Friday, February 22, 2019

The Wilderness Years - Lolly-gagging NYC 93

Somehow during the halcyon days of summer 93, between Audrey and Elise and angel dust, i somehow made my way to a field outside of NYC for that summer's version of Lollapalooza. It was one of those things that had sort of faded into the recess of memory until i heard a song and a smile crept across my face. There was no chill-out tent in NYC 93, not that i ever knew of, maybe there was a medical tent somewhere but i never found that either, nor did i need to dammit, El Kono was made of sterner stuff (or possibly more stupid stuff) and somehow managed to survive the day. And yes it was a beautiful day.

I'm sure there are details to be lost and found but what does it matter? the past does not inform the present the present informs the past and looking back it was a day spent in Wonka-land, if you could dream it you could do it... or find it... almost. And so a pack of degenerates drove up from Ocean City, MD to pursue the dream. There was the Zinch, a short Italian chap with wavy hair and glasses, the Engineer, the Crack-Dee, the Anal Sculptor, and me. We crashed at the Anal Sculptor's parents place somewhere in Jersey, (he was dubbed the Anal Sculptor because he was a bit of an uptight dick) and after rising early on the fateful day we drove to the Anal Sculptor's ex-girlfriend's place in Hoboken, where i almost managed to get tossed out of the car when i jokingly inquired if Anal Sculptor's ex liked younger dudes, AS being an MFA candidate at some SUNY school and a bit older than the rest of us. Apparently AS had not completely gotten over his ex but how was i to know? I laughed it off as he stewed but soon we were pulling up to the liquor store and so my attention was diverted. Needless to say when we split into two cars i was not invited into the ex's with AS. Probably not a bad thing since AS liked booze and i liked everything.

Soon we were standing in a dusty field and the sun rose above our heads, i was just getting into my second 40oz bottle of malt liquor when i saw the first balloon. I immediately inquired as to where i could find the lovely people selling the laughing gas and soon i was standing proudly with a huge balloon in each hand. Crack-Dee and the Engineer were in on it too and after the first one i produced a Special from an old cigarette pack. (The Special was a 93 delicacy well documented on the lounge, it was joint as thick and long as my middle finger with the inside of the paper being coated with hash oil. They packed a wallop.) Having burned through the Special and another round of balloons we noticed a line starting to form. Having no idea what time it was Crack-Dee grinned at me and said guess? I started at noon and soon worked my way down to sometime around 10:45am. Of course the next words out of my mouth were, "shit, we're gonna need some acid." And so i set about to find some. That mission took maybe 5 minutes and i returned grinning with a 5 strip. The Engineer took one, i took two and since there were no other takers the last two went in my pocket in case of emergency.

With the line beginning to form we all began to make our way to towards the entrance, the Engineer took one look at the length of it and said fuck this, he ran back to the car and grabbed a fifth of Jim Beam that he had bought and the Engineer and myself began passing the bottle to people while casually walking through the line, no seemed to notice or care and by the time the bottle was gone we had skipped the line and made the entrance. We then ambled through the dirt field and this being pre-cell phone days the plan was to meet at the car at the end of the show if we got separated. AS and the Ex seemed to hang back, the Zinch disappeared almost straight away, and the Engineer, CD, and i walked right up to the railing in front of the stage. It was high noon when Rage Against the Machine took the stage. Shit kicked off real quick. The bodies began flying, i was flipped over the railing in front of the stage at one point and not knowing how to get back to the other side began to launch myself off the railing and back into the crowd. My momentum came to a screeching halt as i felt a large hand grab me and i turned around and looked into a very broad chest. A very pleasant African -American gentleman said, what the fuck are doing? i explained i didn't know how to get back out and he smiled and told me to look left and right, i did and noticed a walkway which led back to the crowd. Let's not try that shit again he said, do we have an understanding? We shook and i said yes we do and thank you sir and off i went.. right back into the thick of it.

By the time Rage was off the bouncers were hosing off the crowd, the temperature easily into the 90's it was going to be a long hot day for all involved. Odd, i thought, that for all the booze and drugs i had done that i felt so great. It was at this point that i noticed the little trails in the air the smile spread across my face... Acid!!! i had completely forgotten i had taken acid and quickly realized that i was the proverbial Golden God, i was fucking invincible!!! Front 242 were next and to say the early afternoon time slot was not a great spot for these guys was an understatement. Of course that didn't stop the crowd from going berserk but that had more to do with the crowd than the music. It was at this point that a young lady introduced herself to me, she explained that she had been watching me and that i was a big guy who handled himself quite well in the pit, she handed me her water bottle and i took a long slug. At this point, unlike future festivals where water would be $9 a bottle, the bouncers were filling bottles between songs with the hoses they were using to spray the crowd. Her plan was to stick with me cuz she wanted to be close to the stage, she explained that the bouncers were filing up the girls' water bottles first and that if i would help keep her safe she would get us water. It was a deal.

