Reverend Norb

column from MRR #172 - September 1997

    ...but first, this important message from the Clairol™ Company: As of 5:36 PM CDT 7.13.97, there appears to be somewhat of a Holy Trinity taking form (purported significance of the appearance of same dealt with in previous spews), with The Donnas, Loli & The Chones and The Spaceshits, arguably in that order, but probably maybe with the Spaceshits ahead of the Chones, being the apparent components. This Holy Trinity seems troublingly parallel to the last reported Holy Trinity (Rip Offs/Teengenerate/Devil Dogs -- with the Donnas being roughly analogous to the Rip Offs [gimmick], the Spaceshits somewhat equivalent to Teengenerate [tempo and basslines], and the Chones being the Devil Dogs [something about the elusive theoretical Greaser Molecule i guess]), which leads me into a realm of further speculation as to whether the new Holy Trinity is, indeed, a bona fide Holy Trinity or just some sort of reflection-slash-echo-slash-sequel to the last one. Anyway, about this goddamn beer thing, don't expect my arguments to start out in any sort of particularly persuasive manner, it's hot outside, and the Brainus Wisconsinius fogs over right quickly on those rare occasions when the mercury cranks past the eighty degree mark -- which is mighty unbecoming indeed to a state that has such a reputation as a sovereign nation of brain surgeons, but, then again, it beats shoveling. To combat this thermally-induced mental sluggishness, i have -- consumer satisfaction ever dictating the nature of my actions -- popped not one, not two, but four tablets of THE BRAIN FORMULA™ (with GINGKO BILOBA)!!!  Soon ALL shall tremble, crumble and bumble beneath the onrushing steamroller of Brain-Formula™-with-Gingko-Biloba-induced brilliance emanating forthwith!!! Until said point in time when the Brain Formula™ with Gingko Biloba kicks in, however, please bear with me (i mean, holy fuck, i'm typing this column in shorts! I can lose my license for this! [don't panic, though -- i'm sure the Gingko Biloba will hit any second. I mean, The Brain Formula™ is undoubtably the real deal -- i got it at frickin' Family Dollar, for piss sake! It's GOTTA be good {i mean, have you ever been to a Family Dollar store??? If their clientele is not the ideal fucking target market for The Brain Formula™, i dunno who would be!} {of course, this entire line of speculation can't help but raise the rather dodgy question of exactly WHAT THE FUCK is Gingko Biloba??? All i know is that it's supposed to increase circulation to the brain, and it sort of sounds like an incorrect answer you'd find on a multiple choice question on one o' them quarter-inhaling barroom trivia machines -- e.g., "Which wrestler played Oddjob in the James Bond movie 'Goldfinger?' A. Toru Tanaka B. Gingko Biloba C. Madusa Micieli D. Tim Yohannan"  ((of course, now that the two-bucks-a-bottle Brain Formula™ has begun to work its wonders on me, i remember that Gingko Biloba was the guy who used to sing for the Dead Kennedys, never mind))}]). Oh yeah, anyway, this beer thing: Look man, i did exhaustive field research on this subject throughout the eighties and into the early 90's, and the nuts'n'bolts of the situation is that beer cannot POSSIBLY be punk, simply because DRUGS are punk, and, goddammit, Lady Ethanol is a jealous mistress (in point of fact, in the philosophical soul of any true beer drinker, the question of "is punk BEER?"  is of far more pertinence than the easily-dismissed "is beer punk?" query) (oh, and while i'm up, let's get one thing straight: BEER IS YELLOW, with white on the top [insert racially-insensitive Nørb sex-crack here]. Beer is not brown, black or red, nor is it made out of substances which can double as sundae toppings, nor does it emit beige froth when dispensed. Beer is stuff that looks like the contents of the glass that guy with the flat top in the old Schlitz bar signs is hoisting. Beer is bottled in mass quantities by guys named "Squiggy" for purposes of slaking the thirsts and dulling the senses of people who can occasionally convert a 7-10 split and disapprove of the two-point conversion being dragged into the NFL. That other sludge is so far afield from even the most tenuous connection to punkness that any further discourse on the matter would result in me fining myself for wasting your time with the overly obvious). Again, do not panic: I am NOT saying that delicious, nutritious yellow beer is un-punk -- merely that is neither "punk" nor "un-punk;" it is of the neuter gender (whoops, like i said to your sister, pardon my French). It is more punk than, say, Fresca™. More punk than a wine cooler (whoo! Give a guy a little Gingko Biloba and next