Making Your Bones

Bones

So, I’m sure you’re all interested to know how someone becomes a Lad. I’m sure some of you on the outside can only imagine the rituals that must take place in order for a prospective member to make his bones and join The Lads.

You’ve probably heard rumors of things like hazings, jump in’s, rituals, written rites of passage, memorization, secret handshakes, voodoo, satanic worship, cigarette burns, branding, tattoo’s, abuse, degradation and many other forms of initiation bullshit.

So… Lets go back to the story : How I Met Alex. Lurch and I had stood off a bunch of dummies that night but Lurch and I had been working on our reputation for a while.

Lurch and I were like a packaged deal. You fucked with one of us and you fucked with the both of us. This idea expanded to include a whole set of our friends throughout The Valley, Hollywood and Los Angeles. So Lurch and I were already out doing the work… I.E. Beat downs, muggings, contracted hits, intimidation, menacing and other assorted trades I can’t mention here… We were also well known for carrying dangerous toys like guns, bombs, knives, crossbows and napalm.

After that chance meeting with Alex in front of The Whiskey a close personal friend, “John” came to me and asked me if I would be interested in meeting with Alex formally to discuss possible admission to The Lads. He said that he was IN and he wanted Lurch and I also to be IN due to our history with each other.

So, in the beginning of 1982 “John” took us out to Hollywood to meet up with Alex. We parked up the street from Alex’s apartment and Alex came out to meet us. As soon as he walked up he recognized us from The Whiskey incident. He immediately showed interest in bringing us IN. From there things happened pretty quickly, Lurch and I were introduced to everyone IN and we began following the set where ever it went.

We got introduced at the Sunday meeting in Poinsettia Park in Hollywood and everyone gave us the nod and agreed we were IN! Soon after, Lurch an I were invited to Alex’s Apartment and that day he created two new armbands for Lurch and I while we watched.

During that day Alex told us many things about being IN The Lads… “WE chose YOU because of who YOU are.”…”Don’t go and become someone you’re not, now that you’re IN.”…”Don’t bring US extra heat we don’t need.”…”Keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.”…”We’re here to protect OUR scene.”…”Don’t fight with other Lads, if you do, you’re OUT.” We were told to show up every Sunday for meetings, to wear all black and to wear our arm bands. At the time a lot of The Lads had the Skull & Bones on their leather jackets but the pigs were coming down on them. The idea of the arm band was that when the pigs showed up we could slip off the arm band and disappear into the crowd.

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Now… about all the secret rituals that I mentioned before… When I came IN there was no jump in or beat down. Friends and people I counted on in those days didn’t do shit like abuse each other. Many of us came from abusive households that we were trying to escape and we wouldn’t put up with any beat down from a friend or anyone else. You just did The Fucking Work!

Child Abuse And Improvised Weapons

IMG_0001 (2)From an early age I was beaten and psychologically abused by my father. My so called father was a degenerate, closet case, faggot. Due to my own naivete he would try to use me as “chicken bait” so he could hook up with other degenerate faggots like himself. I remember being taunted by neighborhood kids about my so called father being a homo and a faggot! I got into a lot of fights over people calling him a faggot in those early years. I still had no idea that he was a degenerate faggot and I even remember clobbering a neighbor kid with a flower pot in his defense.

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From about the age of 10 years old I began to make my own improvised weapons. I knew there was something seriously wrong and weird with my father even though I didn’t actually know exactly what that was. I would make clubs, hooks, spikes, blades, shanks and other improvised weapons and keep them at the ready in case he were to attack me. I packed an old backpack with clothes, weapons and food and hid it in the garage in case I might need to run away at a moments notice.

This shit went on for years, far too many years… I watched, as this piece of shit would abuse my mom, call her names and shit and make her cry. Once he was in a mood he would also attack me for whatever happened to piss him off at the moment. One time after I happened to use some “words” with my sister because she was acting like an annoying bitch.. She goes and rats me out and then I received a 2-hour beating… Two fucking hours of him smacking me, punching me and slapping the shit out of me…Two fucking hours!.. Then.. miraculously, my grandmother shows up with my grandfather because they were supposed to be coming over for the day for swimming and a bbq… Yeah right!

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Well my grandmother walks in and sees what’s going on and comes unglued. She smacks the shit outa my old man..bang bang, whack whack… Stopped him dead! Then, she goes outside to find my mother outside … I don’t know… hanging out, enjoying the fucking garden?.. I don’t know, because I just got my clocked cleaned for two hours …. I hear my grandmother yelling at my mom now out back… My grandfather is just standing there looking at me with a stunned look on his face…

Over the years my so called father would do things like punch me dead in the face and then kick me while I was on the ground. One time I came home to find all of my records, clothes and personal items thrown out my bedroom window into the swimming pool outside. Once, after picking up a friend and I from a show in Hollywood he then proceeded to take us “cruising” for transvestite hookers just off of highland blvd, jokingly of course.. but not.

