In the next few weeks, leading up to the release on May 15th, I will introduce the other authors who are in on the project. Today I have Jorge P. Newbery. Welcome Jorge! How did you get involved in the PUNK ROCKER project?
Without giving too much away, tell us about your short story for the anthology.
I am lucky to have two: In one, I share my earliest punk days attending shows at the Whisky. I was 13, too young to drive and none of my friends into the scene. So, I convinced my Dad to drop me off…The other is a few years later at the Sunset Riot after the TSOL gig at SIR. I just realized that both of mine occur at different ends of Sunset Boulevard…
Do you have any more memories you would like to share with us?
Here are two stories, both excerpted from Burn Zones.
My punk friends felt like society’s outcasts. They were from all over Southern California, came from many different schools, and were mostly in their teens and early 20s. All my life, I had been a loner and felt like I did not fit in; however, now I sensed that I somehow belonged. Although my punk friends were mostly white, middle class, and “privileged,” they were often tormented. Some were ignored by their parents, gay, abused, or, like me, just didn’t fit into society’s mold. We had trouble doing what was expected of us and yearned to find a better way, to build a better world for us and everybody else. For some, alcohol and drugs filled a void and helped dull whatever pained them. For others, the substances helped them feel like they fit in.
Me and a few others saw what excessive alcohol and drugs were doing to our friends and opted not to partake. This became the straight edge movement, popularized by Washington D.C.’s Minor Threat, which featured a clear-headed lifestyle punctuated by no alcohol, no drugs, and no indiscriminate sex. Suddenly, nerds like me were cool. The punk scene afforded me the first group of solid friends I ever had: Kimberly, an African American girl who I had a crush on; Natalie Boot, a talented artist; and Jordan Schwartz and Dave Markey, who published We Got Power fanzine. No Jordache jeans or Members Only jackets were required. With punk, everyone was welcome – even me – and especially those whom society had kicked down.
I vividly recall one night at Whittier’s T-Bird Roller Rink, which had rented the stage for a show featuring The Vandals. After setting up the stage, the promoter asked me to go pick up the band as their van had broken down. Thus, I drove the stake truck to pick them and their equipment up from their rehearsal space in Long Beach. Luckily, they were headlining, so we made it back in time. The show went great and, sometime after midnight, I disassembled the stage. The Vandals and I then loaded the stage cubes and their equipment onto the truck to return them to Long Beach. Around 2:00AM, we were driving in the fast lane of a fog-engulfed 710 freeway when we heard a thud followed by a crash.
“What was that?” said one of The Vandals, suddenly alert after dozing off.
“I think it was one of the cubes,” I said nervously, as the rear view mirror dimly reflected a cube splintering in the fast lane. “Should we go back?”
“No way, we’re liable to get killed walking on the freeway with all this fog,” said the previously dozing Vandal. “Keep rolling.”
“But someone’s going to have an unpleasant wake-up call,” said another Vandal. “They’ll be driving in the fog and…”
“Wham-Bam,” said the previously dozing Vandal. “They collide with the punk rock stage.”
“How’d that happen?” I asked. I always tied the stage cubes down tight to avoid a situation like this. “Did you all tie everything down?”
“Yeah, yeah,” said the previously dozing Vandal. “We tied everything down tight.”
I had my doubts. This was the first time I ever had anyone help me load the stage. The only likely explanation was that one of them did not tie down the orphaned cube.
“Whoever hits it could get hurt,” I said, anxious but getting more annoyed realizing that one of The Vandals was the likely culprit. “And have major damage to their car.”
“Don’t worry,” said the Vandal. “If someone hits it, the damage will be more like Vandalism.”
They all laughed. I chuckled a bit, but still felt bad, hoping that no one would get hurt if the cube suddenly appeared out of the fog in the fast lane.
This was just one of maybe two dozen cubes, so future shows had a small section of the stage missing. The stage was still fully functional and safe—plus the missing piece was somewhat apropos considering the eccentric acts that graced the stage.
What are your favorite Punk Acts, Albums and Songs?
Black and Grey by Stalag 13 – love that song! All the bands I put records out for were my favorites, so add Circle One, Red Scare, Killroy, Shattered Faith, Hated Principles to that mix
Why type of fiction do you normally write? Tell us about the concept behind your books?
I write nonfiction, because reality is often more entertaining than fiction. However, my nonfiction often reads like fiction.
What are you working on now?
DebtCleanse.com, a free website sharing tools to help the majority of Americans who cannot afford their debts. We show people how to stop paying, gain leverage, and settle at big discounts. Best of all – the site is free for those in debt.
Jorge P. Newbery founded Upstart Records, which released seven collections from bands such as Stalag 13, Circle One and Red Scare. He crafted Youth Manifesto, a cassette magazine featuring Black Flag, Bad Religion among others, and also promoted gigs throughout Southern California.
Today, Jorge is founder and CEO of American Homeowner Preservation, a socially-responsible investment fund which purchases nonperforming mortgages from banks at big discounts, then provides sustainable solutions to keep struggling families in their homes.
He is also author of Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands and Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All). He is a frequent speaker and regularly contributes to Huffington Post and other publications.
American Homeowner Preservation https://ahpinvest.com/
Debt Cleanse https://www.debtcleanse.com/
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands
Debt Cleanse: How To Settle Your Unaffordable Debts For Pennies On The Dollar (And Not Pay Some At All)