Jonnie Prey

X Favorite Yarns Of Personal Mythologies (To be viewed as a Tableau Vivant as performed by old folks in a senior home)

My adopted Brother Sol (my Cousin by blood) claims that while he was in the Orphanage (His Mother, my Aunt Mary, killed a man with a hammer in a motel room in Kentucky, a long dreadful story that makes no sense cause she was clinically insane, hence how he wound up in an orphanage) that he met a girl who had no butt crack. He said he looked up her dress while she was picking apples. He claimed the orphanage was actually a front for a child labor ring ran by a family of Cider makers, as if it was a Cider Mafia. As if the state of Kentucky wouldn't get hip to such a thing! But still, the idea of a bunch of dirty kids from broken homes being forced to pick apples brings me a weird joy. Also, how is it even possible to not have a butt crack?

My good friend in High School Jarvi would spin this amazing yarn about his hippy Father who lived in a pyramid in Northern Michigan, and was always talking about UFO's and the Government and all that paranoia stuff. He would tell this story about one time when he visited his Father (his parents were separated) he was chopping wood when his Father came out of the Pyramid wearing a golden robe with a paper hat. He told him to put down the axe and come inside. When he went into the Pyramid there were two chubby ladies butt naked sitting in Indian position on the floor. One was a little older than the other, like in her late 30's and the other was maybe in her 20's. He said their faces looked like Campbell Soup Kids. His Father instructed him to sit in the middle of the two ladies and they took his clothes off and painted weird symbols on his torso, thighs, chest, and face. This is also, he claims, where and how he lost his virginity. The story would change from time to time, sometimes he would say his father was in the pyramid watching and sometimes he wasn't. Either way one would agree thats one hell of a way to lose your virginity!

A fella I met on a Greyhound bus once told me this story of when he was backpacking all over India that an old woman told him about an amazing mountain made of Marijuana, she said it was fields and fields of this amazing blue Marijuana that grows naturally only on this one ancient mountain where it was said that the Hindu God Pushan rested on his travels and bestowed his knowledge into the land. He traveled for days and days and became lost. As he spoke his eyes became like glazed marbles rolling in recapitulating memory sauce. He said he lost his way on some mountain and there was no one for miles and miles to help him. Then one evening as he was setting up his tent he saw a giant flying head soaring through the air and that when it came closer it was the old woman he met earlier, he said her head was as giant as a building, or a very large boulder. He said her eyes and mouth were agape and filled with scenes from his life, like a flying hotel with windows filled with every single person he ever met, he said it was a party in there, folks were in ballgowns and suits and toga's and halloween costumes and it was a gumbo of life almost boiling out of the old woman's eyes and mouth. He followed this giant flying head for 3 nights and finally made it to the sacred mountain of blue weed. He said he smoked so much of it that there was a period of 8 or so years of his life he couldn't account for, until one day, when he was cooking a pot of Dal Makhani, his fire grew out of control and he had to flee because the entire mountain caught on fire. He said the fire burned for days and days and that the ancient blue weed was gone forever. Then the bus pulled off the freeway and he abruptly ended his story with "Oh hell yeah Taco Bell dude"

