody’s got one. There are very few places I feel more alive in this modern world than Los Angeles. Sure, Vegas has open debauchery, but I prefer the skeletons in the closets of Los Angeles. It’s brimming with the pride of the crushed souls of thousands of actors working as waiters serving the stars they think they should replace. The studio executives who snort cocaine off the tits of prostitutes while their wives play “tennis” with oiled up Latino musclemen down at the country club. Oh, it makes me giddy like a little school girl! Nero’s Rome, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and Darfur combined don’t give me as much pleasure as the personal depravity that goes on in LA.
Andrew enjoyed it too, at first. He indulged in all the things his “strict” parents would have never allowed. Marijuana, sex, cocaine, anal sex, heroine, trannys, ecstasy, S & M Bondage, the works! He took out bank loans for prostitutes and drugs without a thought as to how he was going to pay them back. I thought for a while his propensity for these two commodities was limitless, and it truly was a thing of beauty; he just wouldn’t quit. I think he wouldn’t have quit if his body hadn’t done it for him.
One night he learned that it was unwise to mix meth, coke, weed, and heroine; or that at least you shouldn’t try to do so within the span of three hours. His heart stopped on the couch, but he was lucky enough to have an acquaintance nearby who had watched Pulp Fiction one too many times and kept an adrenaline shot in the fridge for just such an occasion. I say acquaintance because that day Andrew learned that these people weren’t his friends. Almost as soon as the needle was out of his chest he was kicked out of the only home in LA he had known. The out of work actors didn’t want to be associated with a drugged up junkie piece of shit, so they sent him packing.
For the next several months LA turned from the heaven of his choosing to the hell of his damning. He didn’t realize he had become addicted to the drugs, and without money or a supplier the fits hit him hard in the gutters of that once magical city. The banks wouldn’t give someone with $15,000 of debt another penny, so Andrew Scott merely wandered from place to place looking for handouts and luck. It was in Huntington Beach that he found a true friend in Steve Dorcet, who happened to be the drummer for an outfit called The Great Wall of Thunder. 
Steve let Andrew crash in a sleeping bag on his floor, while Andrew’s body violently leeched out all the crap he had ingested. During the moments he was lucid he would hear The Great Wall of Sound practicing in the garage sans singer. They were god awful, but if a monkeys screeching in the woods another’s bound to hear it and think it’s beautiful. Andrew would later recall that it was at this time that he felt himself coming to longer and longer, the music like vitamins for the soul or some such bullshit. I never really listened to him when he started talking about the spirituality of music. At any rate, he would start coming up with lyrics and melody in his pea brain until he reached the point he was actually able to join in on the orgy of crapitude.

Well, like maggots to rotting flesh they all came together, and since he completed the band, they just added his name to the front of the band name making the unwieldy title that much more ungainly. They wrote several songs together with titles like “Beach Bum Baby”, “Phone Booth of Love”, and “Convulsions #1”. Yeah, they weren’t going places, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Out of mercy or masochistic urges, bar owners granted them gigs and they’d play their empty little hearts out, not a care in the world or a brain cell between them. They all wanted something more though, a lot more. It was at one of these shows that I first met Andrew Scott.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Soul of Andrew Scott, Part 1

