“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
The Devil Went Down To Georgia, Left, and Came Back
Let me tell you how I wound up in Georgia, people ask me all the time. These numbers are no joke, my entire life has been riddled with strange numerical consequences:
- I moved to Atlanta 6/15/1990.
- I left for LA 6/15/2003.
- I am returning to Atlanta (hopefully) 6/15/2016
–>> That's three moves, separated by exactly 13 years to the day! <<–
So, How The Fuck Did You Wind Up In Atlanta?
I never dreamed I'd be an Atlanta resident. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of Connecticut. My parents pressed me to go to college, but school was never my thing. Any skill I've acquired, I learned by trial and error. I am either obsessed with learning something or have zero interest; there is never any middle ground. As an excuse to get the hell out of CT I looked up some schools with decent music programs: the University of Georgia, Berkley School of Music in Boston and Atlanta Institute Of Music. I enrolled in all 3. Berkeley was too “jazz” for me and too close to CT, which leads to ATL.
First stop was the Atlanta Institute of music, which was in Norcross (a redneck suburb of Atlanta). At AIM I saw one of the instructors named Jimmy Herring (who has now taken Jerry Garcia's place in the Grateful Dead). My jaw dropped. To this day: He's the best guitar player I've ever seen in my life and I HATE THE GRATEFUL DEAD!
I was about to crash in our hotel room. I was 17 and my Mom made the trip with me; I felt the urge to go exploring Norcross a bit. I walked to the nearby convenience store. I could hear the din of thrash metal played very loudly and an observed bunch of kids around my age. They were drinking and smoking weed in the parking lot of the Hungry Howie's Pizza. Norcross was my kind of town (or so I thought).
Thrash Metal Still Rules
I was wearing an Obituary shirt, and they gave me some “hell yeah!”, So I went over and talked to them. I had heard about Southern Hospitality; I guess that’s how I even got the nerve even to talk to strangers. They were cool as hell and invited me to get drunk with them. Between Jack Daniels shots, beer, and bowls I was copying a decent buzz. We metal-needed out about the music scene, guitars, girls, and weed. Crazy Chris (Henson), was one the guys and was super friendly. He gave me his number and said to call him if I ever moved down there. By the time I got back to the hotel; I was smashed. I'm pretty sure my mom knew.
I made the snap decision to relocate to Atlanta. Looking back, I should have traveled more. I would have never chosen Georgia. Not that I have regrets about living there. Atlanta is a cool place, but once you're outside of Atlanta, you're in Georgia — that's scary!
A month and a half later, I packed up my truck and drove from Connecticut to Atlanta. Before I left, I called up crazy Chris to tell him I was on the way. He said he was in the process of moving apartments. I asked him where. When he gave me the address, it was in the same apartment building. He wound up being my next-door neighbor. He lived in Unit D, and I was in B! Talk about a small world!
No sooner than, I pulled my trailer into Norcross I saw Crazy Chris walking out of the apartment with a guitar. His band, Distemper, was playing that night with this other band called Nihilist (old school Atlanta thrash band that are a huge country act now named Blackberry Smoke). Before unpacked the trailer, I was headed to a thrash concert somewhere on the outskirts of Atlanta. That night, I thought both bands were excellent, but I was especially impressed by the talents of the drummer in Distemper who was a kid named Dave, who was a little younger than me. He would later become the 3rd drummer in Dick Delicious.
He thought my northern Northern accent was hilarious, and we became fast friends. The night ended with Crazy Chris after driving to his bicycle off the balcony on the second floor of the apartments after consuming two handles of whiskey and spattering his cranium on the concrete.
Welcome to Georgia!
I lived in Atlanta for 13 years; I went through some pretty hard tribulations while I was there and some great times, I joked would come back was in a coffin.
Now, this cycle repeats itself for the third time. 13 years after leaving for Los Angeles I will be returning to Georgia. The first eight or nine years I lived here we're some of the best years of my life. The last 4 years have been a living hell so I need to make a change!
I won't be returning home the triumphant conqueror. My house was foreclosed on and I've lost everything, in a large part due to other people's greed. I will be basically homeless, taking up residence at the Highland Inn, until I figure out what's next.
It's common for people to move out West and then blame the city of Los Angeles for whatever problems they have. I'm not going to be one of those people.
Shit comes in all hues, so do states, cities, and people.
See you soon in ATL,