thing ya know he's thinking up titles for NOFX albums!). Shit, beer is probably more punk than chocolate milk, if you really think about it -- but, in the final analysis, so what? The Rolling Stones were punker than the Beatles, but their aggregate punkitude is still virtually negligible (probably like .1% max; miniscule when compared to the punkitude of even quasi-peers such as the Who [say, 4% punkitude], to say nothing of the punkitude of actual punkthings like the Boys "I Don't Care" b/w "Soda Pressing" 45, which is, you know, pretty punk, dude). Beer, too, has a certain amount of inherent punkitude -- but, simply put, not enough to qualify. Skinny ties, ripped up Levis and leather jackets all have an un-punk component -- yet, by any sensible method of Punk Molecule Accounting, they land on the punk side of the fence (the barbed wire side, as opposed to the white picket side). Beer does not. How the fuck can beer be punk??? It was the drug of choice for my parents, my parentses parents, my parentses parentses parents, my parentses parentses parentses parents, my (iterate operation until family tree has been traced back to the protozoan life forms), etc. Beer is about as fuckin' punk as ridin' in the car with Grandma and listening to her bitch about your haircut (of course, i might be dating myself here [often my only dating option, but never mind the toilet humor] -- the younger generation might actually have had stoners for parents, thusly rendering brewski consumption an act of significant cultural rebellion and punkitude. Actually, maybe the generational timeline has advanced past the Stoner Parents Era to the point where Today's Now Youth have parents who were big coke addicts. Hmm...yes, this would go a long way towards explaining WHY THEY ALL SO DANG OG-LAY AND DEFORMED LOOKING, wouldn't it?). Furthermore, as if my parents drinking beer wasn't proof enough, jocks drink beer. Deadheads drink beer. Guys in open-toed sandals and pastel wife-beater tops drink beer. People who shop at Family Dollar wash down their daily dosage of The Brain Formula™ with beer!!! (you know, this stuff is really working. My brain feels bloodier already. If i ever get the urge to kick my own bucket, i'm gonna eat like 90 tablets of The Brain Formula, til the increased circulation to my gray matter causes my cranium to swell saggily under the mighty sea of Gingko-Biloba-induced bonus plasma -- then i'm gonna jump off the top of the big clock in the the mall -- plunging, no doubt, like a human shuttlecock due to the excessive fluid build-up in my head -- and splattering my big, blood-engorged skull all over the terrazzo floor, just so the skater kids can marvel at how wide a chalk radius the GBPD dead-body-outliner guy has to draw from the point of impact when the cops get there) Simply put, beer is, like, for schlebs. I dunno what a "schleb" is, but i'm privy to a lot of highly technical terms i was not consciously aware of due to the machinations of the Brain Formula™, so you're gonna have to take my word for this. Think about it: Beer makes you slow, happy, and fat. By golly, not under my roof! I like SKINNY! FAST! DISTURBED! Beer makes you sit in the bar all night socializing with the headliners instead of standing in the hall watching the sucky opening bands with all the other loser dildos! Where's the fucking anguish in THAT, huh??? Sure, beer occasionally fuels some truly inspired moments of drunken punk rock lunacy and/or mayhem, but, on the flip side (ack! I said "Flipside"in MRR!), who wants to watch some half-plotzed yo-yo, onstage or off, essentially demanding everyone's attention and, upon receipt, proving completely unable to hold it? Wow, man! I'm so naturally entertaining that i can just stand here like a drooling dweeb, playing like shit, and people will pay to see it! I fuckin' rule, man! By gadfrey, that guy from Retard Bus had the right idea! If you're that fucked up, why bother playing? Put your guitar on backwards and yell shit until security kicks you off the stage! None of this goddamn half-ass "i-am-so-great-even-a-shoddy-performance-is-exciting" crap, GO FOR BROKE, BOYO!!! SYDNEY OR THE BUSH!!! Besides, after much testing, i found that beer goes best with non-punk rock'n'roll bands -- the kind that play three sets a night and 75% covers. Gimme a gut full o' suds and i'll take "Brown Eyed Girl" over "Nervous Breakdown" any day of the week! BEER IS ROCK'N'ROLL, NOT PUNK. This shocking disclosure (whoops! wrong hat!) can only serve to bolster my parallel claim that, ipso fatso, drugs ARE punk. I mean, they've GOTTA be. If drugs weren't punk either, IT WOULD MEAN THAT STRAIGHT EDGE IS PUNK!!! Needless to say, we can't have that! (of course, at this