I used to tell a story about eating a hot dog with Jack Kevorkian in the backseat of a Delorean. I loved telling this story. I would tell this story to my friends and strangers around the midwest and once in Baltimore and twice in San Francisco. It was usually met with bafflement and sometimes laughter and was a great way of breaking the ice when I knew I needed to go into the cerebral rolodex and recover something light and absurd, a story that could give way to a broader, more interesting conversation. I would wait for the opportunity to slip this weird nugget of a story in, like if folks were discussing seeing a celebrity, I could easily glide that whopper in with "Oh wow, Jude Law, thats impressive...ya know, one time I had a hot dog with Jack Kevorkian in the back seat of a Delorean" and like a mostly universally beloved flavor I could see the facial expressions lift into smiling mugs of confusion, and delight. I couldn't really tell this story to super young folks cause they would have no clue who Jack Kevorkian was, and perhaps some non-Americans. Which makes the story seem profoundly uneventful (minus the Delorean part) but this would not always be a bad thing, as it then loaned me the spotlight to talk about how fucking crazy Jack Kevorkian was and what that was like growing up in Michigan with such a sensational, controversial figure like him in the news and such. At one point he became so popular you could find "Dr. Death" T-Shirts in the malls and at head shops. He became a celebrity. At a party I may overhear someone talking about Back To The Future and like a little alarm in my head I would pounce on the opportunity "So your a big fan of Back To The Future eh?" Or if I was somehow in the middle of a banal pow wow of small talk, the worst kind of conversation, I would just drop the story in the middle of what ever was being discussed like a massive heavy fossil so weird and random that it would be the inoculation to the bland babble illness and it worked most of time. The second time I told the story in San Fransisco, a quiet, meekish fella in a Members Only jacket did not respond to my story in any way one could register. He scratched at his nose and twitched his faint peach fuzz like mustache. The other folks seemed interested, and responded in a way that was pleasing to me, although I had to explain who Kevorkian was to one nice young gal. The man in the Members Only jacket swirled the ice at the bottom of his cup, took them into his mouth and crunched them like angry rocks and said "Delorean's don't have backseats" and I can't say why I didn't recover quicker with "Oh well it must have been the front seats then" but his reaction threw me off, as if he farted and we all just stood around smelling it. I stuttered and turned bright red. I began to sweat and make excuses. The faces around me now were not smiling mugs of confusion and delight. Instead they were those looks folks make when ashamed, bottom lip tightly tucking itself under top lip, something disgraced politicians do. My world fell apart in that moment and I tried to recover with another yarn about giving CPR to the drummer of WAR at a bar in New Orleans but it was too late. The truth is, the story came out of mix of actual events. I saw Jack Kevorkian once at a Coney Island restaurant in Detroit with his Lawyer, happily eating a hot dog, he had a little mustard spill on his red cardigan.
I saw a Delorean at a car convention in the park later that day. Somehow these two events became this beautiful marriage of bull shit and I mourn this story's demise by that murderous meekish man in the Members Only jacket. What an asshole! But as I reflect on this story now I can see me and Jack in the Delorean, with beautiful red hot dogs laughing together as we travel through time to help end folks suffering through the ages; I'm helping Jack put the needle in John "The Elephant Man" Merrick's arm, Virginia Woolf needn't have to stuff her pockets with rocks, Jack and I are here! We find Jesus Christ when he's sleeping and I gently put the oxygen mask over his mouth, I give Jack a thumbs up and Jack turns the gas on, mustard spot on his red cardigan, looking like a saint.

A job I used to tell folks I had once was a Homicide Clean Up gig in Oakland, California. I would tell this tale by stating that it was a very short lived gig because my boss had a meth habit and obviously the job duties were far too heavy on my psyche for what is was worth (the pay would change from $15 an hour to $25) I would embellish this yarn with little details like my boss carried an Altoid Mint Tin filled with the gold fillings of teeth he'd extracted from the walls of shotgun suicides. Also, I told folks I got this job from a Craigslist add which in hindsight is completely ridiculous. Another Job I liked talking about which was very real though, was a gig I had in Arizona shoveling human manure from the conveyor belt of an 18 wheeler. I met a strange guy in Phoenix who had tons of mental problems and almost killed me twice but thats another story. We would drive out to this single industrial building in the middle of the desert and pick up the truck filled with shit and drive it out to farms in the area. Because of the extreme heat we would only work at night, our shift would start at 9pm and go till sunrise. We saw lots of strange things out there, like a black helicopter that landed in the middle of a corn field and made no sound. One time a fly landed on our windshield and it was the size of a baseball mitt. We heard lots of obscure droning sounds and saw tons of UFO's. We listened to old country music and drank on the job because it was so miserable. Once, a mysterious Native man appeared out of the dark in the middle of a field and told us 3 incredible stories that he said we could never repeat or we would be cursed. If you ever meet me I will tell you one because I think I was cursed at birth anyway.

Would tell folks my Mother would tell me as a kid Bubblegum was made out of bird shit. That my Grandfather put sugar on his salad. That my Uncle Ralph saw a UFO and armed himself with a Samurai Sword. That my Uncle Terry was a grave robber. That my Uncle Dan was in the Michigan Militia. That my Grandmother was a healer. That my Brother had a halo over his head when he slept one time.
That my parents idea of fun was Bible Trivia. That I made mud pies and snorted sand. That my first friend was a girl named Charlie. That I spied on my neighbors. That I convinced a schoolmate that a kid drowned in a pond by my house. That a family member was on Unsolved Mysteries. That my first french kiss was through the missing door nob on a door. That I finger banged a girl on an inflatable crocodile in a cemetery. That a boy I had a crush on became a cop. That I found a lunchbox filled with Polaroid's of naked black chic's from the 70's. That I burned a field down. That I ate raw corn laying on my skateboard dreaming of my future emblazoned with scenes so unbelievable that I had a seizure and my teeth were filled with the yellow flesh of raw corn....

