Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Year In Reading 2017

Like many, I enjoy reflecting on the many titles I've read over the past year. Thank goodness for Goodreads.com where I can actively track the books I've read over time. As has become tradition, I'd like to present to you my notable reads for the year 2017. Sure, everyone is doing it but here's my hook: These are the books I've read and enjoyed in 2017 but were not necessarily published this year.
The fact of the matter is, I probably read more books not published in each given year than those that are published in the current year. I'm always impressed with those who focus on reading mostly new books. Of course, this is coming from a chronically slow reader. There are just so many great books out there and even if I were a fast reader, there are just too many great books to get to that you couldn't possibly get to in any given year. 

So, let's get on with my list of notable books I've read in 2017! These are listed chronologically in order read from January through December.

  • THE HOTTEST GAY MAN EVER KILLED IN A SHARK ATTACK by Douglas Hackle (2016) Douglas Hackle: I started the year off reading  Douglas Hackle's first long form story because I'd seen so many other fans of Bizarro say this was a strong contender for top Bizarro book of the year. Ya know what, they were right! This is a jolly good story about a sentient sled, the detached arm of a famous rock star, a polar bear-headed keytar player and a not-so-hot gay guy who take off on a road trip of epic proportions. It is as awesome as it sounds!


  • TANUKI TANGO OVERDRIVE by Arthur Graham (2016) Arthur Graham:  Arthur Graham is an author and editor that's been in the bizarro game for quite sometime. Since stepping away from Rooster Republic Press he's gone on to edit the Horror Sleeze Trash Zine as well as focus more on his own writing. Tanuki Tango Overdrive was a fun romp that took me by surprise. It's a funny, over-the-top action adventure similar to A. Lee Martinez. Check out this hidden gem for a good laugh. Oh yeah and Tanukis are real and they have giant balls. Really!






  • THE NIGHTLY DISEASE by Max Booth III (2016) Perpetual Motion Machine:  Originally published by the now defunct DarkFuse and since reissued by Perpetual Motion Machine, THE NIGHTLY DISEASE was another book I made a point of reading due to all the hype I'd seen the previous year on this darkly funny tale of life as a hotel night auditor. This is the type of book that takes you behind the scenes of a job you never knew could be so interesting. Okay, so, maybe author Max Booth III punches up the action from the true, ordinary and mundane night to night life on the job. But, if you've read Confession of a Hotel Night Auditor blog then maybe you realize there is an uncomfortable amount of truth to this dark, bizarre thriller.



  • THE FIRST CUT by Chuck Buda (2016) La Cigolli Publishing:  Every year there seems to be at least one book I read that I enjoy even thought it has a lot of technical flaws. This year, Chuck Buda's The First Cut is that book. I loved the story and the characters in The First Cut. This is a very graphic, sexually perverse and violent story. It also represents a maturing in the storytelling skill of the author. I gave it three stars at first because of a few technical aspects that I felt hurt the overall reading experience. However, in the end, many months later this book still sticks to me. I can't wait to read on further in the series and see how it all plays out.


  • HOME IS WHERE THE HORROR IS by CV Hunt (2017) Grindhouse Press:  CV Hunt is on the list again this year after winding up on last year's list with my uber-favorite, Ritualistic Human Sacrifice. I didn't think Hunt could follow-up such a strong book but Home Is Where The Horror Is is as nearly as strong an effort as the aformentioned book. This is a very real, very visceral story with vivid characters and a rather unique monster. Great horror and a book actually published in the year I read it! This one stuck to my ribs as well since reading it.




  • HUSK by Rachel Autumn Deering (2016) Tiny Behemoth Press:  Yet another book I read to catch up on the buzz books of 2016. I wanted to grab a signed copy of this at a convention Deering and I were both at but unfortunately I was also vending books at a table and never had the opportunity to meet her. Nevertheless I grabbed the digital copy and found out what all the hubbub was about. In some ways this was similar in tone and feel to CV Hunt's Home Is Where The Horror Is and it's still unique unto itself. The monsters battled in this one come from within. Right. Right? Right!

  • MINIVAN POEMS by Justin Grimbol (2016) Thicke & Vaney Press: This is exactly what it says it is, a book full of poems about minivans. Yet, you still cannot prepare yourself for the wonderful poems held within. These are very short, bite-sized poems that are an ode to minivans, country living, down-home folks, loved ones and butt. Lots of butts. I am not one for poetry at all but Justin Grimbol makes poetry a wonderful art accessible to everyone. I need more Minivan Poems in my life. And a hard copy of this book to put out on my coffee table.




