Moon Tunes

William had decided to move back to Minneapolis so I crashed at my sister’s house in Mc Kinney
I was there a couple of months when Darren from Voytek told me of this D.I.Y warehouse just south of downtown at Cockrell Ave and Lamar St
They had a room available and it was cheap

The last time I was in that area (before it became “Southside”) was when the Sex Pistols played at Dallas Music Complex but what I didn’t remember at the time was that I had been there when it was a place called “Dune Buggy Headquarters”
On that night, I watched the Austin band “Crust” perform for the first time
They had diapers on and had filled them with worm dirt from a bait shop
As they performed, the worms would fall out of the diapers
They finished by dropping their diapers and lighting their pubic hair on fire

Darren gave me Dave’s number so I called him to ask about the room and told him I was interested
I could come down the next day to give him the money for rent
The next day rolls along and I call him to say I am on my way down from McKinney when he says “I promised this chick that she could have the room” “But there’s another small room for less money that no one is using”
I wondered why he didn’t mention it earlier but I was more interested in living in a warehouse so I didn’t care how small the room was
All I needed was a place to sleep and I could keep my other stuff somewhere else
Little did I know how small he was talking about

The area was really rough
It’s not the nice clean gentrified neighborhood that you see today
There were countless homeless people and the only business that wasn’t a liquor store was a ghetto ass chinese resteraunt called “Chicken n Things”
There was definately NO POLICE STATION
When I got there, Dave explained that it was an old parts warehouse and that they were living in the offices
The place was called Moon Tunes
There were two rooms in the front of the warehouse and a bathroom with a shower
The main warehouse was connected to the offices by a ramp
The other side of the “reception area” was a counter where they kept the fridge plus another room that had a huge window that made the room horifically hot in the summer and dangerously exposed to the homeless people outside at night
The main warehouse had a couple of storage rooms but they were for band gear storage
Dave lived in a portable office trailer in the back yard which was overgrown and scary as hell at night

“Where’s this small room you were talking about?” I asked Dave
He lead me down a long, narrow and very dark hallway (even in the daytime)
You couldn’t even tell where the door was because it was on the left side of the wall at the very end
It was literally as if someone built a hallway with no intention of it leading anywhere
He opened the door and I saw that this small room was an old bathroom
The room was 8’x8′ and something like 15 to 20 feet tall
There was a toilet that had been painted gold with an old school wooden partition
The floor wasn’t just dirty, there were piles of dirt and pieces of the wall that had fallen off in chunks
I started to say no way until he said that someone had thought of building a bunk bed on top of the bathroom stall
That sent my mind in an upward direction and I realized that I could live upward
Dave wanted $250 but I reminded him that I was going to have to do massive cleanup and rebuilding of that room and he should be happy to get an extra one-fiddy a month
I moved in the next day and it took me several hours of shoveling and sweeping and Re-sweeping AND RE-SWEEPING!!!!! until I finally had the floor mopped several times (it dried fast in the Texas heat)
Next, I built a bunk bed on top of the bathroom stall that proved to be pretty strong
The happy accident about building a bunk bed on top of a wooden bathroom partition is that I now had a closet with a toilet in it!
The room at the front now went to a girl
I’ll get to her in a moment

Next, I set about getting to know the people who lived at Moon Tunes
Dave was the guy who was introduced to me by Darren and was this small hyper as hell guy who talked non-stop
Mike lived in the room that had the bathroom/shower in it
He had no door so you had to knock on the wall if you needed to take a shower and he’d let you through the sheet he had nailed over the door
There were weird noises coming out of Mike’s room late at night
All night

Darren gave me some carpet that had been pulled from an office building and it was fairly clean
I cut the carpet into strips and hung them from the top of the ceiling
The walls were still crumbling but at least the carpet kept the dust to a minimum and I could clean out the rubble at the bottom of the carpet
The outside wall had a window that opened at the top and had bars over it
I felt safer because the bunk bed was perched right above it and I had a steel pipe for anyone who might try to poke their noggin through
I also built shelves that went up the wall across from the bunk bed
Since the room was ony 8×8 it was not hard to reach across to the other wall from the bed
This was when I had just discovered weird video and started collecting titles by dubbing them on VCRs
I was going to Forbidden Books at the time and my collection was getting deeper and deeper

There was a stage in the main warehouse and a bathroom connected to it where the people who came to see the show went to pee
I realized later that those urinals didn’t drain to the sewer, rather that they drained right outside of my window
Eventually, I would end the evening by flushing a chaser of bleach water down them so the pee smell wouldn’t come through my window, although it hardly mattered because the smell from the Frito Lay plant that was cooking pork rhinds mixed with the smell of the nearby Trinity River was enough
Needless to say, it was nice to be the guy with the clean toilet and I made lots of female friends
I saw all kinds of bands there from punk to metal to emo (when it was genuine) and even noise
Some of them sucked and some of them did not but I had fun watching them
Sometimes, the people would get out of control so I would get anxiety attacks and hide from everyone back in my secret cave
There were many times that I was glad that room didn’t look like it existed when the cops came, never bothering to look down a long dark hallway with no visible door
It really was a great place to live
We had all taken our TVs and stacked them together, watching the same thing on many screens
We spent a lot of time showing each other videos from our collections

When I asked Mike what he was doing late at night, he showed me tapes of his experimental video
They were a combination of footage he shot with his video camera, a couple of VCRs and a basic video mixer (I think he mentioned something about having someone do some computer editing for him or using their equipment)
It was a jumbled collage of video fragments with a noise soundtrack
I found it very interesting

