Denouement in D Minor

Last week I happened upon the personal effects of another man’s life…spilling from burst garbage bags, tossed at the Narrows…at the crossroads of three tent encampments…a window into the past, when packs of young white men swaggered across Los Angeles in boots and ripped jeans, hair bouncing in expectation of near fame, failing that, admiring glances from the ladies, failing that, self-affirmation in the mirror.

The first thing I noticed in the pile was this framed graduation photograph from Bonds-Wilson High School, Charleston, South Carolina, class of 1978.  This is quite an artifact to turn up in the Favela 40 years later.  Did he live in the neighborhood all this time? Why else would it be here?

He joined an 80s hair band called Warhead.  That’s him, second from the right.  Encylopaedia Mettalum lists two songs in their oeuvre: “Explosive Rock”, and “Tonight, We Rock”.

A few years later, the band left South Carolina in a bid for the big time, re-constituted in LA as Bad Influence. Westar Promotions, the promoter/manager, lists a Van Nuys phone number.  This may be as far as they got. I asked a wise veteran of the metal scene of that period if he had ever heard of them. He hadn’t, “but there were a literally a thousand bands.”

He wasn’t kidding. Also among the effects, a yellowed copy of Rock City News, the Sunset Strip free weekly ….pages and pages of bands remarkable only in their astounding similarity. A phone book of douche faces (and I say that with affection) attached to forgettable monickers: Terriff.  Tarrga. Thieves & Lovers.  One is reminded of Mick Mars’ dictum: if the band has a shitty name, it’s certain to be a shitty band.  That’s probably unfair to the people we see here whose skill level ranged from classically trained to hack, but there can only be one Motley Crue and a whole lot of earnest young men handing out flyers.  It’s the unforgiving animal we all ride.

There was a point in life when your hair was the most valuable thing you owned.  Or to express it differently, there was a point when you had hair. You cared for it, the fulcrum upon which tilted your destiny.

Then there is this. Who is she?  A girlfriend? A beloved sister? Was she the keeper of his memories?  Did she mourn him or tire of him? Is he alive? If so, is he in Los Angeles, still working a day job? Why would you keep this all these years, only to toss it on Raymer St, behind Target?

I like her better as a mystery.

11 thoughts on “Denouement in D Minor”

  1. In land where there’s some sort of interesting shit happening on every street corner, only someone of true discernment and focus would give such a thoughtful eye to this hastily discarded refuse, and upon closer examination – take a meaningful glance at a life lived in honest pursuit of one’s dreams….and the seemingly heartbreakingly bleak conclusion in a pile of junk behind a mega retailer. Your blog went from something mildly interesting, to something novel, to something I can’t wait to give my attention to. Chronicling the struggle never read so good.

    1. Scott, if only everyone read as carefully and critically as you. Thank you for your kind words. You inspire me to observe the world carefully.

  2. This post gave me an instant flashback – like getting a whiff of a certain perfume at a department store and remembering your fourth grade teacher.

    I was in an office building in Santa Monica in… 1983? A hair band of exactly this description entered the hall from the elevator and headed to a record executive’s office with equal parts bravado and terror. What ever happened to them?

    Aaaaah. Now I see. The band members eventually cut their hair and went on to sell life insurance or teach seventh grade algebra. (I’m being optimistic here.) I’m guessing the guy in the photos would be 59-ish now. An ugly divorce or premature death seem the most likely scenarios given the trash bags.

    On the other hand, have you seen David Lee Roth lately? He looks like all the alter kockers in Palm Springs at the Jewish community Center. “Sylvia, you look fetching as always. But listen, make sure you get to the buffet before that fershtinkiner Leonard. He always paws over the challah and brisket like an animal.”

    1. It’s because DLR’s hair is no more. That’ll make an alter kocker out of the best of us. If my recent memory of your blog is correct, you had quite the mane yourself in the 20th century.

  3. It certainly does Scott. How did the items end-up in the Pacoima Wash?

    Warhead was formed in 1981, and won the Miller High Life Rock to Riches national contest and were on their way to greatness. They even had a slot on the ‘8O’s cultural icon, MTV.

    Their downfall came when their management company embezzled all their cash.

    Bad Influence had a large following in Los Angeles at one point in time.

    1. Sorry I didn’t respond earlier to your comments. You seem to know a bit about Bob and his bands, Warhead and Bad Influence. Where did you obtain this information? Did you see them play? Were you part of the metal scene?

      I found a LinkedIn profile for him, but not much else.

  4. Only two band members left South Carolina for California Admin, Bob Emerson and Erol Denizkurtz. Erol eventually relocated to Naples, Florida.

    Bob does not appear to be destitute, he still plays in a band called Idle Kings.

    1. Except this clip is 10 years old and has 186 views. Nice pull, though. How did you know he played for the Idle Kings?

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