Machine Gun

Several people asked where the biker joints were I described earlier. The first was the Canby Suite, just off Sherman Way in Reseda, on Canby behind BeBop Records. A block from the Country Club. Older Valley rock’n’roll fans will recognize the location. That was the early to mid eighties

The second, mid to late 80’s, was called Big Johns, down in Anaheim somewhere, a lot of people played there. The Suicide Kings–a great trashy rock’n’roll band from the 80’s– were on the stage the night a big biker named Machine Gun–a Viet Nam vet with what we now know as PTSD–was offended by the singer’s pseudo-fay Mick Jagger/David Johansen act. Faggot! he yelled. The singer–Rick–shook his ass at him. Machine Gun went berserk and nailed him with a full beer to the forehead. Rick hit the floor, out cold. Then Machine Gun went after the fans. Who wants to take me on? he yelled. I’ll take you on, asshole! It was my brother Lex’s drummer, a former high school boxer named Derek, half Machine Gun’s size. Machine Gun swung wildly, missed, Swung again, missed. Then Derek peppered him with about twenty rapid fire punches to the face and Machine Gun went down like a redwood, bang. All the punk rockers swarmed on top of him like pummeling little ants. Machine came to and rose from the floor, roaring, shaking the kids off. He kept swinging but couldn’t see, his face was so swollen. Eventually it all settled down, the floor a mess of broken glass and furniture and blood. Other bikers broke it up. No one wanted the cops to show up. I got all this from my brother Jon, who called me at 2 in the morning with the story. It’s the greatest rock’n’roll tale I know. Machine Gun, I believe, was the one reduced to cinders when the place burned down. And it was Lex’s guitar player who had, on a previous night there, gone berserk himself and smashed his guitar and infuriated the bikers, forcing me to become a lawyer for a second.

Rock’n’roll used to be way more fun before it became a business. Not for the kiddies. Not for nice people at all. Fuck all this School of Rock shit. You learned rock’n’roll in garages, in dives, in dangerous places, with no teachers at all except Machine Gun.

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