Everybody Out! EP
Sweeney Todd – vocals
Rick Barton – guitar
Bill Close – guitar
Kevin Garvin – drums
Dave Smith – bass
2. No Runaway
5. Cold Morning
What can I say about this EP? With songs like this you can’t help, but smile through it.
It’s a good upbeat collection. You know it’s good when the band members themselves say it’s the best thing they’ve released (http://strangereaction.com/2009/10/26/rick-barton-interview/). I dig the band, and disagree that it’s the best, but it’s hard to gauge. The three things they put are all pretty great.
The standout cuts are Boy, Home and Cold Morning.
Sweeney designed this EP, as well as the art for the next two releases.
Unfortunately, Sweeney went back to Dead Pets, and Rick Barton is carrying on with Continental. Sweeney is sadly missed. Not only was he the singer, he was also the co-writer of all their material. Their releases had a cool look.
If you can find it, buy it!
Rating: *** three out of three stars
On to the story . . .
“It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.” – Henry Rollins
I came across this quote the other day. I often copy my favorite quotes and put them into a text file, and refer back to them every once in a while . . . meaning: once every year or two. Well, this one reminded me of an old high school buddy, Ray.
I wrote about Ray back in March of 2009… Ray had an incredible tragedy to deal with when he was eighteen. And like most shrinks will tell you – you emotionally freeze at the age of your tragedy. Example: you get raped at fourteen; you will deal with future problems in the way a fourteen-year-old deals with things.
Ray was my best friend from about eleventh grade until a year or so after graduation. I lost track of Ray in 1986 or 1987. Somehow he tracks me down in 1994, and we start talking again, and then we lose touch once again.
Then fast forward to 2003, Ray’s wife has a business trip in L.A. and she starts poking around, calling Classmates.com, searching the web, and low and behold finds me. She explains who she is and that she’s coming out, Ray doesn’t know, and can they stay with us. Great.
Remember what I said about emotionally freezing? It’s coming.
My pregnant wife and I meet them in the airport, I attempt to pick up his suitcase, and he doesn’t recognize me, gets an attitude then he figures it out. He’s pleased. We hop on the Flyaway and head home. On the way home he explains this accident he had in Virginia. A tornado was headed towards his home; and all the power was knocked-out, as was the phone. In the middle of all of this, his Wife tells Ray that she’s bored, and could he go outside and into the garage to retrieve the generator? Ray the nice guy that he was goes. The tornado is a few houses down, and it blows a 20-foot tree through the air and it lands, and crushes Ray.
Ray’s in-laws call 911; 911 apologize saying that all the roads are closed, and they can’t come. They load him into his Brother in Law’s four by four and drive him to a hospital over people’s front lawns, and through ravines. By this point Ray is passing out, and bleeding profusely. By the time they arrive at a hospital he has a bit less than one liter of blood left. How the hell was he alive?
Anyway, he was so dehydrated that when he had to go to the bathroom it had to be pulled out manually. His sense of smell was gone, vision is barely there. So after months in the hospital, he was released.
Listening to this story I couldn’t help looking over at his Wife, bored in the middle of a tornado? This little brush with death could have been avoided. It was our first meeting, but this prima-Donna behavior didn’t impress me.
Since Ray’s digestive system was almost destroyed, he had to drink hot apple juice every night to have a bowel movement. He drinks it, farts for an hour or so and then finally dumps. The farting was almost overwhelming for my pregnant Wife.
The tornado incident would not be the last quirky thing I would see from Ray’s Wife.
That night my Wife and I decided to treat “our guests” to dinner. We took them to BJ’s in Woodland Hills. It’s a decent joint with an in-house brewery. We sit down, and Ray’s Wife announces we have to order dessert first as it’s the best part of a meal. She orders a massive chocolate chip cookie, it’s about 12 inches around, and eats it all herself. No one is offered a piece. Once she’s done then we order our meals. Ray’s Wife decides she doesn’t like the way the food served, so rather than ordering a steak that comes with rice or potatoes – she orders everything separate. Rice on one plate, steak on another plate, fine whatever, but each item is charged as a separate item costing double what a regular entry costs, she says “That’s OK, that’s how I like it.”
Our meals come, and Ray picks up his silverware, and his Wife says “Stop,” and pulls his plate away from him, and starts cutting his food. My Wife and I look at each other wide-eyed, and I then look over at Ray. He shrugs and says, “She doesn’t like the way I cut my food.” Ray’s Wife then says, “I take care of my man.” I take comfort in being able to cut my own food.
