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Author: Subject: For the Rob Lind nut-huggers (like SS76 and me)
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[*] posted on 11-17-2014 at 04:21 PM
For the Rob Lind nut-huggers (like SS76 and me)

Copy-and-paste from the Ramallah facebook page. You're welcome. :D


𝘔𝘺 𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘭-𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘗𝘣𝘰𝘺 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘝𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘦. 𝘏𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘢 𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘙𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘉𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘯. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘕𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 17𝘵𝘩 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘣’𝘴 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘈𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 1989 𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘰 𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘣𝘴 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘴𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘐’𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘏𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 “𝘙𝘢𝘵-𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘥” 𝘴𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘏𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘭 𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘐 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘵 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵. 𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘵𝘴-’𝘯-𝘨𝘪𝘨𝘨𝘭𝘦𝘴, 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘮 (𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘵𝘺;):

Wait a second… they made a “Rat Themed” room at that fucking hotel where the club once stood? Wow... you think you've become inured to the horrors of humanity until some fresh atrocity comes along and takes it up a notch...

Well for starters, for this Rat-themed-experience to have even a SHRED of authenticity, there’d better be human blood all over the floors of the room, syringes in the wastebaskets, herpes on the toilet seats, urine and feces in the sinks, toxic black mold in the air-conditioning system and free-floating shards of glass in the beers in the mini-bar. And most important: the hotel employees should be trained to never interfere or contact law-enforcement no matter how imminent a guest's death appears after the other guests suddenly jump him without warning… which they invariably will.

Oh, and the corpse of G.G. Allin should be propped up outside the room's door.

Hardcore punk has always been insular and prone to violence… both at the shows and in the streets. The people involved tend to be hostile toward, or at least very suspicious of, anyone perceived to be an outsider. There are a ton of possible sociological reasons for this and it would take a BOOK to even begin to break them down but if you want proof that this has always been the case, go pull up some old FEAR show footage from the late 70’s or google the lyrics to Chicken Shit Conformist by the Dead Kennedys.

Hardcore has ALWAYS been a violent world.

And some towns always took it all up a notch. At various points in time, to go to a show in these places was to take your physical well-being and even your very life in your hands (I could list them but I don’t want to accidentally forget and leave a town off the list and make a whole scene pissed at me. Also this piece is solely about the Rat and Boston).

For as long I’ve been involved, hardcore shows in Boston have always been excessively violent. I witnessed much of it first hand for over 2 decades and I also travelled to other towns throughout that time regularly via touring to be able to make comparisons.

***𝗾𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁: 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵 𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭-𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘦. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘤𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘻𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘐 𝘱𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘭𝘥-𝘴𝘵𝘺𝘭𝘦 𝘹𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘹𝘦𝘥-𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘺 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘴 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘲𝘶𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘶𝘱𝘭𝘰𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘦𝘣. 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘐 𝘲𝘶𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘐 𝘤𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮.

Though there was always a base-level of aggression associated with the music style itself, some bands brought out a nastier reaction than others. Blood For Blood brought out the worst. The same applied to the venues: some clubs seemed to have a higher level of brutality than others. The Rat was the worst (with The Channel being a close second IMHO).

Through some kind of Satanic alchemy, the combination of the Rathskellar and my music always seemed to act as some sort of reverse-exorcism: it drove all the goodness from the hearts and minds of anyone listening. I can’t tell you many times I stood back-stage before a show sharing scones and soda pop with guys (and gals) who seemed laid-back, soft-spoken, insightful, intelligent, sensitive and all around “nice”… only to watch the same people kick each other’s teeth out of their skulls, drag each around the club floor by their face holes and celebrate in the resultant rain of bodily fluids the instant the rock n roll commenced.

Being at a show at the Rat was like being at that werewolf clan retreat in The Howling… if the werewolves were genetically imbued with the combat prowess of Anderson Silva and the reckless disregard of personal safety (and high-flying aerial hijinks) of Sabu the wrestler. The heavy metal music just served as the full fucking moon.

And that just describes the dancing. It got much more interesting when things got personal.

I remember standing onstage one day and watching a good friend of mine beat this big oaf’s head into a thin gruel with the very same cinder-block anchored mic-stand I’d just been yelling angry, lowest-common-denominator slogans into seconds earlier. This was seriously the 14 or 15th attempted murder of that set alone, and this shit happened every time we played, which back then was sometimes as often as twice a month. I remember saying to myself “This AGAIN? Shouldn’t I eventually become desensitized to this shit?”.

