raging dust storm, slipped into an apocalyptic mood. I was born in Philadelphia, and am not used to dust storms, cactuses, open spaces, and related Book of Revelation imagery.

However, my show at Modified Arts in Phoenix was a happy affair. Modified the best and only all-ages venue I know in Phoenix, and I got to play with Soft Shoulder (see above), the best and only no-wave band I know in Phoenix. Many young persons enthusiastic about no-wave turned out to watch Soft Shoulder, and many of these young persons stayed to regard my band.

I can only conclude that my trusted compatriot’s “vision of death” was related to poor sonics. The sound mix at Modified last night was truly death-like. Despite the helpful sound person’s best efforts, monitors did not function correctly, feedback reared its hissing head, and, at one point right before our set, a fuse blew for no discernible reason.

I must shoulder a portion the blame for the bad sound. We were late to Phoenix and missed our sound check because, passing through Las Cruces, N.M., I was seduced by this health food store.

“There’s a license plate you don’t see every day!” said a middle-aged woman in the health food store’s parking lot. She was remarking on my “TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION” D.C. license plate. From the woman’s long, jet-black hair and voluminous beaded necklaces, I knew she had refused to play by the rules and had fled the East Coast for the Southwest. My suspicion was confirmed when she outed herself as a former Fairfax County resident.

“We came from D.C. specifically to go to this health food store,” I joked.

“Ha ha!” she said. “I’m headed there right now to buy my incense!” Beaming, she trudged off to make this transaction. When she was out of sight, my bandmate pointed to her automobile’s license plate. The woman who would not play by the rules was driving a car registered to the distant state of Hawaii. In Las Cruces, this Hawaii license plate was even rarer than the D.C. plate the woman who would not play by the rules had remarked upon! This fact gave our interaction with the woman who would not play by the rules a quirky Dadaist nature. My bandmate and I pondered this for the next several hours.