A small list of early experiences highlighting the difficulties of sustaining Screeching Weasel
|One of my favorite SW photos|
1. To raise money for our first trip to Berkeley California, (No shows in between. Our first appearance at Gilman was a one show tour from Chicago to California) I worked three jobs. My schedule 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Gloria Jeans Coffee Bean. 6 p.m. to Midnight Randhurst Cinemas. Midnight to 6 a.m. Cleaned Movie theaters and pulled up carpeting. (After a couple of weeks of doing this I had a bit of a momentary breakdown. I was pulling staples out of a piece of carpeting that rolls down the aisle of a theater. My head started tingling, I looked across the carpeting and it began to grow longer and longer into the distance, like for miles, like past infinity. I stood up and fell back down, dizzy. I quit my third job the next day.) Ben worked the night shift at a gas station and also made bird feeders, or bird food, some strange job with my other friend Glen (This may have been a bit later. But he was working a lot too.) When the two of us pooled our money together we still didn't have enough to get all four of us to California. So Ben and I painted his Parent's house to pay for Steve's ticket. Steve did not help. That was a sore spot for awhile. Warren paid for his own ticket. Ben and I drove across the country in his Chevy Malibu.
2. To help pay for the recording of Boogada Boogada Boogada Ben and I worked at a job my brother got us. Ben's parents had moved away, and the two of us were living in my mom's basement. For most of that time he worked nights at the Gas Station and I worked at The Coffee Shop and at a Record Store. We hardly saw each other except for rehearsals. I would get home from work just as he was going to work. I would visit him at the gas station for band meetings. Anyway. We added another job into the mix. He and I would head to a factory before the sun had risen and shave aluminum shards off of long pipes. The pipes would roll out of a machine. We would grab them, one of us on each end. The ends of the pipes were all rough with sharp points sticking out. We would proceed to shave off all the extra aluminum to make the ends smooth. We had gloves and masks, but after 8 hours of that, we would go home sweaty and there would be slivers of metal stuck in my fingers and in my face. Sometimes I'd forget and I'd rub my face with my hand and a shard of metal would cut across my skin. That sucked.
3. Ben and I took some classes at Harper Community College. The idea was to see if the intellectual stimulation would help us write music. We took 1 Poetry Class and 1 Music Theory Class. I don't remember a single thing from the Theory class, but from the poetry class I remember:
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
Every day we would listen to Steve Dahl in Ben's car, go to class, and then eat burgers at Dairy Queen. I think this was also during the Shards of Metal days.
4. Once Boogada came out Ben went to live with a man named Dave Best, who ran Roadkill Records with us. Ben slept on his floor. I eventually moved there for a little while too and the two of us slept on Dave's living room floor without mattresses. I think we each had sleeping bags and that's it. The memory Ben and I used to share about this is Dave would wear these boxer shorts with bananas on them. They were torn in spots. Sometimes one of us would wake up and he'd be standing above us sucking on a piece of fruit, and sadly we'd get an unwanted peak at his ball sacks and penis.
5. Five years during the early band days I also attended Columbia College. I don't know how the fuck I managed the time for that. I didn't sleep much. I worked at Crown Books, rehearsed with the band in my basement downtown where Panic lived below me, and we would tour whenever we could afford it. I do remember that I would buy a pack of peanuts from the vending machine, and that would be my food for the day. I would slowly eat one peanut at a time to make it last the day. I think I saved myself 12 bucks a week for food.