i don’t touch this tumblr anymore
what have i been doing?
and i’ve been raising a puppy! http://instagram.com/tallulahgram
i’m not really a fan of twitter, but feel free to get at me: @kingcyrusking
i’m losing my hearing
i haven’t really been blogging, and i don’t have the energy for another long ‘top 20 concerts of the year’ post. but to make you squirm, here’s an alphabetical list of shows that i’ve seen over the last few years. i’m sure there’s more that i’ve forgotten.
the #1 of 2011 was soundgarden, by the way.
3, A Perfect Circle, Adrian Belew Power Trio, Al Green, Alain Johannes, Alan Parsons Project, And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Anthrax, Anvil, Aquabats, Avett Brothers, the B-52’s, BB King, Band of Skulls, the Bangles, Baroness, Bassnectar, Beach House, Beck, Billy Joel, Bjork, Black Heart Procession, the Black Keys, Bob Dylan, the Budos Band, Charles Bradley, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Children of Bodom, Chris Cornell, Chromeo, Crystal Castles, the Cure, Cynic, Daft Punk, Danzig, David Byrne, Dax Riggs, Dead Weather, Devin Townsend, Devo, Dillinger Escape Plan, Dinosaur Jr, Earthless, Echo and the Bunnymen, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Electric Six, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Faith No More, Fever Ray, Fiona Apple, Foo Fighters, Four Tet, Gary Numan, George Michael, Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, Gil Scott-Heron, the Go Team, Gogol Bordello, Gorillaz, Gwar, Holdsworth Bozzio Levin Mastelotto, Imogen Heap, J Mascis, Jane’s Addiction, Jets Overhead, Jim Bianco, Kate Miller-Heidke, King Khan and the Shrines, Leonard Cohen, Les Claypool, Liam Finn, the Magnetic Fields, Man Man, Mark Guiliana, Mark Lanegan, the Mars Volta, Mayer Hawthorne, Megadeth, Melvins, Melvins Lite, Metallica, Mike Patton, Mogwai, Morrissey, Muse, My Bloody Valentine, the New Regime, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Nine Inch Nails, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, Old Crow Medicine Show, Opeth, Owen Pallett, Paul Gilbert, Paul McCartney, Pavement, Peeping Tom, Peter Murphy, Philip Glass, Pinback, the Pixies, Porcupine Tree, Portugal the Man, Primus, Prince, Public Enemy, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, Rammstein, Red Fang, Roger Waters, Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, She and Him, Sheila E, Shonen Knife, Slayer, Sleep, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Soulsavers, Soundgarden, Stevie Wonder, Street Sweeper Social Club, Styx, Sunny Day Real Estate, Superchunk, TV on the Radio, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Telekinesis, Testament, That Dog, Them Crooked Vultures, Thom Yorke, Throbbing Gristle, Tim and Eric, Tobacco, Tool, Toxic Holocaust, Underworld, Urge Overkill, Wanda Jackson (w/ Jack White), Weezer, Wild Beasts, William Elliott Whitmore, X, YOB, Yeasayer, Yo Gabba Gabba, Yo La Tengo, Zappa Plays Zappa.
I will see Van Halen in 2012, just so every letter of the alphabet is covered.
hot karate : moonlight horchata
my new band is called HOT KARATE. we’ve just released our debut album. these were the first five songs we did together. it’s a free download. all instrumental - your chance to enjoy the music before we start releasing stuff with me howling all over it*.
i’d known the drummer, adam, for years. he invited me to see the band - then called “los raincoats”. they ended up enlisting me to play guitar, and the day of our first show i met the others, rob and kyle, for the first time. we rehearsed briefly, had a blast that night, and now this band is my main artistic focus.
i hope you enjoy it. click here to stream or download.
* we just posted vocals: http://www.cyrusg.com/hotkarate-frankbinaca.mp3
photo by tara byars
it’s spring now. 2011 resolution check up
i wrote up a series of new years resolutions at 4am on the big night, on twitter, since i drink a lot and overshare. here are the big ones, with my progress on each.
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA GET REALLY GOOD AT RUNNING…. ON ALL FOURS. EVEN IF THAT MEANS TREADMILL TRAINING AT THE GYM
i haven’t even tried this yet, but the internet has confirmed that this is possible. look at him go!
