Read "STARPUNCHER" The Danny Marianino Story, (FREE EBOOK)

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Oct 3, 2012, 3:05:06 PM10/3/12
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STARPUNCHER:
a Hardcore Punk Rock Love Story







CHAPTER 1: THE PUNCH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD


Piers Morgan, a highly influential member of the media, conducted many important interviews during his climb to the top of his profession. He engaged foreign dignitaries, athletes, entertainers, political commentators, and even presidential hopefuls. Yet, this interview was his undoubtedly crowning achievement.

Straight across from him, squatting toad-like in a swivel chair and sweating under the stage lights, was Danny Marianino; the man at the center of what is inarguably the most opinionated event in Rock History. "Danny," he began, pausing for effect, "Danny Marianino, before we get into the controversial, paradigm shattering battle itself, who are you? How would you describe yourself to the teeming masses of adoring fans who are for the very first time getting to know the man behind the fist?"

Danny directed his porcine features at the camera, focusing on the glowing red dot, just as the production assistant had instructed during the pre-interview show preparations. It was apparent to everyone at the set that Danny was ready for his close-up. After all, he had the better part of a decade to prepare.

The light grew larger as the camera operator moved in closer. Danny's face now filled the viewfinder. The windows to his soul were about to be bared before for the masses. Sandwiched between a sloped forehead and round rosy cheeks, his beaded eyes glimmered like those of a raccoon caught in the act of raiding a trashcan: both feral and guilty.

"I'm Danny Marianino, an established hardcore icon. Perhaps I'm better known as 'the guy who took out Danzig.'" He took a deep breath. The camera drew back. The entire world waited with baited breath. Danny filled out the swivel chair and then some. His full throated eye-contact with the audience transcended the lens, the video and television screens, and went straight into their own fixated gazes. This was big.

Piers Morgan, not wishing to waste the gravitas of that introduction and the well-timed, thoughtful pause that followed it on just any old question jumped right into the meat and potatoes of the widely anticipated televised discussion. "Danny, you above all know how a single second can change everything. Nations rise and fall. Economies grow and disintegrate with alarming unpredictability. There are plagues, earthquakes, mass shootings, starvation, uninsured motorists, psychotic cannibals, conservative radio hosts, among a myriad of other evils ailing this beleaguered society. How does it feel being the poster child or poster man-child as it were, for an entire genre of music which itself seems to be an expression of hostility? Are you not adding fuel to the proverbial fire? How do you justify your rage?"

His eyes reflected the glowing red dot. Danny knew all the right things to say. "Piers, I'm an artist first and foremost. I merely channel the zeitgeist. Personally, as a man, as an individual, I am something of an anomaly. I do in fact embody an entire generation. I epitomize the ideals of a great number of people who are voiceless, marginalized, and largely ignored." His voice became grave and serious as he went on, "if I had only a few moments to live and had to sum up what my entire life has meant, it all could be encapsulated with just two words: hard and core.” The camera panned out, giving a full body view of the hardcore rocker.

Danny adjusted the crotch on his sweatpants before continuing. “I may be soft and pudgy on the outside, but inside, I’ve got bones of adamantium. Big bones. At least that's what Mamma says."

Piers cut into the monologue, incredulously, "Danny, rumor has it you still live with your mother. Is this correct?"

"Piers, I didn't always live at Ma's house. I'm only staying there until my new record contract affords me a new one to replace the burned out trailer. Several well-known names in the Industry have approached me with offers. If I named them, America's collective jaw would drop like a washed-out rockstar in a backstage brawl. But, as is so often the case in my life, for every step forward, I must endure the slings and arrows of persecution, lest I be dragged two steps back. My life has always been a struggle: against others; against poverty; against depression, alcoholism, and obesity. Make no mistake: there were consequences to my brutal takedown of that cantankerous rockstar. That pivotal event simultaneously improved my prospects but also made me into a target. That fight turned out to be the most opinionated event in Rock History, pitting genre against genre, and fanatical fan base against fanatical fan base."

Piers cut in, interjecting his faux-British accent over Danny's faux-Brooklyn accent. "Wait, wait, wait.....it sounds like you have got the makings of a book! This is quite a story."

Danny reasserted control of the discourse: "Piers, I'm way ahead of you. The book is in the works. In fact, the moment I announced this book idea--about four months ago---phone calls from big recording studios started pouring in. I was careful not to accept the first big offer to be presented. Sure I lived in a small trailer in a tiny Arizona town, but I didn't necessarily feel constrained by my surroundings. There was no sense of urgency. The idea of being an actual rockstar was no longer a serious dream of mine. But Fate obviously has bigger plans for me."

Piers nodded in amazement, "I agree. And nearly a decade later, you're ready to seize that moment, aren't you?"

“Oh yes. I guess you could say,” Punching a balled up fist into a hairy palm “that opportunity knocked.”

Piers Morgan immediately cut to a clip of the YouTube video: a bluish, grainy piece of footage showing what appeared to be a scuffle in a crowded elevator. In the foreground could be seen the backside of a well-known rockstar, signing autographs. The left side of the screen was taken up by an azure blob, a brawny walrus of a man with a shiny bald head and an unkempt mustache. The video caption displayed "Danny Marianino," as the figure gesticulated wildly and poked a thick, pasta finger into the chest of the established rockstar, underneath whom the video displayed "DANZIG," in call caps. The rock star gave a shove. The angry bald man with the erect finger bounced off the wall, and swung a wild haymaker, sending the rockstar to the ground. There was a blur, some swearing, and the camera moved its position, obscuring the rest.

Evidentially, there was a fight in there, and Danny Marianino was its winner. A voice could be heard above the fray “North Side Kings UNDEFEATED!”

Piers Morgan’s voice took on an excited tone and ignoring the cue cards, he extemporaneously proclaimed: “Rock is dead. Long Live Hard Core! And what has been life like since that night? Death threats? Hate mail? Cyber bullies? Tell the audience; tell the millions of eager viewers what you have had to endure since that bold, earth-shakingly brutal death match.”

Danny took a long noisy slurp from the mug placed in front of him by a production assistant. Studio managers rushed to mute his microphone until he put the glass down, and turned it back on only to catch a small belch. Danny continued the epic saga, “Ever since that fateful night, I have been fighting legions of demented paint-huffing, devil worshipping deviants. Danzig fans. At first, the hate mail was a welcome addition to the rock concert fliers, posters, and graffiti on the walls of my pad. In a matter of weeks, however, the sheer volume of hate mail exceeded fan mail. I ran out of wall space, so I began hanging the letters up on the ceiling. I had to purchase an extra external hard drive to catalog the hate emails. My boss jokingly suggested that I could compile a book. A book? Me? No. It's been over a decade and a half since highschool. Reading was a thing of the past, so initially, writing an entire book seemed too Sisyphean a task for one as alliterate as I have allowed myself to become. Reading and exercise: two things in life that have never failed to make me throw up."

Piers Morgan exuded sympathy with every syllable. "Danny, what gives you the drive and the strength to overcome your limitations and reach for the stars? I mean look at how far you have come. Eight years and fifteen minutes ago, you were nobody. Today, you're here with me, Piers Morgan, promoting your memoir! Does it feel like you're dreaming?"

The behemoth lamented, "Piers, you have to understand, it has been a frustrating journey. I served my perdition---eight years and fifteen minutes---in this private hell since I defeated Danzig, and I have yet to attain what my friends and family all insisted was a straight shot into the mainstream. I had the glory, but lacked the gold. And the girls....” A pointy tongue absently shined the perimeter of a mouth partially obscured by a low hanging mustache.

Escalading the narrative, ignoring the luminous beads of sweat forming across his brow, the portly hardcore edifice fearlessly and nakedly bared his soul: “Inwardly, I craved that chance to shine. To be a big name in the industry which had, to be quite honest, shunned me. What little attention I did get was all bad. Outwardly, I proclaimed that I didn't care for fame or notoriety. I proclaimed that being hardcore meant being independent, stoic, and uninterested in the trends, fads, and crazes which swayed the public in a myriad of directions with no sense of rhyme, reason, or pattern. The reality is, you either start out rich, or you're given a break. For those of use born without a silver spoon in our mouths, Piers, the only way out of this caste system is to allow it to break you, or you break in. The fact is, I was beginning to lose hope. My future was as blue, fuzzy, and grainy as that infamous video."

Piers Morgan was breathless. Danny stood up straight, pointed at the camera, and continued to speak his truth: "I may not be rich and famous yet, but one thing that can be said is that I am hated by many more people than I'll ever meet. It was this realization, that I'm despised and hated, not revered and loved, which impelled me to assemble that hate mail to document my experiences, and finally to take it to a publisher. After all, my hard core takedown of a well-known rock star and the unanticipated consequences did make for an interesting story. I've told it more times than I've watched it and it never gets boring!”

