Remembering DC Moon, a Rocker and an Inspiration

It’s not exactly ESP. More like a preja vu: knowing something that hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve seen something like an aura, a darker definition, a fuller dimension, around certain people, places and things – pretty much every physical name – since I was a kid. I’ve met and made friends like this, found places to live like this, bought long-lasting objects of beauty or utility like this.

When it comes to trusting that instinct, that metaphorically golden edge surrounding solid matter, I’ve had to learn not to hesitate. Trusting others is a challenge; trust me even more.

There’s a flip side, where I get a spider-like tingle about things to avoid, which can be many times stronger than the nicest feeling. This has warned me many times about people who later turn out to be rather unpleasant, even horrific, in at least two cases, creatures were later tried and convicted of violent and gruesome crimes.

For no apparent reason, I chose different routes to an ordinary destination, only to hear that the other path was slammed by multi-car traffic jams, storms throwing objects onto the road, or some other unforeseen malfunction.

Once, in a softer way, the darker vision warned me about a guy who later stabbed me in the back, at least three times. A friend of a friend introduced us, and I was, from the start, hearing the nope bells ringing. But I trusted FOAF, and gave that other guy a chance (let’s call him Xacto, because betrayal cuts like a knife). Several occasions.

Seems like we had similar tastes in women. Mr. X turned out not only to be an enemy, but also an uninspired enemy, thinking that he could steal from a significant other by whispering behind my back about how filthy a boyfriend I would be, how I would break their hearts.

Two things he should have known:

First, each of the women in question came straight up to me and said, “Hey, you know your ‘friend’ isn’t really your friend, right?” I’m happy to say that in none of these cases have these slick people ever gone on a date with X, not even after we broke up.

Second, they were all smart, thoughtful, accomplished women, perfectly capable of discovering exactly what filthy partner I would be all on my own.

Of course, neither good nor bad visions are what you would call perfectly reliable; rather intimations. Peeking through a keyhole into the room of the future. Sometimes it just seems to say “This (person/place/thing) will be important. Notice. Remember.”

Applying a sliding scale, I’d say some were closer to an intensity of 9 or 10, and others closer to an uncertainty of 5 or 6. For the latter, it’s kind of like “Yeah, you enjoy this person’s company/living on this property/playing this shiny guitar, but not in a way that will change his life.” For the former, it’s as if time freezes, or at least slows down noticeably, as the senses shift into high gear and the memory machine engages.

And no, that’s not a Hollywood way to describe the craze, because it’s happened to all kinds of people. Counting this one: Back in ninth grade at Eastwood Junior High, I was about 98% of the time very uncomfortable, in part due to our recent move to Tuscaloosa, uprooting childhood days in Dothan , starting again.

And that’s partly because I’ve always been a goofy, amorphous outsider, one to dive into geek fantasy/SF/horror stuff, but also dig in and play sports. The kind that lived and played rock ‘n’ roll, but also took advanced prep courses and scored well on tests, landing among the nerderatti. From the outside, I apparently looked more or less normal, which in itself was suspicious, to some people.

In other words, I could adapt to various places; but not anywhere in particular.

It didn’t make it easy to make friends in a new town. Slouched, disgruntled rockers wondered why I’d put on towels and compete, and serious nerds couldn’t believe I was in their brain league, considering I smelled like a smoker – Not a smoker, but I hung out with people who were – and so on and so forth. One month I went out with the wild girl on the wrong side of the tracks; the next time it was a cheerleader (a wild girl on the other side of the tracks, but that’s another story).

What I needed to find was like-minded people, I guess, the ones who fell out of bounds, who crossed streams, who lived their quirks out loud.

Compulsory pep rallies took place not just at the end of a school day, when every one of those bags of hormones and teenage idiocy was craving release, but at the end of the freaking school week. . I was loafing and languishing for the half hour, just running the lyrics through my head, napping as much as the noise allowed – because some kids were getting IN to the chants – when I heard a slightly different sound.

What he shouted, in response to “Let’s go!” type chants, was a timely expletive that I cannot share. It’s fair to say that this charcoal-haired, jaw-dropping young man felt his attendance at this pep rally was surplus to requirements.

It was actually some sort of excrement, he said, of the kind generated by the adult male of the Bos taurus species. It was nonsense, jingo, bunkums, bilges, sales pitches, bullshit, garbage and most likely nonsense. In two syllables full of plosives.

I wondered how this guy had the courage not only to say that word out loud, but at school, in the presence of the authorities. I wondered who he was. I wondered if we would be friends one day. He looked like those wilder children, a Holden in torn jeans who showed a visible distaste for hypocrisy and falsehood, for superficial pretensions and shyness.

So me, in my Izods, khakis, and neat hair — not so much a choice as a default position, when you don’t choose yours — I didn’t become real friends with David Craig Williams until high school, when we were thrust into the same classroom, where I stared at stacks of books and magazines he was carrying, massive door stops such as Harlan Ellison’s anthology of distant fantasy/SF stories “Dangerous Visions”, or things I had heard of, but not yet read, from this Vonnegut guy. Sitting nearby, I surreptitiously studied the drawings, scribbles, sigils, and shared thoughts crawling across his notebooks.

DC seemed to vibrate at a slightly higher level than most, more awake in some ways, more fervent. His voice rose as he plunged into a well-researched explanation. His smile would widen. This slightly menacing air remained reserved for only the more lame, and by asking questions about interests, I became a little less lame.

Every Thursday, it seemed, he would recount plans for the weekend, with buddies in arms like Clif Penington joining in, driving an old white van towards Iggy on Fridays in New Orleans , Alice on Saturdays in Memphis and Blue Oyster. Worship Sunday in Atlanta. He seemed to have grown in ways that I’m still not sure of, because DC Moon did what he wanted.

All he wanted? No. In his decades of pursuit of rock ‘n’ roll, my buddy DC Moon – he legally changed to the most fitting name – would scoop up whatever he needed to create recordings of his music, such as “The Meteor Titanic”, “The Uncertainty Principle”, “Rarr!” and “Nothing is ever perfect”. I used to see him working at the Orange Julius, or an off-brand gas station, or a comic book store, because he didn’t care about money or things except they helped him write , sing and play.

More than one person could tell how he once had to pawn a guitar because his regular donation to the ASPCA left him feeling a little shy about rent. Ask his cat Sid, who survives DC, what a filthy beast he might be.

When I accepted this position, I got to know my former classmate better, interviewing him over the years with his various bands and projects, such as Burning Zoo, DC Moon and His Atomic Supermen, Mary Tylosaur , Red Giant, Monster Island.

He burned. Never released, although a few times the fire has faded, such as after a big DragonCon show, opening for GWAR, didn’t lead to widespread fame. DC believed and believers are hurt.

He was a mastermind, still a kid at heart, a romantic, a rocker, a weirdo, a nerd, a geek, an inspiration, a brother in guitars and noise. He was my friend, and I don’t have the vision or the words to tell you what his loss means.

Saturday there will be a rally, starting at 3 p.m., Druid City Brewing Co., 607 14th St. I imagine there will be music, talks, laughter and those other types of things that we do when we’re private and in disbelief.

No one wants it to be true, his passing too soon.

What it is? That’s what he yelled.

Contact Tusk editor Mark Hughes Cobb at [email protected], or call 205-722-0201.

Mark Hughes Cobb

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