This was a very important element to my early plans to do video art
My obsession with Joe Riley’s “The Hypnotic Eye” was making me consider doing my own show
Mike’s experimental video was pulling me in a new direction as well, so I decided to mix the two ideas together
He was kind enough to let me borrow his video camera so that I could shoot the host segments
I only had one VCR so I bought a new Panasonic 4 head and used an Archer video processor that Darren had given me for fade in/out
I would produce my very first episode of “Countrockula’s Theater for the Insane!” in that room
Later, Mike and Dave would bring some stage props in that were for some tiki set
There were some styrofoam rock pillars so I made them into an arch over the dark entrance
I thought it looked like the entrance to The Cave at Six Flags but someone said “Haunted House” so I took a banner with sticky letters on it and re positioned them to say “Countrockula’s Castle”
Then I put a strobe light at the entrance
It was the coolest entrance to a room ever

The front room was occupied by a girl who did heroin
She hung around with ravers and they were constantly bumming everyone for cigarettes and weed
I’d hang out in their room and watch them do gravity bongs made out of 2 liter Coke bottles
There was no need to participate because the room was so filled with smoke that you got a contact high
Their justification for smoking so much weed was that they were trying to kick heroin
I never left my room un-locked

The main room of the warehouse was used for all sorts of purposes from a stage for bands to all manner of video experiments Mike and Dave would do all over the warehouse
There was also an arcade version of Hungry Hungry Hippos as well as a clone of Super Mario Brothers called Skateboard Brothers, which was basically Mario on a skateboard
There was also a semi-enclosed area where they kept all the junk they had scavanged from the neighborhood to use as props
That fact would become apparent with an alarming jolt at 4am when I woke to the sound of gunshots
I walked into the main room to find them videotaping themselves shooting old TVs and computer monitors with a hand gun
At least they lined them up against a wall that didn’t have anyone behind it (like mine)

This was all part of the rules which was that there were no rules
If you wanted to fire guns at TVs at 4am or play your drums or shoot videos then you did it and no one could say shit because that’s why you lived there in the first place (a concept that was lost on heroin girl)
I tried to keep my music going after having split with Akbar but was becoming more discouraged with the lack of musicians that were interested in what I was doing
There were several auditions but nothing came through
Video was something I could do with no one’s help so I concentrated more on that

Things were also going well with Marcia
She stayed over quite a bit and I was really enjoying her company
She was watching all of my videos with me and helping me put my TV show together
Some of my fondest memories were waking up and walking into the main room to find her sitting on an old car seat reading a magazine and the nights we went to eat chinese when we wanted to get away from the noise
New years Eve on the roof with all of Downtown Dallas in front of us was especially memorable
We certainly tested the contstruction of the bunk bed

A guy named Dan was a frequent visitor and decided to rent the un-liveable room
I thought he was tougher than me if he could handle it (plus, it was his gun they were firing that night)
We got sick of Heroin Girl’s shenannegans and kicked her out after some of her douchey frat-rave friends decided to go exploring the facilities late one night
She had been doing dominatrix work out of her room as well
I was going through the couch after she moved out (with heavy leather gloves lest a used needle poke me) and I pulled out a VHS tape
When I popped it into my VCR, the image of Heroin Girl appeared on the screen
In addition to being a dominatrix, it appears she was doing masturbation porn as well
I went into the main room where everyone was wathcing the stack of TVs, ejected whatever they were watching (probaby pink Floyd at Pompeii for the 100th time) and put in the new tape I had found
needless to say, the boys were surprised
The room was then taken over by another guy named Jay

This was a really cool place to live but there were drawbacks too
A DIY venue attracts just as many fuckheads as a regular one but there’s no real security
There were several times I had to go grab a stick and tell someone they were out
Even then, you had to walk out to the parking lot until they drove off but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t come back later when you didn’t expect it to vandalize our cars or the building
Plus, there was a lot of under aged drinking and drug useage going on which made me even more paranoid about police envolvement
I found punks to be the most irritating to deal with (a re-occurring theme)

Equally as hazardous were the homeless people of the neighborhood
You didn’t bother to lock your car doors because they would just smash your window simply to see if something was in there
We would also hear them walking in the high weeds of the back yard at night and trying the doors when they thought we were asleep
It was like a zombie movie
All of this was adding to my anxiety and causing me to shift more away from my previous mindset
I was becoming more hardened in order to fend off all the Punk Werewolves, Heroin Vampires and Homeless Zombies
My trust in humanity was eroding
My lack of musical momentum was making me restless

William had been in touch with me and was telling me of the music he was writing up in Minneapolis
After batting the idea around, I finally decided that I would move up to Minneapolis and play drums for William whilst simultaneously putting my own thing together
It was gonna suck giving up my cool spot in a D.I.Y. warehouse but I was starting to see things crumble
Tensions were growing and guys were fighting each other so I decided it would be best to move on
Later, after I was gone, I heard that they moved out and someone stripped of all of the copper out of the building but that may just have been a rumor
The part that sucked most was that I was going to have to leave Marcia behind
It was really hard to do and I can still feel the black pit I had in my stomach when I watched her in the rearview mirror as I drove off
She was truely one of the coolest girlfriends I ever had
The trip up was arduous and tiring but we made it and I was ready to start a new life with a new set of parameters
This decade ended with very good circumstances and new artistic directions but the next decade would prove to be very eventful in every sense of the word


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