who the hell had a camera way back then?
by the grace of God someone put a camera in the hands of mr joel brand during the maelstrom that was the daily nexus of 1858-1862 and said hold on joel lets get you a really good camera
and out of the blue this week joel either rediscovered these photos or just realized that it would be a good (great) idea to throw them up on facebook and share them with the world
the result is history in the making. young whippersnappers snapping whips. the youth of america bursting at the seams. the birth of a nation. the begin of the beguines. all crazy on the western front. the start of everything.
the reason i know God loves me is he put me in the totally perfect place at the totally perfect time and surrounded me with people who could write better than me, talk better than me, rock louder than me, drink faster than me, smoke deeper than me, and kiss all night longer than me. he threw in some six foot blondes who could even skinny dip nakeder than me. and said welcome to a little piece of heaven.
we learned how to live with zero money. we learned how to coordinate clothes with as little style possible. we learned how to be our own bosses and turn peer pressure into a really good thing. did we fight? duh. did we swap girlfriends? didnt you? did we fall from trees on national tv? did we meet a young hillary and and old hunter s? well yes, yes.
when the first iraq war broke out did the entire campus congregate at the front door of our paper and bitch and moan and sing and protest and gather and applaud and clap and boo. and did they do it for weeks and weeks and paint on the walls and drape themselves in american flags and do pretty much nothing to end the war? but didnt that war end way faster than this one? and didnt we write it all down? as in all of it. as in every word. as in all night and all of the day?
i look at these pictures and think about my four years at ucsb and it seems like fourty. i have so many stories. i did so many things. i went in there knowing zero people. as in zippo. and in zilch. and i walked out loving everyone. last night was Os’s birthday and pretty much everyone there were kids we knew in college and we love everyone and we will love each other forever. its the weirdest freakiest most wonderful thing. and i dont deserve it but i will savor it forever because its love at the highest level and respect like whoa.
theres not one thing that these people couldnt do back then and cant do now which is why we’re doing all the things we were supposed to do. people are on tv people are sailing around the world people are in rock bands people are in journalism people are teaching journalism people are running this or running that its sick but you know what theres no one better than these folks, not anywhere, they are all leaders they are all perfect. they are all beautiful. and im so so lucky.
it is no accident that when matt welch and chris scheer and ben sullivan and the whole gang said f interning at the LA Times when we graduate, lets all move to Prague and start the first English language newspaper there that they actually did it. look at welch there in that long hair. now do you see why i laugh when i see him on tv with that short ‘do? dont you know im saying to myself, if only those people knew. and look at laura pitter. ah laura. muse to all. sweet writer. thrown into a barrel of monkees.
and a young jeff whalen. tsar in his eyes. singing the good songs even before he knew what to sing. but it was oh so pretty. if not pretty vacant. you know the best thing about jeff whalen today? he doesnt ever log on to the internet. so you can say anything. hi jeff. see, he doesnt respond. his heart in in the rock. and the rock is good and soon you will see him return with the rock so get ready. a million years later like sci fi its coming back.
speaking of rock, this was my favorite band in school. The Wonderfuls. four friends from the south bay (coulter on drums, obscured by Keith Brown) who took the replacements to a drunker wilder glammier place. and when they met up with the Nexus created amazing bands like Mons Pubis, Baby Dangerously, The Reluctant Surgeons, Chopper One, and of course Tsar. all three elements of life was represented in almost everything the nexus and the wonderfuls touched. sex drugs and rock. and it brought life and it brought death. but mostly it brought Freaky Magic.
i could go on and on and maybe one day i will. but lets just say that these pictures mean so much to me so i thank you mr brand and whoever got you that beautiful camera and whoever inspired you to snap these pics so long ago and capture something that is gone on one level but very much alive in all of our hearts. but thank you for reminding us that its still there. xoxoxox tony
all photos by joel brand who got paid a buck a word to write about himself in rolling stone right after he graduated ucsb