It was the fall of 1993. The air was cool and the
leaves were falling. I was busy burying a punk rock
band concept named Kill Whitey that had never gotten
beyond rehearsal stage when the sky grew dark and
ominous. Wolves began to howl and lightning struck the
headstone of another former band of mine, Michael
Landon’s Ghost. It split in two leaving a smoldering
heap of stone. It was time to get out of this band
graveyard before something really bad happened. I said
my last goodbyes to Kill Whitey and began to walk away
when the ground began to shudder beneath my feet. I
heard a sound like thunder. I smelled rotten flesh and
gasoline. I turned and saw a dragster emerging from
Kill Whitey’s shallow grave. A vampire was at the
wheel. He snatched me up as he roared by and said,
“Blah, you will now lead a mighty garage band inspired
by Thee Headcoats and The Sonics named Dragula. We
shall speed to Lucy’s Record Shop and arrange your
first gig, just make sure it is after dark, blah.”

The band was made up of: myself, Wally Bangs, on
guitar and vocals, John “Whitey aka Dr. Groovy” Hudson
on guitar, Toby “Black Belt” Holmes on bass, and Brian
Hickman on drums. We practiced in the front window of
Neal’s Lighting Showroom in Murfreesboro weekly until
we were ready for our first gig at Lucy’s Record Shop
in Nashville. We played with Ballpeen Hernia to a
sparse but appreciative crowd. We had a jet fueled
genius blast playing so we kept it up until the end of
1997. The most notable shows were opening for Man Or
Astro-Man?, Nine Pound Hammer, and the Woggles. We
also played some shows at the ‘Boro club in
Murfreesboro and we once shared a bill with local
legends, jack, at a redneck bar named Gentleman Jim’s
where each band had to do two one hour sets. We made
it through alive and didn’t even need chicken wire
across the stage.

Somewhere in the four years we managed to contribute
two tracks to Spinout Records
first CD release: “Rock, Don’t Run Vol. 1” that came
out in 1995. Local weatherman and all around cool guy,
Leland Statom came down one night to introduce the
band at a Lucy’s show. We played a Halloween show
where John got to emulate his hero, Gene Simmons, and
spit up blood. We made him leave his fire breathing
act at home. Toby left the band to get married in 1995
and was replaced by Drew Rydberg just in time for the
Spinout tracks to get recorded. Drew is a great guy,
but the band lost a spark with Toby’s absence. We flew
under the radar of the Nashville music critics and
perhaps didn’t promote ourselves enough. Drew left the
band to go to work as a recording engineer in
Nashville. A girl who looked like Wednesday Addams
named Christy joined the band and worked really hard
to learn our songs.

I decided to steer the band in a different direction
toward the end of 1997. I was bored with our garage
rock sound and wanted to make punchier and brighter
sounding songs. Power pop was my new religion and it
was leading me to the band graveyard again. We would
lay Dragula to rest and change our name to the Most.
Everybody played along with me. We vowed to promote
ourselves better. I quickly got us a show in
Huntsville, Alabama, but in the graveyard storm clouds
were brewing again.

John started to miss rehearsals. Even after we were
booked to play a show during Lucy’s Record Shop’s last
month of operation in January, 1998, John still kept
missing practice. Something called GIA was looming on
the horizon and I was blind as a bat. Christie, Brian,
and I practiced as The Most and it sounded good. It
would have been better with John’s sizzling Gibson SG
fretwork, but it was okay. I was revved up for the
Huntsville gig. The night before I called Brian to
coordinate the logistics and he told me he couldn’t
make the show. I was taken back, but it wasn’t the end
of the world. Until he then told me he was quitting
the band. He gave no reason. I had not given enough
blood to the drag racing vampire and now he bit my
neck. Dragula was done and it took the Most with it.

I did play the show at Lucy’s the next month as the
Most with help from Jimmy and Brett from jack. It was
a good show, but it wasn’t Dragula. What made Dragula
great was the interaction between us. We’d spend half
a practice talking about cartoons and horror movies.
We’d tell silly jokes and discuss our favorite
professional wrestlers. The band was like a club,
especially in the early days when Toby was around. It
couldn’t be slicked up into something different as
long as we were together.