point in time, punk purists [i.e., people who bought their first Ramones record last year] [side note: first ever mention of alcohol in Ramones lyrics is in "Questioningly." I rest my case] will bring up the third party candidate platform that posits glue as the only truly acceptable punk rock recreational chemical of choice. I dunno, man, did you ever actually sniff glue? I never did [the closest i ever really came to glue sniffing was when me'n'my bandmate Gary read the review of the Rock & Roll High School soundtrack in Creem , which made reference to something called a "Bactine Bag" -- some sorta adolescent cheap-high contraption whereby the vapors from Bactine™ in aerosol form are huffed out of a plastic bag for kicks. We thought that sounded like a damn good idea, so we promptly procured a Baggie™ Alligator Sandwich Bag from my parents' kitchen, squirted some Bactine from the family's NON-AEROSOL squeeze bottle into it, and proceeded to huff like madmen, in pursuit of the elusive Bactine Buzz. Alas, we did indeed neglect to read the fine print that specified the vapors be collected from an AEROSOL container -- ergo, after significant fume inhalation produced no effect, we decided we had been played for fools, and, as far as we were concerned, Creem was eternally discredited as a reference guide for fast'n'easy brain cell annihilation. Don't try this at home, kids! Use Glade™ instead!!!]. Somehow, whenever i caught an errant whiff of Testors™ whilst model building, my initial reaction was always to go get some air -- not to sniff a whole bunch more and go out and steal a leather jacket or something. Glue just seems a bit too brazenly toxic for my highly refined palate, but, then again, i'm kinda new wave anyway). No, my countrymen, as bra-carrying, card-burning punk rockers, your glorious heritage is drugs. Drugs, i say! Drugs, drugs, and MORE drugs!!! What drugs, you ask? Ha! That's the tricky part! Only one so completely hepped up on Gingko Biloba such as i can possibly know the correct answer to this, which is: None of them! NONE OF THE DRUGS (that i know of, which doesn't mean much) YOU CAN BUY ARE PUNK. It's just sorta, you know, the whole abstract concept of drugs that's punk. The whole "We will brazenly and illegally modify our brain chemistry as we see fit in order to more efficiently DESTROY YOUR SYSTEM OF INSTITUTIONALIZED OPPRESSION AND MANDATORY LIFE-LONG BOREDOM and YOU CAN'T STOP US so NYAAH" thing, that's punk. The drugs themselves generally tend to fall a little short of the mark (i'm real fond of caffeine, of course [i mean, sure, it makes my heart beat funny and my dick leak, but, then again, so does a Snap-On Tools™ calendar, and i'm kinda fond of those, too], but any drug that routinely becomes the subject of square comic strips like Garfield, Cathy and Dilbert ultimately seems to be a little lacking in the smash-the-state firepower dept.). Like, take cocaine, f'r instance. Looking back on the eighties, and the veneration this substance received from many of my peers, all that comes to mind is what the fuck were those dimbulbs THINKING??? Cocaine is like the most overrated, un-punk drug ever. You gotta snort about fifty bucks worth and then go to wrestling for it to have any particularly amusing effects, and even then you gotta eat four nacho dogs to keep yourself entertained. Of course, the fact that i would always sneeze and blow everybody else's lines all over the rug after i did mine was pretty amusing. Hey, i'm a natural crowd pleaser! Then, of course, you got LSD, or rat poison, or whatever the fuck is in that stuff these days -- a small dose will only make you see trails behind moving objects, kind of like how the glaring sun on the Minnesota Vikings' helmets used to look like on TV in December when they used to play outdoors in Bloomington (i.e., when they didn't suck), a larger dose will turn the world into one big Ten Years After album cover. You'd think they could update the shit so it turned the world into one big Buzzcocks picture sleeve, but, you know, i guess the hippies were too busy inventing Oliver Stone to do anything worthwhile over the last few decades. Once, i was driving home from Milwaukee whilst tripping (NOT RECOMMENDED! NOT RECOMMENDED!), and, as i pulled onto I-43 from the downtown on-ramp, i slammed on the brakes as i suddenly noticed that the yellow stripes on the road all came to a point up ahead! I mean, what are you supposed to do when the lane you're driving in comes to a point??? Stay there forever? Whew! Good thing i had my Gingko Biloba to refresh my grasp on Euclidean geometry, or i'd be there still! Speed, of course, is much more punk than acid (which verges on the anti-punk -- except i had a friend who told me when she poured Kiwi-Lime Diet Rite™ into a glass whilst tripping, it came out half green and half pink. There is yet hope!), although, since this seems to be the drug most people think i'm on, i feel obligated to mention that i haven't done speed since 1984 (further, for the record, I HAVE NEVER PERFORMED UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ANY CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE WHATSOEVER [except beer], AT ANY TIME IN MY LIFE. Caffeine is your friend!).  