The Beatdown

Elevators, Frappuccinos, and things that go bump in the night.

I'm a Nancy boy.

While everybody's afraid of something, the things that scare the shit out of me are laughable -- perhaps not as grin-inducing as a friend's irrational fear of midgets, but amusing nonetheless. You want to know what freaks me out more than anything? (Besides being subjected to revisionist pabulum like the Darkness, the Scissor Sisters and Junior Senior?) Elevators. Seriously, wanna see a grown man shrivel up before your eyes, hyperventilate and whimper like a schoolgirl? Convince me to climb aboard one of those man-made, steel enclosed death contraptions.

At South by Southwest this past spring, my room at the Austin Hilton was on the 21st floor. I couldn't have been more mortified if you'd strapped me to a chair with duct tape and forced me to listen to "Lean Back" on infinite repeat. But while I was paralyzed by fear, I'm also a realist: I knew my two-pack-a-day-chain-smokin' fat ass couldn't scale all those stairs. So I overcame my fear, at least temporarily. Take that, Joe Rogan. (Actually, I persuaded the concierge to escort me to my room every day.)

Since this weekend is Halloween -- ostensibly the scariest of all holidays -- I asked a handful of Mootown luminaries to reveal what, exactly, makes them completely lose their shit.

Virgil Dickerson, the man behind Suburban Home's annual Monsters of Mock (which takes place this Saturday, October 29, at the Gothic Theatre), had his answer ready: "My nightmare is that we will live in a world where there's only Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Blockbuster. I've done some traveling. When you go to Europe, every town has its own identity. There's like a really cool personality to every town. It scares me to think that one day there's not going to be a Wax Trax or a Twist & Shout -- or all the cool indie shops. I'm afraid I'm going to wake up one day and it's just going to be one major conglomeration of Blockbuster, McDonald's, Best Buy and Starbucks. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to eat McDonald's and drink a fucking Starbucks Frappuccino, because there's no other options.

"Oh, and that clown scene from Poltergeist still scares the shit out of me," he added. "That thing is out of control. That's when the little kid has the life-sized clown doll, and it's just chilling on the chair, and then all of the sudden it comes to life and starts wrestling him. That shit is scary."

Tyler Jacobson was more hesitant. "I would say planes," the DJ offered, "except I'm getting on one tomorrow, and I don't want to say anything like that. The irony would be too much. Uh... Van Morrison. I just have a feeling that ŒBrown Eyed Girl' is going to be played at my funeral. I don't know. I got nothin'. I got nothin'." (Let's hope he puts a litte more thought into what he'll spin at Lipgloss's pre-Halloween party on Friday, October 29, at La Rumba.)

Paul Trinidad of Love.45, due at Herman's Hideaway this Saturday with the Fray, Bop Skizzum and Bump in the Night, is scared of not being all he can be. "I'm afraid of not covering all the bases, of not trying, basically," he revealed. "If it's midnight and there's still stuff to do, I'm afraid of going to bed, because I've just blown ten more opportunities."

Chris K, the Old Goat from Hapi Skratch Records -- the crew responsible for the "Heavy Festivities" this Friday at the Soiled Dove featuring Tyfoid Mary, Drug Under, Kronow, Dead Heaven Cowboys and Gashead -- can relate. K fears that he won't kick enough ass before he kicks the bucket. "I'm afraid of my own relevancy -- or lack thereof," he said. "I'll be fifty in January. I'm afraid that I won't get something relevant done, that I won't achieve something in music in general. I guess I'm afraid of failure. I didn't get into this business to be an artist. I got into this business because I knew I would never be as good as the artists I idolized. So I kind of got into it from the perspective of sharing music that I liked with other people. And one of my dreams has always been to earn a gold record -- not for myself, but for somebody that I worked with. I'm afraid I'll never achieve that."

Jake Schroeder of Opie Gone Bad doesn't worry about what he's accomplished; he agonizes over "people thinking I'm related to Pat Schroeder," he confessed. "I have this horrible phobia of people actually thinking I'm related to that woman in any way. I wake up at night crying, and I have to be comforted back to sleep with my stuffed-elephant GOP doll."

Politics scares lots of people, including Mark Bliesener (BandGuru.com, Big Head Todd and the Monsters). "I suppose everybody's saying the re-election of George Bush, right?" Bliesener wondered. "That's the first thing that comes to mind. I fear the increased polarization of the populace, the potential of a draft, the potential of a war with Iran -- I should say the surety of a war with Iran -- and the increasing encroachment of religion into not only politics, but everyday life. Encroachment into places it doesn't belong.

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