Through all of this I became the most dangerous kid you’d ever meet on the street. I could take a beating and I was armed and dangerous. Arrested at 12 for an A.D.W. He beat an aggression into me that has lasted a lifetime and served me well. People that fuck with me feel it well after we meet and I don’t feel bad about it… It serves them right!… You see it’s like this.. You treat me good and I will always try to treat you better… Treat me like shit, get mouthy with me and I’m gonna end up treating you like a piece of wood. I don’t talk to wood just like I don’t talk to trees… Wood is meant for burning and nothing more.

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One night I missed my ride and had to lump it the whole way home. I knew I’d be late and I’d have to sneak into the house so I wouldn’t wake up my parents. I came in the front door all quiet like and tried to sneak down the hall to my bedroom. All of a sudden my asshole father leaps out of the darkness onto my back yelling some shit like “a hah I caught you”. Well, ha ha ha… Well…”uh, yeah” I tell him. Then grabbing his legs I say “NO I’VE GOT YOU MUTHERFUCKER”… and laughingly I slammed that mutherfucker into the wall so hard I broke three of his faggot ribs… Ha ha ha ha Fuck you OLD MAN!

Really, the last correspondence I ever actually had with my so called father was through the Restraining Order he filed against me for… Um… I can’t really remember, slips my mind…Ha Ha Ha.

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Perhaps, in the future, if I so happen to live longer than he does… I plan to SHIT on his fucking grave so that every day for an eternity he can smell the shit he created that is me!

“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”          Samuel Johnson

Confrontations And Riots On The Sunset Strip

In the 80’s if you were a minor and wanted beer but you didn’t know anyone old enough to buy you’d just hang outside a liquor store and pimp for beer until the right person came along. It was never that difficult to score some liquor in those days. It wasn’t a big deal to most people, some gave their opinion that “I’d rather see ya drink some beers than see ya using drugs”.

On this night in 1980, I’m with friends at the corner of Sunset and N. San Vicente at the gas station. We just scored some beers and we decided to sit down behind some cars along a wall and drink em. We were there for a few minutes and I guess us being kids and all we were making some noise.

Some mouthy broad in an upstairs window of the next door apartment yells down at us.. “Hey you drunken bums keep it down out there”. So I yell back “go fuck yourself ya fucking lame cunt”!

The next thing I know is we’re being confronted by a bunch of slutty looking skanks, real dirty druggie looking types. They act all bitchy with us and start threatening to beat our asses and take our beer and shit but we gave them shit right back… Fuck those skanks!

It turned out to be the Currie sisters and friends that night… Supposedly they either lived in or hung out in that upstairs apartment with Joan Jett in those days.

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In those days there was always something going on at The Sunset Strip. Riots, assaults, fires…and lots and lots of shows. I watched one time as some guys lit a dumpster on fire then pushed it, in flames, down N. San Vicente watching it crash into cars all the way down the hill.

One time some guy got thrown from the upper level of the Great Western Bank parking structure onto Sunset Blvd across from Gil Turner Liquor.

I was with John of Circle One and a bunch of other guys one night as multiple punk shows were being held on Sunset blvd. We completely controlled the street and began just rolling up and down Sunset literally knocking the shit out of anyone that wasn’t punk rock. Near Gazzarri’s John of Circle One ripped the hair out of some rockers head and then draped the hair over his skinhead, then looking at everyone he said ” how do I look?”. When some other rocker ran up after hearing the guys screams for help, John looked the guy dead in the face and said… “about how much do you weigh..about 180?….My boys are awfully hungry, I think we just might snatch you and eat you!” All of us laughed menacingly… The dude literally just turned and ran away.

It was incidents like these that slowly brought me a level of notoriety and people I didn’t even know began to pay attention. I ran with a tough crowd and word got around that we could take care of business. Friends and even people I didn’t know would ask us for help from time to time. We’d hear a rumor that a punker was gonna get beat up after school by someone, at a school that we didn’t even go to and we’d just show up there and terrorize the whole campus in that persons defense. Teachers, parents and students alike were all afraid of us. They didn’t know what to do.