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA MOVE TO LOS ANGELES WITH @PATRICKLAWLERHD AND HAVE ENOUGH FUN TO JUSTIFY HAVING LEFT PORTLAND
done! i am now living in the former capitol records pressing plant near downtown LA. the area is called highland park, which is the name of the chicago suburb i grew up in.
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA MAKE AMENDS WITH BITCHES
done! and way easier than i thought. turns out none of them had been thinking about me.
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA BEAT THAT ZELDA GAME I NEVER BEAT
i forgot about this again. and it’s “a link to the past” for super nintendo. i’m embarrassed to admit this, to geeks and reasonable people alike.
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M FINALLY GOING TO RELEASE THE NINE OR TEN ALBUMS I’VE BEEN SITTING ON SO I CAN MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE GODDAMN
actually, i’ve almost finished one of them, but started two others in the process. :(
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA FIT INTO MY OLD H&M SUIT THAT SHIT LOOKED SO GOOD ON ME HAHA
neutral. i wore it to a wedding last month - it fits! but, i didn’t lose any weight, so it doesn’t really look good on me.
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA BE BETTER ABOUT UPDATING THE FACEBOOK PAGE I MAINTAIN FOR MY PARENTS DOG WHOM I DO NOT GET ALONG WITH
well, i’m running out of ways to say “rubbing my ass on our persian rugs”.
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA SEE @SOUNDGARDEN
bought my tickets yesterday for their july show at the l’angeles forum!
#RESOLUTION : THIS YEAR I’M GONNA BRAID MY CHEST HAIR TO LOOK LIKE MUSCLES #HELLYEAH
this has proven painful and impossible.
2010 in review: concert roundup
in trying to make the most of my life, i’ve made it my business to travel as far as i must, and spend whatever i can, to see my favorite music realized in concert. these shows, for me, represent the best and most sentimental of my year’s experiences. my life is made immeasurably better by music. theres nothing i could say which is more from the heart from that.
my schedule this year included over 75 spectacular live acts, and several more i didn’t intend to see but caught anyway. of them, i present my top 20 concerts of 2010.
20. shonen knife
this is the cutest band i have ever seen (more so demeanor than looks, but that too). it’s like the powerpuff girls doing a kick ass punk show. i am a sucker for the bad english stage banter - introducing songs about “tasty snacks - banana chips” and my favorite, “big fight - cobra versus mongoose”. i had a blast at this.
i saw them back in 2004, and though i loved it then, i wasn’t really familiar with the material yet. it made me a fan, and the last six years generally prepared me for this show. despite half the material being new, unreleased songs, they were irresistable (as is that album … a real gem from this year). this was a very late festival set, and everyone there was exhausted, but devo still had us jogging in place and cheering. they put on a hell of a show, especially with their current video setup.
these guys are most famous for a documentary about how bad and not-famous they are. it’s a really moving film, and i admittedly bought my ticket as a pity purchase. but they really surprised me. first of all, they are actually astounding musicians. really great chops. second, they put on a wild show - i stage dived multiple times, and am definitely not the build for that anymore. finally, they are truly great to their fans - from letting us watch from inches away, to hanging out severeal hours after the show to meet every single person that attended.
17. fever ray
one of my favorite records from last year. seeing it realized live was a real treat, not as much for the musical content but for the absolutely creepy pagan theatrics and atmosphere which the album only hinted at. were i not mentally prepared for it, the fever ray live show might have been a traumatizing experience. karin and her band are of a convincingly alien culture. monsters with a monsterous sound. very unique production all in all, and having seen this on my list makes a lot of people jealous.
though i saw them in 2006 and was impressed, i was at the back of an arena in los angeles. now, in a san francisco club, i was able to get right up front and watch danny carey effortlessly work through the best drum parts ever written. the band as a whole is great, but danny carey in particular is a fucking god to me. the set was improved this time around as well, with some rare favorites like “third eye” and “intolerance”.
15. the magnetic fields
i may be in the minority for enjoying their new album, but the magnetic fields songbook as a whole is awe-inspiring. the setlist was very well balanced with old material and seeing them work through it was heart-warming. they perform their songs (even from “distortion”) in very minimal, stripped down arrangements; partly for the beauty of being subtle, and partly because of a hearing problem stephin merritt has that causes one of his ears to ring / feed back if the sound is too loud. for this reason, he was often covering one side during the raucous applause. endearing evening.