  • SPUNGUNION by John Boden (2017) Dynatox Ministries:  Right at the end of the year I read two fantastic books. Spungunion is one of those books. This one took me by surprise. I'd read another of Boden's books last year. I saw this title and thought the premise sounded pretty cool. The introduction by Bracken MacLeod stresses that no two John Boden stories are alike and boy is that the truth. Spungunion is nothing like Jedi Summer (the book I mentioned previously). Spungunion is some folksy, truck, road trip horror. The writing is keen and vivid. The prose is poetry. It's a short book but it packs a wallop. This is like Convoy if Convoy was a surreal horror thriller.






So, there you have the top of my reading list for 2017. I don't like to stamp the list at 10 or 20 or anything like that. This is just the most enjoyable reads of the year. The list is longer than last year's which only featured six books. This year come in at nine. I put away more books than I did last year and I think overall I read a lot more quality stuff that the previous year. 

Some honorable mentions that didn't make the list would be: SUNFALL by Tim Meyer, Chad Scanlon and Pete Draper. M.R. Tapia's THE DIE-FI EXPERIMENT. JOHN WAYNE LIED TO YOU by John Wayne Comunale, VERY TRUE STORIES STARRING JEFF O'BRIEN by Jeff O'Brien. And CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Johnathan Janz.

I've already got a full reading list of what promises to be top notch shit for 2018. If the titles I have at the top of my To Be Read pile are any indication of the year in reading to come, it will prove to be a banner year in reading. Hope you're year in reading will be grand as well.

You can check out my full list of books read for 2017 HERE.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Music In Hell

BRATS IN HELL was written on a steady diet of Satanic inspired music. Though the story is horror comedy, Frank J. Edler felt keeping the tone of hell required maintaining a certain mood while writing the parts in Hell. This is an exposition of the music that inspired the the underworld of BRATS IN HELL.



I don't normally write with music on. I find it distracting. But for some reason, when it came time to write BRATS, I felt I needed some extra oomph to stay in that zone. True, I was writing a comedic version of Hell, but I still felt the story needed to keep this misfit, chaotic mood for these demons to exist in.

I though about how I saw the demons in my head. I honed their visage from metal album cover art. Two particular albums lent themselves heavily to how I saw these demons and the world they existed within. First is Rob Zombie, particularly White Zombie era Rob Zombie art. I always loved that type of demonic/satanic art. Its colorful and vibrant and conversely gross and disfigured. The Hell that exists in BRATS IN HELL is like that. There are several 'species' of demons which are identified by their primary color and their behavioral demeanor.


More over Rob Zombie type demons, I really saw my demons as the demons from a lesser know cover, Dangerous Toys "Pissed" album. They are a little trickier to pick up on. They are crawling out of the corners from the central image of the Dangerous Toys iconic clown. If you owned they album you saw bigger, isolated images of these demons on the inside folds of the liner notes. These demons were more sinister looking. They were were green and purple and red but they were darker shades of those cover. And they had a mischievous vibe about that. Also, they also had a sense of coming from a communal place where as Zombie's demonic figures are very singularly identified.

So these were the demons I saw in my mind as I wrote the story. I played a lot of Rob Zombie and Dangerous Toys as a result. I found it helped keep me in the zone of the atmosphere of Hell.

I took to Spotify and began to see out more Satanic, creepy, dark music. I knew to go to Venom's "Evil In A League With Satan" which was probably played the most during the writing of BRATS.




But BRATS IN HELL isn't a deeply dark story. I found Twisted Sister's "Burn In Hell" fit the mood of the book perfectly. Anyone familiar with the song probably recalls it being played in the movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure . The song, a dark, growling anthem stands in stark contrast to the silly mood of a Pee Wee Herman movie. If there were a soundtrack to BRATS this would be the lead song on the album.