Back then you couldn’t turn on a TV or radio without hearing some sociological talking-head blaring on about “the desensitization of America’s youth to violence”. Well you couldn’t prove it by me. I remember thinking “Fuck …when’s it gonna be my turn to be desensitized? Every time I strap a guitar on my butthole STILL clenches tight enough to turn the bowel movement I got on deck into some kind of quartz. It’s making it too fucking time-consuming to dig my drugs and house-keys and other valuables out of there…”.

My brother Mark (of the Warning Shots, The Ducky Boys, Dirty Water, The Unloved) reminds of another visually spectacular incident. “Don't forget the fan incident. It was located on the bar in the disabled-section (where me with a cast on my arm and Joannie L on crutches with a broken leg were standing). Someone pulled it off the bar and smashed it over this guys head until he looked like a cross between the guy on the cover of Ministry's "Filth Pig" and Victor Pascow from Pet Sematary. Some barriers were not meant to be crossed, Lewis…”. Indeed. And the soil of a man’s skull is stonier… just not stonier than an industrial-sized floor fan…

These are just a couple of colorful, stand out events. If I were to attempt to list EVERY stabbing , cue-balling or boot-party, not only would I fail due to the frailty of human memory (whatever I haven’t blocked out of my mind has started to blur) but the stats would start to read like Nazi atrocities: the sheer volume and number of incidents starts to blunt and devalue the very real impact of terror and human suffering.

Anyone who was there back then knows that I am actually understating.

As far as personal feelings go, the Rat was the first (and probably last) place that I felt truly at home. I felt comfortable there. I felt accepted. The Rat was my place and it’s people were my people. These warm, fuzzy feelings conflicted and yet coexisted with the fact that I was on edge there ALL the time. Something terrible could happen at any given moment and often did… and I was constantly aware of the possibility.

It’s so strange when I lay it out on paper like that: “I was totally at home and yet totally ill-at-ease there at the same time all the time”. But IMO that is the core of the human experience: the schizophrenic ability to hold two anathema and utterly conflicting opinions with utter sincerity at the same time. On a related note, it took me a LONG time to accept this mental form of double-think as a truth of the human experience… and it cost me a LOT of existential agony figuring it out. “I hate mankind”/ “I love people”/ “I wish I could save the world”/ “I wish I could exterminate the human race”… are some examples of the conflicting, yet completely sincere beliefs and desires that blared through the inside of my skull for 30 years until I thought it was going to split. The Rat was a brick-and-mortar testament to this existential duality.

Another impression of The Rat is that it always seemed to exist in a bubble outside of space and time. Like a pocket universe where consequences didn’t seem to exist, at least for those who were accepted there (the consequences for an outsider that wandered in could be dire indeed). Horrible things happened there regularly and nothing ever seemed to come of it. Whenever I’d sit down at the bar, I would do a quick scan of the joint, to see who was around and to see if there were any storm clouds brewing on the horizon. I remember specific incidents where I said to myself “last sunday that guy by the jukebox helped hold a guy while another stabbed him”, “and that dude talking to that fat chick dug a guy’s eye out of his face at a show last Saturday”.

I personally beat some biker guy half to death with a cue-ball-in-a-sock in full view of club security (he and his friends had jumped me a couple of weeks prior also in full view of club security) and I SWORE to myself I would avoid going there for a few months “just to be safe” (i.e. so I wouldn’t get arrested for aggravated assault or possibly attempted murder). Well I ended up drinking there no less than two nights later. And no less than an hour or so after arriving, I jumped into a brawl my good friend kicked off and ended up beating some dude unconscious with my dog Eddie’s chain leash.

It became a Rat-joke that at the height of the brawl while I was whipping the dudes face with the leash some girl yelled out “leave him alone… he’s already dead…”. Some of my friends took to calling that out during every brawl from then on (oddly, a few years later the exact line coincidentally showed up on the Simpson’s when Homer beat the Hamburgler-character to death in front of a bunch of children hahaha! Weird huh?).

By the way, just to be clear and in case the previous paragraphs implies otherwise: I am a total wimp that needs a gang of hardened henchmen at my back just to escape a wet paper bag or to beat my own meat (yes I’m aware of how that sounds). I am not a tough guy or thug at all. And I detest violence. Those were just the waters we all swam in back then. And it should be telling that even someone like me, the LEAST threatening of the characters that staffed the Rat regularly back then, was getting up to shit like that on a semi-regular basis.

Even then the lack of consequences filtered through the boozy haze I lived in. In the back of mind I remember thinking from from to time “man, how can this place NOT be on law enforcement’s radar? It’s only a matter of time…”. I was often concerned that some brother or cousin or father of a victim from Southie or my hometown of Charlestown or Brockton might show up with a description of “a mean-looking fat guy with tattoos” (which described 2/3rds of everyone at the Rat back then, including the women) and start shooting the whole place up and everyone in it for payback. But these things never happened.

