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*From an article in Pitchfork.

Don’t ask me if I agree, I could really give two shits about rave or punk or which is better or which is worse or any of that. It’s all better than Disco (sorry Chris), but all less than genuine lyric-driven (sorry Will) guitar pop. Everyone who knows me knows this about me. I dance and I sing. I don’t dance to just dance and I don’t sing to just sing. It’s like humping and cumming, I can’t do one without the other (sorry a couple of you I faked it with because I was drunk).

But, but, but there was a time, very briefly, when I was kind of sort of into rave and techno. Kind of sort of. I was still an early 1990s electro/Industrial kid but when rave kicked off in North Carolina in 1992 (come on, it takes awhile for shit to get there) there was a brief romance (mainly because the Industrial club decided they could make money and started turning Saturday nights into rave nights and being young, in the Army and horny, and definitely not into the jock bars and frat bars and Olive Garden bars, the few guys I hung around with would go. Sometimes the DJ would appease us with more industrial-leaning techno.

Most times we didn’t care because we were tripping.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebeld5WLlW4 (You’re going to have to click that one, embedding disabled)

That’s right, 20 something fresh from war paratroopers who shot guns, blew shit up, and jumped out of airplanes from 9-5 were tripping balls on weekends. (Ok, the jumping out of planes thing was mostly at night – practice how you play, no one would invade a country in the middle of the day. This gets important later.)

Oh noes! Oh yeses!

Now it wasn’t ramant or anything. I have no idea what the frat guys in the Army were doing. I don’t really know what the married guys were doing (other than a few of them who through some very interesting parties. Parties always get very interesting when you marry strippers), and I don’t know what the country dudes were doing. I just know what the 4 or 5 Smith/Cure/Front 242/Laibach/Pet Shop Boys listening to dudes were doing, and that was sitting around hating the Army, doing anything we could to do as little as possible, and tripping.

Now about this getting out of work thing. Back when I was in the 82d Airborne your brigade did three cycles, a training cycle, a support cycle, and a field cycle. I think they were 9 weeks each or something. So for 9 weeks you’d do a training thing: tons of shooting, or learning new stuff, road marches, etc. 9 weeks you’d go to the field (living in the woods playing war), and 9 weeks you’d do support.

Support was the shit because at Bragg there were all kinds of things to do. You could get assigned to chute shakeout (that’s where they’d bring all the used parachutes, string them up in a big tower, and you’d stand under them all day shaking them out and untangling them so the riggers could re-pack them for future use. Not a bad job. You could dip because you could spit through the grates in the floor. You could stand there and bullshit all day with your friends, and once you finished your quota you could take off for the day. And since you were technically assigned to the Rigger Battallion your regular Company (read: bosses) couldn’t touch you.

But by absolute far the best job I ever had on support was working for the road crew on base. My best friend at the time James (his last name) and I got picked for what the guy who hated us both (little sawed off ugly angry man named Bailey) thought would be the worst job of the summer: slinging asphalt. You’ve smelled it, it’s nasty, it’s heavy, it’s hot as fuck because otherwise it’s not pliable and it was supposed to suck. I can still see the smile on Bailey’s face when he called our names for Road Crew detail.

Great. 9 straight weeks of repairing roads.

Except, well, it was great. Remember when I said we were assigned to the unit you were supporting? Well we were assigned to civilians. And a normal (not in the field, and no jumps planned) day involved the following:

6:00 am wake up

6:00 – 6:30 – get dressed, pee, shave if you need to, get in formation for PT

6:30 – 7:30 – PT (push ups, sit ups, four mile run, etc)

7:30 – 9:00 – Shower, eat breakfast, change, clean common areas.

9:00 – 11:30 – Formation, then go to do whatever your job is.

11:30 – 1:00 – Lunch. Go to hooters.

1:00 – 4:30 – Go back to work

4:30 – 5:00 – Formation, disucss anything needing to be done next day, then you’re off.

5:00pm – 6:00am the following day: Do whatever the fuck you want.

Now if we had been assigned to a regular Army unit we’d have to get up and do that PT bullshit. But since we were assigned to civilians we had to be at work at 7:00 so we got to skip all that running nonsense.

I was going to go on and on about this and how great it was but then I remembered an even better job during another support cycle so I’ll do it really quickly and sum up:

We would show up at 7:00 am. Two old guys would give us the keys to a massive dump truck. We’d drive the truck, just James and I, to the asphalt place and get a load of asphalt. Then we’d drive around Ft. Bragg, stopping when we saw a pothole, filling it, then driving around some more. At 3 pm we’d dump the unused asphalt in a huge hole and turn in the dump truck and go back to the barracks. That’s it. That’s all we did. God Bailey hated our asses because he couldn’t touch us, couldn’t make us do anything, couldn’t even make us show up for accountability formation because we were accountable to the Dept of Public Works. Up yours Bailey, I hope you’re dead.

