While hanging out at Maxwell’s with some community friends recently, the discussion turned to Tacoma and the whole Destiny thing. I’ve always had a problem with it, but that’s just me. Maybe I read too much into it, but I’ve always found it a little vague. Besides, once you reach your destiny then what?
Anyway, joining in the conversation that evening was Tacoma gadfly and man-about-town, Teddy Haggarty. He mentioned an article he wrote for The Rocket magazine in the 80s. This blew me away that he had written for one of my favorite local rags! For those of you not around before the internet, The Rocket was not just “a” local music magazine, it was “the” local music magazine. For me, it was essential reading and I looked forward to each new issue every month. But I digress… Curious about Teddy’s article, I asked if he had a copy I could scan to share with Tacoma’s blogosphere. He obliged.
Here then is a copy of Teddy’s article originally published in August 1982.
A Day in the City of Destiny by Teddy Haggarty
The following is a day in the life of Teddy Haggarty, who—besides being a pillar of his community, Tacoma—manages Baby Knockors Strypes, and the Heroes in conjunction with his brother Leonard. The brothers Haggarty also work with comedian Earl Burks and dispense advice to No Cheese Please and the Names. Haggarty has published several books of his own poetry and prose and is currently working on a novella entitled Hawaii: Me And Harry, Our Life With the Stars. Of this article he says, “Everything is true.”
I GET UP TURNING OFF THE ELECTRIC blanket and fan. I like the fan noise and the idea of electricity flowing over my body. Bands call and want to know of new bookings, air play of songs, new reviews in papers and magazines. Sometimes people want meetings. I hate meetings. A friend came into over a million dollars and everyone wants a meeting with him now. He uses it for a free lunch. I’d do that, but I don’t like eating that much.
I have a meeting tonight with ex-Knockor Felix Penitrator, now of the Heroes. He says he wants to watch me dance at McGarver’s, a new disco near the water, after he gets through opening for Crown at the Back 40—my home away from home. My brother and I were in McGarver’s last week where Congressman Norm Dicks was dancing up a storm. Good way to meet girls; “Hi, I’m your congressman. Let’s dance.” Leonard complained to Dicks about the $24,000 temporary plywood Tacoma Mini-Dome sign. I talked to a contractor who put up a permanent metal sign with lots of neon lights, larger than the mini dome sign, for $20,000. He said he’d have done the dome sign for $5,000. Norm said he’d look into it. (We’d just seen The Thing for a dollar. My brother and I sat with our arms over our faces and our knees up. I looked over at four 12 year old girls. They were sitting the same way.)
After I get up I work on promo and take it to the Post Office where a clerk tells me that John Lennon is burning in hell for rock music inspired by Satan like what she says I’m sending out. I tell her it’s beautiful music for angels in heaven. I like to torment her. I watch the religious shows at night and ask a pastor who works across from me when I have questions. Jan on PTL was crying telling people Jesus fixed her washing machine after she prayed for it. I imagined millions of people praying over every object in their house. The pastor told me this does happen and he knows someone that prayed over a can of oil and made their car stop burning oil. He is very optimistic about my soul. If he doesn’t know the answer he tells me I’ll have to ask God after we are raptured.
I told Penitrator about a date I had who made me dance with her at the Black Angus. She was pretty drunk, fell down flat on her back and started gatoring. Everyone in the place watched. I didn’t know what to do. After that she wanted me to dance “wild” with her. I think that’s why Penitrator wants to watch me dance. Dancing is embarrassing but it’s kind of fun. I’m also meeting with Robert Richolt of Strypes tonight at McGarver’s to discuss some long range band strategy. I try to help regional acts get international attention. Sometimes Geffen Records calls to tell me what they thought of a demo tape. I feel like a big shot after I’m through talking. Someday they’ll tell me to get on a plane to discuss some contracts.
I’m worried about running into Arrogant Boulder. Some girl I ran into at The Raintree asked me to call him, ask for him and hand her the phone. Turned out he hates being disturbed by her. I’m afraid of getting a lecture.
BAND BUSINESS IS FRUSTRATING.
Poets, artists and writers know it might take a lifetime to get anywhere. Musicians know it can and does happen overnight to groups with or without talent.
I work in a foundry located across from a tombstone factory and a casket company. The Java Jive, a big tea pot, the world’s most psychedelic twilight zone that gets a crowd ranging from preppies to bikers, is down the street. The boss said I did a good job, was on time and had a good attendance record: “That’s what it takes to get ahead around here.” He said that five years ago. I have the same job. College educated mind rots in plant. It’s my own fault. John Foster of OP Magazine said he didn’t blame Olympia, just himself for living there.
