Editor Note: RONDMC writes for BLASFOME.com as well has his blog Poor Tools Require Better Skills
THE cool spring breezes turning into suffocating still humid air always signaled 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. The white streak of sunscreen on his nose glowing due to the transparent green visor that topped his long, scraggly, unkempt dirty blond gray hair. His short sleeve, unbutton collared shirt exposed his sad weathered skin and his spindly legs popped out of the old nut hugging Ocean Pacific shorts that he wore and this look was complemented by flip-flops.
He seemed to come straight for me every time; probably because I was lifted. He had once been a fellow traveler and so he had become like a vampire.
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 passed and I found the tract one night while broke into boredom on the Mount. So my roomates and I followed the directions on the front of the tract,
“NEED HELP OUT? CALL HOTLINE – BELOW (717) 846-6214″
We figured he needed to know about Brian Brick, his satanic graffiti pieces and his satanic band,Time Bomb. Sure, we were friends 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 we created a new genre for our friendly street preacher: Hard Core-New Age
We called and he answered. I talked to him for a bit, Paytosh talked to him… I think even HoDeDo talked to him for awhile.
We all related the stories about Time Bomb’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 to do it.
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 that the show would start. We only mentioned it to a few people but as you can imagine the legend that was the satanic Time Bomb spread through our small clique. We showed up about an hour before the doors opened and wandered around Oakland aimlessly; probably sitting on that fucking Wall… waiting. We made our way to the venue. Parked in front was a dirty but minty 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. While we didn’t cop to the call, we asked if he was here because Time Bomb were Satanists. He assured us he was here to take care of business. He was going to turn back the people and hoped to faceoff 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 Time Bomb 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 the opening act, one of the doormen came from upstairs and started to question him and looked to us to leave with him; like 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 Time Bombs evil crew that beats people into accepting Satan. The ass kicking bravado that this lumox 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 Dick Dale’s preacher brother Rick 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 not in the lobby. As he made his way to the door, reaching to open it, the one legged street doorman that would show up for handouts popped the door open while simultaneously thrusting his hand out for a donation. Street Preacher responded with a tract and “God Bless…” That wasn’t going to get kickstand any closer to a 40.
WE too made our way out and as we did, PJ and Joe rolled up. He starts preaching to them about Brian Brick, Time Bomb and Satan. Joe began to question him; agitating the guy for kicks. As this began to get in gear and kick up, PJ jumped into the guy’s car and started to honk his horn. Street preacher turned around and rushed over toward his car.
“Okay guys, be cool; get out of my car, lets all be cool…”
Pj locked the doors and waved at him, telling him that he couldn’t hear him because the windows were up.
“What, What… I can have your car?”
FOR the first time, the street preacher gets agitated and goes from hyped to whipped, sort of like a beach bum version of Neil from the Young Ones. As Pj started writing on his dash with a huge Pilot chisel, he was himself for the first time in years – not filtered through a biblical wrapper. “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 laughed as he drove away shouting “You guys are way un-cool man, really: that was so un-c-o-o-l…”.