MY FIRST FUCKIN POST


This is a picture of me standing in front of a Takashi Murakami mural at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The piece is called Tan Tan Bo Puking. This artwork remind me of the thoughts that whirl around my head when I'm awake (and often sleeping). Throughout my life, going back into my childhood, I've alternated between being a naive, dreaming optimist and a nail-biting, fear-wrung paranoiac.


I communicate emotionally with the world through music. When I was in 5th grade, I practiced lip-syncing to Bon Jovi in my bedroom so I could show my classmates on the playground. I vaguely remember trying this out, probably to no effect. I also recall spinning backwards over and over again to replay the drum&vocal break of Old Time Rock and Roll on my Fisher Price turntable. I pictured myself on stage, pumping up and down, sweating, with all eyes on me, under the scorching white light. This later turned into a duo, with my brother Phillip, in front of the living room fireplace "performing" Billy Joel's Glass Houses album. I was convinced that if I wasn't sweating, I was NOT putting on an honest show. The recessed can lighting in the living room was a poor substitute to a real stage, but I'd get to that later...


In middle school, when I grew a skater haircut, got braces, got REALLY awkward, and got my kicks teaching myself to juggle, I discovered the Pixies on a vacation to California. It's a cliche to say that "from then on, I was different," BUT I had never heard anything like that in my life. They had the pop form of McCartney, the loser-humor of the Dead Milkman, and the loose rage of Black Flag. I played that tape of Doolittle over and over again and have pretty much had headphones on 12 hours a day since. Up until that point my favorite albums had been Raising Hell by RUN DMC and Look What the Cat Dragged In by Poison. I wrote a letter to BMG Entertainment when two cassettes (back to back) unspooled in my tape player; Suicidal Tendencies and Britny Fox. I pored over my choice of words, stating that I was an important customer and quite upset at the lame quality of their tapes. Unfortunately for me, I never heard back from them. A short while later I got a CD walkman.


In high school I started writing my own music. I had an acoustic guitar for my bedroom, an electric for my friend's basement. We started a band. First we called ourselves The Regulars. We struggled for a while to firm up a "real band name" and came up with Johnny's Own. We fancied ourselves students of Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese. We insulated ourselves from the outside world by being the hippest fucking nerds in town. It was the first time I got to play at a bar. The first time I was interviewed for a music column. The first time I was propositioned by a lusty older girl. The first REAL time I had the opportunity to lose myself in the moment of making music in front of an audience.


As self conscious as I was 23 hours and 20 minutes of the day, I was able to feel the power of myself in those 40 minutes performing. I don't know how to explain it. As soon as I grew hair on my nuts I was never comfortable in school, in my bed, in a car, on a plane, at church, at a party, or around many of my peers. But on stage it was different. I did theater during these years too. I enjoyed dressing up in costume and learning lines; getting familiar with people during long hours of rehearsal; and of course, opening up the curtain and stepping out. I met my first openly gay humans and they embraced my pimpled 115 pound frame. I was told, "you may see something that seem weird around here, but it's OK." That made sense to me. I was thinking "I may think and feel somethings that are weird and really scary, but I'm trying really hard to pretend it's OK."


I have heard that you should write what you know. Beth Orton sang "Where do I start, where do I begin?" Yeah. Where DO you begin, when you don't have a beginning? You just wake up one day in the middle of it all and go "OH shit..." I'm a father now. I have a dog. I have a mortgage and a full-time job. I am still making and writing music as a "hobby." Yet, how do you reconcile something is a "hobby" when it's been your best friend, drug buddy, lover, and soulmate for over 30 years of your life??


I'm sharing my story. There are lots of things bouncing around my head. I'm Tan Tan Bo Puking. I'm Bob Seger in front of a rocking band. I'm late for work, picking up my dog's shit in a plastic bag, wearing a wrinkled shirt and a 15-year old tie. I'm Peter Andreadis. I make music as All City Affairs. And this is my first fuckin post.

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