Saturday, July 17, 2004

Hope I Die Before I Get Sold

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

An exhibition tracing the influence of skateboarding, graffiti, punk, and hip hop subcultures on today's aesthetic. Blah Blah Blah. Yawn. Enough of all that ed-ju-macated dissertation and dissection. The most profound way to appreciate these influences is to simply visit the Hot Topic store in your local suburban mall.

There were Black Flag albums and 7" singles archival mounted in wall displays. Copies of Raymond Pettibon and Pushead fanzines lay hermetically sealed under glass. I have the same TV Party 7" that was behind glass, but my copy is on a shelf in a cardboard box with my other 7" records (of course, they're all protected by 3 Mil polybags...). The first Suicidal Tendencies album was exhibited next to Misfits, Sonic Youth, and Metallica 12" records not unlike pieces of Ming Dynasty art.

“Umm…Dahling... Look at that Misfits album cover…Is that what you call it? The cover? My god, the artwork is sublime..”

Young hipsters and scenesters elbowed through the galleries. I recognized a couple of aging hipster faces from the old Kennel Club, Chameleon, Brave New World, Nightbreak, etc. etc. The young hipster kidz seemed oblivious to the irony of their designer cut CBGB's shirts. Meanwhile, Frank Kozik and the bassist from Green Day brushed past them unrecognized. I made eye contact with Mike Green Day. Yeah, once upon a time I saw your band in a shithole club with only 30 other people. But that was then and this is now.

Pictured above: James Hetfield and the Metallica Zorlac skateboards circa 1986. Old Metalheads will remember that back in the 80's James was a skater. He even went so far as to break his arm while skateboarding backstage during the Master Of Puppets Tour. The band cancelled a show, but continued the tour for 2 months with James' arm in a cast and their guitar roadie filling in on axe.

Fast forward 18 years and Metallica is airing their millionaire rehab laundry on a multiplex movie screen near you and selling their art collections at Christie's. Those same Metallica Zorlac boards are now hanging in an art museum. That was then and this is now.

Leaving the gallery I had a tangible feeling of all the time that has passed in my life. Not in a bad way, but in a "I've seen a million faces and I've rocked them all" way. Like mileage on an odometer.

Back at the car I turned on the radio to 107.7's weekly Bone Metal Zone.. Amazingly, they were playing Armored Saint's Can U Deliver.Only the Old Metalheads reading this will crack a smile and know what I'm talking about. WV, BS, LS, DG, IK, KD: I actually thought of y'all at that moment.

"Here's your chance to please... Can you deliver?"

I cranked up the volume and drove back to the sanctity of my life in the 21st Century. This is now.