12 April 2010
In 2000 I played a show in Shizuoka, Japan. I'd given myself a mohawk a few days earlier (my first one at 28 years old, not bad - but pretty silly looking with a beard) but arrived to the show with my new hairdo in it's 'down' stage. After we checked, a dude lumbered up to me with missing teeth, brass knuckles hanging from his wallet chain, shaved eyebrows, and a bright red mohawk (also down). He spoke little English, but kept asking "Why not up?" and picking up my floppy hair. I explained "lazy" and "no time," but then when I said "no hairspray" he jumped up and ran to his car. He came back with a utility belt loaded with two different kinds of hairspray, an array of combs and brushes and a blowdryer, and he dragged me into the bathroom. That dude worked on my mohawk for almost an hour before he started his own, and it was fucking perfect. I went from 6'2" to 6'8" and it jutted up from my head in a flawless fan...pure ridiculous beauty. My mohawk did not move for several days, it even lasted through a few showers. But the mohawk wasn't the highlight of the evening...the dude was in RAID, who we played with that night, and they were one of the best bands we saw on the whole fukkn tour. He was in RUSTLER in the 90s, and RAID were made up of the remnants of the old guard of traditional Japanese hardcore punks in Shizuoka...the kind that are just edgy enough that you love it but you keep your distance as well. When their set ended, the singer threw the mic directly into the face of a kid who had ridden the train for 2 hours just to see us play (oops?)...as the kid was being hustled out covered in the blood shooting out of where his nose had been earlier that evening, we showered him with as many shirts and records as his friends could hold. Mohawk dude rushed home after the show to make me this tape, which was very nice of him, and he was very drunk when he returned...I'm glad he did, and these tunes receive regular play a decade later. I don't think RAID ever made records, but if one three song demo is going to be your legacy, then you would hope that the songs are this good.