Word by Steven DiLodovico: Philadelphia Indie Music Examiner
In 1987 I spent an extended stay at a hospital. Not a great time. I had collapsed in a friend’s driveway while we were installing a car stereo into a rust-stricken, cancer-riddled 1970 Chevelle an aunt had given to me. It was my first car and no matter how unsightly and unreliable I was deeply in love with it. It was cold; early December, and illness was about the furthest thing from my mind. Still, there I was: admitted into emergency under a cloud of confusion; tattooed, bald and refusing to remove the Circle Jerks T-shirt for the required hospital gown. Yeah, Punk Rock.
I was released with a disease but still felt teenage-invulnerable; untouchable. I was severely underweight and exhausted all the time. I stayed inside a lot. I missed shows, which was unheard of for me. Instead I had a growing collection of vinyl and cassettes to keep me company. In a sickbed fever I receded into jarring fits of complete isolation and took with me a huge helping of resentment. I carried a lot of rage with me that winter; a lot of fear and disgust. A visitor had snuck me some contraband while I had been on the inside: a Maxell 60 scratched and labeled only as “Embrace.” Sounded kind of gay, but what the hell. I had long, empty hours ahead of me, just staying in bed and not sleeping.