14. al green
“you’re seeing al green?” “yeah.” “the REVEREND al green?”
a living legend. his voice was perfect, and he was in great spirits (though perhaps too great? at one point saying, “i’m so excited i can’t get it up!”). between verses, he would distribute hundreds of roses to his adoring fans, running all over the stage, having even more fun than we were. the highlight was a medley of classic soul tunes, including him howling through a series of sam cooke covers. that is something i’ll never forget.
13. elton john
this was on my bucket list. your song, funeral for a friend, tiny dancer, rocket man, et cetera. he nailed it. it was a pleasure to see him and his band work through the classics, and an even greater pleasure to leave before billy joel’s set started. i don’t know why elton was the opening act, but at least i didn’t have to sit through that bullshit. i think the only reason they tour together is because they are both little dwarf men and can trade outfits.
i fucking hate billy joel.
12. the budos band
touring in support of what i called my album of the year, the budos band plays a dark, unique brand of african-influenced funk music. really cool to see their massive sounding percussion be split up among the several members playing it more simply (individuals delegated just to shakers, congas, etc). they only tour our way very rarely because of their dayjobs as grade school teachers in staten island. raunchy.
11. dax riggs
i’ve been a fan for years, but this was the first time i was able to catch him on tour. dax has one of the coolest voices i have ever heard, and his new record (another favorite of this year’s releases) is the type of sludgey, minor key delta blues i have spent the last few years obsessing over. the songs are much improved live, which i did not think was possible. bonus points here for him joining me at the bar to make fun of the opening band.
10. mayer hawthorne
he and the county were fantastic in portland, phenomenal in san francisco, but absolutely over the top at coachella. full horn section, brass reflecting the beaming sun, everyone in an upbeat mood for the upbeat set. it’s generally great summer music, so being there in that setting was perfect. i fucking love those songs. a classy riot to see live. best new artist for sure.
this is the single heaviest band i have ever seen. absolute “god tone”, like the earth exploding at its core. after basically pioneering stoner metal on the model of black sabbath’s third album, sleep broke up in the mid-90s and did not reunite until this year. now, it’s not for everyone - not even all metalheads - but if you are a fan of the sludgey stuff in the slightest, you know this was the mecca. their album “holy mountain” (hich they played in its entirety) is like the “sgt peppers” of this style of music. and they fucking nailed it. i’ve never felt so much like i was being crushed by the intensity of a band’s sound. my neck still hurts and my ears are still ringing.
sensational at coachella, but marred with technical difficulties. their headlining set at dante’s in portland is what really floored me. i think baroness is the freshest and most creative thing to happen to heavy music in my lifetime. the “blue album” is a masterpiece. the live show trumps it by adding extended improvisational jams between songs. they don’t stop for a second, and they are great on their toes. baroness have re-established the importance of lush harmony in metal songwriting, without compromising the heaviness of their sound.
on top of being flashy musicians with an absolute mastery of funk music and keytar soloing, this ranks so high because it was the single best dance party i could ever imagine happening. sunset in san francisco, gigantic bowl-shaped field, washed in red and orange colors, with everyone completely into it, all the way to the back. the crowd kept expanding as others were lured in, setting down all their things, just grooving barefoot. it was like a siren song. they had the crowd in the palm of their hand and we were happy to be there.
an interesting aspect of my childhood was having sisters with very particular tastes in music, which they had cultivated over the decade or so that they were around before i showed up. and like much other music i grew up around, i was much too young and oblivious then to understand why i liked pavement (if i actually did at all). i was exposed to their stuff way too early. giving the material a second chance as an adult has been a nostalgic ordeal. i knew the songs, but did not know how much i loved them. having the chance to see the band reunited, playing through selections from “slanted and enchanted”, easily makes this a top concert for me this year.
05. the melvins
for years i couldn’t understand the hype around this band. they’re even my style of music, but the albums never appealed to me. to some degree, they still dont. but i went to this show on the faith of my friends who have attended every chance they get. as soon as they started, i was floored with regret for missing a lifetime of melvins concerts. their appeal as a live act is immediate and irresistable. i don’t know if it was the two polyrhythmic drummers, the bass player’s banshee voice, the unpredictable nature of the songwriting, or whatever is on king buzzo’s head, but this is one of the best live acts i have ever seen. ever. everyone around me couldn’t help themselves exclaiming “wow”, “goddamn”, and “holy shit” with their applause after each song. their words were understatements.
though very popular, gorillaz as a live entity has been an illusory thing. after their first record, the occasional one-off show was done completely behind a video screen, band out of sight. their second album had them partially in view, performing as sillhouettes before colored backdrops, like an ipod commercial. in promoting this third album, which i do think is their best, the band moved completely into the spotlight. as the headlining performer at coachella, damon albarn was all over the place, engaging the crowd, getting everyone as into it as he was. the massive band was impressive, including the clash’s bassist and guitarist … which, predictably, gave the songs a great funkier and punkier sound; an improvement over the all-electronic record. coupled with great animated backdrops and an air of celebration, this was one of the most euphoric experiences of my year.