I mean occasionally some victim would return with his busted teeth or his severed ear in a mayonnaise jar tied around his neck with twine screaming for revenge. Sometimes he’d come back with a posse of avenging regulators out for blood and retribution… but such Pinkerton squads were usually dispatched as quickly and efficiently as the original victim.

I remember one time some supposed mafia guy said he was coming back to shoot one of my friends. So my buddy made it point to sit out front of the place on the patio every night for the next two weeks where the mob guy could easily find him. The made man never showed. I don’t blame Mister Mafia… my buddy was a stone savage that could beat the spots off a leopard and he wasn’t going to be intimidated by anything short of a bullet in the face. He was the type of you guy that if you were gonna pull a gun on him without intending to use it, you’d better dip that gun in melted butter before hand… cuz he’s gonna stick it up your ass and the melted butter will make the whole process a little more comfortable.

If I were conspiracy-minded, I could make a fair argument that the place was an elaborate front for jaded billionaires to get their rocks off watching all the violence on a CCTV system ala the movie Hard Target or the video game Manhunt. Why else didn’t the cops ever show up there? Why else would the mic stands be anchored so tantalizingly with cinder-blocks? Why else would a 40 pound industrial fan without a safety-cage be perched at the end of a bar still covered with smears of the blood from last weekend’s show? There might as well have a been a bow on it and a small note saying “feel free to use me as a blunt weapon”…

How can a Rat-themed hotel room capture any of this? And why would anyone want to capture any of this?

In summation I will say this: anyone that is not on a paid writing assignment who willingly goes out of their way to stay in this “Rat-room” (and pays a thousand dollars a night at that) is the fucking ACHILLES in the Trojan War of douchebaggery. I could understand making a pilgrimage to the Chelsea hotel with the intent of waking up next to a dead-hooker or deliberately overdosing on heroin and dying in the actual room where Sid and Nancy lived out their little comedy (something I aspired to do for years until I found out they bricked up the actual room). Now THAT would be a worthy burnt-offering on the altar of Rock N’ Roll. But paying 1K to simply stay in a room that some middling hotel administrator arbitrarily decided was the “Rat Room”? Pfffft… in Boston a thousand dollars buys a fair amount of heroin and a LOT of dead hookers. I’ll take the latter, thank-you-very-much.

P.S. For the record, I almost never saw anyone get assaulted for absolutely no reason in all my time at the Rat and in my time playing and attending shows around the country. If an outsider wandered into the Rat for a few drinks and comported themselves in a decorous and respectful manner, no one was going to walk up to them and put a bat over their head. If they wandered downstairs into the pit at a show they might’ve got their nose broken but that is a different story cuz the pit doesn’t count: we ALL got our noses broken in the pit on occasion. That’s just the nature of the Pit Beast hahaha. But if the outsider acted up in any way, their antics would be OVER-reacted to. And sadly, the local definition of what constituted “acting up” was rather broad.

That “big oaf” I mentioned above (the one who was beaten with the cinder-block) was a big frat-boy tough guy who jumped in the pit and started punching everyone who bumped into him in the face. The biker I mentioned had already jumped me with his friends. The guy who got hit with my dog’s leash walked up to our table, stared one of my buddy’s down and then spit in his drink. I honestly can’t remember what the Filth-Pig/ Victor Pascow guy did…. but in keeping with the spirit of this I’ll suggest that he was a founding member of NAMBLA and a boyscout troop leader hahaha.

Alcohol and aggressive music make me people act irrationally and stupid. Most of the time and in most social situations, such behavior gets a pass. At the Rat and at hardcore shows, such behavior often didn’t get a pass..

Please read and, if you can, help out a friend:
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[*] posted on 11-17-2014 at 05:02 PM

That was interesting. I didn't even know the Rat was gone, seeing as I haven't been to Boston since the mid-to-late 90's. It sucks seeing how many of the great venues around the punk world are gone now. Yuppie gentrification sucks.

‘Do you know what a love letter is? It’s a bullet from a fucking gun. Straight through your heart.’
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[*] posted on 11-17-2014 at 09:35 PM

Cool, I read that the other day.

Silence is golden but violence is platinum.
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[*] posted on 11-18-2014 at 09:38 AM

well that was rather long winded.......
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[*] posted on 11-26-2014 at 10:36 PM

that was great, thanks for the nut-huggery :D
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