Like I said, a lot of the buildings in Berkeley have memories for me. Like the Intermezzo Cafe on Telegraph. Whenever I pass by it I’ll often flashback to a sunny afternoon in the summer of 1982. And, as always, I’ll count the years back in my mind and think: “Could it have really been 35 years ago? How did it all go by so quickly?”
I had left Berkeley for a year. But I had moved back because I wanted to get back with Mary who I was madly in love with. The problem was, she had hooked up with this 17 year old high school punk kid with a mohawk who was her new boyfriend. So, in an effort to win back Mary, or at least shoe-horn my way back into her life, I decided to publish a punk rock underground newspaper. Mary loved music, and she loved the music press (she always had a big stack of back issues of CREEM in her bedroom). So I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist (the things we do for love, huh?).
Anyways, one sunny afternoon in 1982 I happened to be walking by the Innermezzo Cafe. I was crashing in a little room at the Berkeley Inn across the street at the time. Mary happened to be drinking bottled beer at the window seat at the Intermezzo and when she saw me walking by she came running out to the sidewalk to greet me.
“PETER!!” she said (she was one of the few people who still knew me by real name before I got gobbled up by the Ace Backwords thing).
“MARY!” I said.
“Hey, I’m drinking beer with my friend Neil. Come inside and join us for a beer.”
Mary’s hair was short and jet black and spiked in the punk rock style. And she was wearing a black leather jacket with studs on it. And she was on crutches and she had a big cast on her leg that was covered with punk rock graffiti.
“What happened to your leg?” I said.
“I broke it slam dancing in the mosh pit at a punk show at the Elite Club,” she said.
I bought a beer and sat down alongside Mary. “Peter, this is my friend Neil Anderthol. He plays in this band called the Geeks,” said Mary. (everybody had funny punk rock names back then)
I shook hands with Neil Anderthol. He looked sort of like a punk rock version of the Squiggy character from the “Laverne & Shirley” sit-com. He had the greased back hair of a ’50s greaser. And a black leather jacket. With the plastic arm off a baby doll sticking out of the back of his jacket. I guess as a macabre joke. We both looked at each other warily. I could instantly tell that Neil had the hots for Mary. He was doing this big, exaggerated performance trying to impress Mary with his witty and humorous quips. I could always spot that kind of fake act. Because I was doing the same thing. Going out of my way to try and impress Mary.
Mary was an incredibly sexy young woman. She oozed sex appeal from every pore. And she effortlessly attracted a band of suitors everywhere she went. They would be circling around her like a pack of wolves. And Mary loved nothing more than to pit them against each other, competing for her affection. Mary was into blood sport. You gotta take your kicks where you find them.
“I interviewed Lee Ving of Fear backstage at the Elite Club last weekend,” I said. Name-dropping to impress Mary
“Oh really. That is so cool!” said Mary, impressed. (Neil slumped noticeably back in his seat — score one for ole Ace)
“Yeah it’s gonna be the big feature for TWISTED IMAGE #1,” I said. “Hey Mary would you like to be the record review editor?”
“Boy would I!!” she said.
I finished my beer, shook hands with Neil and Mary. And made my exit. And the whole thing was like the opening scene in what would be a really exciting movie.
Neil Anderthol went on to write a love song about Mary called “Spawning” where he likened falling in love with smashing your head against rocks in the hopes of getting laid. Mary would have that affect on more than a few men over the years.