John and Brian went on to play in Girls In Action. GIA
sprang up in 1997 while Dragula was still going on and
they never bothered to let me know. I guess they
didn’t want to break my heart. After that split up
they went their separate ways for a few years. John
played with Trauma Team and The What Four while Brian formed the Reverbians. They have recently reunited in the Exotic One’s who look like they will be big. Toby got married to
the daughter of the owner of Neal’s Lighting, moved to
Lynchburg, Tennessee and I haven’t heard from him
since. From a Yahoo lookup: A Drew Rydberg was a
founding member of the Voight-Kampff Trio with Brady
Sharp and Matt Hamilton. He also collaborated in a duo
with Bill Stinson in a project called Sound From
Squares. Knowing his love of John Zorn, I’m pretty
sure this is our Drew.

I went on to oblivion in the musical sphere. The Most
only played the one show. I continued to write songs
and record on my four track recorder, but I’m afraid
the only thing left for me is strolls in the band
graveyard. I visit them all from time to time. Humor a
man without a band and take a stroll with me as I
revisit my rock and roll past.

The first band’s gravestone is crumbling and the weeds
are knee high, but I can still make out the initials
D.L.D.S. which stood for Dalai Lamai Death Squad. It
came together in 1988 after I wrote a song about a
pizza restaurant I once worked at. The song was a
simple three chord bash called “Work Sucks”. Once it
looked like this would end up being a real group we
decided to change the name to something a little less
controversial. So next to its grave lies the marker
for the Dislocated.

The Dislocated were a fun band. We did some Black
Sabbath, Danzig, Black Flag, Odd Man Out, and
Descendents covers plus a handful of originals. It was
punk with a metal edge. We played in front of the
student body of my old high school, Riverdale, and
caused a near riot. The teachers didn’t know what to
think of all the slam dancing. We were the last band
to play a complete set at legendary Murfreesboro venue
Jabbs. It was the last night of shows and the punks
had taken over. jack was the last band to go on and
the owner pulled the plug a few songs into their set
because everybody was stealing pieces of the club. It
was a decadent youthful era. I try and place flowers
at this grave every spring.

The summer band would have to be Michael Landon’s
Ghost. I’ve fixed their headstone and it’s shining
once again. This was the first group I played guitar
in. MLG was a kickass Didjits loving trio with an
emphasis on originals and Ramones covers. We blazed a
fast trial through open mike nights at the ‘Boro. Our
biggest show was opening for Bedlam Hour at the
Pantheon in Nashville, but our finest was a gig at a
skateboard park in Decherd, Tennessee. The kids went
nuts for us with a mosh pit full of slamming bodies
that threatened to lift us off the stage. Next to its
memorial lies a smaller but no less impressive
monument for Pipebomb.

Pipebomb was MLG with a new more explosive name. We
thought we were going to be big time and we didn’t
need any hassles with the estate of Michael Landon. We
kept playing shows in Nashville and were heading for
punk rock glory when I pulled the plug. A pattern had
developed with me of never being satisfied. When the
unsatisfactory feeling settled over me like a horde of
zombies eating my brain I would reverse my current
stance to counteract it. If I had long hair, I’d shave
my head. If I was studying hard, I’d stop studying.
Pipebomb was a good band with a future so I nixed it.
Just like that, it was over. My biggest thrill was
being written about by Erica Jones in her Sky Flying
By fanzine. I wish I knew what has happened with her
since those days.

A few years of jamming with Brian and Toby resulted in
the Kill Whitey idea. The name was inspired by
watching one too many blaxploitation films. The music
was sub atomic Mudhoney inspired sludge rock. It was
not going anywhere until we added John Hudson. A few
weeks after he joined I ran into the drag racing
vampire and Dragula was born. This is the horror show
circle I now go round and round. The band graveyard is
spooky with regret and the bad notes sound extra
chilling, but I still take comfort there. I’m sure
that when I die the zombie remnants will still be
ringing with the noise and the love of playing rock
and roll. And who knows, there might just be another
headstone to put there one day.

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