So anyway as I was remembering and writing down all this shit I haven’t remembered in forever, another support cycle came to mind: We were assigned to the Carnival. This time, though our whole platoon was, but in our platoon were all my acid-tripping friends.

So for 9 weeks or whatever we’d show up at the Carnival on base and do whatever was necessary. Holy shit I totally forgot I was a carnie! That’s fucking awesome.

So, uh, yeah. I’ve told this story before, but I always had forgotten it was begun by being a carnie, but anyway my other best friend and I, Marlon, would do carnie stuff together (follow around chicks) and we met this girl who would hang out at the club we would go to. (Marlon, like I, was painfully shy around girls so we didn’t meet a whole lot in the clubs unless they came up to us. Still the same for me. Guess some things you don’t grow out of). Anyway we ended up ditching even the carnie work and Bailey would run around trying to find us to make us do whatever the worst thing that needed to be done was. So Marlon and I and this girl are talking and hiding and discussing this time Marlon and I tripped on acid before a night jump.

Let me explain: A night jump is, well, a jump at night. You jump at night because you’re really easy pickins for anyone who wanted to shoot you since you’re just kind of suspended in a parachute and all. There are essentially 3 kinds of jumps in the Airborne:

Daytime or Night Hollywood (Jump in the day or night, no equipment other than a parachute, most fun.)

Day or Night CE (Combat Equipment: parachute, reserve, rucksack, weapon)

NCE-MT (Night, Combat Equipment, Mass Tactical) This is the most prevalant and most hated of all the jumps, this one means you are 1: jumping at night. 2: You have a full array of equipment (all told you carry about 200 lbs of shit), and Mass Tac: which means there can be up to 10 planes in the air at the same time, all jumping at the same time.

It looks like this: http://image24.webshots.com/25/8/72/24/4187224AohCZFlXHb_ph.jpg Except in the pitch darkness.

So anyway a few months before we had perfectly timed our trip to when we’d be in the plane (and if you’ve done acid you know senses are heightened so imagine being on a plane that has no sound deadening equipment) and on the jump.

And it came off pretty perfectly. There were a few paranoid moments but it was a pretty decent trip. We had let a few guys know we’d be tripping so we wouldn’t get lost in the middle of the drop zone and as jumps go this was was pretty cool because it was a jump, then gather your shit and walk a mile to the trucks and go back to the base, instead of a jump, then put on your rucksack at 2 am and walk for 35 miles. And with a little help from our enablers we made it back.

Best non-rave song about a rave:

So chick pipes up with ‘I have some acid. Don’t know what kind it is though. Want it?’

Want it? Only slightly less than we would have wanted Bailey to get crushed under the Ferris Wheel.

So we go to her car, she gives us the acid (it’s like a Tuesday or something) and we say our goodbyes, etc, etc.

More rave!

So around 8pm Marlon and I decide we have time to trip, get some sleep, and be back to carnie duties in the morning. We pop the stamps right before getting off, thinking it’d hit around midnight.

It doesn’t. Nothing happens. It’s been four hours. This was some shit acid. We’re in his room listening to Front 242 or Laibach or something, get pissed off and I head downstairs to get to bed.

Can’t sleep. Everytime I close my eyes I see monsters. Sneaky acid! I try and try but can’t sleep and everytime I close my eyes there’s just some freaked out Event Horizon shit going on.

Event Horizon shit:

I book it upstairs and meet Marlon coming down the stairs:

“Holy Fuck! Worst shit ever! I’m afraid to sleep” almost simultaneously.

So we decide to go to his room and try to wake this thing off. We start going through his massive CD collection trying to find music we like. We go through our standards (Industrial) and everything is pissing us off. We’re sitting in the middle of the floor, huge stereo blaring pissing everyone off, and putting in CDs, hating them, and throwing them in a huge pile. We’ve gone through maybe 50 or 60 CDs and not a single song is working.

Until we find this:

And for the life of us, for reasons we have no idea, this is the only song either of us can stand. We listen to Blue Savannah over, and over, and over and over and over and over. Probably 100 times we listened to that song, afraid to close our eyes and swearing to god we’re going to kill the person who gave us this shit.

I don’t remember if we finally passed out or what. Can’t recall. As far as trips go, it was the worst/best. About the only one better was when I flew back from an event in Texas and there were four of us on this huge fucking plane and I tripped halfway through and jumped back onto Sicily DZ at Bragg on a late warm summer afternoon, sun was setting, no wind, no equipment, just me and 3 other guys taking our time chuting up and jumping out of the plane into a perfect perfect evening.

Eventually my friends and I got tired of the club’s rave scene every night. As I mentioned, it wasn’t really our thing. We stopped going, eventually the club died and turned into a sports bar or something, we all just stopped doing acid, one by one we got out of the Army and moved on, not staying in touch as people are prone to not stay in touch anymore because all you would do anyway is reminisce and live in the behind and not move on.

I wonder what happened to those guys sometimes, but not enough to really try to find them. I guess they feel the same.