Jerry Wick and Jenny Mae part Five


My own relationship with booze had taken a breather after I left Jenny, I tried to quit cold turkey but the comfort of it was too inviting.  I was in a quandary with it because after a few drinks thoughts of suicide would creep in around my mind and I felt helpless to these thoughts.  I managed to be almost completely dry during my relationship with Sharon, I had found her company mostly left me satisfied and the coldness I gathered from her only came periodically, I should add that I was quite used to emotional coldness, in fact Jenny had repeatedly accused me of being distant. Like a cloud.  I didn’t need the booze.  I went out to a lot of shows but managed to be able to sip a whisky or a non-alcoholic beer.  This went on for most of the relationship.  The morning after the aspirin dinner, I decided that I was not going to drink again.  My roommates encouraged me to take this action.  So did Jerry.  Jerry came by that night and took me to the Dube where we drank vast amount of coffee and he introduced me to the wet fries.  Over the progression of the following months this was an almost nightly affair.  We spent the evenings bouncing between the Dube and Staches which were catty-corner from one another.  Jerry would occasionally have a beer at Staches while we watched Scrawl, the Afghan Whigs or Tar and I would drink more coffee.  Jerry nursed me through this time, he encouraged me, he laughed at my stories and we developed a best friends’ rapport.  Soon we were ending each others sentences, laughing at our own in-side jokes.  He gave me advice on women; mostly to stay away. He could see that I was still a fragile man.  I was approaching utter desperate loneliness but Jerry kept me from it.  We played records, and went dancing.  Mostly to the gay bars downtown where the music on off nights leaned to bouncy Anglophile fare such as the Pet Shop Boys, the Cure, New Order and The Smiths with the token Madonna track thrown in to keep the boys happy. There were some underground rumors that Jerry and I had become gay lovers, that we only were happy to fuel by publically kissing each other at Larry’s or Staches.  But this was just for show; we only got a kick out of other peoples assumptions.  We were about as punk as I thought anyone could be.  We marveled over Billy Childish and the newest singles on Sub-Pop.

I got my first credit card shortly before Jerry picked me off from my emotional hangover, Sharon was a woman with certain needs and I thought a credit card would help with these needs.  One day talking to Jerry about Gaunt’s upcoming single I mentioned that I could help with the next one.  I had already contributed $50 to the first Gaunt/New Bomb Turks split single and was starting to do some of the ordering at Used Kids so it only seemed natural to me.  Jerry pounced on the idea; I suggested that he form a partnership with me.  We would call it “anyway” after a word I seemed to use with frequency.  He loved it; he spoke grand, with a plan to have the label supporting itself within a year.  He was frantic when he spoke as if he were plugged into an electrical outlet. Pure animation fueled by chemicals and a passion to burn as brightly as he could until pure exhaustion would shut him up.  I was the more pragmatic one, knowing that I barely made $12,000 a year at Used Kids and Jerry made less between filling in part-time at Used Kids and working his shifts at the pizza joint.  I just wanted to get the first one out.

“Jim Motherfucker/Spine” was the first single we put out together; funding was half by me and half by Gaunt.  I called the distributors that Used Kids ordered from: Scat, Twin Cities, Matador, Revolver, Caroline, Get Hip, Comm 4 and K.  The single sold out within the first week.  It was a ferocious piece of music with an almost marching hypnotic bear punctuated by Jerry snarling “Jim! Jim! Jim!” with newly added guitarist Jim Weber from the Turks shouting “Motherfucker!” between each “Jim!”  Both musicians were frightened that their mothers’ would hear it.  The covers were made with Xeroxed colored paper from Kinko’s.  Hand stuffed with the labels being hand stamped with a rubber stamp that said “Anyway Stuff” and a-side and b-side. We already had plans for a series of singles.

Jerry had an outlook on life that was epic in scale; this was with everything that he did, whether it had to do with Anyway, friendships, or especially Gaunt. For him, it appeared the thought of not making a mark in the world was a foreign idea.  Although it should be explained that Jerry, myself and a large swath of the community in which we hung out with took great pains not to be overly ambitious, in the sense that we did not really care for bands or artists who put themselves out there. For Jerry, having Ron House or Tom Lax listen to his music and giving approval was enough. We were geeks, hung up on our own perspectives of the world, a world the was outside of the mainstream a world that we could construct ourselves and move with impunity within its confines. There was looseness within this community that allowed a freedom we had not encountered in the lifestyles of our adolescence.

For Jerry, his adolescence was prohibited by the religious fanaticism of his family, who were blue-collar born again Christians and did not understand their boys’ fascination with punk rock and Kiss. When Jerry was caught masturbating by his mother she threw him in the shower, hollering “I know something that will cool you off.” When I met him he was completely estranged from his family.  He had a younger brother but spoke little of him, he said “he is just like my parents.” For me the confines of living in a very rural small town during my high school years was excruciating at times, where heavy metal and Hank Williams Jr. were the only types of music most kids listened to. I was the only student I knew in high school who listened to The Replacements, R.E.M., The Clash or even the Ramones or The Rolling Stones. I was small, wore glasses and had a terrific wit that earned me a great deal of hassle from larger kids. I would say both Jerry and I were somewhat loners in high school although on appearances I did get along with most of my peers, I just didn’t socialize that much. Both Jerry and I yearned for a way out of the boredom of provincial living. Ideas fueled by this yearning shot through him like a geyser.

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