I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 10

THree Flowers

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 10

Shoes were next on the list. Sneakers and Florsheims wouldn’t do. The red Capezios I bought a few years prior from the snobby sales help were tres outré. Stiv Bators wore filthy white ones but they were sold out. Red made sense at the time. The key portion of that last sentence was “at the time”. Cool is always elusive so you need to keep on your game …or so I thought. Priscilla told me about a shop called the Civilian in the west 20’s. I found a pair of reasonably priced, vintage style new loafers: not too pointy, but with a single dignified stud/faux buckle. They seemed to have an air of Bryan Ferry but not overly formal. Priscilla approved.

But what of my hair? Keep it short on the sides and back, some length up front, and lots of grease. Thick ones like Royal Crown, Dixie Peach, Nu Nile or Murrays were good on the top. Thin ones like Yardley’s English Lavender or Three Flowers Brilliantine were good on the sides and back. The packaging had kitsch graphics on them too. Nu Nile and Murrays were often sold closer to the products for black people and had packaging with people on them sporting naturals. Kind of like I looked in high school. In spite of being sold in the same section as Afrosheen, it must have been used for conking as grease would be too weighty for a fro. These brands are all still available wherever fine hair care products are sold. They all smelled great too. Each scent can still transport me back to 1980, where I was trying to transport myself to 1954. The way to live in those moments was to look forward to the past. Huh?

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 9

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 9

The next step in the pursuit of cool was to acquire cool clothing. I couldn’t continue to wear my Grandfather’s old sweaters or depend on finding more of Jerry’s cast-offs. The ever giving Priscilla offered to take me shopping.

With a fresh $100 bill in my pocket, acquired through some untruth told to my father or some shameful slight of hand, we arrived at the appointed rendezvous spot: St. Marks Place. While I don’t recall the names of any of the shops we hit, we most definitely did not visit Trash and Vaudeville. That was too punk and seemingly too pricey. We may have swung by Cheap Jacks, and later on Canal Jean, which always had bins of low priced clothing lining the sidewalk. Regardless of where we went, by the end of our rounds I ended up with two flecked jackets, one gray with while flecks and one black with red flecks, two pairs of pegged pants, one black and one grayish silver, and two, fifties style two-toned shirts, one blue with white stitching and one tan with brown and metallic buttons. On the one hand I have trouble believing we were able to score this much clothing for $100, but after going through a simple financial analysis, it’s reasonable to see that at $15 a pop plus tax it was doable. In retrospect, even that amount seems pricey, as the racks and bins of $2 and $5 clothing seemed plentiful at the time.

One vivid memory of the experience: at a store on 1st avenue on the south side of St. Marks Place, I dropped my $100 bill. I nonchalantly picked it up while Priscilla panicked: “Careful! The junkies will start swarming!” She obviously knew something I didn’t.

I now had an understanding of how the system worked: retro, used and vintage clothing shops were the way to go. Raiding your uncool parent’s closet wasn’t…unless of course they used to be in a motorcycle gang.

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 8


I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 8

I worked with Haoui at the New School for Social Research in the fall of ’78. He was Howard then. They needed extra people (temps) during registration. The best part was in the evenings when women would come in after work to register. They’d bend over to hand you their check & paper work and you could see down the front of their dresses. If you were lucky they wouldn’t be wearing a bra. It was a value add to a boring low wage job.

At lunchtime I’d go to local record shops. A favorite was a second hand shop in the area called Second Hand Rose. You could get scratchy old Motown & Stax-Volt 45’s for 50 cents. More money would be spent at places like Bleecker Bobs, sometimes $7 for an import LP. I showed Howard the first Devo album with colored vinyl. He was a fan and talked about seeing punk bands in England. We talked about politics occasionally. I had backed out of politics, both as a result of high school scars and perceived punk nihilism. Politics was for hippies and hippies weren’t cool. Not Howard though. As for politics, he said “it’s in my blood.”

A few months later I went to see a band at an Upper West Side club called Hurrahs. Lo and behold there’s Howard at the door. We exchanged hellos. I didn’t get pushy, and in a minute or so I’m let in. I pay of course. I never thought people got in for free unless they were press, famous or local bands. I was a big oh for three on that account.

