The following are excerpts from Memoirs of a Drugged-Up, Sex-Crazed Yippie,Tales from the 1970s counter-culture: Drugs, sex, politics and rock and roll
By Steve Otto
But the cocaine was real good
The disco scene really reached its peak in 1978. By then Rusty was able to get me a job working some weekends as a pot washer. It was only minimum wage, but the fringe benefits were great. It was a fairly modern kitchen, not too greasy. It was small with metal walls and sinks. After the boss left, one of the employees would yell out:
Then everyone would start making themselves drinks. It was there that I learned to like Guinness Stout. I could drink whatever I wanted. Guinness was one of the most expensive beers. At first I didn’t like it. But after a while I started to crave it and drank it whenever I worked there.
The downstairs of the club had become a disco, complete with glittering ball, large checkered dance floor, DJ, and an exotic light show. That was the only drawback to the job. I had to listen to disco music for hours at a time. One song that I especially got sick of was by A Taste Of Honey called “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” with lyrics that went:
“We’re gonna boogie oogie oogie,
Till you just can’t boogie no more.”
The tune and those lyrics stuck in my head on many weekend nights, until the time I got off work. Typically, I left the Sanctuary right after work and headed to the 7th Spirit. Many weekend nights I walked there with those lyrics pounding in my head.
“Boogie oogie oogie,
Boogie oogie oogie!”
Over and over those lyrics pounded in my brain. Then suddenly as I entered the stairway to the 7th Spirit Club, I headed for the bar, ordered a Bud beer, then rushed to the jukebox, I quickly stuck some quarters in the machine. Soon a song would play and take my mind off those horrible lyrics, releasing me from my mental torture. But I didn’t just play anything. I listened to a record by Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band called “Boogie ‘Till You Puke.” Then the lyrics started:
“Put a quarter in the juke,
And boogie ‘til you puke.”
That song seemed like poetic justice, ridiculing the mindless disco scene I had just endured. There was a bartender named Annie. She was an attractive girl, thin, a little short and had sandy colored hair. Usually when I saw her she was wearing overalls.
“Hi Mark,” she said after I started on my beer. “What are you up to tonight?”
“I just got off work at the Sanctuary, so I’m de-discoing myself,” I answered.
She was always friendly and would talk to me for up to an hour at a time. She never seemed interested in a romantic relationship for some reason.
“Even the other rock bands are putting out some kind of disco music,” Annie said.
She was right. The Rolling Stones released “Shattered,” which had a disco beat, yet had funny lyrics:
“Bite the Big Apple,
Don’t mind the maggots.”
Blondie released “Heart Of Glass” which had a disco beat that was slightly irregular, so it was harder to dance to, and had lyrics about love being:
“A pain in the ass.”
“I’ve noticed that,” I said to Annie. “They all seem to have their own spin.”
There were those bands that just ridiculed disco, such as The Who with “Sister Disco.” Zappa came out with two anti-disco songs, “Disco Boy” and “Dancin’ Fool.” The last song took more aim at the clothes and styles such as:
“My shirt’s half open,
T’ show you my chains’
N’ the spoon for up my nose.”
Zappa once described the disco scene, in an interview, as a place for boring people to meet and reproduce.
It was a few days later, at a meeting of the Friends of the Iranian People, that we decided to keep clippings of news articles about Iran. Gary and Betty were there. Betty seemed to like hanging out with Shokrollah. They sometimes dated. I was proud that I had found an issue of Hustler in which the Shah was featured in the “Asshole of the Month” column. The magazine picked him for his miserable human rights record.
“That’s funny,” said Shokrollah. “Even the dirty magazines are turning against the Shah.”
Then Asghar started reading a letter in the Daily Kansan by some American students who suggested the Iranian students, on campus, try to fit in to the local culture better.
“What are we supposed to do?” Asghar said. “Go to a disco?”
“I wouldn’t,” I said.
So I found one more thing that I had in common with a group of straight-laced Marxists Iranians. They also thought disco sucked.