For one thing, since I'm not actually leaving the Dallas Observer, just changing jobs, I didn't really wanna do this. Writing a goodbye column, to me, feels like storming out of the room after a fight only to realize you left your keys inside and have to slink back in to retrieve them. But I guess we all need closure or something like that. After all, what would Dr. Phil say? Well, besides, "I'm surprisingly overweight for someone with a best-selling weight-loss book," of course.
Uh, OK, so cue Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and settle in. Joking.
Caulk broke my cherry, so to speak, here at the Observer. My review of the band's Imaginary Enemy ("Out Here," April 9, 1998) was--how do I put this?--not very nice. "Downright mean" would also work. A sample: "Most of the time, listening to Imaginary Enemy is like being married to Ike Turner: It beats the crap out of you, makes nice for a little while, then resumes beating the hell out of you." And also: "But let's be honest--one would hope that once the kids remove Caulk's second album, 1995's Love American Style, from their disc changers, they will issue a heartfelt apology to their stereos." The band's response was a flier: "Zac Crain of the Dallas Observer says, 'I love cock! I mean...Caulk!'"
Kids, that's just comedy. Caulk probably got the better of me in that round, setting off a steady back-and-forth between the Observer, the band and One Ton Records, the label owned and operated by Caulk front man Aden Holt until a couple of years ago. It was a feud that mostly played out on various Internet message boards and died when One Ton did. I've mended that particular fence, by the way. But that doesn't mean I suddenly became mature.
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You don't have to look very far to find evidence supporting the previous sentence. There was the time I--wrongly, of course--accused the Reverend Horton Heat of trying to take a swing at me. (I'm a jackass.) Yet another feud, this one with the Curtain Club. (I'm also a hothead.) And Sack of Kittens, the vented spleen formerly housed in this space, now in the comfy confines of Full Frontal. (But I'm also very funny.) I'd like to thank Edgewater, Alligator Dave and the Couch Band, Spoonfed Tribe, Shackleford Brown, Fair to Midland, InBoX, Jay Quinn, the Filthy Skanks, 3 Sons of Thunder, Evamore, Kelly Clarkson, Supercell, the Necro Tonz, Unchecked Aggression, Loaded Moses, Scum Scunge, Oddibe, Eden Automatic and Kwik Buddha for making a scruffy Irish boy's dreams come true.
Oh, and Sack of Kittens isn't going anywhere, in case you were wondering. And I'm not really, either. The lovely and talented Sarah Hepola is taking over the reins as music editor, but I'll still be hanging around, like that dude who graduated from high school two years ago but still hangs out in the parking lot, hitting on the freshman girls. But, yeah, Sarah's the one to bug now. Be gentle.
Unless, of course, you're the kind who likes sending e-mails with subject lines such as "You're a shitty write." That one is for real, people, and it will never be topped as my favorite subject line ever. If you're someone inclined to send out that kind of e-mail, feel free to keep sending them my way. I need something to brighten up my day. And we'll give you a hint what our response will be: Just take the first letter of the previous seven paragraphs and see what it spells. Been wanting to use that joke for ages.
Finally, just because I've run out of jokes, here is a list of people who've made this job easier/entertaining over the past four years or so, in no particular order: Omele Hoppe Fant, Josh Venable, Erv Karwelis, Tami Thomsen, Scott Beggs, Brandt Wood, Richard Winfield, Doug Simmons, Ed Lamonica, every person who works a door at every club, Lara Decker, Cabe Booth, Matt Barnhart, Joe Quinn, Tony Edwards, Peter Schmidt, Bubba Kadane, Katia Reeb, the crew at the 7-Eleven on Columbia Avenue that sells me smokes a few mornings (and nights) each week, every bartender who has over-served me, Josh Baish, Robin Phillips, the fake Zac Crain, Aden Holt, Mikael Wood, Maya Singer, Dave Lane, Walton Muyumba, Nate Cavalieri, Dean Fertita, Bob Mehr, that dude who wrote "Zac Crain has a yeast infection in his mouth" in the bathroom at the Curtain Club, the person who took a picture of it for me, Courtney Smith, Russ Sanzgiri and way too many bands to mention. If I forgot you, I'm sorry. You know where to find me.
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