At the close of the last great decade, perhaps the worst, ever, was forged in its enterprising wake: the 1990s.
The resource-less hole in the guise of an era couldn't even figure out what the hell to call all that film trolling about at the lip of its tide pool—Generation X, or was it Y, or perhaps it was Next, or, hey, I know: the Millennials—obsessing on it, as if having a title was important. Maybe it was, for they, this living embodiment of the sensible brown shoe, knew that all that was cool had been done, eclipsed, and fading fast with every perceptible tick of the clock that keeps real-cool-time; but they could, and would, give all that came before them, that good old, revisionary, kick-in-the-ass, and say that they, these insipid philistines of the hallow age, somehow—by keeping the likes of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” "7th Heaven," and "Dawson's Creek" on the air, paralleling all within Westfield shopping mall window displays; and by parading a moronic, undying love for a commander and chief adept at sucking hard on the tenor sax and the 20-something mammaries of an intern charged with the transport of his wanton, meat-lovers pizza—made everything that much better; and with this, a motivation was born.
The largest gratuity the vacuous magi of the 20th century’s waning years would leave upon the table of the wide-eyed, hoi-polloi, was a thing called "grunge." Yes, "grunge," someone or something actually called it that; and it stuck, like Montezuma’s revenge on the yellowy stern of fine, Tijuana porcelain after a gringo’s long, drunken indulgence of what lay under the mole sauce; timber-rafting it all down byway of a Baja, tap-water current until it rest at the depths, still upon the bowels, awaiting orders to move when least expected to do so.
“Throttle the basic punk rock ethos that long preceded us; slow it down to a snail’s pace; take ourselves way, too serious; do whatever the corporate big-wigs tell us to do, and make sure we bitch about anything and everything nonstop—even though there's really not much to bitch about, except how uncool we are,” was the unwritten credo dispensed upon those that would plow and trail this dirge.
To combat this incestuous upshot of lumberman lust came Totempole. Yes, one word, someone or something actually came up with that. Down from the filth that is a Pomona drainpipe and into the laps of the troglodytes at play below. Founded by guitarist, Jack “The Rock-n-Roll Detective” Mueller while urinating on his neighbor's Chihuahua in the wee, wee morning hours of 1992, to put the screws to all within complacent earshot.
At first, Jack’s capacity to “destroy all music” was being thoroughly castrated by strumming all his godless-given, destructive forces away in another widespread, pop-musical loaf pinched in the ’80s, but, of course, lionized by the current we-have-nothing-to-offer alliance of the ’90s: an “alternative rock” band, or what was also deemed to be “college radio,” or, as one sanctimonious songbird would call it, “smart music.” Seeking guidance from his own personal fool on the hill, Jack hunted down local, punk-rock pioneer, Reid “Angus MacMannus” Campbell, who, at the time, was in semi-permanent repose, and living off a loser’s pension. Once found—sipping on an areosal propellant of unknown origin under his favorite, headless ghetto palm on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Lake Puddingstone—Jack commenced to beg upon a pair of wounded knee. Reid was persuaded to slap no more than four, somewhat overweight, strings for this band-to-be in return for a lukewarm, six pack of Schaefer Light and the personal guarantee that Jack would never defeat him publicly in a game of billiards whenever tossing a few back at Art’s Thirsty Camel.
After enrollment, Reid promptly advised Jack that the current lead singer bellowing smart music for their alternative rock band would have to be kicked to the curb and a new one acquired, forthwith, in order to dumb it all down, thus making it smart, and by doing so, garner numerous amounts of college radio airplay.
Jack, in awe of the punk-rock-pioneer's acuity, the snowballing stretch of victory notches on his pool cue, and his ability to belch "I Did It My Way" in its entirety whenever asked not to do so, Jack—whose favorite thing to do was kick lead singers to the curb—capitulated. Jack immediately put the pointy tip of his Doc Martin to the end of the fudge canal fronting the microphone. Directly following this garage-band tradition, another began: the search for a new lead singer.
While sipping on a cup of watery blackness in a brick-and-mortar just instructed by a regime veiled in a scolding-parent frock that its customers could no longer smoke within its thought-to-be-private walls—thus robbing this particular scene of a certain, noirish complexion—Jack observed a snot-nosed, faux-poet being dragged outside and kicked to the curb for sparking-up one of these shiny, new, public enemy number ones. Jack, after admiring the effectiveness of the technique used to kick said faux-poet to the curb, approached, told the word-smith that he was obviously an absent man, unable to unearth his immense, literary talents because he was completely full of himself; but the faux-poet was not to worry, for it was a universal strain, indigenous to the male species of the current decade-to-be-forgotten-at-all-costs, and because of that, he lacked individuality. This was, as far as the smoking, faux-poet was concerned, a cause for concern. Jack once again told him not to worry because: “I can give you some. If you want it.”
“What’s that?” questioned the smoking, faux-poet, hopeful that the compassionate stranger in the porkpie hat was speaking of an illegal pharmaceutical; or, better yet, an unspeakable act—still punishable by death in a handful of Southern states—to take place in a nearby, back-alley, somewhere very soon.
“Individuality,” said Jack.
“It’s something that was popular in all the other decades before this one. That would make you…retro.”
“It’s cool. It’s never really been done before, but it’s all that you can do now because everything that’s cool, has been done. So you can be the first kid on the block to do it. That’d make you...retro-cool. That’s it, yep, retro-cool.”
“Don’t say that again.”
“What is it?”
“It’s..., umm, you know, it’s like, way cool.”
“So, retro..., is like, way cool?”
"So, it's just not way cool, it's like--"
“C’mon, man. What else have you got goin’ on, it’s the fuckin’ ’90s, for Christ’s sake.”
Unable to argue with this sad state of affairs, Jack’s trio was now a quartet. Alex Havoc, a rabid sonneteer born out of time, now had a platform to go out and let all those around him know just how much they sucked because they were right-smack-dab in the middle of a decade they should be right-smack-dab in the middle of, just like him.
So the ’90s—if having the horse-sense of a pigheaded, donkey’s ass would be brought to heel, and the trendy-by-trending-nought, corporate entity that it always would be would somehow not be, and by the decade’s end, the world would have something other than Pokémon, and its nickel-and-dime musical counterpart, to harken back upon.
This, Totempole's philanthropic bulls-eye, would be a very, hard hoe to pimp.