Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Ain't The Summer Of Love

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of The Summer of Love in San Francisco. Whatever... Fuck that Hippie Shit. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the birth of the NWOSFHM scene (New Wave of San Francisco Heavy Metal)!

During my morning appointment, my hair stylist (Hey! I've been going to her for, like, 10 years!) gave me the FYI about Timbuk2 having a mad crazy sale at their warehouse in Potrero Hill. After my haircut, I guided the Prius to Timbuk2 and scored a great new messenger bag for 50% off. Not a very "Metal" morning, was it?

After my poser metrosexual morning, it was a semi-adult Bloody Mary brunch in The Mission with Joey The Drummer; he didn't even attempt to make himself purty for me... The meal and hang time was capped off by a double shot of Grinderman's 'No Pussy Blues' > Pavement's 'Summer Babe' coming over the bar's stereo. NICE! Joey mentioned that he didn't have a ticket to see the sold out Grinderman shows in 2 weeks, so I made a phone call and got him one; just imagine what I would have done if he'd made himself purty for me! I associate Pavement with Summer in S.F... Not the fucking Jefferson Airplane, man. "Everytime I sit around I find I'm shot..."

Before going home, I stopped at the Best Buy on The Mission / SoMa border; on my way in I overheard one male security guard say to another male security guard "I thought I told you I was bi-sexual?"... On the way out I saw the bassist from Old Granddad crossing the street wearing a Cheap Trick shirt. Only in San Francisco, man. Upon returning home this message was in my InBox:

Date: Jul 14, 2007 2:08 PM
Body: Tonight is the night I've been waiting for since I first started working on GET THRASHED over 4 years ago!

If you're near the San Francisco area and love thrash, the Roxie Cinema at 3117 16th St at Valencia is the place to be tonight at 10pm. Members of Exodus, Death Angel, Forbidden plus many others are scheduled to attend the screening.

See you in a few hours!!!

Since METAL was my life during most of the Summers in the 80's, it was appropriate for Umlaut to attend the Get Thrashed screening. Prior to the screening, members of the Umlaut Nation met in The Mission for fellowship, Bible study, and Beer 'n Mexican food. On the way to the restaurant, I spotted this mini-van:

Iron Maiden > Baby On Board

No matter where you go, Metal you are... During the fellowship and Bible study, Erik, Hiro, and I spoke of the greatness that is Band Of Brothers. Amen. A shout out to Timo, Dalia, Joey, Lori, Chris M., Erik, Lisa, Justin, Mark, Chris S., Hiro, and Julie!

The vibe outside of The Roxie was like an Old Metal club show, with a line stretching down the block... I ran into more old faces from the Old Metal Days while waiting, and also noted the old faces who weren't there as well. I didn't wear an Old Metal shirt on purpose, which I'm sure hurt my cred. Oh well.

Anyway, about the film: It reminded me how important Metal was and is to me, but also reminded me how NOT Metal I am now. I mean, Metal is in my blood... but only up to a certain point. The drunk Metal couple sitting directly behind us didn't help things by screaming "FUCK YEAH!!!!!" every time (every.. time.. I'm not exaggerating) a band they liked came onscreen or by screaming "YOU'RE GAY!!!!" every time (every.. time.. I'm not exaggerating) a member of Metallica came onscreen.. It was funny the first time, but 90 minutes later it wasn't.. and the screening was over 2 hours long.

I had some problems with the film, but I'll stay positive here. Things I liked:
  • The film did a great job of giving Exodus and Paul Baloff a massive amount of respect and props for their place in Metal history. I'll admit that I got a little misty watching all of the old Exodus stuff, especially when someone described how Baloff would go off on his "METAL!!" rants and then some bootleg audio of Baloff doing just that was in the film's soundtrack. Nice. In my book, Baloff was the heart and soul of the SFHM scene and it was cool that was documented accurately.
  • Umlaut's old friend Ron Q. getting so much witty screen time and getting the closing scene where he said something like "One day we'll all be old men sitting in rocking chairs ranting about how great Baloff was, how awesome the Metal Scene was, how raging Exodus were, etc. etc."... It was hilarious and so accurate, 'cause that's where we are now! My rocking chair is creaking even as I write this.
  • Seeing the Death Angel footage reminded me how we used to make fun of those guys back in The Day. They were just little kids but we'd see them at ALL the Metal shows; we once heckled them when one of their parents dropped them off at a show. Those dudes got the last laugh for sure!
  • It was interesting to me how little cred Metallica has with the Old Scene now. Every time Lars or Kirk's interview segments came onscreen they were heckled... and, despite what they are now, they were a seminal part of the Old Metal Scene. Sad but true.. Thank dog Cliff Burton isn't here to witness this.
  • The classic Harold O. photo of Rich, Cliff, and James flashing onscreen; 2/3 of that trio are no longer with us. That pic sums up everything for me when it comes to the old SFHM Scene: Who is gone and who was left standing, and what have the survivors done since the old scene ran its course. I suppose that's the age-old question of any scene, innit?

I spotted 3 of my old photos in the film, which is kinda cool I guess. However, I will admit that after the 2+ hour screening I needed to sandblast my brain... Is there such a thing as TOO MUCH Metal? Yes, yes there is... The next day I only listened to pre-70's Jazz to get my brain back to equilibrium.

All in all it was fun night, 'twas cool seeing old friends, but it was surreal seeing a movie devoted to something I lived and was heavily involved in.. Back then we were just kids having fun; to see those times elevated to something that's considered "historical" is still weird to me. I wonder if Old Hippies feel the same way about the Summer of '67? Discuss amongst yourselves.

To quote Blue Öyster Cult: "Things ain't what they used to be, and this ain't the Summer of Love..."