Piers Morgan clung on to every word like a starved poodle being hand fed bits of chicken breast. No syllable evaded his ears. He was so intent that he failed to notice the speck of drool forming at the corner of his mouth. This interview was it. This would bring in the coveted eighteen to thirty-five demographic in droves. “Agreed. And that video can be viewed online at my website now. We’re having it edited with the faces of Obama and Romney superimposed over it. Who knows? Maybe it’ll show up in a campaign ad." This elicited a hearty chuckle from both Piers and Danny.

As Piers concluded the interview on a much darker topic, the word TERRORISM provided a dramatic caption for the television audience. "Danny, on a serious note, and this may be difficult for you, can you tell us about the terrorist attack? The night of the fire?”

Danny Marianino finished imbibing whatever was left in the cup and continued the narrative, his eyes taking on a two thousand yard stare. “So I wait for the one. The one record producer who can take me where I want to go. And then it happened. The phone rang. I answered it. It was him. The bearded, enigmatic Jew who was the Brain behind every major rock and rap acts since Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Slayer, and Bad Religion. One moment, I'm talking to Rick Ruben. Theeeee Rick Ruben. And in a flash, it was gone: ‘Can I call you Rick? Okay Rick. Rick?’ Nothing. Silence. The phone line had been cut. The sound of glass breaking came from the bathroom. There was a bright orange glow visible from where I stood and thick, billowing clouds of smoke poured in so fast that I lost sight of the front door before I could reach it. Just like that, I’m crawling on my belly, practically -CENSORED- myself and falling out the door," he pantomimed crawling, squinting his eyes dramatically. “My dreams, on the brink of being totally realized, were reduced to ashes. No leads were to be found at the scene that night, but the next morning I found it. A single red brick with a message scrawled with a sharpie marker in jagged lettering: ‘-CENSORED- YOU MOTHER-CENSORED-!’

“This heinous criminal act of arson left me homeless and the guys from the band unilaterally abandoned me to their wives, kids, and their quote unquote real jobs. Not a one of them felt obliged to so much as offer me a couch to sleep on. Perhaps they were still miffed that the big time offers weren't extended to them. The fact is, they are the reason the North Side Kings never amounted to anything before. They were too stuck in their ideological box. Face it, I explained to them, garage bands are a dime a dozen. We needed an angle. Not a gimmick, but a distinction. Something to place us on a higher level than the others in our genre. You'd think they would have had the sense to agree, but on the contrary, each in his own way told me that the hardness of my core was no longer taken for granted. They said that there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’, and that I wasn’t being a team player."

"And how did this make you feel?" Piers gently prodded, "being rejected by your own mates?" A production assistant gently guided Danny back into his swivel chair and refilled his drink (Yoo-hoo chocolate milk), and lightly patted him on his head before skulking off the set.

Pain lined the expression on the giant's face as he agonized onward, the language of anguish etching lyrics of hate and sadness across his furrowed brow and quivering chins, “I felt betrayed. They felt betrayed. The North Side Kings broke up, but I kept my eyes fixed firmly on the prize. Night after lonely night, that video played over and over again in my head. It was all there. A fight which transcended its participants. A fight which rivaled any number of contrived boxing matches or mixed martial arts bouts. Just watching it can get your blood moving, I don't care who you are. Epic is epic. I felt like Jack Sparrow from Fight Club when he splits and becomes Tyler Durden. Like a revolutionary hero. Yet instead of leading my people, my people abandon me to their soft-core lives, renouncing the path so clearly delineated here by Fate. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the basics of marketing. My road was paved with gold, and apparently, it's only wide enough for me," his voice cracked but regained its firmness as he resumed his tale, “But, proving again that my every advance has been met with resistance, there I was, alone in the summer darkness, roasting wieners on an open grill staring at the remnants of my burned out past. If you could have seen my eyes right then, I know they would be smoldering like the coals in the barbeque grill. This was not an end but a new beginning. I found my rock bottom, my hard core.”

The interview ended with another close up, this time focusing upon the clenched fist pumping against a Phoenix Suns jersey which was at least two sizes too small. "CUT!" Piers Morgan took a deep breath and exhaled excitedly, bowled over by the singular greatness of his guest. The production staff gaily exalted itself in cheers and heartfelt applause.




CHAPTER 2: CELEBRATION AND REUNION


Following the interview, Danny Marianino bypassed his mother’s house where he would be staying, and went directly to his trailer. He parked the Ford Escort, shut off the headlights, and contemplated the stars. Not a church going man, he nonetheless felt a sense of gratefulness which he directed out into the night sky. “Thank you God,” he said unselfconsciously, and a shooting star answered from above.

He lit up the grill and removed some wieners from the small beer fridge, the only appliance not destroyed by the fire. The miscreant that threw the brick though the bathroom window had used that very grill to incite the flames which nearly took his life. The barbeque grill was the only thing he had left that had any sentimental value. It brought back memories of him and the guys practicing long into the night, rehearsing for a day which they all, one by one, started to doubt would ever arrive. One month it’s the drummer. He seems bored, listless, not pounding half as hard as he once did. Then it’s the bassist, missing his cues. The guitarist ceased head banging before allowing his guitar to fall into disrepair. The band was breaking down. That was the sad reality. Its promising beginnings, the tremendous buzz generated by the fight, it was all there. They all expected to become millionaires off of t-shirts, concert swag, album sales, and concert tickets. Danny Marianino expected to get laid at the very least. But all they got was an internet video, which despite the millions upon millions of views, didn’t elevate the band at all. Danny gained notoriety, but little else. The band itself remained unknown. The North Side Kings were still lacking a kingdom.

Even the clothes at Danny’s mothers house, which she never threw out in case he or his band mates ever decided to sleep over, no longer fit him. Except for the Phoenix Suns jersey which, despite being tighter than he had expected, he wore anyway for the symbolic significance of the mythical bird itself. Something many people don't know about Danny is his more spiritual side; a side of himself which he had all but lost touch with until his recent brush with death.

“In spite of the best efforts of the world to destroy me, I can assure you that the solitary weenie roast is a celebration," he told to no one in particular. He plopped down on the steps to where the front door once stood, removed a notebook from his pocket, and continued to pen his memoirs. The book deal was his ticket. This would salvage his dream. He had to tell it all. To make his story known to the multitudes of viewers that Piers Morgan introduced him to:

“............Don't Ever Punch a RockStar..chapter one....

This is the last time I ever set foot here again. Tonight, I agreed to negotiate a contract to record some mp3’s with Devil Driver.

I was hesitant at first, as no one has ever heard of them, while in contrast millions have heard of the North Side Kings. But after tonight’s television debut, it is clear that I am not going to be a one hit wonder for long (pun fully intended).

Tonight sealed it. The decade long drama between me and Danzig is about to pay off with more than Internet video affiliate money. ($23.00 a month is barely enough to cover my Internet bill, but what are you going to expect from JewTube?)

See, what you’re gonna learn about Danny Marianino is this: I may not look like I could figure out how to balance a check book or microwave a doughnut, but looks can be deceiving. Just ask Danzig. Who would have thought that a juggernaut of flab and angst such as myself would get such an opportunity? And when it knocks, it knocks! But there's a bit more to the story than two icons engaged in mortal combat. There's a spiritual component to it which exists beneath the surface, and it's the only component that matters in the end.

Just days ago, I sat on the couch at my mother’s house, staring slack jawed, still in shock, at the footage of my trailer incinerating on the nightly news as telecasted from a news chopper. All my equipment. My extensive movie collections. My magazines. My porn. My fan mail. My hate mail. All burning.

Eight years after my toughness was displayed for the world to see on YouTube and his gothtarded fans are still sending me hate mail, yelling crap at my mother’s house. It could be two thirty in the morning and those black clad little psychopaths will leave dead things on the porch and urinate in the birdfeeder.

I had become accustomed to the pranks but burning my trailer down was just plain evil. Arson is far beyond the realm of pranks. There was something nakedly Satanic about it.....”

And thus began Danny’s memoir. He replaced the notebook in his pocket and had another beer. He was halfway expecting his former band mates to arrive. “More beer for me,” he choked back a sob, forcing himself to sound more smug than hurt. Three beers later, he found himself again writing by the light of the street lamp. His penmanship was remarkable for its light touch and consistent spacing. His cursive was graceful, almost flowery at points. It could practically be considered calligraphic.

He paced the writing with the consumption of hotdogs and beer, taking frequent breaks, and then furiously penning his thoughts in bursts. He felt inspired and possessed by it, like the way he felt when he wrote his letters to Santa Claus as a kid, and then later as a teenager. These days, he placed his hopes in the real Santa's of the world, the Piers Morgans, Anderson Coopers, Howard Sterns, and other makers and shakers in the big time media.

Taking what was to be the final break of the night, he got up to stretch his legs. Lighting a cigarette, he went behind the devastated remains of the trailer, and leisurely pissed on the fence. Images danced through his mind; of the piles of gold, the women, the cars, and the fame which beckoned him. Throngs of excited fans awaited each eagerly thrusting photographs of himself into his own face, begging for autographs. He envisioned an orgy of narcissism and a life of opulence, an Eden of worldly delights in which he was the epicenter in a hurricane of hedonism, and the star of a gaudy rap video come to life, where the women take their tops off and the men smoke cigars as they float in their backyard pools on the backs of inflatable alligators. Now he’s in a limousine, Jay-Z is there, they share drinks in goblets made out of diamonds and the venerable rapper is obviously wowed by the pitch, the homerun, and the unmitigated genius of the concept of a Hardcore and Rap merger. A guest appearance on a Jay-Z record, the most popular rapper on the planet, it was all there, just around the corner.