LAPD RIOT

Due to poor training and it’s lack of any cultural awareness the L.A.P.D. instigated many riots at punk shows in Los Angeles during the 1980’s. The Cops, overwhelmed by the crowds of Punks would call in an equally overwhelming show of force that would only antagonize the crowds into further levels of grotesque violence. The Police would move in, sticks at the ready and then they’d pick off the weak and the slow for beatings and arrest. Not moving fast enough out of an area could get you smacked upside the head with their nightsticks.

I was in a lot of riots in my day. Too many to count, too many to remember. We’d completely control an area and then the lights and sirens would come in… Rocks and bottles would fly at them from every direction. They’d retreat and regroup then return with helmets on and begin beating everyone within sight with their night sticks.

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I guess in those days you just took your lumps and didn’t complain about it unlike today. But hey maybe no one complained because no one would listen. As a Punk Rocker in those days you were considered a freak, a weirdo an abomination, a blaspheme…. You were a second class citizen and no one cared!

What the fuck are you?… Is what I heard a lot of when I became a Punker. I knew a friend that was actually kicked off a public bus on his way to school one day just for having a Mohawk, nothing more. Can you imagine what kind of a lawsuit there would be if someone pulled that shit today?

It was a tough, scary fun time to grow up in… Anything could happen and it usually did. It may sound crazy but I wish I could do it all over again right fuckin now.

Welcome To The Starwood…Please Keep The Violence To A Minimum!

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In 1980 I went and saw The Circle Jerks and T.S.O.L. in a double bill at The Starwood in Hollywood, Ca.

In those days you could see two bands play for $8 bucks. They’d play two sets a night, one at 8 P.M. and then a second show at 10 P.M. A lot of the clubs in Hollywood like The Starwood, The Whiskey and The Roxy did it this way at the time. I remember catching several shows a night at multiple clubs back in those days…Leaving one club all covered in sweat from slamming, throwing the leather jacket back on, jumping into a cold car and on we went to the next club, slamming the night away….and lets not forget all those late night Oki Dogs!

So back to The Starwood where this story began, the club itself had a great setup. You could see a show and then your ticket entitled you to hang out in the punk rock disco they had going on out back which was also a show in and of itself. On my first night there between the early and late shows I watched one girl attack another girl, beat her ass, then drag her across the dance floor by her hair…. Bravo!…Cheers and Jeers all around.

When the show was getting ready to start they’d have a door call for people seeing the show, everyone would shuffle in quickly surrounding the stage and the back walls. In the center a huge pit would start to form. The stage was about chest high, good for stage diving! Wasted Youth

The greatest part was the beginning of the shows at The Starwood. The announcer would come on and welcome you to The Starwood and then say “Please Keep The Violence To A Minimum”…. It was a hell of a wake up call coming from the club itself…. Is there gonna be violence?… Oh, this is gonna be good I thought to myself.

Well, that show sure lived up to the hype. The band T.S.O.L. came out first and the slamming was fierce. T.S.O.L. fucking kicked ass, they were so fucking awesome that night, every song was tight as hell and pounding loud. They sounded just like the E.P.

At the intermission, before The Circle Jerks were to come on there were numerous audience skirmishes… I never saw anything like this at any show I had ever went to before. This was pretty interesting to me… “Audience Participation”.

The Circle Jerks came out, and wow!….They were fucking great, they sealed it for me! They became one of my favorite bands that night the way they controlled the audience with every single song they did. The audience really reacted to them, they skanked, slammed and sang the lyrics to every song. Circle Jerks rule!

It became quickly apparent that violence was definitely apart of this scene and I began to rely on my mothers advice… “There’s strength in numbers”… “Make sure you guys stick together no matter what happens”… She was right… When you’re in a pinch it’s really great to have a friend at your side that you can count on. That’s why I became friendly with all the Pit Monsters of the time. Guys like John of Circle One, a guy with a heart of gold but clearly Warrior class.l_a53813e1477643bcbc4707d9c244fbbf[1] Especially Oliver… Oli-Lads…thanks for saving my life Homeboy! Rest In Peace now brother because when I get there we’re gonna raise hell for an eternity!12462_1240461326278_1071654179_746301_3910852_n[1]

The Lads Take Over Godzillas!

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It was in 1982 that Bad Religion began playing shows to support their new album: How Could Hell Be Any Worse. One of those shows was held in the small room at Godzilla’s in Sun Valley. I remember getting there early, hanging out and talking to the band before the show. That small room filled quickly to capacity and before you knew it you could barely move.

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Just as the show is about to start, like 10 guys, dressed all in black, muscle their way into the pit area in front of the stage. I’m a little 15 year old, these guys are like 17-18-19 maybe older? Well Bad Religion comes on stage and that pit area became like an explosion going off…. A FULL ON LADS MELEE!!!!

