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THE HISTORY
THE HISTORY

THE HISTORY OF

THE HISTORY OF

I was 8 years old in Los Angeles when I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show on the Z channel. I was mesmerized. I didn’t understand it, but I was so drawn to it that I put my cassette recorder up to my TV and recorded it. The lyrics that stuck with me … DON’T DREAM IT, BE IT. Those five words would haunt me for my life.

I was 32 years old in Turks and Caicos when I decided to write a musical. I was partying on the beach with my wife Erin and Jeffrey and Cinder from Tilt. Cinder and I set out to write a musical about an abused 15 year old runaway. We wrote Monsters that night. The next night I wrote Urban Campers. This was September 1999 and although I recorded those two songs on cassette tape, Cinder and I wouldn’t talk about the musical for another 15 years. Just a cool idea in the Caribbean.

It was 2001 when I first saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The drummer of my band Smelly saw it in a movie theater and told me I have to go see it cuz it’s the first musical he ever liked. I went to see it the next day by myself. I cried in the theater. When art is that great…. You have no choice. It made me feel like I felt when I first bought the Never Mind the Bollocks record and put it on in my bedroom. It was a life changer. After I saw Hedwig, I pulled out my cassette player and found the two songs from Turks and Caicos and decided to put my band NOFX on the back burner for a few months and write a musical that would hopefully make some people feel the way that Rocky Horror and Hedwig made me feel….. Like I wasn’t alone in the world…. like I could live my life without shame. I was gonna write a musical that was unsuccessful and low budget and somewhere in it, there would be a dude in makeup!

In 2008, I had ten pages of dialogue, twelve songs recorded and a realization that making a musical wasn’t as easy as making a punk record. So I did what any self respecting punk rocker would do and said Fuck It and went on tour with NOFX!

It was 1994 when Green Day released an album called Dookie. That record would go on to sell ten million copies and change the way that the world saw punk rock. It was a record that would change my life and every other member of any punk bands life. Punk was now a viable and important style of music! I was proud to call Green Day my friends and comrades. The musical American Idiot opened on Broadway in 2009. It gave me a feeling of urgency like Hedwig gave me but not entirely the same. I was now on a mission to finish my musical! There was no fucking way that American Idiot was gonna represent my culture of punk rock in the musical world… 

Ok, Step One. Find someone who can help me with my shitty script. I tried Brendan Kelly from Lawrence Arms. Didn’t work. I tried Jeff Alulis from Backstage Passport. Didn’t work. 

Then I asked my girlfriend Soma Snakeoil if she wanted to help me write it. She had never written dialogue before, but she had actually lived the story I wanted to tell. We spent the next year writing and writing and drinking and writing and by 2011, we actually had 18 songs and a finished script! We were ready to open on Broadway!

Step two: Meet someone who knows someone who knows someone who could get us to Broadway… Easy! These people in a band called Old Man Markley knew a guy named Jacob who went to acting school with a guy named Jeff Marx who co wrote a musical named Avenue Q. Wait a second…I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew THE GUY who wrote the musical that I had seen three times and it happened to be my FAVORITE musical I had ever seen! And Avenue Q was playing in LA at the Pantages and I had tickets already! Jacob told Soma and I that he could get us into the wrap party after the final show and would introduce us to Jeff. We were so fucking nervous!!!! 

Jeff was talking to tons of people but Jacob introduced us and told Jeff that my band played one of the songs from Avenue Q “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” live. Jeff was flattered and cordial enough to talk to me and Soma for fifteen or twenty minutes! I was so fucking stoked! I asked him if I could send him a song from the musical I was writing. He said sure and gave me his email. I sent him Three Against Me the next day.

Five days later I was in Vegas at a Strokes concert when I checked my email. It had been five days since I sent the song…. I was crushed that he hadn’t written me back. He must not have liked it…

At 5:00 am my phone beeped. Strangely enough, I was wide awake. It was an email from Jeff. I read it aloud to Soma and Max from the Swinging Utters… It was two pages long… Jeff said the song made him cry and he couldn’t stop listening to it… Soma and I started to cry… the first person that we sent a song to loved it and said that he wanted to hear more! Holy Shit! Jeff Marx wanted to hear more! Fuck yeah!

Writing in the dungeon in 2013

It was March 2011 when we invited Jeff over to our studio to listen to all 18 songs and read the script. He was a little taken back when he realized our studio was really a dungeon and that Soma was a professional Dominatrix. But he warmed right up and said, “lets hear it all”! We read the script and played the 18 songs. He said he loved 17 of the songs and thought we had a great first draft and said he would love to help us take it to Broadway!

Writing in the dungeon in 2013

It was March 2011 when we invited Jeff over to our studio to listen to all 18 songs and read the script. He was a little taken back when he realized our studio was really a dungeon and that Soma was a professional Dominatrix. But he warmed right up and said, “lets hear it all”! We read the script and played the 18 songs. He said he loved 17 of the songs and thought we had a great first draft and said he would love to help us take it to Broadway!

What the actual fuck?!?!??! The guy who wrote my favorite musical, the first person we approached, a guy who knew nothing about punk rock or SM or homelessness wanted to partner with us! This was one of the greatest days of my life! We were actually going to Broadway! Jeff said it would take four to five years, but I knew that it would only take one or two! He may not have known it, but I knew it was ready!

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