Those who've not yet read BRATS IN HELL may not realize the book not only takes place in Hell but a good chunk of the book also is set in Heaven. For those more pure moments I turned to more "heavenly metal" to put myself in the proper state of mind. So in order to shift gears from Hell to Heaven I had to find a way to cast the devil out of my mind. The answer was simple, play Stryper's "To Hell With The Devil"




Before I sat down to write BRATS IN HELL, I found trying to listen to music, any music while writing a complete distraction. For BRATS I felt I really need to sink myself into a frame of mind while writing in the setting of Hell. The only way I figured could help that would be to listen to dark chugging heavy metal music with Satanic sounding lyrics.

I don't know if that mindset poured out onto the page but without a doubt it helped me chug though the writing and held my normally jocular, upbeat psyche down in a dark space for a little longer than it cared to linger.

I haven't written anything since that I've felt I needed to force a state of mind for. I do listen to music as I write from time to time. I try to play stuff I'm not familiar with so I don't start focusing on the lyrics and get distracted and start singing along. It's nice to have something in the background sometimes and serves the dual purpose of being able to discover new music at the same time.

I wonder, do you play music while you read? I thing that would be an even bigger distraction that listening while writing. What songs do YOU think would make a great BRATS IN HELL playlist?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Brats In Hell: The Recipe

It's summer and its grilling season. It's also summer and #FlatSatan is on the loose, enticing sinners with his alluring bratwurst recipe so that they might join his minions in Hell. If you're feeling a little naughty this summer, fire up the brimstones and cook your own delicious version of #FlatSatan's BRATS IN HELL!

You will need:

  • 5-6 links of bratwurst
  • lots of beer
  • jalapenos, sliced 1/8" thick
  •  oblong sheboygan buns
  • hot sauce
  • 100 proof alcohol


First: Fill a pot with lots of beer. Make sure its deep enough to float a half dozen bratwursts in. Bring the swill to a rolling boil. As soon as the beer bath is boiling, add your bratwursts to the bath and boil for 3 minutes. Remove bratwurst from beer bath and allow beer to cool.





Next:  Fire up your grill. Line up your beer boiled brats over direct heat as if they were the heathen souls of sinners cast off toeverlasting damnation in Hell. Turn as their skin blisters, chars and splits. Sear evenly on all sides. Be sure to leave pronounced grill marks on all sides as intimidation to those bratwursts who've yet to be tortured and eaten.








Finally: Cut open your Sheboygan buns and lightly toast insides on the hellishly hot grill grates. You'll want a toasty crust to repel the juices from soaking directly into your bread and turning the whole affair into an abomination of demonic proportions. Once the buns have been toasted to your desired wellness, tuck a bratwurst into each bun and garnish with a generous portion of jalapenos slices. Dress with your favorite brand of hot sauce.












Bonus: Douse the dressed bratwurst with pure grain alcohol like you are a South American drug cartel enforcer drenching an ungrateful gringo's car with gasoline to teach him who not to cross. Then, light the bratwurst aflame and eat.



Remember, these are BRATS IN HELL. They are not supposed to be pleasant to eat. This is your eternal damnation. Pile on those jalapenos and pour that hot sauce on like its ketchup. Don't you dare think about blowing out that blue-hot flaming bratwurst before you wrap your mouth around it.

Don't forget to chase it down with all that cooled-off boiled beer. Wasting beer is a mortal sin!


*Frank J. Edler, #FlatSatan, its subsidiaries and affiliates are not responsible for any Earthly injuries you may sustain while preparing or eating BRATS IN HELL. For a much safer BRATS IN HELL experience, buy the book on Kindle or Paperback or read it as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Always wear protection.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

South of the Bratwurst

BRATS IN HELL premiers Tuesday, May 30th. Touted as "The WURST Book Ever Written", the latest release from Frank J. Edler is being marketed with a fondness and nostalgia for travel along the I-95 corridor between New York and Florida.
You've never SAUSAGE a book! Brats In Hell, my latest release, is the story of Otto Van Der Noodle and his award winning bratwursts. The bratwursts that taste so good, he influences the power balance over the forces controlling Hell. When it came time to start promoting BRATS IN HELL, I focused in on the bratwurst theme of the story. How do I promote a book about bratwursts?

The answer was simple, because from my childhood forward I traveled along Interstate 95 between New York and Florida more times than I could possibly count. Those who've traveled along I-95 will instantly know where I'm going with this. Those who haven't, let me clue you in.


