I feel life has many phases. Most of mine revolved around music. As a teenager Hardcore and Punk were my life. Going to shows, stage diving, sing-alongs, and head-bopping to live bands were my thing. As a started getting into my twenties my thirst for new music bloomed. Oh, the late 90's with the help of bands "selling out" to the major labels really opened up possibilities of finding the music i was craving. Record stores started stocking more independent labels and finding out about new bands was a bit easier. Of course this is before the internet changed everything.
Hardcore for me started to become more stagnated and moved away from the punk influence it used to have and became more metal. Punk went mainstream thanks to Epitaph Records, so I went underground. Gravity Records out of San Diego started putting out killer new bands such as: Angel Hair, Clititat Ikatowi, and Mohinder. Kill Rock Stars, K Records and Sub Pop put out music by Nirvana, Karp, Unwound and Sunny Day Real Estate. Dischord and Touch and Go Records in the east putting out releases by: Fugazi, Shellac, etc... I had started down the road to my indie days or as my friend's like to call it: My "white-belt" days.
I had just graduated from continuation school via night school and got my first job at The Wherehouse renting movies and selling music. My father and I just got an apartment together. All was going very well. Until my older brother unknown to us had been suffering from schizophrenia. He had been self medicating himself for years with drugs and alcohol. My mom had him in and out of rehab since he was a teenager. We thought he was doing better. He had a job and was making some cash. Where was the cash going? Drugs, of course. I had noticed he had become increasing erratic and started robbing us, my friends, and anyone who had anything worth selling. It was horrible. He had became increasingly violent as well. He had broke his girlfriend's jaw on two separate occasions. He spent time in jail on both counts and then when he got out he went right back to her and the drugs. My dad and I took pity on him and let him stay with us. A neighbor and schoolmate of mine who lived in the complex we moved into had just started hanging out with him. They had a friendship of getting high together.
One afternoon I come home to find my dad's lock to his bedroom broken. I has like, here we go... My brother is on another bender. I bet he broke into his room looking for money. The next thing I know the police are barging through the front door on the lookout for him. FUCK, what did he do now?! Him and the neighbor had been up to no good, getting high and what not, got into an argument about something, and then my brother proceeds to stab him multiple times in the chest, broke him arm, and almost kills the kid. So my dad and I get kicked out of our apartment, I end up living with a friend trying to save money for a place to live. My dad ends up with his son, who I couldn't stand at the time. And my brother ends up getting caught weeks later and get sentenced to life in prison compliments from the newly voted three strikes you're out initiative.
Since I had drank a couple of beers when I was hanging out with the Skinheads a year earlier and according to the laws of Straight Edge I wasn't allowed to be truly claim Straight Edge again. Apparently mistakes are not allowed in Straight Edge nor forgiven. I still hung out with them though I started putting on my own shows at my cousin's house and still went to shows and hungout. Snapcase, Refused, and Unbroken were still some of my favorite Hardcore bands of the time so you'd still catch me at one of their shows. Botch had been on tour and my friends were throwing an after party for them in Riverside. At the party, my friend's fiancé at the time were planning on moving to Victoria to get married. His fiancé convinced me and my friend David to move to Seattle, split the cost of the moving truck, move into her friend's apartment, while they head north to be together to Canada. Dave and I didn't have much going on at the time. So we saved up for it and moved. I had visited Seattle before then scouted the apartment and made sure things went smooth with the move.
Saying goodbye to your parents is a very difficult thing to do. That being said... I won't go into it. I said my goodbyes them, my friends, got in the moving van, and headed north. We happened to catch the tail-end of the Seattle blizzard of 96'. There was snow everywhere. Not something you see in California often or at all. We got to our new apartment, unloaded our stuff, and I caught our first New Year's Eve at the Needle. We said goodbyes again to our friends heading to Canada as Dave and I head into our adventures in our new city.
Seattle. Talk about culture shock. Being Latino and into the indie scene was strange. But the kids into the scene were way nicer then the Straight Edge kids here. I had met some kids from Seattle before the move but they just weren't the same as my friend's back home. It was this moment when I realized that Straight Edge was a very white middle-upper class scene and was not for me. It took me at least six months to actually meet people. (Later I would realised it was just the "Seattle Freeze.")I had this shitty food court job in Westlake Center. If it wasn't the hot punk girl that worked at this shop near the food court. I'd be fucked. She took me to "right" bar to hang out: Linda's Taverm. Now once you start meeting people in Seattle. You eventually get to meet "everyone" in Seattle. It's a small city. Small.. if you run with "the scene."
The scene was a mixture of college kids who moved here to go to University of Washington and the other half were kids like me and moved up here to trying something different.