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Everyone in the pit was a victim. Lads were just going around punching people, me included. Many people wussed out and escaped to the far edges of the tornado pit The Lads had now created. I stayed along the edge of the pit the best I could, being held up by the crowd at my back. The tornado came around again and again, each time snatching someone from the crowd to be beaten within the eye of the storm. Once they’d finished with their victim they would be tossed aside into the crowd punch drunk and barely conscious. This went on through the whole show. As Bad Religion continued to play on that night, sounding better than ever, the real show was happening right in the pit…The Lads Take Over Godzilla’s!

What People Forget

Hear NothingThe Hollywood Lads were one of the most racially diverse clubs of it’s time. For instance, there were Hispanics, Filipino’s, Blacks, Asians, Puerto Ricans, Jews and they even let The Irish in like little ol’ me.

We were ALL IN, this human race, TOGETHER!…and when you brought shit our way you wouldn’t forget meeting up with us any time soon.

We took care of our own. When outsiders came around and got rude with our women or when someone much larger was picking on someone much smaller or weaker from our scene… We wouldn’t have it. Because godamnit, we were all under dogs too and this was our home. We’d spot a bully and bully the shit out of them until they were laying in a heap on the ground or running so fast away that all you could see was ass and elbows in the dark.

I know, I know… This coming from some guy named James Genocide? What the hell?…Well, something you also might not know is that I never gave myself that moniker. I was in some fights at a place called Phases in the valley one night, I was like 14. This punk chick I knew watched the fights and when it was over she said, shit man, you exterminated those guys, it was like Genocide, a mass extermination. That’s where my moniker comes from. She’d see me around at shows and call me James Genocide. I eventually just went with it because Lurch and I realized early on…When you’re running wild in the streets it’s better to not use your real name. There are guys that have been apart of my set for years and I still don’t know their real names.

I have my prejudices, we all do. Maybe if we acknowledged that first we’d all be better off? But, If I were a racist, I would have missed out on meeting all the wonderfully interesting people whom I’ve come to know and count on in my life. Plus, I also couldn’t listen to Ska, Reggae, The Blues and a whole lot of other really awesome music…And that, my friends, would just not do!

I certainly never thought Punk Rock was “Conservative” in any way. It was about living without the restraints of ordinary “Conservative” life.

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You Never Know Who You’re Throwing Candy At

Scranny DannyAround 1981 Lurch and I hung around a lot and one of the things we used to do was go to Westwood to see movies with my parents. We’d get all decked out in punk rock gear and as soon as we got to Westwood we’d be able to run around the streets for a while and see a movie until we had to meet back up with my parents to ride back to the valley. On one of these outings Lurch and I were in a movie theater up in the balcony totally bored with the movie on the screen. So we decided to start throwing candy on to the lower theater seats to see what kind of reaction we might get. No big deal, we just lobbed a few gum drops over the rail every so often. We began to hear grumbling from the people down below so we eventually stopped. But after the movie ended we had to look over the balcony edge to see who we might have bombed with gum drops. We looked down and saw two guys and a girl looking up at us, one of the guys had short bleached blond hair but the other two just looked like college students or something to us at the time. A short time after that Lurch and I took our places in line at Godzillas night club in the valley and up walks that guy with the bleached blond hair. He says “hey, you’re those guys I saw the other night in Westwood throwing candy from the balcony”! Lurch and I realized it was the guy from the theater we saw down below so we had a good laugh about it with the guy and he introduces himself to Lurch and I … He says “Hi, I’m Danny”…It turned out to be Scranny Danny the singer from L.A’s Wasted Youth… Great guy, funny, every time we saw him from then on, whenever Lurch and I would run into him at shows he’d always tell everyone about how we’d met which typically brought crowds of laughter the way he’d tell the story.

Pot Smoking Punkers

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Lurch and I smoked pot with Darryl and Earl Hudson of Bad Brains behind the Santa Monica Civic when they played with Bad Religion in 1982. We were lighting up bowls behind the arena and the guys just walked up and smoked out with us. I loved Bad Brains from the first time I saw them at Devonshire Downs. What a great show, super fast songs mixed with slow skanking reggae beats to mix things up.. H.R. was up there jumping around like a crazy man… Hands down, Bad Brains at Devonshire Downs was one of the best punk shows I ever saw.

Note: Did you know that Bad Brains also toured as a Reggae band? They told Lurch and I that they also toured as the Reggae band: Zion Train in between Punk Rock gigs. Their motor home which we were sitting near while smoking out had Zion Train painted on the side.