There is a tourist attraction that people love to hate in the town of Dillon, South Carolina. It's called SOUTH OF THE BORDER. It's called that because, well, its just south of the border between North and South Carolina. It's that kitschy, clever type of pun that gives the place its loathsome charm. But half the fun of South of the Border is getting there.

There are said to be something in the neighborhood of 275 billboards up and down I-95 advertising SOUTH OF THE BORDER. The tourist trap itself features a motel, restaurant, fireworks shop and other shopping facilities and attractions. Each billboard either advertises a specific area of the complex or simply lure you in with something funny, eye-catching and a tease of how much further you have to go until you get there. It's the perfect distraction from the long drive to keep an eye out for Pedro and his billboards.

My absolute favorite were the ones that had a gigantic three dimensional hot dog on them that would read, "You never SAUSAGE a place!" So when it came time to promote my book about sausages the only logical conclusion was to take a cue from the experts of marketing, SOUTH OF THE BORDER billboards.

And just like that magical moment when you finally see the giant sombrero along side of I-95 in
Dillon, South Carolina, you can pick up your copy of BRATS IN HELL after having suffered through miles of my cheesy advertising and hold it proudly like a cheap souvinier and say, "I've made it to the WURST book ever written." and love every rotten moment of the pun.

For more fun information and facts on South of the Border and it's billboards, check out these cool web sites:

South of the Border History

South of the Border on Wikipedia

DWMorrison's Fun Facts of South of the Border

And of course, you can read BRATS IN HELL on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Paperback.


Check it out here.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

BRATS IN HELL: The Wurst Book Ever Written

BRATS IN HELL: The Wurst Book Ever Written premiers Tuesday, May 30th. Available now for pre-sale, exclusively on Kindle eBook.

BRATS IN HELL is a book that has been three years in the making. Back in the summer of 2014 I sat down with the intention of writing one thousand words a day for 50 days to wind up with a 50,000 word novel in just under two month's time. Well, the story would end up just over 60,000 words and I took just a tad longer than two months to complete it. The end result was a story I was happy with, BRATS IN HELL.



What to do with the story now? I shopped it around. At first, I submitted it to a couple of publishers who said they would be receptive to reading it but alas, it fell on deaf ears, or eyes. I began compiling a list of publishers that I thought might have interest in the story. I submitted to horror publishers, bizarro publishers, weird fiction publishers and a speculative fiction outlet or two. All passed.

Admittedly, I feel BRATS is an odd fit for most publishers. Too strange for straight horror presses, too slapstick for serious speculative and dark fiction outlets and not quite weird enough for the more focused bizarre and weird fiction publishers.

I wrestled with self-publishing it all the while. Early on I felt I needed the skills of a publisher to present the book in the best light possible. But over the past two and a half years, I've self published a short story collection and novella length book. And I got progressively better at it. I've found a solid editor and a cover artist who understands me on a genetic level. I, myself, have gotten good at interior layout for both print and digital editions. So much so that I'm now confident I have the ability to make the book look as good as most any indie press would be capable of producing.

On Tuesday, May 30th, I will unleash the horde of demons collectively knows as BRATS IN HELL upon the world. Fuck it. I love the book and I want it to be out there. It's a great story, it really is. It's available for pre-sale right now. You could order it right now and have it waiting for you first thing on Tuesday morning when you wake up to face another day. You could flick it open on your favorite reading device and forget all your troubles for a few minutes or hours. You could immerse yourself in a world where the demons of Hell have everyday problems like you do. It is Hell, after all.

Also, if you haven't had a chance to read my other work, I've added some incentive ahead of the BRATS IN HELL release. Right now, DEATH GETS A BOOK, is only .99 cents on Amazon Kindle. Now is the prefect time to grab DEATH and get to know my silly, scary style of storytelling. You could also pick up SCARED SILLY, my short story collection which is always .99cents anywhere you buy eBooks.



At the moment, I don't have any appearances scheduled ahead of SCARES THAT CARE in Williamsburg in July. That maybe your first opportunity to score a signed copy of the book. If there are any opportunities that pop up ahead of that, you're going to need to sign up for my newsletter (find the sign-up in the upper right of this page) to be one of the first to get news of my latest appearences, signings and releases.

Until then, don't forget to pick up BRATS IN HELL, it's the WURST book ever written. Who wouldn't want to read that! Find it HERE!





