DOA FASTBACKS THE LIVING FLYER SEATTLE 1981/2
My parents divorced when I was about four years old and I split my time between their houses. Up through the 7th grade during the school year it was school days with dad, weekends with mom and that reversed in the summer. Then after the 7th grade it was all reversed again. Sound confusing? Might’ve been. It was all I ever knew.
I won’t try to sort out, sum up, or attempt to unravel the challenges I’ve had wrestling with the implications of being a child of divorce. It’s waaaay too big a subject to tackle head on in a blog post. l’d rather just let you infer what you will from my stories and draw your own conclusions about the impact this rupture in my world might’ve had on me. If your folks split up when you were young you can probably trust that my experience was as complex, difficult, rewarding, or damaging as yours was for you.
If you’re not from a “broken home” you might be glad you weren’t or maybe you wish you had been. It’s impossible for anyone to know what could’ve been if things had been different for us growing up. In the end we all just have to play the hand we’re dealt whatever that hand may be.
In 1981 when I was an aspiring and very young Punk Rocker I played the hand I was dealt to what I perceived to be my advantage from time to time. One of the benefits for an independently minded kid like myself was the freedom that came along with having two sets of parents both of whom couldn’t be fully aware of my life with the other set. This double-blind advantage was compounded by the fact that most of my friends in both these worlds also had divorced parents.
This fractured familial landscape allowed us a good deal of flexibility when it came to being where we wanted to be, when we wanted to be even if the parents involved wouldn’t necessarily have approved of those choices. In other words: we could get away with some sh-t we might not have been able to get away with if we had been raised by Ozzie and Harriet.
We’d tell his mom that we were staying with my dad and I’d tell my dad we were staying at his dad’s and his mom was out of town so we’d stay there until she got home at which time we’d take the bus to my house…etc.etc.
Luckily, my parents had instilled in me pretty good judgement which translated into good taste in friends some of whom may have been freaks, weirdos, addicts, and misfits but none of them were creeps. My mom in particular always drove home to me that my intuition about people and situations was as valuable a resource as any at my disposal and that I should trust this sense completely in potentially perilous situations. I think this advice more than any allowed me to push the experiential envelope as a youngster without suffering any great trauma in the process. That and a bit of the luck of the Irish.
My friends and I put in a lot of work and performed some machiavellian machinations to be at this DOA show including telling some lies and half truths, liberating a small amount of cash from a parental unit (not mine!), making many bus transfers to get to the house of a friend’s dad who was out of town and so on. By the time we arrived at the venue and learned the show was cancelled we were seriously bummed.
Luckily for us, a carload of older Punks drove by and told us The Living, the band who were supposed to open the show were going to play a house party in the U-district somewhere and invited us to ride along. We very heartily accepted the offer and piled in. I remember careening through the streets of Seattle in the back of their huge American land-yacht feeling glad there was so much steel around us since everyone in the car was well into a case of Rainiers at that point.
By the time we found the party I was into my cups and loving the feeling of being drunk, free, and out at a party filled with older, Seattle punk rock crazies. I don’t remember any bands playing but I do remember talking with some dudes from The Living, The Silly Killers and some Jaks Team skater guys who I thought were super badasses at the time.
I had a lot of drunken conversations with people who seemed to be about twice my age and they all treated me with respect and seemed maybe even a little impressed that kids like us, up from Tacoma no less, were there making the scene. It was cool and it felt about a million miles away from the junior high school social scene I could’ve been in that night back home.
Later that evening or maybe early the next morning as the party slid on I was pretty wasted and was talking with an older Punk girl who said something to the effect that she thought I was the cutest thing she’d ever seen. After shooting the breeze she made me the second kind offer of the night that I gladly accepted when she invited me to sit on her lap. I remember her leather jacket smelled like clove cigarettes and as I rested my head for a moment on her shoulder her earrings tickled my nose.
I don’t know exactly what happened but the next thing I knew I was all turned around, and I couldn’t really see her face because it was too close, and I felt something squishy and nice, and wait…a…sec…what’s…happening...?
No, nothing lurid…My first kiss is what was happening!
That kiss lasted quite some time but fell well short of turning into a full blown make-out session. I just remember feeling drunk and tingly and laying my head back down on her shoulder while she held me on her lap. Through the din of the party I heard some people laugh at us and one of the dudes who’d given us a ride congratulated me and made some joke about the kid doing better at the party than he did.
I don’t know who that girl was and I don’t remember how or when my friends and I got back to my friend’s dad’s house but I do remember the next day feeling a powerful combination of deeply hung over and pretty damn great about life.
DOA flyer from my personal archives.