"Hey"

The voice startled him, breaking his reverie. Thinking it was the neighbor’s voice, the crotchety old geezer who asked him and his bandmates to kindly not piss on the fence, he abruptly cut off his flow.

The North Side Kings had designated this area the "pee spot", where nearly a decade of cheap beer and vomit had left the fence stained and the ground beneath it barren. He was certain that he had finally been caught, yellow handed.

"Is that you Danny Marianino? Relax; it’s only me, Jerry Only." To his relief, and annoyance, it was only Jerry Only.

"Yeah it's me,” he confirmed, “Danny Marianino, the guy who took out Danzig."

"Hey have you thought it over? Did you get that deal?" Jerry Only’s thick, authentic Brooklyn accent added to the awkwardness of the moment and totally ended what little buzz Danny had left.

Danny could only see a dark silhouette on the other side of the foul smelling fence. He was about to ask Jerry Only to get out of the neighbor’s yard, but the aging punk rocker tugged his black spandex down in front and added his own puddle from the other side. His piss stank of Starbucks. Danny could see Jerry’s chubby buttocks, glowing in the light of the moon, as reflected by the sliding glass door of the neighbor’s house. He unconsciously pursed his lips. Alcohol always made him frisky.

“So, ahhh....Danny? I saw you on the Piers Morgan show. That tight shiny jersey made you look like a giant gumdrop.”

Danny, not comfortable having this discussion in a dark alley at this time, backed away from the fence. “Jerry, I resent being likened to hard candy; it conflicts with my hardcore image. Where have you been?” he muttered, trying to sound as though his heart wasn't racing and his stomach wasn't swarming with butterflies. It felt good to see Jerry again, but their meeting was bittersweet. The timing made Danny question the motivation for suddenly showing up like this, after all this time... Not waiting for an answer, he turned away and headed towards the car, but not before getting a clear view of his old friend as the clouds parted way for the moon's silver light, lifting the curtain of ethereal darkness and revealing the two of them, in a musty alley, behind an incinerated mobile home, on opposite sides of a worn waist-high fence.

Jerry Only resembled a bodybuilding Uncle Fester in a black jumpsuit. Despite the bloated underbelly, faded tights, and thigh high metal studded biker boots, he still cut an impressive figure. He had a single lock of hair, a black dyed mullet, draped over his skull from the nape of his neck to the tip of his upturned nose. His swollen biceps strained against the sleeves of the jacket, and his neck muscles flexed and undulated like the gills of a great white shark as he worked a chunk of chewing gum around his gaping mouth like a soggy towel in a clothing drier.

Danny led the way to the Ford Escort, taking the last wiener off the grill with the metal coat hanger specifically designated for this purpose. "Let's go to my Mom’s house, Jerry. We can’t discuss this out in the open, you know that.” Ever since the fire, Danny felt insecure and bullied, but he tried not to show it. He felt it was important to convey an image of strength, even at moments of weakness. Jerry followed without question, and climbed over the fence, pulling a tiny pink bicycle over behind him. Danny laughed at the bike. “That thing has either got to be stolen or borrowed from one of your kids. Which is it?”

Jerry upturned a middle finger. "Barbeque is not your thing I take it," he retorted, staring at the roasted wiener and gesturing at the burned trailer. Although the joke was well intended, Danny was not amused. While Jerry was also a recipient of hatred from the extremists that make up Danzig's fan base, it was nowhere near as intense as the vitriol hurled at Danny, not to mention, his home address was not public knowledge. However, they each got their fair share of hate email. In this sense, they were brothers in arms. But in another sense, they were co-conspirators.....

Jerry put his bicycle in the back seat after trying several different times to cram it into the trunk. "It's my son’s bike. I shoulda just walked," he explained repeatedly, gnawing noisily on the wad of gum, which he identified as Big League Chew when he handed a chunk of the slimy stuff to Danny. Watermelon. The taste was mostly gone but that didn’t matter to Danny as much as the fact that he was swapping spit with one of his idols. An idol he hadn’t been seen in public with since the night of the fight.

Jerry already knew about the upcoming recording contract. He was part of the reason Danny was obtaining it.




CHAPTER 3: THE SET-UP



Danny Marianino wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. This is one of the essential qualities of hardcore. But when it came to expressing himself on paper, he was stultified by a lack of cohesive structure. Part of the book was to be a copy and paste job. There were so many hilarious comments, none of them flattering, but all of them fun to read. But beyond that, there had to be a story. A theme. A plot.

Jerry and Danny were never to be seen together publicly. Their relationship, as far as the worlds of Punk, Hardcore, and Rock could know, only began with the authorship of the book. Jerry was an advisor who was brought in, ostensibly, as the voice of Punk; Danzig represented the voice of Rock; and Danny was the voice of Hardcore. This was how it had to be casted, Jerry explained, to make it work. The fight was larger than life. It was complex. It needed to be made intelligible to the average semi-literate viewer so that its significance wouldn’t be lost.

The Piers Morgan appearance did a lot to set the stage. Now was the time to make an impactful debut. The story needed to be fabricated and streamlined, lest the facts get in the way.

In reality, Jerry and Danny first crossed paths a month before the North Side Kings were to be an opening act for Danzig. Danny was at the Henhouse, the only topless bar in Tuba City. He spent most nights there after band practice. The music was too loud for anyone to talk and that’s what he liked about it; the chance to rest his vocal chords. His vocalization style, not to be confused with singing, left him hoarse. The water was free which worked out perfectly since he rarely had money enough for a drink. He occasionally had the money for a table dance, which was torturous. Often it made him bitter. So much of what he wanted in life was out there, out of reach, or worse, in his face and out of reach. It was probably better that he didn’t have money to buy dances because they always left him angsty, feeling teased and mildly humiliated.

One particularly wicked night, as he contemplated the crowd that Danzig would draw, he found his spirits rising. New avenues were opening up, he could feel it. Sonia, the cocktail waitress brought him a Scotch that he didn’t order. “It’s from the man by the emergency exit.” He followed her gesture, and sure enough, there was a man in the corner, by the fire escape. “He wants to have a drink with you. He knows who you are.”

The drink tasted good. The man seemed harmless. Bald. Bespeckled. He seemed rather average except for the pony tail he wore draped over his shoulder like an exotic pet. He stood up and offered his hand. “Danny Marianino, nice to meet you. I’m your biggest fan.”

The voice, the accent, it seemed strangely familiar. “Yes, Danny, it’s me. Jerry Only. From the post-Glenn Danzig Misfits.”

Everyone in the hardcore scene knew the punk icon Jerry Only as the guy who refused to let a good band die, even when its pivotal member eviscerated it by firing everyone and going solo. Jerry wasted no time in launching them into a drink fueled philosophical discussion about their respective musical scenes.

“Many were shocked and disappointed that Glenn Danzig, the voice of the Misfits, would abandon them,” Jerry editorialized. “To follow his career is to witness the transition of one who goes from being a member of a band to a guy who put himself first. Many miffed fans identified with the Misfits as plural, as something to belong to. The Misfits, not The Misfit, you know? Samhain, by comparison, was singular, selfish, and egomaniacal. By the time he left them and started the eponymous ‘DANZIG’, it was clear to all of us that he was lost. Obviously he had become a social Darwinist, a Satanist, and probably a Republican. Well, maybe not that far. Even they have standards. In another life, he could be a Bain Capital guy, like Mitt Romney.” Both of them groaned at the mention of that name. "Punk Rock and Hardcore were both genres of the people, of the ninety-nine percent; music of, by, and for the population that aren’t rich bastards."

Sonia poured out another round. Each of them now had a silicon-enhanced dancer on his lap. Jerry continued his monologue, “Consider this. He left the Misfits and abandoned all his band members to a life of destitution. By leaving me and the others without an income stream, we were forced to fend for ourselves. He felt in no way obliged to us. To me. Me!....Imagine me, Jerry Only, forced to eek a living within the Christian Rock niche. While Danzig moved on to play major festivals and to fuck foreign groupies, I was left to be ‘Kryst the Conqueror,’ playing Jesus-rock music in small venues. I’m not necessarily complaining. I’m somewhat of a Jesus Freak myself. But the other guys all went out on the dole, died, whatever. I survived because I’m different than those guys. I’m a born marketer. So Danzig was going to be singing for Satan, I’d be singing for Jesus! I got gigs by offering to combat the 'evil vibes' Danzig’s dark music was polluting the world with. As Kryst the Conqueror, I was struggling to maintain a karmic balance. It sounds crazy, but it's all true, and it paid off. I'm not rich but I'm not a starving artist either!”