And my how swimmingly it went for the next few hours. My new friend and i became friendlier and friendlier. It wasn't long before we were kissing between songs and slugs of water, her hand running up the front of my shorts, my hands running down her the length of her body, she was dumping water over me and telling me i was an excellent kisser and i was smiling and thinking life was fucking grand. It was going to be a stellar fucking day... and then came Fishbone.

In some strange sort of cosmic joke i saw Fishbone twice in my wayward youth and somehow twice the lead singer, Angelo Moore, balls ended up in my hand. It was not that i wanted Mr. Moore's testicles in my mitt it's just what happens when lead singers jump into a pit. The first time it happened was at the Agora in Cleveland. The second time it happened was in a dusty field somewhere outside of NYC. Did i mention the second time he knocked out my new date? Yes Mr. Moore came in feet first and caught my new girl right on the chin with his Doc Martens, he had no idea. I caught her as she dropped and luckily our budding young love had developed a rapport with the bouncers. I was immediately motioning but the one who had been filling her water bottle had saw the whole thing. Two of them were in the pit in a flash and took her out, the one telling me i was a good dude and handing me her half filled water bottle. While i was hoping for a lovely and tender shag at the edge of the grounds on a stolen blanket after a long day in the pit while Alice in Chains (who i didn't really care to see) played had vanished in one Dr. Marten booted kick. As he crawled back on top of the crowd, Angelo Moore crawled right over me, his sweaty balls ending up in my hands. Something about insult to injury.

My romantic dreams dashed i returned to the business of the show. I had no idea where any of my friends were or what time it was and the plan was to watch Dinosaur Jr. and then get some food. There were two more bands after that and i figured while they played i could wander and look for my friends. J. and the boys were excellent as usual and when they had finished i made my way towards the concession area. I scored myself two huge lemonades and a plate of chicken and rice. I ate a bit but the acid was still kicking and food wasn't of the utmost importance it was more as if i heard my mom telling me to remember to eat while out getting wasted in the sun all day. It was at this point i noticed two people standing over me.

Now one could only imagine what i looked like at this point in the day, long matted-hair, covered in sweat, my shirt filthy and hung around my neck, my army shorts two tone with sweat, pie-eyed on acid and sitting like a caveman on the ground with a plate of chicken and rice, one empty lemonade cup next to me and one to my lips. Inquisitively i looked up. There was a couple, a young guy i'd never seen and a girl who i seemed to remember but couldn't place. She looked at me and said, Kono? I smiled and said, yup. The had the air of people who were about to ask me where they could score drugs. The girl stood and made a minute of small talk and then asked just that. If i knew where they could find weed? I shook my head and went back to nibbling. The veneer cracking she spat out, do you remember me? Sort of, i replied half squinting into a setting sun. Do you remember my name? she said. No, i confessed, i did not. It seems i had made more of an impression on her than her on me. Of course i have an innate ability to be quite the asshole and when she finally told me her name i somewhat casually blurted out, you're the girl who only let me go down on her but wouldn't fuck me. There was a few seconds of silence before i started giggling and the last thing i heard was, you're an asshole!! and she was right. I was. The poor guy she was with could do nothing but stand there, i'm sure he wanted no part of tangling with this hairy maniac eating with his hands and i wanted no part of anything but my second lemonade. She grabbed his hand and stomped off, i yelled sorry and  broke into a fit of laughter. Things were getting more surreal by the second.

As the sun went down the physical toll began to set in. The acid no longer kicking nearly as hard i began to shiver in the fading heat. Of course it was still in the low 80's but i had put the body through the ringer and now it was catching up with me. I stole a blanket off the ground and wrapped it around my head like a refugee and began my search to find the car. Right outside the gate some people asked me if they were still checking for tickets. I put my hand up to say give me a minute and began throwing up, a brief flicker of what a mistake it was to drink lemonade passed through my mind. The people went to leave but i said wait a minute, threw up some more, and then told that no they could walk right in. The guy thanked me and said take care Dude and on i went in search of the car. Outside the gate i found the Zinch, sitting in a lawn chair and drinking beer with some new friends. I declined a beer but took a chunk of ice to suck on and followed Zinch's directions to the car, found it and lay down on the hood, looked at the stars, and waited.

On the ride back i sat in the backseat of the K-car and cracked the window. The night air felt good and i smiled as i listened to the stories of my friends. We followed Anal Sculptor and his Ex back to Hoboken where we found a pizza joint and i destroyed a few slices in no time. I easily looked like i had had the most fun that day, a comment the Ex had made smiling at me which i believe irked AS. I spent the night with a pillow on a hardwood floor. Never had a hardwood floor felt so good.

1 comment:

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

What are the odds of that singer's nuts ending up in your hand twice? Million to one. Plus both nuts? 2 million to one.

Fun story. I'm getting back into going to concerts again with all the stoner rock coming around. Just so damn hard on a school night.