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THE PETROP BOYS (PART I) (PART II)

As I was explaining in my previous article, in the earlier part of the 1990’s before the ban of Rohypnol in America, the whole world was on pills. At least my whole world was. Having just been tossed from The University of Texas, I was desperate for a place to move to with no rent history to fall back on. Fortunately my old roommate, Bruce (not and I repeat not to be confused with former Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Garrison, whom I have mentioned in a previous article) was living in a duplex over on 381/2 Street just North of Duval in Hyde Park. Having just lost his roommate in a bizarre set of events that I won’t even think of disclosing right now, Bruce took me to meet his landlord, Greek immigrant Chris Petropolis (who owns a chain of liquor stores here in Austin along with several pieces of real estate) to discuss the possibility of me moving in to take over the lease. Being left in a bind, Petropolis agreed to turn the lease over to former DKB and Frunttbutt guitarist/bass player Chuck Smith and myself, but not without serious reservations.

“I’m a good person. I only rent to good people. No funny stuff... no party, no dopas.” That’s what he told us. Chuck and I weren’t sure if “dopas” was Greek for drugs or for dopers, but we assured him he didn’t have to worry about either, even though we fully intended to turn his property into a one stop drug store and party palace. We moved in, along with all the other members of DKB and several hangers on, and immediately set up shop. The following is the story about how the community rose up against us.
I’m not about to tell you the community shouldn’t have risen up against us; a pill house is the last thing you want in your neighborhood. The family living across the street from us found that out almost immediately when, on our first weekend at the house, Chicken came over, got all fucked up, and backed into their car as he left, doing thousands of dollars in damage. Two nights later, after we had already pled ignorant to the situation, Chicken returned and backed right into their car again. This time, unfortunately, it was their other car. We had already made a powerful enemy on the block.

The neighbors to our immediate right were the next to go. We had bought about $150 dollars worth of lumber and turned the house’s one car garage into a “sound proof” practice place. The first night we jammed, it turned out we had basically turned the structure into a giant woofer that, through the ground, channeled sound directly from our amplifiers into the house next door. The dad called the cops on us, and was so pissed of that he tried to physically attack us right in front of them, having to be subdued and threatened with jail.

Incidentally, in preparation for a DKB show at the 21st Street Co-op, the band and I had been stealing traffic cones from around the city for about two months at that point. We called them our “stepchildren.” We had upwards of 100 of them stacked up under a tarp behind the house. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen 100 traffic cones in the same place at once, but they make for a rather large, unsightly configuration. There was a lady cop among the officers detached to our house, and she just couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the pile. She kept shining her flashlight on the tarp with this “What the hell is that thing?” look on her face. Never have the laws of search and seizure come in handier.

Things are a bit hazy looking back, but apparently Bruce still lived with us for the first couple of months after we arrived at the house. I recall him having what had to have been the worst speed induced nervous breakdown I have ever seen in my life. It lasted about two weeks. He had been partying in hotels with a bunch of speed freaks and, as far as I could tell, they were systematically emptying his bank account to pay for speed and board. He got so paranoid that he showed up at the house and insisted I trade cars with him because his was “bugged.” Trading with him ended up being a huge mistake because it turned out that Jimmy, the ringleader of the speed gang, had been feeding Bruce’s paranoia in order to rip him off further and further. Having convinced Bruce that my car was probably bugged too, Jimmy was allowed to basically strip it down piece-by-piece, finding and remove everything of value.

what youll find inside
GORCH FOCK feature
Room 710
Beerland
EMO'S
Elysium/Red Eyed Fly
Lance Comix
Johnny Medina
Road to Rock Stardom
Miss Conduct
Wendy's WWAD
Grub - Guide
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Usual Crew
Chump Change
Off the Street
Off-Sides

(Holy Shit, that reminds me of just about the funniest thing in the world. Ok, same car, same Bruce. Right in the middle of this whole Petropolis incident, Chuck, Bruce and I had gone down to Laredo on a pill run. We had already loaded up in Nuevo Laredo, and were partying north of the border, watching the infamous Rockets-Spurs playoff series that saw Akeem absolutely torch a recently crowned league MVP David Robinson en route to The Rockets’ first NBA Championship. It was game 5, when the Rockets took a commanding 3-2 game lead in the series. We watched it at some shit hole bar like 2 miles north of Mexico, drinking beer and eating the fuck out of pills all night. Bruce, by the way, is a huge Spurs fan. After the game, I handed my keys off to Bruce, willing to let anyone assume the responsibility of killing us. We got on the I-35 feeder road headed south towards Mexico with Chuck in the back and Bruce and I jawing back and forth wildly up front. While Bruce and I were whooping and hollering back and forth, going about 70 down the feeder, I became vaguely aware of Chuck in the back seat, pointing out in front of us and trying to get his two cents worth in. Looking out the windshield I saw what was basically the very dead end of the southern-most tip of the entire Interstate-35 feeder road in The United States. Bruce never even looked up. We tore through the barbed wire fence and it’s signs full blast and continued on out into the desert, towards the Rio Grande. The sickest thing about this is that neither the collision nor the sudden change of terrain was enough to get Bruce’s attention. Upon impact, Chuck and I had broken into a chorus of uncontrollable laughter. “What? What happened?” Bruce asked with his foot still planted on the gas pedal. “You went through a fucking fence!” we cried. “Where are we?” was his next question, still not slowing down. I can vividly remember the violent shaking of the car and sound of rocks and cacti and shit tearing up the chassis. “We’re in the fucking desert!” Bruce squinted his eyes and looked out the window, speeding along full throttle. “Should I keep going?”)

