“Someday you will die. Play hard now”
My pretend career as a writer isn’t a new thing, I’ve been not finishing projects for years. I just found the scraps of one of those projects and was reminded of a more idealistic version of myself when I thought I could do anything, because prior to that point I had. At some point I stopped finishing things, I don’t know why and that’s probably a different story all together, but this was happening right during that transition from “ship everything” to “ship almost nothing.” I thought I’d share some of it with you.
So the back story here is that a fellow named Jon Resh, who was not only one of my favorite people in the entire world, but also my first roommate ever, had just self published a book called Amped : Notes from a Go-Nowhere Punk Band. It was the story of SPOKE, a band he’d been in that was now broken up. A band that sort of changed my life – though I’d never tell them that – and if I’m honest it wasn’t just the band, it was the people and the scene and the shows and everything. It was a fleeting moment that will always be magical, and helped shaped my life in so many ways I’ve since.
This was 2001-ish, just after I’d moved to Los Angeles and I thought I’d transition my writing career (which I’d recently morphed from my own zines to columns in magazines) into screen writer. Many years before when I wanted to be an active part of the punk scene, but upon realizing I couldn’t play an instrument and was too self conscious to be a vocalist, I started putting out records of my friends bands. I realized I liked that behind the scenes yet shaping things position. I’d always loved movies and now that I lived in the heart of the movie industry I thought similar logic would apply. My first idea – make a movie out of Amped. I talked to Jon about it and he didn’t seem horrified by the idea. I thought I’d use a bunch of his stuff from the book and add some of my own stories and flat out make some of it up for extra excitement value. I started writing. At some point I stopped. I don’t recall why or when, but the text docs I found today were last edited in early 2003. I read them and smiled, maybe it’s me being nostalgic or maybe there’s something more. After the jump you’ll find a very short summary/treatment idea for the whole movie and the intro that I thought up. There’s a lot more done but this is just a bit of it. These are copied directly from those 10 year old docs and entirely unedited.
Maybe you’ll enjoy them.
Small town punk rock kids decide to form a band and pour every inch of themselves into it. Movie is a series of independent stories about the band that tell the bigger story. Begins with Jon playing his guitar furiously in his room in the middle of the night, narration talking about not being able to do anything else. About it calling him. Him playing the guitar morphs into him playing at the first [terrible] show and apologizing to the crowd. The band consists of two other people, one of them being Jon’s old friend Scott, the other a newer friend Chuck. There’s a series of smaller stories about the band and the house where they all lived and the antics there in, as well as their wacky promotional tricks all the while more and more people showing up to the bands shows. There is a huge build up with the plan of going on tour and ending up at the studio to record the full album. Tour stories; recording stories; Just after finishing recording the record, when everything seemed to the best it’s ever been with the most potential Scott gets a job in Japan and everything comes to a halt. They had a dream to enjoy the moment. Do it to the fullest. It was never a long term goal, just playing it by ear everyday and that millions of kids across the country, across the world are doing the same thing every day. Trying to soak it up for all it’s worth today with no consideration of where that will put you tomorrow. Scott packs up, gets ready to move and the day before he leaves for Japan they play their final show which is insane, people go apeshit and it’s obvious that everything was worth it.
A bright summer day, mid afternoon. A car is sitting at a stoplight facing down hill. Girls are in the driver and passenger seats of this newer import car talking about something unimportant. They are the second or third car back and the traffic at the intersection is slightly busy. Like you’d expect in a bigger small town, not a large city. Enough that you wouldn’t want to run out in the middle of it.
The rearview mirror shows something coming down the hill behind them moving very fast and not slowing down. As it gets closer it’s obvious that whatever it is it’s on fire and getting close fast. The girls are talking and don’t notice it. As it gets closer it’s shape becomes more apparent and it’s clear that it’s a flaming couch that is headed right for them. The girls finally notice the couch as it rockets past their car, and they freak. It flies in between several cars stopped at the light and out into the intersection.
It clears in intersections narrowly missing several cars. There’s honking, screeching of breaks and cars everywhere. Up on sidewalks, yards, all over. The couch keeps going and disappears down the next hill.
At the top of the hill about a block above the intersection where all the chaos just happened are several guys in the early 20’s standing around looking somewhat amused. They are in shorts and t-shirts with band names screen printed on them, or written in permanent marker. Some have visible tattoos, others have dyed hair, other’s look normal but these are obviously punks. [I swear to fucking god this better be done right, early 90’s real thing, if someone else ends up making this and turns them into facial piercing hot topic MTV punk I’m going on a shooting spree.] When they can’t see the couch anymore, they loose interest, as if a funny commercial had just ended. CHUCK is wearing a white t-shirt with a picture of john Coltrane drawn on it with a black marker and has short cropped black hair. He’s the smallest guy in the group. He turns to the rest and asks “Well… the show doesn’t start until 1am, what do you want to do now?”