I think the concept of speed is an good one (as opposed to Valium, etc., which seems to exist only for old gay guys to give to young not-gay guys), but the last time i took speed i kinda decided i wanted to wrestle two guys (both bigger than i am) at once (this was right after Mr. Saito of the Far East-West Connection got in trouble for heaving that paving boulder thru the window at the McDonald's in Waukesha, so Jesse "The Body" Ventura didn't have a partner to wrestle Crusher & Baron Von Raschke with [they woulda beat his ass anyway], and he kept saying how he didn't need no partner, etc. [Jesse eventually settled on Jake "The Milkman" Millikin, whose claim to AWA fame was that he had never won a match]), and i kept yelling "FUCK THE AWA!!! I DON'T NEED NO STINKING PARTNER!!!" and trying to double-flying clothesline these two guys (in a bar, no less) like Hercules Hernandez, and, after a while, i think the flying double-clothesline attempts kind of lost their naive charm, and they started throwing me around, and they tossed me into a bunch of broken beerglasses and shit, and dragged me into the ladies room, and gave me a swirly, etc., etc., and i kept screaming how Jake "The Milkman" Millikan could get bent, how i was gonna send them both to the moon once i perfected my flying double clothesline, and they kept tossing me into broken glass, etc., and, luckily, i eventually passed out and somebody took me home -- buuut, at 4 AM, when the alcohol wore off, i woke back up, and soon realized i was being treated to the sounds of my parents secretly conspiring to get divorced coming up from the basement. Now, i don't know if you've ever laid awake for hours with your fingers in your ears, after being beaten to a pulp all night, with chunks of glass in your ass and arms and a headful of feminine bacteria doing god-knows-what-kinda irreparable damage to your scalp, but it's NOT REAL FUN, and i vowed no more speed until i perfected the flying double clothesline (which hasn't happened yet, but i'm real close). On the bright side, my awakeness allowed me plenty of time to pick the glass out of my body prior to my having to act surprised that morning. Heroin i never did, 'cause it makes you short. I mean, look at Johnny Thunders. Pot is kinda underrated in the punkness drug standings. I mean, don't get me wrong, IT'S STILL POT -- but i think it's not so much the pot itself that sucks, it's the pot smokers who need to be briskly napalmed. This may shock you, but i, Rev. Nørb, staunch enemy of Mother Nature and all vegetation, have actually SMOKED POT (it's alright, though. i didn't exhale) -- and it's really not that bad, provided one is not called upon to formulate a coherent utterance or anything. I dunno 'bout you, but one measly gasp of weed and i'm quite unable to complete a sentence. Two gasps and i'm quite unable to even start one. Yet, you get these fucking stoner bozos who couldn't complete a fucking sentence if they were completely sober, and they decide that immediately after they've completely short-circuited all the parts of their brains that control speech centers, short term memory, and motor skills, it's, like, the best time possible to start babbling about whatever goddamn loopy ideas they have rattling around in their craniums. Jeezus fucking PISS, if you've been smoking dope, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!! Make like a goddamn street mime (walking unruly dog optional)!!! Aren't you supposed to be fucking grooving on something, dude???Well SHUT THE FUCK UP and GROOVE, Abner!!! Marijuana obviously cannot be punk due to the "j" sounding like an "h," but, in its defense, it does tend to make one exceedingly paranoid, which is a fairly punk rock state of being. Once, after smoking a joint somebody left behind at my old apartment, i tried to hide behind my refrigerator in a pot-induced panic as i thought i heard my mother calling me from downstairs. I woulda fit, too, if only my goddamn head wasn't so big. Curse that Gingko Biloba!
    P.S. After reading this column over, i am beginning to suspect The Brain Formula™ was invented by the makers of the Bactine Bag™.

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