April 1984. The University of Maryland kicked me out about a year ago. I dropped out of Montgomery College a month ago.

My 20th birthday is on the 14th. I have a blowout. A band plays in my living room. My friend disappears. I find him a little while later in my sister’s old bed with some girl he met from work. I pull them out of the bed. I think she splits. He spends the rest of the evening on the microphone, until my parents come downstairs and ask him to stop.

The girl I was seeing at the time brings her main man, which bums me out. He gives me a Skör bar as a present. The card that goes with it says, “I hope you ‘Skör’ tonight.” I didn’t, but I had a good time anyway. Somebody smashed a guitar on the living room rug. I was picking pieces of it out of the fiber for several weeks.

Later that month, I join Government Issue. I play my first show with them in Georgetown. I think it was the Hall of Nations, in May. A few weeks later we do a short tour up through Connecticut.

Dates and places are hazy, but I remember sleeping in a van in the Bowery in 90-degree heat; hanging out at somebody’s squat in Alphabet City where there was no electricity and some of the stairs were missing; and playing and recording at CBGBs. That week or so we spent in New York is a story in itself.

Then on to Connecticut. I remember doing an interview with some guy named Spazz Jeff, who had a fanzine. We all tried to be funny, but I don’t think it really worked, at least not on my end. I was an arrogant little shit back then, or at least I could be at times.

We crashed at the home of one of the guys in the Vatican Commandos, who really, really wanted us to know how the band got its name. I think it must have been Jim Spadaccini. He’s the earnest-looking guy in the photo on this page. As I recall, our host was very genial, but also very serious. As I recall, none of us were especially interested in that story, but if I had known at the time that Moby was in that band, I might have been impressed, because, you see, I was a snob.

I also remember some squat, beefy guy talking to me outside a show about how his band was getting a reputation as the best speed-metal band in Connecticut. The guy was so goofy—and real—that I couldn’t help but like him.

Seems like the two big, new things of 1984 were microwaves and MTV. Not that either of them were new; that’s just when I first started noticing them. As it turns out, microwave technology had been commercially available for more than 30 years before people started talking about “nuking” their food. I though new Coke came out in 1984, but Wikipedia says it was 1985.