"He took beatings from the best in the business. But he never stayed down for ten." - Nelson Algren
It is a universal concept, and usually a fatal flaw - going back one last time. It is more risky than rewarding. Only rarely does it end well. I thought, after the last issue and the resulting problems, I was done. I said my piece, fought the good fight and stood up for what I believed in. I took my blows, got in a few of my own and managed to walk away on my own two feet. And isn't that the way it's supposed to end?
Not in my world.
In my world, the fight doesn't stop. The war never ends. Enemies don't become friends. Peace is a myth and resistance is the only way to stay alive in any meaningful way. The battlefield changes. The goal is the same - actualization. It's a struggle that continues, no matter how tired, battered or bloody I may be.
I had stopped doing STM. This compilation issue exists due to a suggestion from Ugly Lenny. It was slated to be the final issue, until a trip to Japan with tiltWheel reminded me that good things are always going on in punk. I just have to look harder to find them in the wake of punk's commercial success. So there's a new issue that accompanies this one. You can find out more about that issue in its pages. And there will be more to come.
You're holding an arbitrary collection of the best odds and sods that passed through the photocopier as STM. When I can still quote reviews that people wrote years ago, they deserve to see the light of day again because lately, I can't remember shit.
Over the years, STM has meant more to me than I can explain. It started as something that got me out of bed after a serious illness. It continued as a way to kick ideas around in a less restricting form than journalism.
It has been my counselor and confidante, a mirror showing me what I admired about myself and what I wanted to change. It was always there, whether I was breaking up, breaking down or just plain broken.
It's been almost six years since the first issue. It's been almost four years since the most recent one. In those four years, I've gone through relationships, jobs, cars, apartments and too many funerals.
One of those relationships resulted in an engagement. My ex-fiancee married the guy she was having an affair with on the same day that she and I were supposed to wed. I'm not sure whether I should be offended that I wasn't invited to the ceremony. One more bridge burns, one less thing holds me back. In every way, it's a relief.
I have tried to sum up my feelings about these events in various ways. None of them are adequate. Words cannot communicate meanings wide enough to cover these blues. So, although it may seem cold, listing these events has to suffice. From that, I ask you to consider how tragedies add up - one and one do not equal two; they compound and become three. One and one and one do not equal three; they are closer to six. And so on. It is a curious form of mathematics, but the calculations of the soul are never easy.
I feel like I'm through it now. It's the same sensation as entering a long tunnel, driving for miles and getting used to flashes of sodium light glinting off tile, then emerging, blinking and sunblind, into daylight.
One thing is certain - I don't plan on going underground again until I'm dead.
Appreciations And Dedications
For Tim Blood, who rolled out like Chow Yun Fat in a Chinese restaurant when the evil forces of orthodoxy threatened. Words are too limited to convey the extent of my gratitude.
For Philip, my co-defendant/brother in arms.
For Alex, one of the best men I'll ever know.
For Quinn and everything he does that people don't know about.
For A.C., Mandy, Kali and everyone else who was there when hard times knocked.
For Lenny and Jennifer, and everyone else who inspired me to do STM again.
For Dave Smalley and all the people with strong hearts who still fly the flag.
And for those who are no longer with us.