As Jerry Only described it, Glenn Danzig was not even willing to throw him a single bone without a court order; it took nearly nine years in court for the Misfits to be able to reemerge. Only now, Jerry was at the helm. Needless to say, it flopped like a mullet comb-over. Several singers later, after multiple band lineup changes, and on the tail of a new album no one has ever heard of, the desperate punk rock legend sought to exact revenge, if not also a nice chunk of change. All he needed was a proxy. Someone to do what he could never do. Thus, the disguise (which for Jerry Only simply meant not wearing his stage costume).

“So Danny, the plan is simple. We need a YouTube sensation, an iconoclastic takedown of the Rock world’s most contentious figure. Trust me. It’ll be a hit,” his words slurred and started to blend together.

He explained the architecture of what Danny and he later referred to as "The Hit.” Danny was to rock Danzig's world and make himself a star in the process. Jerry assured him that if he lost the fight, he'd make sure the video never surfaced, for that would only bolster the wrong reputation. "I got this guy, a guerilla filmmaker, name's Dan Stone, who's going to get it on film and have it uploaded before Glenn knows what hit him....."

The plan seemed solid. It was increasingly evident that a hardcore rock band in Tuba City, Arizona was never going to be anything beyond a garage band. Danny was falling behind on rent and his food stamps hardly allowed him to maintain his present bodyweight. “Jerry, I guess I am at a place where the idea isn't all that farfetched.”

Jerry Only spat into the palm of his hand and extended it. With an "eww!” both lap dancers left the table. Shrugging his massive shoulders, Danny spat into his rosy palm. With the pressing of their hands, the deal was sealed. Their combined spit and mucous merged, then dripped slowly onto the tabletop.

Danny Marianino came from a Mafia family. He had some relatives who were serving time for just this kind of thing. It was in his blood. Maybe this was his destiny, he mused. To stake his claim by means better left unsaid. “Jerry, let’s go to my recording studio.”




CHAPTER 4: CONSPIRACY



To the oleaginous hardcore frontman, the situation was surreal. He sat in his own living room, in his own trailer, in Tuba City, hanging out with the living legend Jerry Only.

They sat across a coffee table from one another discussing horror films. Jerry was revealing himself to be quite a film buff. "...yeah so after Glenn left us and chose to go with Satan, I knew what I had to do. I created 'Kryst the Conqueror', a Christian rock gig to fight back all the evil he was unleashing."

Danny silently nodded his assent and poured another round of shots for the two of them. As the incognito punk icon took the conversation from popular cultural criticisms as viewed through the genre of zombie-themed films, to his own midlife religious epiphanies, Danny began to see how he fit into the bigger picture.

Jerry was weaving Danny into a narrative involving Satan and Jesus, and put events into a broader, spiritualized context. "And don't get me wrong. I was not some small town punk from Jersey riding the coattails of someone else's success. I was pulling my own weight. God, Jesus, he had a mission for me..." His speech slurred worse than when at the Henhouse. He took a shot of whiskey. "Do you believe in Jesus, Danny?"

Danny nodded out of politeness but also an earnest sense that God was indeed watching over him, guiding his life. Jerry Only seemed an angel disguised as something ghoulish. A messenger of Fate. He could feel it in his adamantium bones.

"..You see Danny, God doesn’t gamble. He doesn’t play dice. There are no accidents....it’s all holographic......all is in all.....you can see yourself reflected in the universe if you know how to look." Jerry lifted the bottle of whiskey off the table, held it to the light, muttered a prayer, and chugged away. He tilted his bald head back, the dyed pony tail dangling over his back. "I'm talking about synchronicity. You know what I am talking about even if you have never described it to yourself. You know those moments of total clarity, where it all makes sense? your thoughts, the events, the signs, it’s all there making a unified statement, a convergence of symbols, sounds and semantics culminating in an epiphany, and none of it could make any sense to anyone but you, and only at that one time and place, at that particular moment." His gestures coincided with the word salad he was spewing, the wild movements entrancing Danny. A droopy hand pointed loosely in the direction of the vhs movie shelf. "There," he selected The Prophecy, Part Two, starring Christopher Walkins. "Play that one"

Danny put the tape in and handed the remote controller to Jerry, who then pressed and held the fast forward button. Enough time elapsed for them to pass the bottle a couple more times.

Jerry explained where he was going with this: "Glenn Danzig is in the movie playing the role of Sammael, a fallen angel. Sammael, just another name for Satan, is a heavenly defector openly flaunting God's rule. There!" Jerry let it play and they watched a scene with Sammael in mortal combat with a heavenly angel.

"Long time no see, Danny boy!" Sammael says. The good angel, Daniel, gets shoved down into a dark alley.

"That's you, Danny. That's your cosmic role." He roughly pecked the screen as the angel Daniel rips the black heart out of Sammael, played by Glenn Danzig. The whole scene only lasted a few seconds and Jerry replayed it twice more and then a third time in slow motion.

Danny Marianino was overwhelmed. "Jerry, I think you might be confused. Are suggesting that the movie is sending a message that I have to engage Glenn Danzig in a fight?" Danny couldn't hide his incredulity. There were some ideas which were too harebrained to be anything other than the concoction of an inebriated mind and overactive imagination.

Jerry was undeterred. "Danny boy, call me a Manichean, but things are really that cut and dry sometimes. Life is a struggle between good and evil. You and I, we're on the same side. God put us here to execute his will. Do you want to be big? Jesus said that 'to him that much had been given much is demanded'. You have to choose. Choose to stand up for..." Jerry staggered toward the bathroom but made an early left and relieved himself noisily on the floor of an unlit bedroom. He was off balance but his preaching never faltered. The torrential flow of Jerry's words against the background noise of liquid splashing against the hardwood floor gave his voice a Moses-esque reverberation. "So what it comes down to...is we..choose to serve, and do the Lords work, get thee behind us Satan!" There was a loud crash and then silence.

Danny Marianino slouched in his couch for a little while, allowing the weight of the night's revelations to wash over his inebriated mind. For a little while, Jerry Only slept off the effects of the religious mania and alcohol on the floor of Danny's bedroom. Neither of them would ever discuss aloud what had transpired between that moment and the one which found the two of them, naked and unashamed, embroiled in a lovers embrace beneath Danny's covers. The bond between the two icons transcended their mutual financial interests, sailed passed the dalliance of their intertwining spiritual paths, and entered coarsely into its brute physical expression. They progressed naturally into the unnatural, with Jerry's roughness matching Danny's tenderness blow for blow, the hardness of the former penetrating into the core of the latter.

The rising of the sun found Danny alone, smiling contentedly at the warm uninhabited grease spot on the mattress beside him.



CHAPTER 5: NORTH SIDE KINGS OPEN FOR DANZIG

The show was days away and Danny was readying himself mentally for the confrontation backstage which could make or break his career. Well, make it; there was nothing to break at that point.

"One shot is all I have," he mused, glowering at his reflection as he shaved his neck beard. "Albeit a cheap shot, but what are you going to do? it is what it is...."

As hard as it was to keep their relationship in the dark, Danny and Jerry were steadfast in their resolve not to be seen together again until after the concert. The only question left was whether or not to get the other guys involved. His bandmates were ostensibly part of a democratic whole, however, if just one of them had loose lips, it could be over for all of them. This was, after all, a conspiracy to commit an assault.

But who would believe it anyway? Jerry Only in a conspiracy to what? Whatever his reasons, however possibly insane, the end was something Danny agreed with. This was undoubtedly an Internet sensation in the making: a video pitting a rock icon against the poster boy for hardcore. It was destined to be epic. Prophetic signs aside, this was easily one of the more interesting publicity stunts since Tanya Harding arranged to have Nancy Kerrigan beaten up at the 1992 Olympics.


CHAPTER 6: HIT AND RUN

They pulled it off flawlessly. "The Hit" went off without a hitch. The only shortcoming was the poor camera angle, but they decided it was better than Glenn Danzig not see a video camera and become suspicious. Danny instigated, got the reaction he sought, and filmmaker Dan Stone was positioned to capture the action. From there, it went directly to the Internet.

Though it was an overnight YouTube sensation, its success remained confined to the Internet. Months passed before this disappointing reality sunk in. The YouTube affiliate checks barely covered Danny's Internet bill and his food stamps seldom lasted the entire month. And worst of all, Jerry Only stopped showing up to help promote the video and work on making Danny into the star he was destined to become.

He got a small measure of fame, but where was the fortune? And why was Jerry's involvement in all this faltering as time went on? Danny felt used, like a cheap whore; or worse, like a naive groupie.



CHAPTER 7: FATE


Now, nearly a decade later now, the burning trailer signified an end to the North Side Kings, but within the breast of Danny Marianino, a firestorm had only just ignited. Before the Tuba City Volunteer Firefighters finished throwing that last bucket of water over the embers of his Eden, his dream trailer, the raging furnace within the hardcore frontman transformed into an alchemical forge.