03. faith no more
reunited, and it feels so good! mike patton is the single best vocalist alive. i know i use a lot of hyperbole, but i really mean this. and twice this year, i got to see him performing his best material with his best band. faith no more have aged like fine wine. and i do mean aged - three balding heads and a mike bordin with grey dreads. but they sounded unbelievable, and more relevant than they did in 97. really, i don’t think i can put to words how fucking happy i am i got to experience this at all, let alone with them sounding tighter than they ever did before. you know, i used to fantasize about faith no more and soundgarden reuniting, so i could have a chance to seem them - they became my favorites only after breaking up. and now that dream is half realized, with the soundgarden show sure to happen this year. a small victory.
02. gil scott-heron
a few years ago, i was making an active effort to listen to less metal. in exploring other genres, i found gil’s “pieces of a man” album: a sort of funk/jazz/soul/poetry crossover which innovated every genre of music it touched upon. that record was in constant rotation for me throughout 2006. i became a devout fan, reading his poetry and collecting live bootlegs - but as i became more familiar with his legacy, i came to know how sharply his career and life declined. the music became uninspired, and with the loss of his soulful voice went his teeth. at the peak of my interest, gil was suffering from HIV, 60 years old, and in prison again for cocaine possession. this year has brought a lot of surprises for me, but nothing blew me away quite like his release of a popular new record and a glorious, humbled comeback performance to a packed crowd at coachella.
01. wild beasts
i first heard about this band in july. i saw them a month later. how did that become my #1 of the entire year - especially with competition like this?
in those weeks before the show, their “two dancers” was the only record i listened to. my friends did, as well, which only made my addiction more severe. we connected with it in a way that totally caught us off guard. their sound is deceptively complex, and the composition of the album as a whole is symphonic and masterful; though it maintains individual pop appeal track to track. but like many others in this list, the band is even better live. (what a fantastic trend to be happening, after years and years of being disappointed with bands who couldn’t live up to their ambitious studio works.)
beneath the surface, wild beasts are a very unusual band. with the amount of looping and bitonality involved in their music, the odds were really against them nailing it the way they did. each melody poured out of them in a way that seemed to me, an impossible dream. their songs invoke love and lust, pain and pleasure, excitement and disillusion, understanding and misunderstanding … often simultaneously. listening through the record front to back is like subjecting your ears to the entirety of the human experience. they are ambitious but effortless, and dwarf the other amazing acts i was able to see and hear in 2010.
we’ve still got the taste dancing on our tongues.
devin townsend - epic show from my idol. one of the best voices to ever exist. but he relied so heavily on pre-recorded backing tracks i had to take it off this list as a “live” show. you’re hevy fucking devy, leave the macbook on the bus.
danzig - i had a really great time at this show and remember really getting into the music, but i was so goddamn drunk it’s all a sweaty blur now. oops!
weezer - for being the worst show i’ve ever paid for. read my full review here.
THE FULL LIST:
01.04 - holdsworth bozzio levin mastelotto
02.10 - elton john
02.11 - anvil
02.22 - the magnetic fields
02.25 - four tet
04.16 - coachella: kate miller-heidke, jets overhead, baroness, yo gabba gabba, avett brothers, yeasayer, sssc, dillinger escape plan, she and him, gil scott heron, them crooked vultures, echo and the bunnymen, imogen heap, fever ray
04.17 - coachella: john waters, porcupine tree, portugal the man, old crow medicine show, beach house, band of skulls, edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros, coheed and cambria, faith no more, muse, les claypool, dead weather, devo
04.18 - coachella: king khan and the shrines, owen pallet, mayer hawthorne, sunny day real estate, yo la tengo, charlotte gainsbourg, pavement, gorillaz
07.11 - pinback
07.12 - tool
08.14 - outside lands: electric six, gogol bordello, bassnectar, wild beasts
08.15 - outside lands: al green, chromeo, mayer hawthorne, the budos band
09.03 - the budos band
09.04 - megadeth / slayer / testament
09.09 - musicfest northwest: baroness / red fang
09.10 - musicfest northwest: shonen knife / man man
09.11 - musicfest northwest: sleep / scott kelly of neurosis / yob
09.14 - dax riggs
09.24 - the melvins
10.10 - devin townsend
10.15 - superchunk
11.01 - gary numan
11.02 - tim and eric
11.09 - mayer hawthorne
11.16 - danzig / toxic holocaust
11.26 - weezer [blue album]
11.30 - faith no more
12.23 - cash’d out
2010 in review: album roundup
it’s that time again! my vague reviews of the last year of new music. my followup to last year’s.
