I am wearing the Skarhead shirt I bought off Sammy the Mick (RIP) for $5 during the Trapped Under Ice set at the third Sound and Fury festival, the first at the Earl Warren Fairgrounds near Santa Barbara. The moment I arrived, I handed off the keys to my ‘95 Volvo 850 (crimson) to Paul Woods, a friend who had a court hearing about what I remember being some kind of underage drinking ticket in Redondo Beach or maybe El Segundo. He had the nerve to hassle me about my driving time from Berkeley. I’m pretty sure I still had a Razr, but I’m not sure if it was my gold Dolce and Gabbana Razr that had a swarthy Italian accented greeting. Paul was from Rohnert Park, a suburb in between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, and as such was used to driving at hick speeds and traversing long distances to shows all the time.
I was wearing a navy 97A shirt (darker than what I found on google) with what is currently thought of as millennial yellow print. While still in the parking lot I was approached by Pat Flynn who wanted to buy the shirt off my back. I have written about this shirt before, so when I go image search for it, it shows all the other shirts that I’ve written about in relation to it. This is a bit crazy as I don’t own any physical copies of 97A’s music at this point and time. I’d gotten it (the shirt) for free from Israel Branson, who had also given me an original Emperor shirt as well. Weird twofer, but people like all sorts of stuff. Anyhow, I felt a little more strongly about 97A, a late 90’s New Jersey skate oriented thrashy youth crew-y band, but apparently not much, because I sold it to Pat for $20 then turned around and bought a New Age records era Redemption 87 longsleeve for the same amount in the same parking lot. I had not yet entered the venue. Looking back I wish i’d asked for a Have Heart shirt and or Record, I don’t have as much stuff from that era as I thought I would. This was the year Trash Talk had “Erase the Empire” tank tops for the team. Trapped Under Ice had their variation on the Agnostic Front “boots” graphic (Timbs instead of Docs, very good), which at the time reminded me of the Clenched Fist (Remember them? No? Moshcore from Memphis, Tennessee, I liked them.) AF rip which I remember featuring Adidas Ozweegos instead of boots.
When Paul returned with the car, it was hitched to a tow truck. He’d been rear ended about two miles from the venue. The Volvo was totaled, and he broke his collar in the middle of a young summer. This was of particular consequence because he was going to play bass on the upcoming Ceremony tour, and that was no longer going to happen. My friend Jason Topete slept in the totalled car at least one of the nights of the festival. I sort of remembered my current bandmate Nicfit doing as well, and when I double checked, he confirmed, adding that they’d driven the car to Taco Bell, smashed windshield, deployed airbags and all. I didn’t get the windshield replaced until the following Monday, after driving the cutty ass vehicle to Hollywood, where it was replaced for somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 while I was getting a large tattoo of a fortune teller with x-ray vision on my right arm. I had a lot more spare money when I was straight edge. I still own the Redemption 87 shirt. I hadn’t spoken to Paul through anything but the internet for years when he passed away. He dated the twin of my highschool girlfriend, so we went from friendly acquaintances to full fixtures in our teenage lives for just barely a minute. When he walked into my childhood bedroom for the first time he took one look around and said “Oh, you’re a merch guy.” Half my life later i’m looking around my fifth New York apartment, metal kitchen racks brimming with random printed cotton, closets too. I love this Skarhead shirt and everything’s a little sad.