He was changing inside. The inner granite core of pure hardness was showing through his eyes. The feeling wasn't entirely foreign to the vocalist. Always during a show, at the point where he breaks into a sweat, huffing and puffing as he stares into the lights, there is always a demonic energy which shines through him, affecting a lycanthropic transformation of man to beast. His fans all see it, his bandmates noticed it. It's an intense euphoria unknown to those who haven't been there, center stage. Danny loved to bask in it. Those were the moments he lived for.

As that fire consumed his life's work, he knew Fate had chosen him. Like a phoenix from those ashes he would arise, unfettered by the jealous naysayers and ex-friends. The future was his and his alone, a solitary shining star.



CHAPTER 8: CHANNELING THE HATE

Danny sat in a corner booth at Denny's, ordered "the usual," and spent the night working on his book. He found the process of writing to be the perfect outlet for the blind impotent rages which consumed him in the days after the blaze.

"Chapter Two....North Side Kings undefeated? Not anymore!

Alas! Despite that night and the promises it held, fame was not attended by fortune. Danzig continues to tour, to release records and videos as usual, but where am I?

I'm living at my mother's house and fending off Danzig's psychotic fans. I'm nowhere. My band mates have abandoned me; All I have are these shattered pieces of my dream, in which lies my story.

The fact is Glenn deserved what he got. Just read the YouTube comments. Just ignore the spambots. So I'm a big guy. You think I haven't been called fat my entire life?

We shall see who laughs last. This fat boy just got hired by Devil Driver who, by the way, is getting a great deal. Devil Driver is like a stalled car, out of gas, on an abandoned highway. The Devils Highway...And I'm like the Triple A guy with some high octane fuel, and I'm going to take us all to the next level. I'm taking over that stalled ride, and driving it the way it was meant to be driven.
I'm not a nobody. This YouTube thing isn't going to be the only big thing to happen to me. The rest of the North Side Kings have all grown up, moved out, bred, and basically contradicted what it means to be hardcore. I've only escaladed. Which is why I'm hitting the prime-time.

Tuba City has been good to me but I'm taking the burning trailer as a sign of the times. Like a phoenix, rising from the ashes, I'm moving on up out of here.

It's only a question of, can I move up without Jerry Only leeching onto me. He drops by my Moms house when I'm not there, and finds me wherever I go. He's desperately afraid that I'll move up without him. I think he has abandonment issues stemming from when Danzig left.

As the contractual negotiations with Devil Drivel continue, Jerry is always tailing me on that undersized bicycle. Now that things are finally taking off, he suddenly wants back in completely. Ridiculous!"



CHAPTER 9: FOUNDATION OF LIES


The first few years after "The Hit", Jerry and Danny secretly rehearsed and developed their carefully constructed a media narrative. This would supply a readymade rationalization for the attack and direct the attention away from who was standing to benefit from it, and why the camera was rolling in the background in the first place.

This was crucial to getting the right kind of attention which would result in lasting star power. Danny Marianino needed portray a tough iconoclast with staying power. A stray rumor could undermine the whole operation.

"Image is everything," the marketing genius Jerry Only was fond of repeating at the rehearsals. "This has to be perfect for when the book is released, the media is going to be all over you like pornstars on a Danzig music video." Jerry demonstrated a fondness for speculating about Danzig's access to available adult video performers.

Danny Marianino again recited the monologue aloud:

"The first thing you should know is that Glenn started it. Then it escaladed. He shoved me, I punched back. That's how we roll in Tuba City, NORTH SIDE!

It would never have made it this far if he hadn't stepped in the lineup, bumping my band off the roster. Who does he think he is? Does he think he's better than us?

So I walk back stage, and I'm like, fuck this rockstar! And the others follow me. There he is, surrounded by the types of skanky bitches who never come to my shows. And who needs them anyway? Not getting pussy has its downsides, but it keeps the angst up. The others have all given in and made their babies; I'm the only real man. It's tough. Like I'm holding down the Man-Fort all by myself!

So there he is, signing some autographs, all 'yeah, I'm Glenn Danzig, look at me...' and I'm like, 'hey, you? What the fuck did you bump us off the band roster for, Mr. Rock Star?' I suppose you could say I was righteously indignant, given the circumstances.

And Glenn looks back at me like he has no idea who I am! He's like, 'Who the fuck are you?' And he insolently starts signing another autograph so I point my finger in his face, right at that perfectly shaped, cosmeticized Hollywood nose. And that hair. I remembered back when I had hair. And when my triceps were still visible. When I didn't repulse women other than Ma . And this clown comes to my town, shows me up, and treats me like I don't exist? I'm like 'Hell no!’

This wagging finger, this primal phalloaggressive gesture, this is what sets him off. He thinks I'm some deranged fan and tells me 'Hey lardling, get in line if you want an autograph.' I tell him that he'd 'better recognize' and he shoves me into the wall!

I bounce back, and my fist swings right square into that face. So you want to ask me who started it? Glenn did. So do I deserve the hate? The persecution? The cyber bullying? The arson? Not to mention the drama? Obviously not!"

Jerry Only applauded. Everything was certain to go down without a hitch, Danny could feel it. Jerry's directness and attentiveness inspired confidence and faith. Their plan was solid, even if their unspoken love was ephemeral. Throughout those post-fight meetings, that one magical night they shared still lurked in the background, a seething basilisk awaiting its next release.

They channeled their repressed longings for one another into promoting the infamous YouTube video, blogging about it, bragging about it, and eagerly awaiting the day when Danny Marianino would become a household name. Oftentimes, as the nights drew to a close, they would watch their favorite Blaxploitation films over beer and hotdogs, wordlessly confirming to one another with brief glances the sentiments of passion their bodies once gave expression to, sentiments their mouths could never speak aloud. Those days of unmitigated hope and optimism were some of the best nights of Danny's life, those innocent days before it all came to be about the one thing Danny never really cared about before:

Money.



CHAPTER 10: ASHES


Danny visited the skeletal remains of the trailer again that night. He had to get away from Jerry. He was beginning to question whether or not he had merely imagined that his feelings were reciprocated. After all, they never talked about it. Was Jerry ashamed? Or was it all about the money?

He prepared for an evening of this, the usual mix of depression, mourning, confusion, and boredom. It was this or watch American Idol reruns with his mother again.

He was still waiting for Devil Driver to stop by Ma's house. Their management asked for an address, and any day now, they'd be dropping by to seal the deal. It had been seven days since the interview, nine days since the fire. The little beer fridge he kept stocked with wieners was nearly empty. His whole claim to fame was based upon a carefully constructed lie. Was his victory as ephemeral and hollow as it seemed?

How appropriate to find himself there, in a burned out man cave eating cold wieners. The sense of isolation and persecution intensified. He reached for the vodka but picked up the notebook instead:

"..........Chapter Three...... AN EPIC, TITANIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN TWO GIANTS

If you had to put a label on my vocalization style, you'd probably have to categorize it as rage core. Hardcore yes, but my range is pretty much just shouting. A howl shaped and driven by a demonic rage which emanates from the center of my angry bitter heart. What am I bitter about? When people see me around, eating, driving my mom’s car, hanging at Joe’s place, at the liquor store, the adult video arcade, pretty much going where I’m going, they always seem to ask where does my rage come from? and I just smile broadly. I'm a happy guy on the outside. In a way, I'm as mysterious as I am transparent. A waddling contradiction.

I guess you could say that I'm from a somewhat typical lower middleclass background, however a misspent youth, public education, being raised in a Mafia family, I suppose that I've internalized the unexpressed rage of my demographic. As an artist, I am a conduit for the collective anger against corporate greed and big businesses shoving their vision of a sterile, happy, sane society down our throats.

Life's not like that. It's brutal, and all these happy-go-lucky morons out there are going to see that they are in fact, a social cancer. That's why we hate them and seek to undermine their pitiful and false view of the world.

That’s part of why I stood up to Danzig. He epitomizes what we should all hate. Look at him. He's got money, wealth, and fame. And then what? He thinks he's better than others who haven't made it? I mean, so I don’t have a big hit on MTV, so what? Does that make me any less of a person?

That battle was momentous: more than Hardcore against Rock, it was Good against Evil, and in a broader context, the People against the Man, and I am reppin' the people.

In a real way, that punch was for you, the Obama Generation, the 'OG'. My clenched fist is your clenched fist. This is Social Justice. We are at the place where the money doesn’t control shit anymore. Wall Street isn't in the cockpit. We are. The People. This is what hardcore has always been about. The writing is on the bathroom wall. You just have to read it. I'm talking about thugcore!

It's no longer about having perfect teeth, fit bodies, and indoctrinated minds. No, we're here, brutal, barbaric even, and we're the ones who are going to toke back the power. If Obama came through here, I'd go have "choom session" with him and suggest that he give to Governor Romney a little Danny Marianino right to the chin in the upcoming presidential debates.

Sometimes force trumps skill and that's the bottom line."



CHAPTER 11: CHOOSING SATAN

His time was nearly here. His time to show the world what he was truly made of. Any moment now.....any day......hopefully this week......He found these periods of waiting to be increasingly more and more difficult to bear. Still no calls. Rick Ruben still had not returned any of his voicemails, emails, or tweets.

