How to Start a Fire Using Hundred Dollar Bills: 1984

Raz Records Office 1984

Barely a month after my chat with a top-ten all-time-great rock god, Ronnie James Dio, my lawyer called to report two of five opposing parties were offering to settle my lawsuit. For two hundred and fifty grand, all I needed to do was sign on the dotted line. I had planned on taking my case […]

Open G is The Best Tuning For Air Guitar: 1984

The outstanding Ian Gillian, of Deep Purple fame, banded together with Black Sabbath to put out a kick-ass metal record, Born Again. A few weeks into 1984, Mike and me went to enjoy that evil shit live at the Long Beach Arena. While waiting at the elevator, we ran into Mike’s buddy and fellow vocalist, […]

“Baby’s Brain & Old Man’s Heart:” Eighteen in 1983

Pops must’ve climbed into his van right after hanging up, because he was at my door within the hour. He didn’t bring the much-needed firearm, instead suggesting I flee and move in with him. It was obvious that getting the fuck away from that neighborhood, freebasing cocaine, and imminent threat was in my best interest. […]

How to Meet Super Famous People: 1982-83

Shortly after 1982’s first hangover subsided, Ma’s kind friend, Robin, let me have her super-cheap, street-level, one-bedroom apartment. Three days before my seventeenth birthday, I got my own pad to come and go as I pleased. The place was a block from Los Angeles City College, in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood littered with small, independently […]

How I Gained a Whole New Perspective: 1981-82

And so, back to the real world to witness years fly by from a seated position. Pops’ newest house had a pool in the backyard, which my therapists thought was great. By simultaneously providing buoyancy and resistance, pool therapy is the best exercise for gimp fucks like me. In theory, one could float, swim, goof […]

How To Face Life Head First: 1980

Monday afternoon, I caught a downtown bus to grab my final paycheck. It was far less tense with Pops away, so I hung out long enough to burn a few bowls and shoot the shit with the kitchen guys. In case he had a spy, I didn’t mention to anyone that I was cutting out […]

Behind The Orange Curtain: 1980

A midnight drive south in Pops’ Lincoln Mark V delivered a far scruffier Raz back behind the Orange Curtain. We hadn’t spoken the entire – year and a half, six schools, and felony conviction – time I lived with Ma, so we spent three minutes catching up before the stern talk about his rules: “Right […]

A Fourteen-Year-Old Boy Has Great Plan: 1979-80

A day later, I sprang from Ma’s Kawasaki KZ 750 twin, semi-eager to enroll at my newest school. Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High boasts several illustrious alumni, but a girl named Norma Jeane Baker attended decades before me and tops the list. South of the campus, a golden trumpeter sat atop the Mormon Temple, and […]

The Best Days of My Youth: 1975-78

We rented a place at “Our Town Apartments.” The mega-complex, billed as “A Place for Kids and Their Families,” sat right across the street from Orange Coast College. It sported a community center with pool tables, swimming pool, BBQs, and a “Teen Center.” Pops had Mondays off, and we’d play pool or go see movies […]

How Do I Start This Thing: 1965-74

February 1965 – a baby boy they called Rached entered this world ass-first, screaming like thunder. Not from the smack on my bottom, but because the doctor yanked me from a warm, moist environment I had grown quite fond of. My resistance to the world broke my fucking arm and I spent the first five […]