So, about 30 minutes later the bill comes, and it is just shy of $100.00. It would’ve been closer to $60.00 or $65.00, but the unusual ordering jacked everything up.
Next morning Ray’s Wife wakes us all up to say she has tickets to see the Ryan Seacrest show in Hollywood. My Wife and look at each other, then say we’re not interested, to which Ray’s Wife says “That’s OK, it’s my vacation.” I pull Ray aside and tell him that my Pregnant Wife” cannot stand in line for hours to see a show she doesn’t want to see anyway. He says “my Wife doesn’t take no for an answer.”
For the next two and a half hours my Wife leans up against a wall on Hollywood and Highland, being a (pregnant) trooper, and trying not to complain. Anyway, the show coordinator comes by and ushers everybody in, and forgets us. Ray’s Wife flags him down and says “we have tickets.” They say they have three standing spots in the balcony. She says “fine we’ll take them.” I speak up, I say “there is no way there four of us are going to squeeze into a spot for three, and I’m not going to make my Wife stand for second longer.” We finally leave once Ray’s Wife finds out that there is no room after all. Lucky us!
As we leave, Ray offers to treat us to lunch at Carl’s Jr. since we paid for dinner. Being that they’ve been here for less than 24 hours I’m being tolerant, but I’m not enjoying this as much as I thought I would. We go to lunch. Same ordering process, separate drink, fries, and burger – no combo. OK.
From there they want to see Amoeba Records. Fine. My Wife finds a chair, and we all scatter and look around. When we leave, there isn’t much conversation on the way home.
That night at about 9:30 or 10:00 Ray’s Wife tells him she needs a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. No other kind will do. And she wants the dozen separated into two boxes, she doesn’t like big boxes.
From Krispy Kreme we almost get home and she then rings Ray, and says she now needs Arby’s brought to her. We are now in Encino, the closest Arby’s is 8 to 10 miles into Van Nuys, Ray tells her this, and she says “That’s OK, I’m hungry.” I head to Van Nuys, trying to be a polite host.
We came home with a couple of bags from Arby’s, a few boxes of donuts from Krispy Kreme, and to everyone’s surprise nothing was offered to us. It was all hers. So, I left again to get my pregnant Wife, Ray and me some grub. It would continue on like this for the whole weekend.
The next morning I wake up, and my Wife rolls over and says “I’m not going anywhere with you guys today, I’m wiped out.” So, I shower, and get ready, and offer to take Ray and his Wife to breakfast at a great little place in Reseda called Zig’s. I used to see Dan Haggerty there sometimes. Anyway, I used to eat there with my Dad sometimes, and they have these great breakfast specials for $3.99, eggs, hash browns, sausage, and pancakes and coffee. Great deal. All of us for around twelve bucks. But no, everything for them is ordered as a separate item, yet again. The bill comes, and I owe $25.00. I stand in line, looking at Ray just shaking my head. I witness another meal where the guy can’t cut his food, and he is allowing his Wife bilk his “friends.” He says nothing at first, and then he says: I’ll treat for dinner.
We head to the car, and the day and a half I’ve spent with them is beginning to drain me.
Aside from all the eccentric behavior I’ve been cleaning up after them since they’ve been here. Following the crop-dusting farts with a can of Febreze. And a washrag that they brought was, I guess, freshly dyed and turned the bathtub bright green. Rather than tell me, they left it in my newly stained tub. Also, I would have to check the guest bathroom twice a day, because they would blow through two rolls a toilet paper a day, with one of those rolls used and left in the trashcan. I didn’t bother to ask how this was possible.
We get in the car and I start to head for home, and Ray’s Wife announces that she cannot leave California without going into a pawnshop. I guess she had never seen one. I tell her that they are generally closed on Sundays, but she doesn’t believe me. I’m starting to get wound-up, I look at Ray and say “come on?!” but Ray just quietly asks me to check out a few pawnshop locations, “maybe one might be open.” I end up driving from Topanga Blvd and Sherman Way to Van Nuys Blvd and Sherman Way. We checked out close to 15 different pawnshops, and guess what; all of them were fucking closed?
I really don’t remember anything about that night. The next morning it was time for them to leave, and I just couldn’t deal with this anymore, I smiled and dropped them off at the Flyaway.
Ray and I talked on the phone about once a month, and we kept it short. Then one night he calls and says that he and his Wife are flying back out mid-2004 for our 20-year high school reunion, I almost shit.
I’ll tell this story next week.
LAST ONE TO DIE is officially out, order at: https://www.createspace.com/3669330