Face full of blood wearing a wedding dress while playing the drums like a bat out of hell mother fucker with televisions blasting scrambled mixed up colors synchronized to the tune of live mayhem.

That’s how I met her. Our bands shared a bill at this Oakland hell house that was known for putting on gnarly DIY punk shows where the flyers said $5 at the door but everyone was too lazy or disorganized to actually collect money for the bands. The shows would usually conclude when the cops showed up or when an ambulance showed up or on rare occasions, when the bands were done playing.

She looked up at me from her bloody wedding dress sitting on a lop sided stool at the drum kit and growled. I threw back a smirk and made some half-hearted disgusted noise at her and didn’t see her again until a year or so when we met up at another friend’s show at an underground club down Market street in San Francisco.

This time I was in a van smoking weed with the headlining band which was a Christian folk singer turned hipster goth that was at the trail end of the 2000s fad bands of animal names. Their vibe was fashion witch, smoke & mirrors, the music more secondary to theatrics. Someone dark and mysterious in front of a microphone, selling their image as a sex symbol dressed in bondage gear and 45 minutes of someone moaning, breathing, wistfully vocalizing substance less lyrics over various tempestuous tempos of monotonous electronic pulsation.

When I offer her a puff, she says she doesn’t smoke weed but remembers meeting me and asks how the band is doing.

“We broke up,” I say.

“That’s too bad.” Where she looks down the way is nothing, maybe an oncoming F train streetcar.

There we are outside Cafe Du Nord standing in silence while the band puts out their cigarettes and piles out of the van except for the lead singer’s boyfriend, he’s busy looking for drugs. When none came up he asks if we want to ditch off for a bit and find some. I don’t mind being in a van with a band, even if they’re a few knob clicks away from being total cliches. He calls up Marco who says he just woke up even though it’s almost the middle of the night, 10 PM, just about the time most those hawking and prostituting their uppers are waking up, preying on the less and dumb lower hanging predators each occupying their own twisted nights.

Marco tells Lead Singer’s Boyfriend to come on over and with us he does. His house is on the other side of town. San Francisco isn’t a very wide city but with all the hills and congested streets it could on a crowded night take you an hour to get four miles. On a Friday night when it’s close to showtime, we’re cutting it close but a fiend is a fiend and Lead Singer’s Boyfriend knows this could be a Now or Never type situation. Boyfriend’s Cousin is in the van too, I couldn’t place my finger on the why at the time but his sullen sulk was a giant barbed cloud of depression that was easy enough to see through the most tinted windows. Boyfriend’s Cousin’s Wife was having an affair, one that would send him in and out of a spiraling depression full of nightmarish evenings, self-loathing and eventual seclusion where he would record album after album to little acclaim but when one is consumed with a “self-care” regimen of whiskey, weed and anti-social tendencies, where does that music end up but along side Boyfriend’s Cousin's depression. A quiet echo in a void of a padded cell.

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