I used to spin a yarn about a homeless woman I fell in love with who I found dead the next morning under the bridge where we squatted. Then there were these two traveling homeless chicks called the Nicotine Twins, they had a club they called Nic At Nite which actually went all day and night were squatters would bring them offerings like Rum, Cookies, Bread, Canned Fish, Herbs, and of course loads of Cigarettes and Rolling Tobacco. They would sit at these thrones and all these filthy squatters would be at their sides and laid out on the ground and the whole thing looked like a Frazetta Painting.
They were the dirtiest women I have ever seen, like literally covered in soot and dirt. They had brown teeth and were always smoking, even when they slept. I guess they worshiped Tobacco? I'm still unsure. I made out with one of them and my head felt like it was filled with smoke made of narcotic jellyfish. I wish I would have traveled with them when they left town, I was in love. They left behind a trail of dirty broken hearts. I still think about them often and wonder if they are ravaged by cancer.

I told this story in Jail to whole bunch of gangsters in New Orleans which is where I also learned how to play Dominoes. They would take toilet paper and soak thick stacks of squares in water and then let them dry and then cut them into rectangle pieces and use a ketchup packet to make the dots. So we would play dominoes and I would tell them yarns and they would laugh or just look at me funny and I felt good that I confirmed what they may have already suspected: That white folks are weird as fuck. I told them about this fella in my neighborhood called The Rhubarb Man. He was this guy who wear big blue plaid suits and big shoes and he had a big soul too. He would spray paint his hair silver and his face was silver and he danced around the neighborhood and we would be like oh shit here comes The Rhubarb Man, shuffling away without a care in the world. He would spy on people through their windows and jump out of trees and we would catch him in our neighbors backyard eating his Rhubarb and to me he was like a sage, a wise surrogate to another dimension and he had to dance or else he would die or so that was the rumor. One day he just vanished, like Funkadelic Lenny did, and Rojo Pee Po did, and Scratches Lady did, and Swan did, and Billy The Irish did, and Balloon Man did, and Wippee Man did, and the Ketchup Lady did, and the Nicotine Twins did they all broke my heart into a billion pieces and they live in the black space were my heart once resided and I can hear them all coming down the mountain like a parade exploding in dreams....

Puttanesca was this legendary sex worker who would show up in the most random places. I can never forget these encounters because they always happened at these really strange little pockets of time that are like golden nuggets of memory when I my mind decides to run over them again. Like the time my I helped my Mother cater a Mardi Gras themed party for rich GM executives in Detroit, there was all this commotion over at the punch bowl and Puttanesca was there, getting in a fist fight with some masked GM exec, he was fighting her like she was a man and she had blood gushing out of her nose and the women were all gasping and the men all laughed with drunken laughter and security had to get in there and pull her out of there and she was screaming at the top of her lungs and kicking her legs as they dragged her out like a feral beast being dragged to its execution. But then one time at a Ya Ya's Fried Chicken Shack I saw her have this amazing meltdown and recite the most heart achingly beautiful poetry from some raw gorgeous palace of guts that only someone like Puttanesca could ever know about cause I think 99 percent of the planet Earth has no fucking clue or couldn't even begin to imagine what her life has been like. I'd like to think she's one of my people but she'd be like "Oh honey please" and walk off into the night where the flickering blue streetlight is calling her like a moth to the flame....

Would tell folks I'm haunted all the time......

Jonnie Prey is from Detroit Michigan. He took a Greyhound bus to Oakland California where he lived and made art and self released tapes for some years. He currently lives in Los Angeles California where he co-runs the experimental arts space Coaxial Arts in Downtown Los Angeles. He remains an outsider lurking in the dreams of discarded mannequins.

Danny Gromfin

10 Overlooked LA punk Records of 1982/1983

LA in the late 70s/early 80s was an embarrassment of riches for fans of punk, art punk, hardcore, industrial rock, death rock, etc. So many great bands on the scene playing together on wildly divergent bills. Most had at least one release on a 12” disc. These are records that were generally overlooked at the time. Not in any particular order.

Dead Hippie – s/t LP
Lead weirdo Simon Smallwood led this unusual band of musicians (who shared members with LA punks the Mau Maus). One of those bands that is basically impossible to categorize. Just Google them.

Middle Class – Homeland LP
Their debut LP saw them move away from their late 70s hardcore roots to more arty, funky, rhythmic and… bleak…song structures more in line with UK post-punk influences. A stone cold classic that needs to be reissued for the masses.

Super Heroines – Cry For Help LP
Along with Christian Death, a leading “goth” band back when no one ever used that phrase. Punky heavy metal death rock that stands the test of time. Singer Eva Ortiz was later married to Rozz Williams of Christian Death (who released one of the best LA punk records of all time, Only Theatre of Pain) and helped show, along with bassist Sandra Ross and later Jill Emery, that women can rock just as hard and weird as dudes in the LA scene.