Friday, February 17, 2017

That Time I Hung Out With A Rock Star - Warrant Edition

I lived some prime years of my life through the decadent age of hard rock and heavy metal that dominated the music landscape in the 1980's. It was an incredible time. The music was loud, the clothing was loud and the hair went all the way to 11. Anything worth doing was worth overdoing.

I followed those bands with the big hair and the black leather and the flashy guitars like they were a religion. I bought the rock magazines and studied the articles. I tore the glossy photos from the rags and plastered the walls of my bedroom with them. I bought cheap mall knockoff rock star clothing and frequented every local music store dreaming of the day I would be able to afford a sexy looking $700 guitar that would make women melt without even playing a single note.

My dedication to the music, the bands and the scene led me on many great adventures. I frequently sought out the bands when they were in town. I would stalk their tour buses and wait for the opportunity to hang out with anyone from the band.

It worked many, many times and I have these stories to tell. Like this one time when I hung out with Warrant.



It was 1989. The Glam scene was peaking. The band, Warrant, were the hottest new thing on the Sunset Strip. They were touring like crazy backing up their monster success on Mtv. They were the supporting act on Motley Crue's Dr. Feelgood tour but they were also doing some secondary dates on their own at smaller venues.

It was one of those shows that I got to hang out with the Down Boys. There was a theater down in South Jersey. It was kind of remote as theater's went, situated on some old farm land. There wasn't too much around other than the building and the parking lot. As per my usual modus operendi, I showed up really early to try to catch the band coming off their tour bus or hang around back and hope to catch one of the guys in the band if they popped their head out looking for a groupie or something.

It looked like this time was going to be a bust though. What had started as a clear, sunny day quickly turned into a dark, overcast nightmare. I didn't know we were expecting a bad thunder storm but I didn't think to check the weather in south Jersey either. South Jersey was almost like another state. Another country really. It was vastly different in population density, the type of people and the scenery. 

I sat in my car, bummed that I wasn't going to be able to get an opportunity to hang with the band. I certainly couldn't have know that the storm would be the very reason I was going to get to hang out with Warrant in a very big way.

Lighting struck. Not regular lighting but a big, fat, blue bolt of lightning. It zapped a tree that had sprung up in the long uncultivated farm field. The tree exploded into a million splinters and a dazzling dance of molten sparks. Left in the wake of the split tree and smoldering wood was a twenty foot tall monster.

The monster looked disgusting. It looked like a fat, naked, sweaty man. It's face was so bulbous, its forehead and cheeks met in front of its eye balls. It's cheeks were so engorged with fat, it had jowls like a pig. There was no discernible neck, just a pyramidal stack of chin upon chin until it ended just above it's man boobs. The thing stood at least fifteen feet tall. It smelled like a locker room.

It tried to roar but the sound was closer to a wet snore. Gobs of sloppy spit dribbled out of its mouth and nose. It lifted one of its stubby feet as far as it could without bending its knee and slammed it down on the ground. The Earth shook.

The morbidly obese monster lifted its other foot and slammed it down to the ground again. The ground shook. A crack split the ground from the creature's foot and raced toward the theater that Warrant was supposed to be playing later that night. It was trying to destroy the building with it's earthquake attack.

It rolled a snore-roar again. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what it did next. The monster bent over and jumped up, both feet leaving the Earth. Instead of slamming both feet back down, it kicked both legs in front of it. It was going to slam its enormous ass into the ground and turn the theater to a pile of rubble with a massive seismic blast.

That was when I saw Warrant run out of the theater at an incredible rate of speed and stop about ten yards in front of the monster. Lead singer, Jani Lane, stood at the head of the group. Jani was flanked by the guitarists Joey Allen and Erik Turner. Behind those two stood bassist Jerry Dixon and drummer Steven Sweet whose arms were crossed over his chest. He clenched a pare of drum sticks in an intimidating manor.

Before the monster's ass slapped the Earth like a bad baby, Warrant jumped into the air, avoiding the seismic blast. The theater and my car did not fare as well. The theater crumbled like a house of cards. My car was shook so violently, the tires fell off and the doors vibrated off their hinges. I got out and watched the battle that was about to ensue.

The monster snored in a rage. It struggled to get up off its ass and back on its feet. Warrant jumped on the monster, delivering stealthy ninja kicks and chops to its body. The monster was too well padded to affected by their attacks however.