Over the next two years, I started to see him in local periodicals referred to as “Haoui.” He also moved onto different clubs, and now, two years later, after the Club 57 event, he was at the door of Danceteria. As one of the stylists was a graphic designer from the Soho News, we waltzed right in and didn’t pay. But what did happen was Haoui looked at me and did a double take. He was too cool to say anything like “What happened to you?” But something did happen. Was this what cool felt like?

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 7


I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 7

The ecstatic aura of our “performance” doesn’t last long as we must now wait in anticipation for the announcement of the winners.

*Third place: one of the faceless Elvis’, who happily takes his drink ticket. I offer my humble congratulations. He heads straight for the bar.
*Next, second place: John Sex. He struts his stuff, and little John makes another appearance. He takes his vinyl, the vinyl I wanted, with pride and panache.
*Next, first place: ELVIS AND PRISCILLA! Yes, it is us! We hop onto the stage for one more stare and sneer, but this time I kiss Priscilla. Why? It seemed like something they would have done in real life. But this is better than real life. This is a fantasy world.

Priscilla has her rug. She is satisfied. I’m a winner…in Sid and Jerry’s clothing…

We soon head outside into the hot August night (sorry for the Neil Diamond reference) but not before we bump into John Sex himself. We all laugh at the absurdity of what we just went through. “I couldn’t have beaten a nicer guy” I tell him. I don’t know if he heard me, but he laughed. John may have even kissed me at this point, but I can’t quite be sure. There were a number of nights out in club land in the early 80’s where someone’s tongue got stuck down your throat, regardless of gender or sexual preference. If you weren’t interested in pursuing it, you just laughed and said “bye-bye”. If you were interested, all the better. Time has erased so many memories.

Where to now? The night is still young. Onto Danceteria! We flag down a cab: me, Priscilla and the two ladies who “styled” me. We’re all still basking in the glow of victory as if we all just had great sex. If only…

I had been to Danceteria before, wearing my glasses and a 50’s sweater that had been my grandfathers. He actually wore it in the 50’s…and 60’s…and 70’s. I guess when you lived through the depression, you never forgot it.

I knew the doorman at Danceteria: Haoui Montaug.

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 6

Ann Mag

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 6

Someone officially enters us into the competition. I’m even more nervous and want even more beer. Priscilla just wants that rug. DJ Ann Magnuson is spinning Elvis records at 33…and my stomach spins at 45, ebbing ever closer to 78. Elvis songs continue to play as the entrants start to make their way to the stage. One at a time they strut their stuff. Most seem to do the standard sort of hip swaying, lip curling moves, but then there was John Sex. John lived up to his name. His hips swirled a little wider than the others and his lips curled a little steeper than the others. He also whipped out a secret weapon: Little John. It wasn’t so little actually. He whipped it to and fro. John seemed to love showing his namesake and the crowd ate it up…so to say. John Sex: Snake handler.

Priscilla and I are now summoned to the stage. She all but drags me with her. I see halos of light and blurry, shrieking faces in the crowd. Our friends are shrieking loudest. First advantage: we were the only couple. Second advantage: Priscilla took no prisoners. She gave the crowd a death stare of disdain as only an East Villager could. True, she was from Jersey, but her penchant for the occasional shot of narcotics practically made her an East Villager. In an act of unrehearsed symbiosis, I too chose to stare. Except my stare was similar to that of a deer caught in the headlights. I summoned up my inner Elvisness and turned the stare into a sneer. No swayed hips or curled lips from us. Just the stare and the sneer. The crowd shrieked. Was it because we looked so great or were they laughing at us? We didn’t care nor will we ever know. But we never flinched. We sold it.

We left the stage to more applause. All entrants have displayed their inner Elvi and it’s now time for the winner to be announced. Priscilla still wants her rug. I still want the vinyl.

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 5

Club Elvis

I had never been to Club 57 before. It was at 57 St. Marks Place, ergo the creative name. It was a dark, non-descript, East Village step down. At least it seemed so at the time: In a positive step towards cool I was instructed to not wear my glasses, so nothing was really clear. Seeing clearly is obviously un-cool and unnecessary. The blurry faces have all revealed themselves in time. Artists Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf were regulars and probably there. Performance artist and actress Ann Magnuson was the DJ. And someone named John Sex…well, how do you describe John Sex? John was like something out of a John Waters’ film. Part performance artist, part tongue in cheek stripper and part snake handler. He also had a blond quiff that reached for the stars. That thing must have been at least a foot tall. Size was important to John.