The city gave him thirty days to have the trailer dismantled and disposed of, or he'd be paying hefty fines. Staying at his mother's house was no less problematic. For one thing, she seemed to resent him the more he spoke about moving to Los Angeles once Devil Driver came over with the contract.

To complicate things even further, a deranged Danzig fan left a pile of bricks behind his car, effectively blockading him in. Truthfully, he was just happy that the bricks were on the outside of the car for once. His third attempt at clearing them out of the driveway left him gasping for air. He promised himself that he would "get back in the gym" despite never having been to one. It turned out to be just the remedy he needed for his melancholia. Examining his refection as he hit the cool down phase on the treadmill, he could feel a gigantic weight being lifted off his shoulders.

All the adversity was making him stronger. The fire inside was burning as hotly as ever. He could barely contain his newfound sense of inspiration and brought out the notebook again as he positioned his bulk squarely onto the gym toilet and scrawled out several pages of memoir:

"As the new face of Devil Driver, I have to be Driven like a Devil."

He then proceeded to pen an icebreaker song:

"Driven like the Devil:
I'm going to go on world tours,
Fucking foreign whores,
I'm pushing weights for hours,
And now I'm my own Higher Power,
I love the devil, I live for evil
Take me Satan to another level
YEAAAH!!!"

The sheer evil of it shocked him. As a part of a band, the North Side Kings always tempered their lyrics with a sense of loyalty and obligation to the family, to God, and to the community. This crude song was a blatant celebration of a self-centered Satanic rockstar.

He then made the connection between who and what he must become, and the person he was leaving behind. He was being led by Fate to choose a path. It hit him like a ton of bricks. He was going to have to cut ties with the past and fly it solo from that point on.

He knew now what it meant to be a phoenix, to be culled by an openly Satanic band. What he didn't know, but felt, was that as he wrote those lyrics, his eyes were pure black with glowing red pupils. He continued to write, to dream, and to fantasize.

He wrote about what the future would bring him, vainly indulging his imagination, contemplating the sins he longed to commit. Right then and there, his big sweaty mass planted firmly upon the gym toilet, is when he let the devil into his heart.


CHAPTER 12: CONVERSATION WITH MOTHER

Danny Marianino was uncharacteristically detached. He stared at the television without watching it. Each and every thought centered on the book. His mind never stopped obsessing over the story and what its telling would bring. It was mostly about money, but it was also about something bigger than that. Validation.Vindication. Pride. The idea of success morphed into something other than what it meant to the band he was leaving behind.

He wanted all of life's forbidden pleasures. Everything life ever dangled in front of him that was unattainable before was soon to be his. He desired all of it in vast quantities. His honest assessment of who he was versus who he wanted to become made him aware of his own suppressed envy, his invidious dark side, and his uncontainable schadenfreude.

"Danny boy, eat your speghettiOs." This was the third time she warned him. It sounded nice but inside it was a warning. She knew he was changing. A mother always knows.

He continued to stare through the television screen, ignoring the dinner tray on his lap. His pulse was quickening as a new rebelliousness coursed through his veins. Even this rerun of The Jefferson’s---which would normally have him laughing the spaghettiO sauce through his nose---barely registered in his field of awareness. Nobody told The Jefferson’s not to move on up in life, so why were people being so resentful of his own imminent elevation in social status?

"Danny, since you’re going to ignore me, I shall just tell you my opinion and you may make of it what you will. While you're under my roof, you're under my rules. Number one, stop smoking in that bedroom. Two, I don't like the sound of Devil Drivel one bit. It's evil music. This is a good Christian home! What are you bringing in here?"

"MOTHER!" he roared, and savagely dug into the SpaghettiOs. "I'll eat but I'm not going to hear any criticism from someone outside the music Industry!"

The slamming of the front door confirmed that he wouldn't have to. She always left whenever their arguments escaladed. Her Bingo blotters weren't on the stand by the door, so she'd probably be out late. No matter. The contract was about to materialize. That's all that mattered. Everyone else in the world could just line up and jump into a lake for all he cared.

He finished his meal, wiped his mouth on a Kleenex and proceeded to the study. There, he utilized the Internet to access a lewd video; a safer, less challenging, and ultimately more rewarding alternative to dating.



CHAPTER 13: FAUSTIAN


Danny woke to a knock on the front door. He panicked when he realized that he failed to close the website he was visiting before passing out on the couch. The knocking grew more insistent. He went to log off the Internet but the computer was already off and the inseminated Kleenex had been tossed in the trash. His mother had beaten him to it. Damn!

He shuffled across the living room, zipping his pants. Devil Driver was here! He felt queasy and steadied himself against the door before opening it, affecting his "metal face" for the confrontation. The man at the door was wearing a bright blue and yellow uniform, not a leather jacket; he was from FedEx. Nonetheless, he was brandishing an envelope from Devil Driver's record label so it wasn't a total letdown.

The contract wasn't what he had expected. It had instructions to sign it and hand it back to the courier. Maybe his expectations were too high. To be fair, he was expecting some kind of boardroom with stiff old white men in suits, one of whom would produce a briefcase from which a magical scroll would appear, and upon his signature the world would transform into a Danny Marianino-centered universe of personal assistants in French maid outfits, flashy clothes, and paparazzi. With expectations set so high, anything less would be bound to feel anticlimactic, so he forced himself to be gracious.

He signed it without reading it, handed it back, and seconds later was speeding his Ford Escort towards the trailer to celebrate. He was growing accustomed to these solitary events. His mother was firmly against drinking in the house and he didn't really feel that anyone else deserved to participate with him anyway. Leaning against the recliner, which wasn't there before, he stared into the setting sun. He grabbed the notebook and pen.

His pen was still moving long after darkness had descended. The streetlamp behind the condemned residence projected a shadow like a saurian ribcage, as though he sat in the belly of a giant, desiccated beast.

"Now I'm back at the burned up trailer," he wrote. "Some squatters have already taken up residence and they made off with all my remaining hotdogs. Pricks didn't even bother to shut the fridge and I think there's feces in the 32oz Slurpee on the counter. I'm still wearing the Phoenix Sun's jersey but now it's inside out. My sweat stains blend in with the fabric so you can't even tell that I've given up on washing laundry. I had that handled and all of a sudden Ma is like, ‘Danny-Boy, just because you're a rockstar doesn't absolve you of washing your own underwear.' So just like that, I'm a rockstar. I'm in Devil Driver, yet I feel vaguely screwed..."

"By me?"

The voice reverberated from all around him and also seemed to come from within. He dropped the notebook and peered out into the darkness. Someone was there, beckoning from the fence, exactly at the barren and discolored pee spot.

It was too dark to make out a face so he climbed off the chair, down the wreckage, and into the alley to confront the interloper head on. The light next door was on but the figure at the fence did not resemble his neighbor in any respect, least of all the glowing red eyes and pointed ears. Danny was too stunned to speak. The thing had sharp features and smooth red-orange skin.

It answered Danny's silence by repeating the question in full context, imitating his voice with frightening precision:

"..So...just like that, I'm a rockstar...I'm in Devil Driver, yet I feel vaguely screwed....woe is me...." The laughter was the sound of dry leaves rustling over a newly covered grave. "So I added that last part. Artistic license." Whatever it was, it only sounded human. Danny prepared to bolt.

The thing presented an opened suitcase. The contents glowed with a pale blue light. Despite himself, Danny stared long and hard into that light, fixated. His initial impulse to run was replaced by an intense curiosity. He saw a life playing itself out in superfast motion. His own life. There were specific cues demonstrating where he deviated from the typical life path. He saw the life he was dreaming of. The whores, the cash, a decades long paradise of gold and flesh and food. And like an enormous waterfall, all of the world’s pleasures poured down upon him long into his old age. Then, the dream dissipates and he sees himself again, this time free falling into a fiery pit where unspeakable and abominable acts are inflicted upon him as a punishment for taking the easy way out. He witnessed the punishment and purgation of a soul corrupted by evil, having chosen selfishness and greed over Jesus Christ and altruism.

Danny pulled his transfixed gaze back, fighting a wave of nausea. He puked a little but swallowed it back in. "Jesus.....Jesus!! JESUS!!!" He dropped to his knees and prayed harder than anyone has ever prayed before. He prayed until dawn, not opening his tightly clenched eyes.

The sky was already bright when he finally peeked, and the instant he did, a hand reached out of it. It came to rest on his shoulder. He felt saved but it wasn't Jesus Christ he was staring up at. It was Jerry Only. Instantly he knew what he had just resisted.

Jerry Only looked deeply into Danny's tear filled eyes, "Brother, I was also approached by Satan. We all were. Glenn Danzig was the only one of us who didn't refuse to sell out." As he spoke, Danny could see a crucifix around Jerry's thick pallid neck, reflecting the sun's purifying light and illuminating the sacred icon of Christ the Redeemer, whose deathless gaze bore down, impugning him for the sins he longed to commit, but now refused.

