Sunday, October 25, 2015

Going back to Denver for my book release.

October 6-11 was one heck of a ride. Just for the record, October 6th is Armed Forces day in Egypt. It was also this day I started my journey back to Denver for the release of Denvoid and the Cowtown Punks via a train ride from Alexandria to Cairo.

I asked the hotel for a 4:30 am wake-up call. Thirty minutes later I was pulling a suitcase through the neighborhood of the Zamalek desperately hunting down a taxi. Ten minutes into my search I caught a cabbie napping in the front seat parked on lone and desolate street. With a couple of respectful but firm taps on his window he was jolted up from his reclined driver’s seat.
“Fil Airport” (To the airport?)
“Ay-wa” (Yes)
“Bit Qam?” (How much?)
La’ 100 (No, 100)
Ty-ebb. (Okay)
By 6 am I was filling out an exit card and going through customs and security.

When you fly in from Cairo
A five-hour flight to London or anywhere is a cakewalk these days. I used the time to catch-up on movies. Though I have never been a Beach Boys fan, Love & Mercy was powerful and made me appreciate Brian Wilson’s vision where he wanted to take the Beach Boys music. I have since researched Pet Sounds and listened to the album with a different set of ears. The depth of the layers of sounds is astonishing. 

On the other hand Amy, the story of Amy Winehouse was one I had been looking forward to. I was vaguely aware of her background and music, but had been curious about her since her death. The film featured quite a bit of archival and home movie footage to help paint a picture of her profoundly sad rise and demise. The movie should be shown to all aspiring fame seekers.

Your truly. Photo by David Ensminger 
Terminal 5 of Heathrow is one giant maze that leads to a shopping mall. Even the Cairo airport is more efficient. After a three-hour layover devoted to answering questions sent by Tom Murphy from Westword, it was a straight shot from London to Denver. The flight was mostly devoted to sleep and reading, A Wailing of A Town: An Early History of San Pedro Punk 1977-1985 by Craig Ibarra. The pages are packed full of info about bands such as The Minutemen and Descendents, infamous shows, venues, and a whole lot more. So far an excellent read.

18-hours later since leaving Cairo I’m at the counter of a car rental place. The counter person and his partner are laughing at my 13 year-old Nokia brick phone. He asked if it still worked. With a straight face I told him, “In every country except the United States, the best part is it can’t be traced by homeland security or the KGB.” He finished the paperwork in silence while I held in my laughter.

With Joe aka Spike
I rented a house in Capitol Hill near Cheeseman Park for David (editor), Sonny (designer) and I. I needed a larger space to prepare the artwork and package/ship orders. I also wanted a common space for us to spend some quality time together and figure out how the release party was going to unfold.

In the meantime, I did have a chance to jam with my buddy Martin Day at his apartment. He is a killer drummer that I always wanted play songs with. Had wine and cheese with my old college friend, Marta. Invited a handful of folks over to a casual evening of conversation. Otherwise most days (10 plus hours/day) were spent preparing artwork, hustling books, and other menial tasks.

Bryan Wendzel is your tropical home invader.  
David and Dan swapping war stories.
Sonny and Staci on the porch.
The day finally arrived for the event. Fast forward to the evening. Sonny and I hung about 100 drawings from the book. Jif Jiper showed up with the PA. People trickled in and swelled to over 150 throughout the evening. Jif played an acoustic set, The Frantix were up next and belted out a handful of classics. The Buckinghan Squares finished the night. It was the perfect trio. The two kegs emptied within 30 minutes of putting in the taps. Several family members and friends showed up, many whom I haven’t seen in dozens of years. In the end, it was everything I had hoped for.

Emcee duties. Photo by Joe Morgan  
Signing Jen's book. (note: her and her friend Cat are on back cover)
Photo by Joe Morgan.
Much love and appreciation to all who made it out and participated and supported the project. It felt surreal to actually hold the book in my hand and marvel at it. That moment didn’t come until I was on my way back to Egypt the following day. It is finally starting to sink in that I finally completed what I set out to do nearly 20 years ago. Thank you.

Plywood walls.
Making the art show happen
Colin and his adorable family showed up sporting the Chris Shary shirt collection. 
Jill and Jim. 
Frantix with Paul Dog
With Harry and Shawn
Buckingham Squares
Jif with the Squares
with Little Fyodor.
Paul Dickerson 
With Paul Dickerson and Headbanger. 

My ride home! Thanx Ben! 
With Paul Dog and Davey
The crowd. Photo by Oakland L. Childers 
Jif with my brother George in the green shirt. Photo by: Oakland L. Childers 

Frantix. Photo by: Oakland L. Childers 

You know, you can still order a copy or two (they make lovely gifts) and they will be sent out by my right hand man, Matt K. You can order directly here: and receive free goodies or order through Amazon, Alternative Tentacles, Microcosm, and RevHQ. If you’re in the Denver/Boulder area check out Wax Trax, Mutiny Information CafĂ©, Kilgore Books, Twist and Shout, Black and Red, Albums on the Hill, Tattered Cover, Capitol Hill Bookstore, Red Letter Books, Trident Book Sellers, and more locations to be added soon.

Related articles:
Westword’s coverage of the show:

My interview in Westword:

The morning after at the Mercury Cafe. Photo by Paul Dickerson.