Someone hands me a beer. I take a big sip of foam which gets stuck in my throat causing me to cough all over Priscilla. She sarcastically thanks me in a voice with no emotion followed by an eye-roll. She had seen it all and I still had one foot in the suburbs. It was somewhere about this time that I realized I was REALLY going to have to get on that stage…in front of people…without a drum set in front of me. Another swig of beer would help settle my frayed nerves. This time I avoided the foam and just chugged.

There were prizes that night too. Win, place or show, there was something for everybody. 3rd place was a drink ticket. 2nd place was a copy of ‘Elvis’ Greatest Hits’, which, being a record store geek, I already owned. 1st place was a cheesy velvet Elvis rug purchased on 14th street. Most people wanted the drink ticket. Priscilla cooed with delight at the rug. I wanted the LP, knowing I could re-sell it and buy something I didn’t own. I was obviously the most practical one in the crowd, something which has always stood in my path in the noble pursuit of cool.

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 4

I Am the Coolest Man on Earth Pt 4

Out comes hair grease, a brush and a dryer. A scissor may have even appeared but that detail has been lost in the haze of the years. Clothes? Into the closet to see what Jerry has left. A shirt whose collar will of course be turned up. A flecked jacket fit as well. Pants? A pair of pink, high-waisted, peg-legged trousers appear. I peruse them and a few things stand out. First: the material is of a nature I have never felt. This wasn’t off the rack. I don’t know what it was but it seemed almost as if they were hand made. Second: the stain on the right leg. It was from an iron. Third: the tag. It said “SEX” and in smaller letters “London”. “Is that Malcom McLaren’s SEX shop” I asked? “Yep” said the blonde. “Sid gave them to Jerry.” “Sid Vicious? The Sid Vicious?” Affirmative. I was wearing the pants of rock and roll casualty, Punk Rock poster child and martyr Sid Vicious, from the McLaren/Westwood Sex shop, also worn by New York Doll Jerry Nolan. I had hit a rock and roll triple play. But, a man needs a good pair of shoes. My sneakers wouldn’t do. What’s in the closet? We pull out the most beat up, Cuban heels this side of Havana. For those unfamiliar with Cuban heels, they’re basically short Beatle boots. And for those unfamiliar with Beatle boots, you must be under forty.

A shoe brush, some spit and a rag….then a shoe horn are called for. Somehow I forced myself into the shoes and the ladies squeal with delight. Like Cinderella going to the ball I was transformed. I looked cooler and felt cooler. But was I cooler? Onto Club 57 to find out.

© Curt Weiss 2014

I Am The Coolest Man on Earth Pt 3

I Am The Coolest Man on Earth Pt 3

At the time of that show at CBGB, my cool quotient was pretty low. My hair was still in the previous decade and my clothes were parental retreads. So, a few months later, when Jerry mysteriously left the band, in spite of being a relatively well schooled drummer who knew all the band’s songs, there was no way I could even entertain the thought of auditioning for my favorite band. I knew I would miss this opportunity but didn’t want to miss any others. So, I made a plan to raise my score. Part of the plan was to hang out with those who have a higher quotient than I did. Some of it would rub off for sure.

Coincidentally, around the time of that fateful August day, came the anniversary of Elvis’ death, who died August 16th 1977. It was 1980 and irreverent irony was well established for its artistic value in New York club land. Club 57, a leader in this genre, was holding an Elvis Presley look-alike contest. The Soho News blonde and a few of her lady friends decide that not only must we attend, but I will compete as Elvis! Even better, the most buxom of young ladies will be my Priscilla!

Ye buxom gal was already a Rockats’ fan and as such wore petticoats and the other accoutrement of the burgeoning neo-rockabilly scene. As for me, the ladies would have to do an intervention.