Sometimes on the way to work I pass policewoman Leona Ellis who sued and got $150,000 for sexual harassment on the job. She’s suing again for something. I think about handling her career and directing her towards Playboy or Hollywood. I figure a cop with all that publicity might have a shot at a cameo on CHIPS or something.
I tell the bands the difference between winning and losing is quitting. Take a step at a time then jump. Keep putting in the money and eventually when you pull the lever you’ll win something. I hang out at the Back 40. The late night bartender is my guru and mentor. He says people make too big a deal over nothing and that once a person starts believing their own b.s. they are in trouble. He explains what’s really going on with politics and economics. He tapes up drawings I do on the wall. I call it the TMH Memorial Gallery.
I wind up at a lot of little parties where everyone is asking if they can borrow a beer. I read in the Enquirer how Joyce DeWitt locked herself in a bathroom and wouldn’t come out until she’d snorted all the lines of cocaine on a mirror. I wrote her a letter saying I thought the story was a cheap shot by a bunch of geeks and that I didn’t want her to think I read the Enquirer much (I read it all the time). She wrote me back a nice thank you for the support letter. I’ve noticed people locked in rooms and overheard stuff like, “It’s so good I had to put cut in it or your nose would bleed. Any other stuff in it was done by the farmers in South America who can buy duff cheap down there because it’s a foreign country.”
Organized crime hurt night life in T-town. The City of Destiny might have been one big strip joint if the mob had its way. I’ve heard Tacoma had a nickname among crime figures as “the little Chicago of the west coast.” The Back 40 used to turn away crowds four nights a week before it was torched three times.
I don’t feel much like a poet or artist unless people want to talk to me saying things like, “I can talk to you, you understand things, you’re a writer, you’re sensitive, you’re a poet, you understand.” Then they want to borrow money or something. I felt like a poet in Seattle a while ago. I came out of the Virginia Inn and asked this girl laying on the sidewalk if she was ok: “You wouldn’t ask me that if I was a bum would you!?” I found a nice piece of sidewalk and laid down then Leonard came out and laid down, then the girl we were with came out got mad and went to get the car. All we talked about was laying on the sidewalk with Joan Vee.
I was visiting in Montana. My cousins introduced me as being from Seattle figuring no one knew where Tacoma was. The people I met from Montana apologized for being from Montana. They all had excuses and were going to leave sometime. When I meet people I start with the worst and work down from there. If I feel obnoxious I’ll say I’m a poet and band manager. Sometimes I want to apologize: “I’m sorry I’m not a movie star or a rich and famous person but things haven’t worked out so I’m a foundry worker that went to college once…” I read in the Enquirer every now and then how men are trapped in women’s bodies or vice versa. I think a lot of bands have the potential of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones but are trapped by fate and circumstance in a local band.
My brother and I get letters now and then from our friend Carta. She’s always the guest of kings and queens or playing tennis with Hefner at Wimbledon. They depress and inspire me. I love them and reread them all the time. She says the next party she has that a lot of movie stars will attend she’ll invite us. I’m thrilled by tinsel town.
Before I go to bed I thumb through a stack of books: John Fante, Morse Peckham, Blaise Cen-dars, books on Bible prophecy, National Enquirer, the Tacoma News Tribune and rock mags from all over. The TNT gets very excited over all drug busts except heroin. A retired doctor was arrested in Tacoma who had been turned in by his neighbors who complained of finding syringes in their yards: “Honey I don’t mind the doc dealing dope but this is the third pair of Florsheims I’ve ruined this month from stepping into a pile of those used hypos. We’ve got to put an end to this!” The judge kicked the doctor out of town, told him to go peddle his stuff elsewhere. I was reading Morgan Fairchild had trouble getting dates in Hollywood. I wrote her saying I also had trouble getting dates and that we should get together. A few weeks later I received a wallet size pfidtb of Morgan from Hollywood. I’m still waiting for the date.
Epilogue: I never made it to my meeting with Penitrator or Robert. Got side tracked. Ran into Boulder and he just thought the call was funny and was in a good mood because he was with a beautiful girl who’d done some singing for the album. My brother and I met this older lawyer woman and two of her friends and they wanted us to dance with them in the parking lot of the Lobster Shop at 2:30 in the morning listening to an Eddie Rabbit tape from her BMW. We dance the night away.