Monday, March 8, 2010

Suicidal Scatterbrain Toys

I recently moved into a new apartment and miraculously managed to get more space for less money (I literally tripled my square footage) and still live in a safe, clean and nice neighborhood. I accomplished this by leaving my beloved, but grossly, criminally overpriced Manhattan to live across the river in Hoboken, NJ with my girlfriend. One of the many enjoyable things that has come of moving into a more spacious apartment is the fact that I have much more room to hang up all my framed posters, vinyl album covers and other various items. I have a man cave of sorts in the new apartment in the form of an office/music room where the majority of my music related "art" is being displayed. After the move, I realized I had wall space for a few extra items, so I set about getting some new and old belongings framed (eg. Faith No More and Queens of the Stone Age silkscreens from 2009 and 2007 respectively, Metallica "...And Justice For All" promotional poster from 1988) and I also called up my mom and asked if she could pass along my autographed band pictures obtained in high school that she had in storage in her house. I was never the biggest autograph collector in the world and only have a few autographed pictures (and a couple autographed ticket stubs) so the collection was easy to remember as it was only for three bands:

1) Autographed Scatterbrain 8x10:

I loved the first Scatterbrain album Here Comes Trouble so much that I actually joined their fan club. I wrote them a letter (handwritten as this was well before email) telling them how much I loved the album and they sent back the above autographed 8x10 along with another autographed 8x10 and a form letter that was actually signed by the guitarist that said "Hey Nick, Thanks for the note - Glen". Some may argue that the band probably didn't actually sign the pictures or the letter, but these guys weren't exactly huge rock stars and I'm fairly confident that they were taking the time to personally autograph things for fan club members (years later when I wound up working in the music business this confidence was further cemented when I got to see these kind of practices in action).

2) Autographed Dangerous Toys 8 1/2x11 torn from a magazine:

Dangerous Toys debut album was another personal favorite of my youth (and today). They did an in-store at a local Tower Records when they pulled into town with Bonham and The Cult. I didn't go to the show because at the time I wasn't a huge fan of either of the other bands (I would later learn to love The Cult and find that the Bonham debut is pretty solid), but my friends and I were at the in-store before the band arrived and after they left. They were the first band I'd ever gotten to meet and I was psyched. I got a couple magazine pics and my cassette copy of their album autographed, a few pictures taken (sadly I only have one and it isn't that great as my friend who I long lost touch with had all the good shots on his camera) and was even able to get a large drymounted promotional poster of the album cover from one of the store employees which I still have at my mom's house. I remember that being the biggest score and my friends being green with envy. Five years ago I saw the singer of Dangerous Toys, Jason McMaster, playing at a bar in Austin, TX with a new band, Broken Teeth. I went up to him after the show and relayed the story of meeting him way back when and he was just as gracious and cool as he was back then. Good dude and he can still sing his ass off.

3) Autographed Suicidal Tendencies 8 1/2x11 torn from a magazine:

Suicidal Tendencies were, you guessed it, another band that I was a huge fan of. They were on tour opening for Queensryche (who was touring behind the awesome album Empire) and doing an autograph signing in the parking lot before the show. Armed with a picture torn out of a magazine and my cassette copy of Lights...Camera...Revolution, I went to meet the band with my friends who I was going to the show with. We lined up to meet the band and unlike Dangerous Toys who took a few moments to chat with everybody, say hi, take a quick pic, etc., ST moved the line along quickly and singer Mike Muir was listening to his discman the whole time. Didn't even look up at me when he signed my stuff. I was so severely bummed. As I mentioned above about Scatterbrain, years later when I wound up working in the music industry, I would come to understand that kind of behavior and even be a bit sympathetic to it as I had an understanding of life as a touring band, but as a 14/15 year old kid I didn't get it at all and thought it was totally lame. In 1999, I wound up meeting Mike Muir, his wife and son briefly at the Vans Warped Tour and even put a sticker on his kid's skateboard (the one his mother didn't want him to put on the skateboard because it was too "big" or something like that, but I was a bit tipsy and not paying attention) and it was about as exciting as my interaction with him before the Queensryche show. Definitely in stark contrast to my interactions with Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys, but at the end of the day I don't care about the people behind the music (unless they are friends of mine of course), I just care about the music and both Suicidal and Dangerous Toys were and are awesome bands.

Scatterbrain "Don't Call Me Dude"

Dangerous Toys "Teas'n, Pleas'n"

Suicidal Tendencies "You Can't Bring Me Down"

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