December 16, 2008

THE cool spring breezes turning into suffocating still humid air signals the return of the Pittsburgh Arts Festival. Anyone who attended any large public function in Pittsburgh during the early 90’s should surely remember the 40 plus Beach Boy reject that handed out homemade religious tracts. He had a crazy serious look as he locked eyes with you. His white streak of sunscreen on his nose was illuminated by the clear green visor that topped his long, scraggly unkempt dirty blond and gray hair. His short sleeve unbutton collared shirt exposed his sad weathered skin. And his spindly legs popped out of old threadbare nut hugging Ocean Pacific shorts. He wore flip-flops.

He seemed to come straight for me every time, probably because I was lifted. He had become like a vampire in his post party evangelical life – he knew a fellow traveler when he saw one.

I took his tract and read it while we sat around in Point State Park. Typical of most fringe Christian stuff of the time, it tied music and the media to Satan through the New Age movement and Freemasonry. I stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it.

At least a month had to have passed before we found the tract one night while bored out of our minds on the Mount. So we followed the directions on the front of the tract:


We figured he needed to know about Brian Brick: his satanic graffiti pieces and his satanic band, Timebomb. Sure, we were friends with Brick and the members of the band which is precisely why he had to know about their next show at the Upstage in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The insidiousness of New Age music was mentioned in the tract and so Timebomb was a new genre of New Age. They was Hard Core-New Age

We called and he answered. I talked to him for a bit and then handed off the phone to my roommate, Paytosh. He talked to him for a while and then handed the phone off to HoDeDo who talked to him even longer.

We all related the stories about Timebomb’s commitment to turn the youth of Pittsburgh to Satan. How they had a crew that would catch you on the street forcing you to accept Satan as Lord; how Brick, would paint subliminally satanic graffiti murals all over the city, and how they practiced animal sacrifices at their live shows. We also told him how we didn’t want to go to the show but were being forced to under threat of violence and that we had to pay admission as well.

He assured us that he would be at the Upstage to intervene and take Brick and his crew on. We made sure to give him the times that the doors opened and the show started. We only mentioned it to a few people but as you can imagine the legend that was the satanic Timebomb spread. We showed up about an hour before the doors opened and wandered around Oakland aimlessly.


We made our way to the venue. Parked in front was a dirty, but mint, Chevette. Filled with tracts and books, bits of paper, folders and binders piled ceiling high with space literally carved out for a driver and even less for the front seat passenger. There in the lobby of the Slutstage was the street preacher enveloped in the Spirit and prepared for battle.

Unfortunately it didn’t quite pan out as I’m sure he expected it to.

We stood outside, out of his sightline. It was a mixture of excitement and disbelief – this burn out really kept the date and drove two and a half fucking hours from near Harrisburg. This really should be good we thought. While we didn’t cop to the call, we asked if he was here because Timebomb were Satanists. He assured us he was here to take care of business. He was going to turn back the people and hoped to face off with the band. He ‘dissuaded’ us from going upstairs. So we stood around along the walls of the lobby and watched. A few times we told him that we thought that some guy coming in with his girlfriend was Brian Brick. Oh yeah, I probably forgot to mention to those that don’t know – at the time there was a second bar above the Upstage and the people going to that bar had no knowledge of Timebomb didn’t know what the fuck Hardcore-New Age was and had no idea what he was talking about. Some people were annoyed and some where amused but all were confused by this haggard from Eastern PA (yeah – they have a noticeable accent over there).

About twenty minutes into this opening act, one of the doormen came from upstairs and started to question him and looked to us to leave with him, thinking we were with him. He started in with the doorman, attempting to convert him and turn him away from evil. He mentioned that it was okay to have been one of Timebombs evil crew that beats people into accepting Satan. The ass kicking bravado that this lummox was trying to exude quickly changed to sheer bewilderment. He looked over at me and I shrugged with a faux confusion that he must have bought because he looked back at Rick Dale and told him that he had to leave the lobby; that he was free to stand outside the door and hand his stuff out but never in the lobby. He made his way to the door, reaching to open it, the one legged street doorman that would show up and open the door for change, thrust it open with his hand out for a donation to which Street Preacher responded with a tract and “God Bless…”

WE too made our way out, and as we did, PJ and Joe rolled up. He starts preaching to them about Brian Brick, Timebomb and Satan. The roles may be reversed but, PJ began to question him, trying to get him agitated for kicks. As this began to get in gear and kick it up, Joe jumped into the guy’s car and started to honk his horn. Street preacher turned around and made his way to the car, “Okay guys, be cool! Get out of my car, lets all be cool…” Joe locked the doors and waved at him, telling him that he can’t hear him because the windows are up, “What, What… I can have this car?” Now he starts to get agitated and goes from hyped to whipped, turning into Neil from the Young Ones. Joe writes on his dash with a huge Pilot chisel and he continued: “Come on man; that’s not cool – that’s my car man…don’t – aw – that’s so not cool.”

He eventually gets his car back and we laugh as he drives away, “You guys are way un-cool man, really: that was so un-c-o-o-l…”


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