favorites in nonstop rotation:
5. brian eno - small craft on a milk sea
very cinematic. in fact, the material was directly inspired by the general sound of modern film
scores, and several of the songs are actually rejects from eno’s work for the film “the lovely bones”. the production involved here is very impressive, as eno manages to make a cohesive product despite the tracks being so different. in general, it kind of takes the ambient piano style from “music for airports” and adds glitchy drums and unexpected analog synthesis. the title is very telling: though generally placid, every sea gets rough waters at times.
4. how to destroy angels - how to destroy angels
as a nine inch nails fan coping with the new hiatus, i had mixed feelings about this project as a
whole. the first released track, “a drowning”, did not really catch my interest. the other songs on this free record both make up for it and place the single in a context which makes it more interesting and appropriate. the music is not entirely a departure from reznor’s other work, though considerably less heavy - no live drums or power chords. having his wife on vocals kind of gives it a “sneaker pimps” sound.
3. dax riggs - say goodnight to the world
dax has a very unique and immediately recognizable voice. while it is not at its best here (he seems to have toned back his crazy vibrato and otherwise flashy blues crooning) these songs have quickly become my favorites of his. they are attractive in a way that his past material is not. the entire record takes a dark and often noisy delta blues direction, which is as raw as it is refined. i love the production, and the entire thing is exceedingly stylish. nobody else is doing blues like this.
2. gorillaz - plastic beach
i remember being so enthralled with “demon days” when it came out that the first gorillaz album, which i had once adored, seemed amateur and boring by comparison. when “plastic beach” first leaked, i wasn’t blown away like then, but it has grown on me in a way that the others did not, and continues to do so. this is not a record of poppy singles for ipod commercials. the compositions are much more unpredictable and absolutely brilliant at times. it takes some patience at first - the beat doesn’t even drop in “empire eyes” until several minutes in, for instance, but it proves to be one of the project’s most moving and creative tracks. absolutely dreamy record that, now, does match “demon days” for me.
1. the budos band - budos band iii
the budos band are a collective of (mostly) grade school teachers from staten island, new york, who get together to record and tour on their summer breaks. for a generally “throwback” band - 70s style spy funk recorded on analog equipment - they have crafted a surprisingly innovative record this time around. there is a dark, brooding nastiness to these songs which the earlier material lacks; but they’ve still got an upbeat rhythm section you can groove to. the melodies are addictive and very memorable, despite having no words attached to them. you will know the record by heart after your first listen. i was already a fan of this band for the smooth albums that came before, but “iii” knocks it out of the park. i have never heard a record like this, modern nor 70s. i listen to it constantly and have made every single person i’ve shown it to an immediate fan. it is a major accomplishment and easily my number one this year.
white moth - white moth
devo - something for everybody
superchunk - majesty shredding
trent reznor and atticus ross - the social network
mike patton - mondo cane
sufjan stevens - the age of adz
dead weather - sea of cowards
kanye west - my beautiful dark twisted fantasy
chromeo - business casual
alain johannes - spark
isobel campbell and mark lanegan - hawk
parallels - visionaries
ok, worth hearing:
peter gabriel - scratch my back
deftones - diamond eyes
emancipator - safe in the steep cliffs
electric six - zodiac
omar rodriguez lopez - cizana de los amores
boris and ian astbury - bxi
deerhunter - halcyon digest
ariya afrobeat arkestra - ariya afrobeat arkestra
brian jonestown massacre - who killed sgt pepper
circa survive - blue sky noise
she and him - volume two
four tet - there is love in you
spoon - transference
the black keys - brothers
fistful of mercy - as i call you down
yeasayer - odd blood
aloe blacc - good things
elvis costello - national ransom
bt - these hopeful machines
gil scott heron - i’m new here
crystal castles - crystal castles (2)
david byrne and fatboy slim - here lies love
cynic - retraced
slash - slashmichael jackson - michael
iron maiden - the final frontier
jakob dylan - women and country
tobacco - maniac meat
totally forgot to listen to:
jeff beck - emotion and commotion
neil young - le noise
the orb w/ david gilmour - metallic spheres
bruce springsteen - the promise
bob dylan - bootleg tapes volume 9
grinderman - grinderman 2
kylesa - spiral shadow
melvins - the bride screamed murder
swans - my father will guide me up a rope to the sky
cathedral - the guessing game
weezer’s blue album show was last night. we drove 2 hours and paid $45 each for the shittiest seats in the building and muddy sound which was drowned out by the thousands of skanky LA girls, including nicole richie, singing along to every word of the new songs.