Jerry explained his presence. "I knew this was coming so I've been staying here, waiting and watching over you. Danny, I have to ask you this one thing. I ask that you not be offended at my aloofness because this is bigger than you or I and the love we shared. It's bigger than any rockstar, even bigger than Glenn Danzig. This is about souls man, and yours is up for grabs! You can't sit on the fence forever! You must choose!"

He yelled that last bit as he dragged his undersized pink bike from underneath the wreckage of the trailer and sped off into the rising sun. The area in front of where Danny had been praying smelled of burning matches in addition to the usual odor of dried vomit and stale piss.



CHAPTER 14: CHOICES


"As I sit here writing the epilogue to my testimony, I finally understand what Jerry Only meant. It's about choices. It all comes down to that single most important decision all of us must make eventually.

There's not going to be a fence when God comes around. I know where I stand. I know where Danzig stands. And I know where Devil Driver stands.

For me, I stand with Jerry Only, and we stand united with Jesus Christ. Jerry's certainly no angel, but last night, he was there for me. I called out to my savior Jesus Christ, and Jerry Only was there to show me that he chose obscurity and poverty over fame and wealth. He showed me an alternate life path: the highroad. Yes, it's a hard one to tread but then, isn't that what being hardcore is all about?

After all, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, should he lose his soul? Do I want to find out?

I don't think so. Get Thee Behind Me Satan!"



************************************************


CHAPTER 15: A DEAL WITH GOD


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I, DANNY MARIANINO, OF SOUND BODY, MIND, AND SOUL, DO HEREBY REJECT THE DEVIL AND ALL HIS TEMPTATIONS.

I HEREBY DECLARE THAT I REJECT THE CONTRACT PRESENTED TO ME BY DEVIL DRIVER.

I STEADFASTLY REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE TO THOSE WHO EXPECTED TO PROFIT OFF THE WHORING OF MY SOUL.

I HEREBY DECLARE THAT I AM TOO HARDCORE TO SELL OUT LIKE THAT.


SIGNED IN CHRIST,

DANNY MARIANINO





************************************

CHAPTER XVI: DON'T EVER PUNCH A ROCK STAR, HATE MAIL COLLECTION:

Hate mail


1. "North Side Kings singer shouldn't have confronted Danzig about anything, let alone get in his face and call him an 'asshole!!'. Danny is lucky he only got slammed against the wall. (He was about to cry)"

Posted by Someone on Punk News .Org
2. "Hey kids ,dont mess with Death Metal and the occult on halloween or you might end up like Glenn Danzig being taught a lesson from Danny of the North Kings much more sensible is the clean living, healthy diet of the straight edgers."

Posted by JSTEVEKANE
3.
"Turns out their label releases videos on the side about backstage fights and stuff, including some featuring their own label bands. Kinda like Bum Fights and videos of that ilk. I agree, after I saw the video, that it was pretty much a sucker punch. One little shove and you come out swinging like that? And ironicly one of their roadies is there with a camera? I can't recall even hearing about NSK before the incident, and yet, now they're 'big'. Even saw that Josta guy on Headbanger's Ball (not that great, but occasionally has a decent band or two) wearing a NSK shirt."

Posted by Aaroth
4. "First of all, you have no idea what this argument was about. I was there and Glenn's anger was justified. This happened because that fat fuck ruined the show when danzig was on stage by turning out all the lights and killing power. He did this because he was pissed that danzig was headlining and his band wasnt. So yeah it was justified. No it wasn't a cheap shot, but that fat fuck shoulda gotten more than a shove. And Glenn is not a has been. He make more than you ever could."

Posted by CorpseMcGrinder
5. "What the fuck was that guy's problem to begin with? So his band got bumped. That happens all the time. Why should the headliner have to make adjustments? Who the fuck does he think he is getting pissed off because his noname band didn't get to play? Getting bumped by a bigger act is part of paying your dues. If anyone's a fucking crybaby it was this guy. And what's with a...
ll this 'he just acted like a man' shit. What real "man" reacts to a shove from someone THAT much smaller than them with an immediate punch? If he was a real man with fully functioning testicles like some people have said, he would have known how ridiculous that kind of a fight would be and waited until an actual punch was thrown before laying him out."

Posted by rsfitzii
6. "it's a little like watching Henry Rollins get knocked out by Meat Loaf--and with one punch, no less." The video is classic. I laugh everytime I see it..I even think Danzigs voice is funny, his garbled voice and nasal pitch (from his multiple nose jobs) when he says to the fat guy..wah why don't you just go on and play now!!!, he sounds like he's underwater and has a clothes pin on his nose."

Posted by gorehoundz
7. "Fuck all u little nerds, talking shit about someone who still gets more pussy and money than you ever will in your lives,, so go cry about your baby dicks somewhere els... !!!!! Danzig fucking RULES!!!!!!!!"

Posted by 3tokens69boyon
8. "NSK? Who the fuck are the?.....OH YEAH! Those fat guys from taco bell. Didn't they used to have band or something? Oh well. gimme a nachos bell grande and a chalupa you loser! NKS.....what a joke."

Posted by demonikx2
9. "ASSHOLES!!!!!!!!!!!A STUPID UNDER GROUND BAND GLENN WAS LETTING WARM UP FOR HIM!! They had there 1 second of fame but Glen will be back for HE IS A MASTER!!!!!!!!!!! They were soo gay I cant even think of there name King fags or somthing!!!!"

Posted by kymrhymer
10. "NSK SUCK COCK.That fat fuck thinks he is a bad ass punching a 50 year old man.That fat fuck set Danzig up.Thats why the shithead had his bitch with the camera in the right place.If a real D fan was there,that shit will not happen.I will take that fat fuck out myself when I see him."

Posted by needleboy
11. "ok, Danzig was wrong this instance, but North Side Kings still suck ass!!! North Side Kings can drop dead!!! AZHC?? Arizona fuckin' Hardcore?? Are you serious??!!! If punching out an old man, who put these hard-ons onto hardcore punk in the 1st place, was indeed NSK's claim to their 5 minutes of fame, then they really ain't shit. Fuck them. Biohazard, Madball, Skarhead, etc. were cool up until the early/mid `90's--now just as lame, stupid, and ancient as EMO, if not more so!!! Die!!!!"

Posted by SickestGreenEyez
12. "They were agruing because Fat Albert's shitty, unheard of, band was supposed to play before Danzig but Danzig wne t ahead and went onstage so the fat sack of shit came and was telling Danzig that they were late and should've gotten to perform. Tough luck fatty, the car might've made it there in time if he wasn't in it."

Posted by WZombie169
13. "Getting knocked down, not out, by a no talent fatfuck doesn't change the fact the fatfuck has no talent. Plus, he bitched out and ran, didn't stand up to the security, or wait for Danzig to wing back. You all know that that fatfuck is a pussy."

Posted by DeaDGoDXIV
14. "Yeah it is a lil funny that Glenn Danzig gets knocked out by a fat piece of shit diabetic who's wannabe band has no talent. Fatso went all over the net bragging about his big win but yet his band still has no talent and will never get booked even for a bar gig. Pretty fuckin sad there fatso. He knocked out an old man, a legend in fact, who still keeps touring and recording records and all kinds of good stuff. Yet Northside fail have only a demo tape and will never have anything else."

Posted by SLYMUSTAINE
15. "Hahaha F the northside queenies. Thugcore chuggachugchug bs white trash mf'ers. Danzig ducked out just in time and barely got hit by fatty. And if Danzig woulda proved how slow an morbidly obese white trasher really is, then fatty may have owned a portion of the rights to the Misfits...Danzig probably got the sets changed around because the Northside Misogynists probably pissed them off by being dochebags!"

Posted by neveragainxx
16. "i'll put a comic book up your little sh1t talkin azz and rear naked choke you out til you're all squinty and fawktarded and have a jack n fawkin coke with my boy danzig and laugh at your dumb azz kickin you in the back while we're sippin whiskey b1tch... come talk that sh1t mf.. have some respect, or learn it the hard way d1ck neck!"

Posted by mahthefalka
17. "this video is for complete homosexuals...I guess Id go crybaby do danzig for something that isnt his fault and then punch him too if I wanted my band that by the way completely licks boners to get recognized too...instead of just playing shows...I beat that fat homos ass any day bitches."

Posted by MikeAC (Same guy as yesterday double shot)
18.
"incase you didnt know I myself am a fucking monster in which case no I wouldnt be a crybaby facing down some fat faggot who spends too much time eating hankboigers from burgerking...sorry boutcha...noting the fact that the homo cant even throw a proper punch I would lay waste to this homo so severely he would be eating his hankboigers through a straw...aswell as all of the semen he apparently ingests daily...if it could be set up Id be more that happy to slap around this fat piece of crap..."

Posted by MikeAC
19.
"incase you didnt know I myself am a fucking monster in which case no I wouldnt be a crybaby facing down some fat faggot who spends too much time eating hankboigers from burgerking...sorry boutcha...noting the fact that the homo cant even throw a proper punch I would lay waste to this homo so severely he would be eating his hankboigers through a straw...aswell as all of the semen he apparently ingests daily...if it could be set up Id be more that happy to slap around this fat piece of crap..."

