The Make Up, After Dark
There have been many loves and many records in my life but unless they stick around a little bit they don’t leave much of an impression. They just get handed off to a friend or end up in the dollar bin.
Being a young fatherless brown boy in a mostly white punk world you fall in love with the first thing that looks like you. I had been stalking cretin members of At The Drive-In ever since they had left El Paso and moved out west. They were blowing up at that point but you could still catch their dub outfit DeFacto at least once a month at the Smell.
On one of these nights a cretin member crossed the line, grabbing my nutz while complementing my tie. What I didn’t know was that I had a stalker of my own and she crossed the line that night as well. I would find out later she was an avid listener and caller to my radio show. While her ass couldn’t compete with little perfectly rounded coked up Mexican boys’ from Texas (who can?) she had tits for days – and a sick-ass '80s mom van with a big-ol' Screamers sticker on the back. I was sold.
We spent epic times in the van after dark rockin' The Make Up’s After Dark. There aren’t many things sexier than making someone squeal in unison with Ian Svenonius. Shit was good for a while we performed and even lived together for a bit. But by that point, she handed the van down to her little brother and was driving a Honda, and clearly it was going downhill.
The final straw was when she hooked up with some other dude in our pad. So I got the fuck out, but not without her copy of Japanther’s self-titled debut one-sided EP with the sick etching on the back. Hey, if you bring another dude in to my house, I think I’m allowed to jack at least one of your records! Not gonna lie though – I still get a little sentimental when I hear “We’re Having A Baby” – but I am always happy “Make Up Is: Lies” follows it up.
Patato y Totico, self-titled
The next one to survive longer than a few months with this asshole was a radio producer that hosted a killer podcast for NPR. She was this fine half-White, half-Latina chick that was way to hot to have any business with the likes of my dirty ass. Plus she was smart, and had what my mom liked to call “a real job.” People talk about not being in the same league, we weren’t even playing the same sport. Her sister was dating movie stars, she was dating a dude that was still playing records on his collage radio station, and working the door at the club.
But hey, after a shitload of drinks at some mutual friends’ DJ night in Chinatown, late night pie at the Pantry, and her turning my crude napkin drawing of her ass into an ice cream cone, it was over. She came to my apartment a week later and made me an insane fish taco feast. We listened to records all night.
The cherry on top was this girl could put together a mixtape. To this day, it’s still the only mixtape I have kept after a breakup. She could move a set with the best, crossing genres. She always dug deep to find stuff I hadn’t heard and didn’t know but would totally love.
I didn’t find the LP till years later, but on one of her mixes was a cut from Patato & Totico’s self-titled masterpiece. It's a Cuban record from 1967 with hand drumming that would quiet the hippies at Occupy Wall Street and soaring haunting vocals with range that would make that bitch from Tuneyards shut up and take notes. This record has so much soul that it drips with sex.
We ended up moving to New York together, but she got into comedy. I can sit though a bad band and tough it out, but sitting though bad comedy, well that’s just embarrassing for everyone involved. There isn’t enough beer in the world to help with that. I tried to be supportive but I just turned into more of a drunk and things drifted. She went back to LA. She forgot her copies of Parts and Labor’s Map Maker and Tender Button’s Hot Abductions. She never asked for them, I never offered to give them back.
Millie Jackson, Caught Up
Things come and go much faster here in New York. There was that one from Detroit that was super hyped about the copy of Tribe’s Low End Theory in my Walkman, the bike messenger from Boston that was way too into San Diego hardcore, and the new wave/post punk DJ from Seattle. But there has been only one lady that has been somewhat constant. After seeing each other around at the record shop I work at and talking about Linda Perhaes’ Parallelograms, we met up at the Bell House after a set I played with the hip hop crew I DJ for sometimes. She bailed early but we made plans to see a show the next week at Market Hotel.
We took a long walk back to my spot, taking breaks to drunkenly make out along the way. Finally back to my crib, I put on Millie Jackson’s Caught Up, her 1974 epic soul concept record about dating a married man. I didn't know it then but I couldn't have picked a more perfect record. It kicks off with a version of “If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right” that would make Mother Teresa’s panties soggy. We went at it hard. We didn’t just wake up my roommates. We woke up the neighbors and quite possibly the neighbors’ neighbors.
It went on like that for a bit, until I found out she had another man when this whole thing started. I was put off for a bit, and we didn’t see each other for a while. She came back and said she lost him. I wasn't sure if I believed her or not, but I had recently found a copy of Positive K's The Skills Dat Pay da Bills and figured Positive K was right – “What's your man got to do with me/I ain't tryin' ta hear that see.” She’s great and we still chill occasionally, but I ain’t about to go in 100% if I can't trust her.
A while back I was looking for a copy of Christal Waters' “100% Pure Love” she said she found the 12'' and got it for me, but I ain’t seen it yet. So I guess until I find 100% pure love, I’m going to keep this one in my back pocket. There’s nothing wrong with having a go-to booty call when everyone knows what the situation is, and like Millie says “The sweetest thing about the situation is/ the fact when you go to the laundromat you don’t haveta wash nobody’s funky drawars butchya own/and I like it like that.”