Ok, anyway, back to the speed binge. Somewhere along the way, Bruce calls me from one of the hotels and tells me he’s met these weed dealers who want to front me a bunch of dope. I go meet them at some Denny’s, and get this block of weed and throw it in the trunk with arrangements to pay them back later through a mutual friend named B.B., who turns out to be a total violent thug-type. Later that day, Bruce calls and says he’s sorry, but he’s just found out (through Jimmy) that the guys he introduced me to were cops. Needless to say, I found this a bit unsettling. After all, you know how many cops there are out there looking to front people weed. I called up my best Jew friend Cary and had him come grab the weed, basically at price and once again on the front, just to get the “evidence” out of my house. Then I sweated out the next couple of days waiting for the door to be kicked in. Bruce finally calls me back and doesn’t even remember the paranoid episode that had led him to tell me all that shit. His speed binge had begun to affect me personally. After he finally came home and I discovered that all of my tapes and two very valuable rings had been stolen from my car, Bruce spent the next week speaking in nothing above a whisper. He tried to join the Mormon Church at one point. He had fallen so. I spent the next month of my life with B.B. showing up at the house with a fucking Uzi while I was waiting on Cary to pay me back. B.B., by the way, eventually went to the pen for shooting some guy in the back.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a bit off topic here. The point is Petropolis was getting more and more fed up with us living on his property. The final straw was when we took one of the toilets out into the front yard, set it against a tree, filled it with a bunch of old clothes, and set it on fire. This cop pulled up and rolled down his window. “What the hell are you doing?” He yells. I remember thinking: We’re burning some clothes in a toilet out in the front yard, what’s the fucking problem? The neighbors had called the fire department who, in turn put out the blaze that had seriously charred the trunk of the tree it was set against.

The next day, Petropolis shows up at our house with his two sons. The three are obviously there to strong-arm us into breaking the lease. For the record, his two boys were slightly intimidating, but Petropolis had made the mistake of believing that Chuck and I would be the only two people living in the pig sty, since we were the only two on the lease. Slowly but surely, the living room filled up with strung out, grizzled white boys and Petropolis’ mission quickly changed from one of force to one of diplomacy. Petropolis told me that we were kicked out and had to leave immediately. I told him that we weren’t going anywhere, until we had been properly evicted by a Marshall, and even then not until we’d had an eviction trial with the city, after which we’d have at least two weeks to leave even if we lost. Upon hearing this, Petropolis eyed me from head to toe and scratched his chin. He stepped back, nodding his head and said “Ah yes. You know alla-tha-tricks, don’t you?”

The eviction judge was sick, so the trial was postponed time and time again. When we finally got in there, Petropolis had letters from every one of our neighbors expressing their outrage. I remember the phrase People like this should not be allowed to live in Hyde Park written in all capitol letters and double underlined. Oddly, almost all of the letters alleged “suspicious” activity, with “people coming and going at all hours of the night”. There was a stack of pictures too, the most damning of which was of a blackened toilet melted up against the charred trunk of a tree. The judge, bless her heart, broke down in laughter several times. The highlight of the trial was when Petropolis asked to take the stand. He had something he wanted to say. “When I was little boy in Greece, my people they tell me America is the greatest country in the world. In America, you worka hard, you trya hard, and you can have-a anything you want. So, I come here. I worka hard. I open business. I buya houses. I live American dream. (Pointing at me.) And this! This man! This Ah-nimal! He come and try to take it all away!” It was one of the greatest moments of my life.

This being said, I want to apologize for the last two articles sucking so badly, but the story had to be told. This weekend I went to The Alamodome with my sister Ashley to watch Class 5A Division II and Class 4A Division II Texas State Football Championships. The games, respectively, were Katy vs. Southlake Carroll and LaMarque vs. Denton Ryan. I shit you not when I tell you that the LaMarque/Denton game was easily one of the best in Texas State History. (Katy’s 16-15 “upset” over Carroll, with a blocked punt gone safety being the difference, was awesome in it’s own right.) Remind me to recount the events of the game to you the next time I see you.

-CHAD HOLT

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