© Curt Weiss 2014

I am the coolest man on earth – pt 2

I am the coolest man on earth – pt 2
A year and a half before the Rock and Roll bloodletting…

I was once in a band called the Rockats. In 1980 and ’81 they were the talk of the town in New York. In 1980 I was merely a fan, going to see them at CBGB one cold January night when former New York Doll Jerry Nolan was their drummer. Although Jerry was about 15 years older than most of the band, he was the first musician to give this band of musical neophytes some credibility. The front line could dance and had the looks but Jerry could play. He looked sharp as a pin too, in a pink baggy suit and blonde hair that was, as always, perfect. This was before the Stray Cats became international sensations, so the fifties look, mixed in with some New York Dolls eye shadow and Teddy Boy dance steps, was a shock to most people’s systems. The guys wanted to be them and the girls wanted to shag them. Actually, some guys wanted to shag them too. This was also before AIDS so everybody seemed to be shagging someone.

I ended up going to the show completely as a lark. I had befriended a young women who, in spite of being seven or eight years older, seemed to find me somewhat amusing. I had met her at a show at the now non-existent Bottom Line in 1978 and hounded her relentlessly ever after. She worked at the also now non-existent Soho News. She was also blond. What’s not to like? Without me realizing it, she had an on-again/off-again relationship with Jerry. On occasion he would live there, but on others he wouldn’t. Such was the life of a junkie.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Lists, Lists, Lists…

(with a shout out to Spike Priggen and George Usher…)
Lists: You know they’re just click bait on websites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post. People seem to love them. Even before the internet, with its never ending necessities like animal photo bombing sites and cheese bloggers, it seemed like every issue of Cosmopolitan or Men’s Health had cover article with titles like “7 Steps to Better Sex” or “6 Easy Moves to Burn Off Those Love Handles.” I’m here to tell you that I bought quite a few of those issues and I never had better sex nor did I ever lose those love handles. But I kept on buying those magazines.

There’s still something about lists though. If you’re like me and you’ve worked for a company that employs at least fifty people, you’ve probably had to take a workshop or two….or twelve. The names are often things like “Working With Difficult People” or “Conflict Resolution: Win-Win Strategies.” I’ve learned much attending them including the fact that I’m a difficult person and I can’t resolve my conflicts. That’s a big “win-win” right?

While attending one of the aforementioned workshops I learned that the brain is made up of three distinctive areas: Reptilian, Limbic and Neocortex. Let’s skip the Limbic. I was always bad in science anyway. What I’m talking about starts with the Reptilian brain. It contains all of the intrinsic and instinctual human traits, like the fight or flight response, anger or fear. The Neocortex contains the higher level, human attributes, like math or order. So, if you’re really stressed (Reptilian brain firing on all cylinders) you can calm yourself down by pivoting your brain to something associated with the Neocortex. Something like making lists.

Now if you’re like me, you immediately wanted to make a list of the ways you’d like to torture the person stressing you out and having conflicts with. That doesn’t count. Otherwise Dante would’ve been cool as a cucumber while writing about the nine circles of hell in “The Inferno.” I mean, the guy was exiled, had his assets taken, was sentenced to death… Creating levels of misery for others sounds pleasant enough. Maybe this is what got Dick Cheney going on that waterboarding thing?

But I digress…

But my point is the attraction to lists is all in the brain. We’re hard wired to like them and find solace in them. No wonder the internet is filled with useful articles like “5 things you never knew about your accent’ (You say tomato, I say…), “7 ways to keep your vagina young” (I’m still stuck on number one), “10 Millionaires Behind Bars” (This one doesn’t go to eleven), and “25+ Things That Are Hilariously Similar To Each Other” (Huh?).

Think about the possibilities. The UN could issue large lists like “17 Adorably Nonsensical Things That Make Zero Sense, And Therefore Are Perfect” to keep ISIS and Putin sated. If only Hamas and Netenyahu had read a few lists they’d probably be comparing notes on “26 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Original RoboCop” while sharing a glass of tea instead of bombing one another back to the stone age…or at least the last intifada.

But better than reading lists, like Dante I believe I should be creating them. That’s where the real healing power lies. And, as my agent wants me to build up my literary platform, what better way to get published on Gawker.com than to create my own useless list? Something that is in keeping with my book subject (music) and simultaneously de-stressing reptilian brains and stimulating Neocortexes around the world.