Warrant had underestimated the size of the beats and it gave the monster enough time to get back on its feet. It slammed it's foot back to the ground. Warrant once again jumped into the air to avoid the seismic blast. But the monster countered by clapping its hands together. The sonic slap ripped through the air and blew Warrant back in mid leap.

They all landed in a heap on their backs. They got up slowly, stunned by the unexpected clap attack. Jani was first to his feet.

"Warrant! Unite! Chicken fight attack!" the lead singer instructed.

Of course! Warrant was known for doing a dueling chicken fight guitar solo on stage. The lead guitarist Erik Turner hopped up on Jani Lane's shoulders. Joey Allen, the other guitarist, mounted the bass player's shoulders. They were going to chicken fight the fat fucking monster! This was epic!

The monster was having none of it. It roar-snorted once more. This time instead of a stomp or clap, it pirouetted like a ballerina on one gargantuan leg. While up on its's tippy-toe, it started to fart. The fart echoed across the field. It sounded like a squadron of Chinook helicopters flying overhead. The sonic thunderclap produced by the enormous flatulence toppled the duel Warrant chick fight attack before it could even begin.

"That's it!" I heard Jani Lane call out, "Warrant, interlock!"

On his command Warrant was cast against a blurred background. They leaped into the air. Jani at the center. Joey and Erik clasped onto his arms, forming longer arms. The Jani locked a leg each on Jerry and Steven. Warrant had formed a giant Warrant warrior!

"Dirty! Rotten! Filthy! Stinking! MONSTER!" The giant Warrant Warrior cried out as it charged into battle.

The Erik arm reached behind the back of the Warrant Warrior and produced a giant cherry pie. It launched the whipped cream topped pie at the fat, disgusting monster. The monster opened it's mouth to eat the pie but it was too large and slammed into the monster's face, knocking it to the ground.

"Time to put this monster down, Down Boys!" Jani called out from the heart of the Warrant Warrior.

The Joey Allen arm produced his guitar which he wielded like a a battle ax. The Warrant Warrior raised the ax over it's head and brought it down on the sloppy body of the monster. The Warrior hit it with all its might and the monster transformed into a ball of blinding red light when the ax connected.



I shielded my eyes so I wouldn't go light blind. When I looked back again, the monster was gone and The Warrant Warrior stood proud as the smoke cleared. The Warrant Warrior disassembled and they ran over to me to make sure I was okay.

"I saw red." I said to Warrant. They all laughed.

They felt bad that I had to witness that. They told me that giant monsters attacked them all the time. They tried their best to defeat the monsters each on their own but more times than not they would have to work the Warrant Warrior to dispatch the beasts. They wanted to keep that part of the band a secret and asked that I keep their alternate identity a secret as well in exchange for tickets to the show and top level backstage passes.

You know I was down with the Down Boys and took them up on their offer. Warrant put on a killer show that night. They even did their chicken fight dueling guitar solo routine. Jani winked at me down in the front row when they did. I winked back.

After the show, they held true to their promise and I had all access to the backstage area. Even Warrant's dressing room where there were more girls in short, short dresses than you could shake a giant, fat monster at. Like I said, I'm sworn to secrecy but I can assure you that I now know where the Down Boys go.












Friday, January 27, 2017

The Time I Hung Out With a Rock Star - Twisted Sister Edition

I lived some prime years of my life through the decadent age of hard rock and heavy metal that dominated the music landscape in the 1980's. It was an incredible time. The music was loud, the clothing was loud and the hair went all the way to 11. Anything worth doing was worth overdoing.

I followed those bands with the big hair and the black leather and the flashy guitars like they were a religion. I bought the rock magazines and studied the articles. I tore the glossy photos from the rags and plastered the walls of my bedroom with them. I bought cheap mall knockoff rock star clothing and frequented every local music store dreaming of the day I would be able to afford a sexy looking $700 guitar that would make women melt without even playing a single note.

My dedication to the music, the bands and the scene led me on many great adventures. I frequently sought out the bands when they were in town. I would stalk their tour buses and wait for the opportunity to hang out with anyone from the band.

It worked many, many times and I have these stories to tell. Like this one time when I hung out with Twisted Sister:



It was 1984. Twisted Sister was the biggest thing in rock and roll coming off the strength of their hits We're Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. The Sisters were doing this big homecoming show at the Nassau Collesium out on Long Island. It was a small venue as arena's go and the place was going to be packed.