Posted by MikeAC
20. "Fuck that fatass talentless prick. NSK suck and that fat piece of shit is a disgrace to vocalists ever."

Posted by Devilock622
21. "I drove six hours...Danzig was probably riding on the bus all fucking night to make it to this gig, and this little bitch is whinning about driving a few hours to open for the legendary Danzig. Maybe they turned the lights on because nobody wanted to hear his piece of shit band or see him jiggiling around on stage. Does he really think people are going to stick around after Danzig to watch his shitty band? No"

Posted by Samhaim 6677
22. "NORTH SIDE KINGS AND THEIR FANS ARE PUSSIES! DO YOU HEAR ME NORTH SIDE KINGS BITCHES THAT HIDE AND RUN FOR COVER? COME TRY ME LIKE BITCH AND I WILL GUT YOU. GLENN DANZIG WILL ALWAYS BE BETTER THAN YOU, EVEN ON HIS WORSE DAY COMPARED TO YOUR BEST. PUSS ASS COWARDS. KEEP LOOKING IN THE MIRROR AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE WEAK AND DANZIG AND THEIR FANS PISS ON YOUR MOTHERFUCKING FACE WITH SUCCESS WHILE YOU HAVE NOTHING BECAUSE YOU DESERVE NOTHING AT ALL YOU FUCKTARD NON METAL BITCH ASS PUSSIES. GET SOME!!"

Posted by BeerSlayer863
23. "this is why wiggers are the worst people of all. not saying that Danzig should have pushed him but from the sound of their voices, there must have been more arguing before the camera turned on. he had the chance to open for danizg and he probably blew it bc his crap band didnt sell tickets. wiggers have too much hubris to admit they suck."

Posted by assbagmann666
24. "Wow you guys sound like nothing I've heard before. Fuck you, you fucking apes. Go eat bananas and hit people and talk in fake New York accents, you fucking assholes. Eat my shit and suck my dick you fucking jocks. You are the antithesis of metal or punk or whatever the fuck you are trying to be. I hope you all die in car accidents while George Michael is fucking you in the ass."

Hate Mail Entry # 49
25.
"north side kings suck ass! worthless shit, Danzig is a genious, but unfortunately for him he will go to Hell! but so will most of the people who see this so you'll see him there in his home realm, good luck with that!! HA HA HA!!! HALLELUIA! PRAISE GOD! THE CHAFF GETS BURNED IN PILES!!"

Posted by MrDizzyvonclutch
26. "that fat fuk sucker punched him and pushed him with all that weight hes draggin ,tell me that DANZIG a living legend ,wouldnt of kicked his ass,DANZIG humongous ,not to mention tubby danny would of ran out of breathe like in a minute he wont last well anyways ALL U NSK FANS KEEP ON BOBBING FOR COCK
DANZIG KICKS ASS NO MATTER WAT U SAY"

Posted by Roger on Stereo Gum. Com
27. ""Hey fuck yall... Glen is gonna get ya gonna get ya. I hope he fucks all yalls fat asses up...fuckin pussy. I wish I could get out of my wheelchair and strangle your fat throats you bunch of shit ass fags."

Hate Mail Entry #54
28. "Danzig was tired after his 50 year old ass put on a show for his fans and was signing autographs backstage afterwards when Danny and his queerbate pose start shit with Danzig. Who the hell is gonna wanna bring these guys on tour with them? well anyone famous act anyways, these NSK gays are cry babys. NSK yell about smoking crack in their songs. Danzig growls about the devil. NSK wish they were black. Danzig thinks he's the devil."

Posted by Blabmouth 69 on Blabbermouth .Net
29. "Please, to me it sounds like the guy pulled off a cheap shot, and scrambled away with his Posse. Glenn probobly wasn't knocked out, bleeding, or any of that shit. Come on you no name fuck heads, post the video. Hopefully, it wont be all feet and yelling, or that tubby bastard bragging with Katsup on his knuckles going, "Yeah, King Kong got nuttin on me!"

posted by : Nivek on Blabbermouth
30.
"My comments are from a nuetral standpoint AND If I were you dannyboy i would destroy the tape and apolagize to glen , PRIVATELY! thats if you want to save your career in music, do you really want to be known as the guy who picked a fight with danzig for no good reason and tried to ruin his career (not that you could) on purpose with a video camera that you were supposed to film YOUR BAND with, thats why some bands dont allow people in venues with cameras! cause assholes like you use it AGAINST someone who just wants to ROCK for his fans!"

Posted by Grover on Blabbermouth
31. "Fat people and most retards who are violent hit like shit. Danzig is known to be non-violent anyway but he's also a shit-stirrer which is not a good combo for non-violent people. Anyone can hit somebody, but when you're non-violent by nature it's not easy unless you're pushed to the point of blind rage. That fat guy had a sloppy ass punch you could almost see coming out of Hell. Fat people and unhealthy people are easy to take apart anyway."

Posted by gwargroupie on You Tube
32. "Danzig didn't punch, he only pushed as men in an argument often do. That fat guy is an ass, is nobody and is jealous. Danzig would have made him eat his own balls. I hate big nobodys. As the other well said, danzig is the god of punk rock, show some respects, assholes. All of u r a bunch of nobodys. Load of flesh, load of bull. Wankers! Be real first. Danzig IS."

Posted by jesusgunge on You Tube .Com
33. "N.S.K. are fuckin' pre-sellout pussies looking for attention, and they turned to a legend to close the deal. Danny should just bend over in a prison shower."

Posted by Mrpunchy on Blabbermouth .Net
34. "Glann always rulz. Pussy wanna beez tryin’ to make it count by takin credits from the man that made them bee. Fuck that flabby Danny from tha North Side that can’t write a piece of shit from his asshole to the end of his leg. Fuck all y’all that doubt Glenn, you know not what you have done!!!!!!!!!"

Posted by Guest on Stereo Gum. Com
35.
"Firstly, that guy didn't even hit Danzig square in the face/head. Secondly, it's quite obvious that Glenn Danzig slipped and fell, and was not "knocked out." Anyone who believes this to be true is fooling themselves. Thirdly, the crowd immediately gathers in a large cluster following Danzigs fall so it's quite impossible to tell what the outcome of the fight was. Fourthly, hard-core of any variety is absolutely aweful, white/trailer trash music."

Posted by Ewergrin on Skadi .Net
36. DANNY FOR SURE IS A COWARD...
.. NOT EVEN DARE TO FIGHT DANZIG FACE TO FACE.

DANNY FOR SURE IS A COWARD...
.. NOT EVEN DARE TO FIGHT DANZIG FACE TO FACE.

DANNY FOR SURE IS A COWARD...
.. NOT EVEN DARE TO FIGHT DANZIG FACE TO FACE.

Posted over and over by krek on Blabbermouth .Net
37. "First off “dam all all of you fuckin cock suckin anal fuckin bitch assed DICK LICKENG fist fuckin fags!!!!!!!little fuckin bitches!”Glenn Danzig is the Baddest ass mother fucker who ever lived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Danzig could kick the shit out of all of you fags, that fat cock smokin bitch fighter ,the rest of his band all at the same time.”SO BLOW IT OUT YOUR FUCKIN ASSES.” Danzigs biggest fan"

Posted by McClane on Stereo Gum. Com
38. "Apparently, the sound guys were five hours late and Danny NSK was wandering around threatening to pound people all afternoon."

Posted by la thatcher on Anti -State .Com
39. "North Side Quiefs did virtually nothing after this, way to suck a bag of musical dicks, Danzig is still Danzig on the other hand and he can fuck any goth metal bitch literally anytime of the day, North Side Quiefs are still beating off to early 90's penthouse heirlooms."

Posted by Anonymous on Lambgoat .Com
40.
"hold on, on second thought, NSK's singer was taunting Danzig first with bullshit. Granted, as the story goes, Danzig was trying to get one over on these clowns over booking or some shit. If your name was something as lame as "North Side Kings", who wouldn't?? LOL. Glenn Danzig is one of the richest, most respected INDIVIDUALS in the business. Where the fuck is North Side Kings 6 years later?? The whole thugcore sound and look was cool when? Emo-core is awful, NSK and such is just as dumb."

Posted by SickestGreenEyez on You Tube .Com
41. "I read about Dannys Marianinho bragging about how tough he thinks he is. I would say the proof was in the pudding if I didnt think he ate it all already. Nom nom nom hardcore nom nom nom"

Hate Mail Entry # 26

This band North Side Kings looks like complete crap. Stupid a$$ gangsta wannabe thugcore like this ruined the hardcore scene. I hate lame a$$ bands like that. Danzig has more talent in his pinkie than all these loser thugcore bands put together. Posted by hair McChair on Hair Loss Help. Com

(Seriously, on a hair loss website forum?)
"Sounds like some gay ass Hardcore to me, bandanas and tight jeans...that kind of hardcore? Where kids have x's on their hands and pretend to be Karate experts? hahaha, pffffffffffffff, don't make me laugh kid."

Posted by GilbertSyndrome


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