After much drinking…I mean, deep reflection, I’ve got it: 131 NAMES OF BANDS THAT NEVER WERE BUT SHOULD HAVE BEEN AND MAY STILL BE ONE DAY IN THE FUTURE IF WE’RE SO LUCKY!!! This is the master list, the mother of all lists and the list to end all lists. Creating it has made me so happy that the mold growing in my daughter’s bathroom doesn’t faze me in the least. Is this what Oxycontin is like? This is list based bliss.



1) The Fig Sniffers
2) Tweezer Pleazers United
3) Butt Pump
4) Quarg
5) The Doody Heads
6) Piffle
7) Blurp, Heimen & Jones Limited
8) The Pee Wees
9) Step Stool
10) Lobe
11) The Diddlers
12) Plap
13) Lip Shtick
14) Trubble Bouble
15) Twirp
16) The Coprophesiacs
17) Silver Stopper Popper
18) The Jews
19) Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper
20) Pan Fried
21) Acid Burn
22) Sell, Sell, Sell
23) Labia Lane
24) Hope a Dope
25) Jew Reed
26) Vodka Chronic
27) Freedom of the Sandwich Press
28) Benny Hinn’s Hair
29) Bloody Pulp
30) HR Snuffenstuff
31) You’re Wrong, I’m Right
32) The Bombdiddies
33) Filament Tip
34) Fleegle
35) Thwarmer
36) The Palace of Doom
37) Huhbuh Buhba Buhba Bubha
38) Sling of Zardoz
39) T-Shirt Fix
40) Eviction Notice
41) The Bowling Ball Holes
42) Bonfire Calamity
43) The Car Crash 5
44) Stolen Dreams
45) Profederate
46) Menocause
47) Rrrrrrrrrrrrrribit
48) The Great Kilkennys
49) Grundy
50) Quarter Rican
51) Cyclone Finger
52) The Afterlife Beforehand
53) Cloudy Circumstances
54) Wrong Customers Penalty Box
55) Toucan Sam Goody
56) Bad Sleepers
57) The Injectors
58) The Done Did Its
59) The Winning Losers
60) The Loss Breeders
61) Burnasol
62) Prope
63) The Rad Dads Highway
64) Big Gut, Little Gut
65) The Naked Vacuum
66) Nude Bongo
67) The Cushions
68) Phillips Head
69) The Smelters of Zion
70) Grrrrrrrreps
71) We’re All Gonna Be Dust
72) The Stinky Pinkies
73) Pasta Safari
74) Proud to Doubt
75) Smokey’s Fire
76) Barge
77) Crown of Crust
78) Silence Emboldened
79) Hippie Juice
80) Vaginalogue
81) The Scream of the Tambourine
82) Leather Racket
83) Gutter Religion
84) The Angry Planet
85) Maybe, Maybe
86) Penile Complaint
87) Turtle Foot
88) Bam-Bam
89) The Correct Spelling of…
90) Alcatraz, Shabbazz and Golden
91) Give Up The Toast
92) Cowbell Flavor
93) Steeple Coma
94) Laying Down on the Job
95) Nowhere to Pun
96) Black Feedback
97) Drum Cake
98) Teleblaster of Disaster
99) Blasphemous Prayershawl
100) The Hi-Hats
101) Noodle and the Macaroni Makers
102) Bad Hat with Towel
103) Flipped Out Sauerkraut
104) Crane
105) Splinter Removal Kit
106) Backwards in Reverse
107) Seen but not Hurd Cattle
108) The Hair Twirlers
109) Blue Randy
110) Flap Your Clam
111) Prime Time Gods
112) The Cross Bearers
113) Bigger Than A BreadBox
114) Tire Buddy
115) Ploop
116) Textbook Sinners
117) Gravy Boat
118) Arkansas Goat Herder
119) Fatherly Advice
120) Drang und Sturm
121) Trowel Movement
122) Clem, Ahem & Amen
123) Crabfinger
124) Late Riser’s Club
125) A Bit of the Fig
126) Whee, Oui, We
127) Fudge Factory
128) Noodle Farm
129) Jah Dump
130) Mudd’s Bat
131) Fecal, Treacle and Ezekial


Are you feeling it yet? No? Try this:

© 2014 Curt Weiss