The Dock of the Bay: SAVAGE!

Dave brings it back home with another installment of The Dock of the Bay… Any nice city that other folks from other nice cities flock to on weekends is usually nestled by a university. The culture just flows on through in these locations so the abundance of coffee drinkers, people watchers, and weirdo’s alike saturate […]

Dave brings it back home with another installment of The Dock of the Bay…

Any nice city that other folks from other nice cities flock to on weekends is usually nestled by a university. The culture just flows on through in these locations so the abundance of coffee drinkers, people watchers, and weirdo’s alike saturate the downtown neighborhoods. Case in point, Palo Alto, yet sometimes this whole scene would work in our advantage. And when it did I was conflicted since I did not think of my old neighborhood as being cool at all. Let’s just say sometimes that cold wind blew and we became “hella” cool.

The evening started at the Stanford family mausoleum. Situated in the darkest corner in the Stanford woods off El Camino Real where the only light was the moon and headlights flickering on the roads hundreds of yards away. I had just gotten beers at the Seven Eleven with my brothers fake ID and walked around the corner to stuff it in my backpack. I heard a “Blip Blip” from behind… fuck me, the cops. And that was the start of it for the evening, pure unadulterated chaos. I knew the alleyways like the back of my hand, but these cops were bored.  We raced past the old pizza hangout, down along the flower shops and classic movie theaters smashing towards the edge of town like we were Ichabod Crane on urethane wheels. Just two pushes and we made it under the overpass, where the traffic from incoming revelers halted any progress the cop might have made.

No more streetlights here, just the moon and marijuana induced laughter to lead the way. Our favorite hangout was behind the grave where two sphinx like statues guarded us from any lurking derelicts. As sips of piss liquor from our Old English forty ounces drained into our underage mouths the volume raised. Pretty soon people were trying to Ollie off the steps of the grave as crude jokes saturated our guilty ears with unnecessary pleasure. My friend Mike, clad in a leather jacket and ripped up pants, stood up after throwing his bottle into the forest. “Alright guys, let’s go!”

About twenty of us, all on skateboards, thrashed down the hallways of Stanford University towards the main quad. We reached the student center known to everyone as Tresider. I still couldn’t believe I was going to an underground show only a few miles from my high school campus. Two security guards tried to chase us on a golf cart as we rolled making a noise like thunder above the desert floor. Some of my friends were there for the scene, I myself was there for the bump, and the hypnotizing passion that I could hear form inside the small beer soaked room. As I opened the door I saw people with their hands up as a young man ripped through a beat with water dripping in the sample. This was Encore, a Heiro label signed artist whose deep voice penetrated the layer of funk set off by my head buzz. I stayed for a good part of the set inside until I saw one of my friends buy a few pitchers on the far corner of the bar.

I walked outside, A Plus and Opio stood in the corner in a classic way like all kings of underground do. Only this time they weren’t observing little kids and groupies jocking but a massive batch of drunken loonies looking to get their trouble fix. I had to shake their hands, and since I had a buzz I began to ask Aplus if he ever skated. He was open to conversation and stated “Del and Pep snow board but I was never into that shit.” One of my drunken friends who was a backyard wrestler decided to chime in. “What about wrestling!” he yelled. And all the other drunks in the crowd started cheering. A young frat boy didn’t like all of us there obviously and the poor sucker tried to say something to my friend Jason. “Hey kid, I’ll beat your ass,” the jock said. Three of my friends turned around, then seven more, pretty soon about 25 of us were staring dead at the frat boy. A plus and Opio watched from the sideline with wide eyes probably not believing the chaos that these young white boys were creating in front of them. The frat boy stepped forward, “I’ll kick your…” POW, Jason clocked him right in his rich mouth, he fell back and everyone started to yell in unison “Get the fuck out of here!” The beer continued to pour.

I went back inside, Kevvy Kev from KZSU’s The Drum (one of the main ways I discovered underground bubbling up in the bay) was onstage with an offer. He had a young college kid onstage with the microphone. The young man announced, “Anyone who could make Kevvy Kev laugh will get free tickets the upcoming Redman and Method Man show. The crowd stirred, but my friend Jason beat them all to the punch. In pure drunken fashion Jason made it through the drunken room by stepping on tables and heads to get to the low set stage.  Jason grabbed the microphone, “So…. why did the Chicken fuck the duck?” he waited for a moment and in pure drunken slur he screamed, ” Because the fuckin bitch was humping the turtle!” The crowd laughed, others scoffed, I couldn’t help myself, just the scene had me laughing to tears. Members of Hieroglyphics were to get on stage in the next twenty minutes and I had to unload all the suds resting in my gut.

I walked out of the bathroom in the student center adjacent to a Mexican food pick up counter rested next to a few tables for consumption purposes. I glanced over and it almost felt surreal, my friend Jason had once again gone at it and standing next to him was Pep Love waiting for his tacos. There were a lot of plates with scraps of food left out to be bussed and Jason had chosen the plate with the biggest clump of chips and guacamole. Only he wasn’t using the chips, somewhere in the faded brain of his he decided it would be more efficient to simply eat the guacamole with his fingers. Pep Love, one of his friends and I all stood watching in disbelief as Jason devoured the left over plates. Pep said one word as he watched with wide eyes that pretty much summed up everything so far that evening “Savage.”

I went back to the small student center with a smile on my face; you just can’t make these things up. Heiro came on with a vengeance. They tore their way through all of the hits from Ninety Three till infinity, That’s where you lost, and the signature “you’ll never know” banger.


The sounds of smooth clear cut tasty beats with voices I had grown up listening to was so satisfying I think it sobered me up. Some of my friends were so wasted I think they were outside chain smoking during the whole set. I sat, watched and waved my hands like a true fan should. Each lyric crisp and deep, each rhyme on point, the emcee stares down pat. I realized then that this was my scene, my smoky bar in the depths of anywhere USA. My Miles Davis, My Jimi Hendrix, my sound that would always bring me back to these moments of reckless youth. Hieroglyphics truly are bay representers and I am proud to have been raised with a sound that so compliments where I am from.


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