The Full Hot Orator (wickedflea) wrote,
The Full Hot Orator

I hopped over to Starkvegas this weekend to see the family and go to the Cotton District Arts Festival. I went mainly to see one band, but it was cool to walk around and run into people I knew, hear other bands, and enjoy the wondermous Mississippi spring weather.

Skeleton Crew is a band that I used to see around Starkville and MSU at just about anyplace that hosted local music in 1989-1992--the Ag Center (as fine a venue as it sounds like), Southfork (a bar long since out of business), a little courtyard between Duggar and Hightower dorms, and even a warehouse storage unit in the industrial park. My friends and I were metalheads, of course, and we were starved for live music with any sort of edge. Skeleton Crew played some metal and punk covers (Metallica and the Misfits, mainly), along with a slate of original songs that ranged from acoustic love tunes to psychedelic freakouts to fuck-you thrashfests. So, of course, I was into them. I got to know the bass player, Craig, and we would shoot the shit at parties and hang out from time to time. Skeleton Crew got quite popular around town, had a song called "U.V.A." (Unrequited Visual Affection) played a lot on local radio, and eventually moved to Los Angeles hoping to follow in the footsteps of some other guys from the local music scene who'd moved out there, hooked up with a couple more dudes, and formed Blind Melon. Skeleton Crew (or, as they came to be known, Torture Orchid (yecccccch)), played out there for a bit and kinda fizzled out, from what i understand. Guitarist John moved back to Mississippi, Craig and drummer Tim soldiered on in various bands in California for a few years, and eventually Skeleton Crew was a thing of the distant past. So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I got a MySpace "add" request from a reformed Skeleton Crew and learned that they were going to play the arts festival.

Man, it was weird to see them again. And SOBER. Gah! My friends and I used to go to those shows, get blind drunk, and slamdance like idiots. And remember, this was as early as 1989 in STARKVILLE. We did the whole mosh-in-a-circle thing, and people used to think we were plum crazy. I remember the first few times it happened, people were screaming for someone to break up the fight.

Anyway, yes, it was quite surreal today when, two songs into the set, Craig looked out into the audience, found me, and said, "Chris! Where's the PIT?!?"

"Wrong crowd," I yelled back, and we both laffed.


Tim and John

Other faces from the Cotton District Arts Festival:

John Robert Arnold. This dude is something of a Starkville legend, being a rich motherfucker by our standards. He used to own a bus company that led tours to different spots around the country continent, and he actually drove the bus himself to places as remote as Alaska and Nova Scotia. (Can you imagine riding on a BUS from Mississippi to Alaska, much less driving?!?) Anyway, this cat liked driving buses so much that he even drove for school field trips. Sweet old man, but I always feared he was a little . . . how you say . . . crasy. Like, he'd just start SINGING all of a sudden. Speeding down the interstate, nobody paying him a bit of attention, and all of a sudden he's bustin' out: "JIMMY CRACK CORN AND I DON'T CARE, JIMMY CRACK CORN . . ." He started that shit one time when the Vile Fiend, Crumplestiltskin, and I were tripping balls on acid and eating pot hamburgers on a field trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and we nearly lost our shit. And THEN, completely randomly, he'd say to no one in particular, "Lookit them dawgs." What??? "LOOKIT THEM DAWGS!" We took great issue with this, for we saw no dogs. "What DOGS?" we screamed. We looked out the bus windows in every direction, with not a canine to be found. "WHAT DOGS?!?!?" He'd never answer us--just smile and nod. Obviously, the man is out of his gourd.1 But at least he has his train set.

Ming Donkey of the Waco Dead. Ming sings and plays guitar, harmonica, bass drum (left foot) and high-hat (right foot). His partner plays bass. :D

My man Gerald! Homeboy was my photography teacher in college.

Middle-Eastern dance with some local flavor.

I probably should have lj-cut some o' these photos, but I post about once a month anymore, so I figure you kids can handle it. A few more are on my Flickr, including one of Ming Donkey apparently getting a handjob of some sort.

1 Over the years, the more I tell this story, the more I admit to myself that Mr. Arnold was probably saying, "Lookit them dogwoods." Which is still kinda funny because he had to wonder what in the hell WE were yelling about DAWGS when he was just pointing out the spring foliage.
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