Everyone who owned a pair of acid wash denims, a bandanna and either black motorcycle boots or well-worn Converse were going to be there. I had to get in but I couldn't scrape up enough money for a ticket before the show sold out.

I was determined to be there to see Dee, Jay Jay, Eddie and AJ in all their drag queen-on-acid glory. I scraped enough money together by the day of the show and prayed it would be enough to buy a scalped ticket.

I ran into several people trying to scalp tickets. I wasn't just going to buy from just anyone, there was an art to this. You had to know what you were doing or you were going to pay too much money, buy a fake ticket or just flat out get robbed.

I ignored several shady guys asking if I had an extra ticket. They were definitely scalpers but I could tell they were working the crowd as a team. One guy distracts you haggling over ticket prices while another stands out of view. The decoy gets you to show which pocket your money is in and then, BAM, the pickpocket is gone with your money and you can't even feel it. They are good, I'll give them credit.

I found a small group of people all huddled together. They looked harmless and were asking the requisite scalper question, "Do you have any extra tickets?" They looked very innocent, like good church going people. I approached them.

"I don't have an extra ticket," I said, "I was hoping maybe one of you do?"
I couldn't have known this was a trap. One I was not prepared for. They began attacking me, their weapon: guilt.

"Don't you know scalping perpetuates impoverished people!?" One of the group barked at me.
"Scalping is degrading to women! You're a chauvinistic pig!" another cried.

"You're promoting a capitalist agenda. The rich are getting richer and the poor get left behind!" Yet another chided.

I was blindsided. The last thing I was expecting in this transaction was to be pummeled with political and social agendas. I didn't even give a shit, I just wanted to see Twisted fucking Sister rock.
They kept laying into me with their accusations and judgments. My head swirled. People were starting to look are me with disgust as they walked by the scene.

I heard a group of really hot girls all dressed in the tightest and shortest mini skirts and stiletto heels call me a xenophobe. I had no idea what that even was and I wasn't sure they did either. It still cut my ego just the same.

I could feel myself changing. I felt myself growing socially progressive views on feminism, race relations and the absurdities of a trickle-down economy. Only moments ago I only wanted to rock, not caring a thing for my fellow man and their plight on this Earth. Now I wanted to grab someone by the collar and browbeat them with my feminist agenda.

I was ready to promote my new social awareness when I was pleasantly surprised to find myself surrounded by five large women. I felt proud that these women who were taller and uglier than the social norms would dictate felt comfortable enough in their femininity to cast off the hateful stares of bigoted men and proudly strut their beautiful bodies for the world to see.

And then I realized the five women were Twisted Sister.

Dee Snider slapped me hard across the face, "You're not an SJW!"

Then the rest of the band shouted, "You're an SMF!" in unison.

Jay Jay French tore off my jeans and ripped open my shirt. AJ Piero lifted me up and Jay Jay slid me into a pair of skin tight spandex with pink leopard print. My bulge stood our prominently in them. Eddie Ojeda came up from behind me and tied a feather boa around my neck and some pink and neon green scarves around my waist.

Then the five of them jumped me, pinning me to the ground. They were all attacking my face. Finally the attack stopped and they picked me up. Dee held up a mirror to my face. I looked like a street walking whore. I had heavy blue eye shadow, black eye liner, fire engine red lipstick on and beaming cherry blush rouge on my cheeks. 

I never felt so manly in my entire life. I looked like one of The Sisters. They made me a rock star! They made me a sexy mother fucker. I was an S-M-F!

They gave me tickets to the show. I got to see them from the third row. There was also a backstage pass laminate and I go to go hang out with them after the show. Dee Snider is a really cool guy, smart as hell. We talked about male pattern baldness, the rate of fluorocarbons getting into our ozone layer from the heavy use of AquaNet and we even discussed feminism and how much he loved and supported women in his own special way.

I didn't know what a social justice warrior was in 1984. Nobody did. I came face to face with a monster that nobody realized existed. Fortunately Dee Snider and Twisted Sister were there to fight them off and teach us what was really important... Rock N' Roll. 

It was a magical night hanging out with a bunch of dudes dressed up like a bunch of women. Nobody slapped a label on it or cast any judgement other than it was a good time. I miss those days.