Deprogrammer – s/t LP
Texas transplants to LA, this is another oddball, hard to categorize like the Dead Hippie record and LPs by bands like 100 Flowers and Eddie & The Subtitles. Bands like this basically invented their own sound even though they were all lumped into the punk scene. Rock with punk’s aggression… or punk with rock’s power? I dunno, but it’s a killer disc that’s sadly been out of print for decades.

Savage Republic – Tragic Figures LP
A product of its time, this debut by film and art students, with a bassist recruited from hardcore punkers Wasted Youth, this is a landmark in the “industrial” side of the scene. The band eventually stretched out into a more melodic, instrumental soundtrack type sound, but this is raw and gritty and definitely “punk rock.” Founder Bruce Licher was a pioneering letterpress designer and performance art guy who set up shop in a very industrial and forgotten part of downtown LA which definitely influence the sound of the Republic.

Romans – You Only Live Once LP
One of the first LA art-rock super groups with members from Human Hands, Monitor, and Bpeople this collection of surf/psych/punk/country songs is unparalleled in the LA scene. (Disclosure: I reissued this 1983 LP on CD with bonus tracks in the early 2000s.) Produced by the legendary Paul B. Cutler (the mad guitar genius from bands such as 45 Grave, Consumers, Dream Syndicate, Bpeople and producer extraordinaire.)

Red Cross – Born Innocent LP
The word “trashy” always comes to mind but it’s impossible to describe this collection of tunes from the former punk rock, later pop rock LA stalwarts who were equally influenced by the Beatles, New York Dolls, Beach Boys (BB and Red Cross are both from Hawthorne), Runaways and their Los Angeles friends’ underground all female Disposals whose Janet Housden later joined Red Cross right after this record was released. Let’s just say when it came out, I played the hell out of it and most of my friends didn’t get it.

Kommunity FK – s/t
Droning keyboards, thundering bass, tribal drums. Again a record in a class of it’s own. Originally released with a killed cover by Independent Project Records who also brought you Savage Republic.

Stains – s/t LP
Recorded in 1981, released in 1983 in an edition of 1000, this record regularly fetches hundreds of dollars in collector’s circles and for good reason. Along with the well known LA hardcore bands like Black Flag and Circle Jerks, the Stains went all in on out-of-control hardcore played with urgent abandon. Never reissued as it’s tied up in the unfortunate SST clusterfuck. And did I mention the Stains are from East LA and are all Latinos?

Artistic Decline – Random Violence LP
Catchy, non-generic speedy punk rock songs with smart lyrics and harmonies by short-lived South Bay band. It’s a go to LP for me when I just want something reliable and fun.

Other records that that could easily be the next 20, 30, 40 whatever in this list outside the obvious ones: The Brat – s/t EP; Mentors – s/t EP; Human Hands – Anthology 2LP; Bpeople – Making Petrified Conditions Dance LP; Nervous Gender – Music From Hell LP; 45 Grave – Sleep in Safety LP; Eddie & The Subtitles – Skeletons In The Closet LP; DI – s/t EP; Falling Idols – EP; Outer Circle – EP; Wasted Youth – Reagan’s In LP; Anti – all three LPs; 100 Flowers – s/t LP; Monitor – s/t; Mood of Defiance – Now LP; Red Scare – Then There Were None LP; Crowd – A World Apart LP; RF-7 – Weight Of The World LP; Dream Syndicate – The Days Of Wine and Roses LP; Legal Weapon – No Sorrow EP; Sin 34 – Die Laughing LP; Nip Drivers – Destroy Whitey EP & Oh Blessed Freak Show LP; Geza X – You Goddamn Kids! LP; Retrospective reissues: Rik L. Rik – The Lost Album LP; Mau Maus - Scorched Earth Policies: Then & Now; Modern Warfare - Complete Recordings And More LP; Compilations: Hell Comes To Your House, Tooth & Nail, ROTR Vol. 1 & 2, Beach Blvd. , Life Is… (series of 3), Public Service, Keats Rides A Harley, Saturday Night Pogo, Wharfrat Tales, Chunks, Cracks In The Sidewalk, Yes LA, Who Cares?

Danny Gromfin is not a musician. Not an artist. But a music lover. Involved in music as the manager of the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS), creator and webmaster of, President of the Board of Non-Event (, former board member of SASSAS (, former money-losing record label boss (Warning Label Records – Urinals, Romans, Keats Rides A Harley), and he just launched Sounds on Paper, a music-related publishing imprint with co-conspirator Steve Underwood (Harbinger Sound, Sleaford Mods, etc.). Originally from Los Angeles but based in Boston for the past 20 years.