Let’s be honest: a lot has been written about me, but not very much of it can be considered true. I could scream defamation of character, but that would be to say everything is black and white, right and wrong. People make assumptions, and we all know what happens when you assume; you make an ass out of you, not me. Although, almost everyone has tried to define me it’s really not that easy. Even going back to the beginning with a certain fruit in a young lass’s hand; well, everyone gets the story wrong. In the end though, I’ll always be the monster of humanity’s story even though the truth of the matter is: I did everything for love.
I know what you’re thinking, “What do you know about love?” I believe I know more than the combined knowledge of the entire human race when it comes to love. Did you know everything on your puny little planet with a functioning brain, and even some without, does everything for love? Think about it, even the narcissistic rock star that seems to compile tons upon tons of worldly material only does what he does so you’ll remember him. So you’ll adore him. And what’s another word for adoration? Love. A dog obeys so he’ll gain love from the leader of his pack. The monkey eats the ticks off his neighbor’s back so his neighbor will love him. Even a lot of murderers kill because of a lack or a denial of love. Love makes the world go round or turns it upside down.
I probably would have been a different being had I received more of it. Had I been lavished with love in my past life, I probably wouldn’t need to steal so much of it in this life. Of course, you can’t just take someone’s love away from another, but you can alter a person’s perspective of the one they are meant to love. If someone believes the one they love is a different type of person they may just never get close enough to fall in love. Even better, if they believe their intended doesn’t even exist, then they’ll go seek that love elsewhere. There’s really not much you have to do, just plant the seeds of thought in someone’s mind and they’ll make their own path.
Now, me, I don’t get no love anymore. Get a little taste of power, try to hang out on high for a split second and you’re cast from the highest highs into the deepest lows. You go from being the most beautiful creature in the universe, to being the most reviled. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t trying to take over, everyone automatically gets the assumption that if you try to sit in the throne your head’s swelling. Oh well, thanks to past experiences, no matter how horrendous, I have my own personal and influential throne of power right here.
And just because I’m not getting love lavished upon me on a daily basis doesn’t mean that people don’t heap praises on me, no matter how misguided or warped their perception of reality may be. The Rolling Stones called me a man of wealth and taste in one of their most popular songs (even though they got many of their facts wrong, as I have to say that I was nowhere near St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution or the Romanov massacre, and that’s just one of the many biographical inaccuracies), and even if they didn’t intend directly to write it for me I still enjoyed it. Then there’s the black metal written in worship to me; it might be a nuisance to my ear, but I do appreciate the sentiment.
In one of my favorite movies, The Usual Suspects it was said that the greatest trick I ever pulled was convincing the world that I do not exist. Well, that’s part of it. It’s not enough to make someone disbelieve your existence, especially when you have a counterpart that can attest to your existence. Naturally, since they aren’t talking it’s been easy to downplay their existence. Then there are those people that will believe, despite the people around them that refute their claims at any given turn the existence of celestial beings. There’s a special way of handling these people: make them believe beyond the supernatural.
Look, there are a lot of things I can do, but people give me way too much credit. Don’t think that I mind, but for those of you actually keeping track out there: I live in a world of time and limits just like you. I can’t go back in time and change things to my will or see into the future. I’m also not omnipresent or omniscient. I know someone who is, but I think he gave up caring about your kind a long time ago. I can make myself invisible if I like, but I typically choose not to. So if you see me (and I get a kick out of this) I’ll look absolutely normal, but I’ll still make you piss your pants. The best part is you’ll never know why. I’m also not a genie. I can’t just pop in and out and make your wishes come true and take your soul when it’s all over. And possessions are a fool’s errand, I don’t participate in them. I have some friends (others call them minions) who enjoy messing with people, but I never participated in that. I prefer oppression to possession any day of the week.
Very few people can actually say that they’ve come in contact with me though; it’s quite a rare occurrence that I myself choose to meddle in human affairs. If you hear someone say, like Flip Wilson used to say all the time, that I made them do it, chances are I had nothing to do with it. It’s not like you need me to start your wars, and bring prejudices into existence, you guys do a good enough job of that on your own. I might have held sway over a few wannabe world conquerors, but for the most part you’ll destroy yourselves if left unchecked.

But I’ve digressed. You’re not here to hear about li’l ole me; after all, most of you don’t even believe I exist, and a little story ain’t gonna change that now is it? No, you’re here to hear me tell you a story. You want the story of a man who did cross my path seeking fame and fortune. A man willing to part with his soul for the love most, if not all, rock stars so enthusiastically seek. You’re here to hear the story of the soul of Andrew Scott.

Monday, September 23, 2013

...But What About Armadillo & Sands?

One of my favorite songwriters is Andrew McMahon. He started out as the primary songwriter, lead singer, and pianist for the alternative rock band Something Corporate in 1998. In 2004 he started Jack’s Mannequin when he felt the songs he was writing were too different from Something Corporate’s material. Jack’s Mannequin was really McMahon’s solo project, but he used the name to represent freedom and it also gave him a shield of sorts. In 2012 he announced that he was dissolving the name to release music under his own name since Jack’s Mannequin had accomplished what it needed.

That’s kind of what I’m doing here. Armadillo & Sands isn’t being dissolved, but I feel that the content has outgrown it and my need has kind of branched out. Having recently started my senior year at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee I have a better idea of who I am as a writer than I did when I started Armadillo & Sands. When I started it, Armadillo & Sands offered me the opportunity to throw everything at the wall to see what stuck. Now I’m ready to start posting under my own name.

Now that I know what I want, it’s time to move on and focus. This is now going to be my writer page. My stories, essays, poetry, plays, and other creative works will appear here. This means that a lot of my writing will appear over here from now on. This will also include my process, so multiple drafts of stories will appear here, as well as explanations behind how I came up with my stories, poems, and the other things I post here.

This doesn’t mean that I’m done with Armadillo & Sands though. That blog will mainly focus on my views of pop culture. Reviews of movies, music, TV shows, books, observations about different forms of media, and other miscellaneous items will still appear over there. In other words, this new blog is a showcase for my own art, while Armadillo & Sands will focus on how I perceive other people’s art. Each blog will serve a separate purpose for how I want to communicate with the world around me.

I do plan on beginning to separate the blogs immediately, so that means that I will start to remove posts from Armadillo & Sands that I don’t feel meet its purpose and I’ll be placing those posts here. So you will see some of posts here that you may have seen before, and if you haven’t seen them before this is a chance for you to find them for the first time. So I hope you enjoy the changes; now let the games begin!