the set ran chronologically from newest to oldest, with a song or two from each album they’ve done except their first record, which was what the show was advertised for. i do love their first album, and their second as well (which they picked just one lesser track from) … but the work they’ve done since is criminally bad music - a complete stylistic departure devoid of any interesting musical ideas. the show celebrates this, with rivers cuomo running around the crowd fist pumping like a jackass, paying josh fucking freese to be their touring drummer so that their real drummer can stand in the corner and play sloppy rhythm guitar instead. WHAT???
their promise to (eventually) play the first record in its entirety was the only condition for which i would ever have attended. but that record is around half an hour long, so i should have known this was a trap. the hour and a half of garbage that preceded it not only had us completely jaded for whatever good material was left, but made the ‘classic album’ set seem like a cover group.
If You’re Wondering If I Want You To (with the fat guy from Lost singing lead)
Pork and Beans
Keep Fishin’ (with the guitar player singing lead)
Island in the Sun (with the girl from the opening band singing lead)
Falling for You
like watching a time lapse video of a flower decomposing backwards, but that flower is weezer and the process isn’t beautiful. on its own, this is the worst setlist ever. the exact opposite of what i’d wanted to hear. it was followed with an exceedingly long intermission before they came out and played anything i give a shit about. the angelino crowd clearly preferred the first set.
i would like my ticket price to be donated towards the fund to make weezer break up forever. while not necessarily the worst show i’ve ever seen (working at venues forced me into catching the likes of papa roach, fall out boy, and yellowcard) … it is easily the worst i’ve ever paid for and a stain on my otherwise flawless 2010 concert itinerary.
above: rivers cuomo fist pumping like a jackass and the fat guy from lost.
show me your teeth
i have the worst / most over the top root canal story ever.
it was an emergency situation as a result of a tooth basically exploding at the root while i was in the mountains outside osaka, japan. the pain was so bad and unpredictable, i thought my jaw was broken. the altitude of the mountain, as well as the flight back, made it worse. when i landed in san diego, my mom (a retired dentist) knew immediately what the problem was and got me to an endodontist straight from the airport. having finally arrived at treatment, the doctor informed me that i was too swollen and damaged for the drugs to work.
so he drilled into my tooth without novocane, filing down the sides so the tooth is now a stump. he paused for a moment, as a service, to explain to me (in his william h macy fargo voice) the circumstance my tooth is in. tapping the surrounding teeth with his metal tool he says, “see, these feel normal,” and then taps the fucked one, “and this is likely extremely painful”. it was!
he then began pulling dead root nerve out of the hole in my now volcano-shaped molar. as he’s pulling out bits, he keeps putting them up to his nose to smell. the stuff they get out of you during a root canal is the most rancid smell you could imagine. he puts it to my nose at one point to make sure i get it. “absolutely rotten!” i gag at the smell, and he’s seriously rolling his eyes back into his head with each whiff, as if he was on the verge of eating the pieces or doing a line of them. it was fucking weird. i’m laughing and crying at this time because of the absurdity and just how much pain i was in, without drugs. peter gabriel’s sledgehammer is blaring over the office speaker. they are asking me questions about japan and i am just hysterical.
when i’m done, they prescribe no painkillers - i’m just to have ibu or advil with my antibiotics. i take a handful and get into a limo to go see def leppard and styx with a handful of san diego chargers football players, still in the clothes i wore on the flight from japan.
above: drunk but still in pain at the end of the day. 2008.
when the awesomeness of a single photo dictates your plans for the indefinite future