My life fades, the vision dims; all that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, and wasted bands. But most of all, I remember the Cuntifiers, the band that nobody liked….
Cursed from its inception by a name that invited scorn from the most ardent lover of freedom of speech and the prodigious lack of talent of its creator, the Cuntifiers were born in 2002 and were well-tolerated for the next decade until they became a burned out, desolate shell of a band.
I was happily retired from punk rockery since 2000, when The Weird Lovemakers, the band I had play with for six years broke up. My girlfriend at the time had read about some knucklehead’s submission to the Oxford English Dictionary. His contribution to the English language? “Cuntify.” His definition? “To make all cunty-like.” The word and its many conjugations soon entered the lexicon of our circle of friends.
She wanted to name her non-existent band “The Cuntifiers,” which I thought was such a foul name that I would have to start a real band just to utilize it. And then my troubles began….
Besides being saddled with an unbookable name (I know, I put that saddle on myself), I never had so much trouble keeping a band together. Within the span of eight years, the Cuntifiers cycled through roughly twenty to 478 members, some lasting for only a few weeks (I think Kenny G played with us for a spell). Some moved away, some left to join other, better bands, and some got tired of playing with a frontman who couldn’t sing or play guitar very well. At the risk of sounding narcissistic, fate itself did not want the band to survive; and just as I’ve always done when fate’s being an asshole, I wasn’t going to give it the satisfaction and lay down without a Herculean struggle (though I guess it was more Sisyphean; Hercules was pretty good at what he did).
Another problem was that I had been writing lyrics for twenty years at this point, and, frankly, I was out of ideas. Whenever I had writer’s block, I would recycle ideas from old poems and comics I had written, but that well had run dry. I had this one aborted novel I had conceived as a college student in the late ‘80s, but it was way too long to squeeze into a ninety-second punk song. I had been taking a writing course wherein most of the syllabus consisted of poetry dealing with AIDS and the decimation it wrought on the vibrant gay culture that existed in the 1970s. Though I didn’t know anyone with the disease until years later, I sympathized with the overwhelming sense of loss; a mourning of not just lives that had been extinguished, but the end of a wonderful, almost magical era.
I think the vast majority of us rarely get to live through a Golden Age and the few who do have it taken away by time and fate (that piece of shit). As a morose motherfucker who never even thought I’d have an aluminum age, the idea that once attained it would eventually dissipate was tragic.
During this time, I happened to re-watch a film beloved by children and gay men throughout the ages. Seeing it for the first time with adult eyes was the peanut butter that blended perfectly with the dark bitter chocolate of my thoughts. The story that you are about to hear is the product of that union. After writing twenty or so pages, I realized I was too lazy to turn it into a novel, so for years I told the plot orally (Homer-like, though probably more Homer Simpson-like).
A few years ago I had the realization that I didn’t have to fit this huge story into one song; I could stretch it out over thirteen songs. I know what you’re thinking—“that’s called a rock opera, dumbass”—but I wanted to forego vague poetry in favor of understandable prose so you wouldn’t need a pothead cousin to explain what was going on.
If this “punk novella” doesn’t confuse you and succeeds in beaming an unequivocally concrete story into your brain, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.
And The Cuntifiers? They live now only in my memories.
–Greg Pettix, 2015
Dedicated to Pasquale Anthony Petix, who made a Golden Age for himself and his family. And to all the people who never got a Golden Age.
Check out these links for info on how to support people who are still fighting to end the AIDS crisis.
ACT UP: actupny.org
Housing Works: housingworks.org