*Breaking* LATER ASSHOLE! Space Park Management to violent coward: Thanks but NO THANKS -or- Wife-Beater Takes Beat-Down
Around about every five years; the most consistently prgressive, entertaining, competitive and downright bad-ass drum & bugle corps* in the kh2own universe puts together an Alumni Corps….for fun, for old times sake, cuz life starts to suck after age 21, cuz playingin a large group of talented men & women is better than (sex * drugs + rockNroll) ….. to get easily-explainable time off from work/family/friends/poker/kids/your dog/home [all the things that society INSISTS you take part in and enjoy……So we’re all cut out on what-the-world-expects-of-us and why not? If that’s all we did, [musicians especially] it would make for a rough world. (did you know Hitler was a band-geek? yeah-Basson —God I would knock him out just for THAT! AAAAANYHoooooo……)
WHO IS MIKE BRAGA?
I’ll tell the story as it unfolded for this writer in 2007. The timeline is quite jagged; so put on your “Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul/Star Wars/Pulp Fiction/Memento style plot hats cuz the timeline here zigs, zags and jumps…
That year I ran two assembly lines for Metagenics (fmr. makers of professional quality dietary supplements, protein powders & functional foods; my lines always packed that finished-goods, and pills from horse tablets to the barely visible. I digress. I’m running line 4– the phone rings. It’s Joe Rybus, a heavy in Kingsmen Organization and a head-hunter for the hornline. Someone fronted me off to the guy — he knew my name & cell….at least it was a welcome call.
“Am I interrupting” (he is; but…take a guess how many fucks I gave…)
“This is Joe Rybus, did you know The Anaheim Kingmen are putting togther an Alumni Corps this year? This is the first time DCI will be held at the Rose Bowl to commerate our innaugural victory at Whitewater in 1971…anyway you wanna join?”
“I never marched Kingsmen”
“Yeah … well see we want to have as big a hornline as possible; so we waved that requirement; in fact; so far most of the members are alums from up north; like yourself!”
“Are you guys gonna play cool shit?”
“Yeah, Mambo, Folk Song Suite, So Very Hard To Go….Firebird...”
“That sounds cool…cant go wrong with Mambo, Williams, ToP or Stravinsky…. how many horns?”
“We have nearly 80; shooting for 120….” (now my crew knows im , not evem trying to work so they take over; a good crew…)
“So you wanna fill the rest with ringers right?”
“Yeah Chris; get it now?”
“….Practice? How do we not get the cops called?”
“One of the members is a principal at school in Anaslime [Joe didnt really say that, but u get the idea] He says we can use the band room and that no one will call for noise if we pack it in by sundown…and its just 30 miles north.”
“Joe I wanna do this, but $ is tight, I can’t tale time off work …..”
“We’re camping at Long Beach State for about 3 weeks before Semis [our last show] all you need is 1 weekend a month till summer, then every weekend, then get most of august.”
–NOTE: Joe’d made this call in 2006 so I had plenty of time to arrange this; plus my work OWED me a decent VAYCAY; I’d never taken even a sick day three years in ….
“$ is tight Joe….I can squeeze the time but I need rides, a uniform, theres no way I can pay fees. I want to help…really is th-
“[cutting me off] “look it’s free; if you need a ride ill get you one….”
“I can drive dude; just one more thing; now that im older? 2nd Barry? Lower Lead? ….my chops are in pro-condition so …”
“Got it; Upper Lead Baritione, comped…the next camp is at….”
The rest is history. Sops like legendary sops like Ralphie, Jim Sobacki, Phil Norris and a few other (not Ray!) along with many Big Bore idols, Carl Allison (Freelancers), Doug “Pooh Bear” Kenyon (BD, Colts), Tony Pon (SCV), Charlie Groh(1st Marines, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, Item Company, WWI/WW2/Korea)…..they really made it all worth it. Ther all could mop the floor with me; talent-wisae especially. *Fun Fact* – It would be Pooh’s last DC performance – he joined to surpise his daughter at DCI who was in the Colts – a rookie CG (coolest dad ever – RIP ol’ buddy!)
There were about 200 people in the Kingsmen that year; we rocked an honor guard with a full Color Presentation so of those 200, lets say 140 were holding an instrument. Here is a rough estimate of how they broke down:
- Kingsmen Alumni = 22 percent
- Freelancers Alumni = eight percent
- VK Alumni = 10 percent
- Concord Alumni = 25 percent
- Santa Clara Alumni = 25 percent
- Other or band-geeks living out their childhood fantasies 10 percent
Note there would be LOTS of crossover here: SCV/BD, VK/BD, Freelancers/BD, Kmen/BD …etc. Only Marty Jo Basset, Bill Varju and Tim Meehan having marched “the cycle” (VK, Freelancers, SCV & BD; with ho iarble mention that Tim SOLOED in ALL FOUR, Marty “The One Man Party” played upper lead sop in all four; and Bill Marched Contra, Barry (@VK in 95), Mello (BD, yr unknown) and Soprano – A DOUBLE CYCLE!!!!! Credit to Scott Steward as well for marching, though in just two that I know of; check out his 1990 semis solo when he’s like….a fucking 13 year old. (will add YT link if it still exists) Credit also to Jack M. for TEACHING VK/SCV/BD/Troopers and possibly Sac.
*sigh* better get to the meat here …. so we’re camping at LBSU and it’s like a biunch of adults with families/jobs/responsibilities are kids again (we were; well we felt like it; my room Anthony; whom partied 1000th as muvh as I did at that time – we got along famously and are still friends; having marched Renegades & Kingsmen Alumni together (links to follow). Each day we hit a practice field about 500 yrds from the dorms. Stretch. chat, plan, apply sunblock and Gold Bond, sectionals, lunch, ensemble, dinner, then either a show or more ensemble….then party, pass out, rinse & repeat. For us age-outs WE ARE ON CLOUD NINE; praying September never comes.
One week before Our final show (sniff…) at DCI I hear a rumbling that the cymbal section wants to quit en masse. Why? Apparently [to paraphrase] – WE CANT TAKE ONE MORE SECOND OF [MIKE’S] ABUSIVE BULLSHIT. CHOOSE. HIM. OR US. Our Fearless leader and DM Gary Kean investoigated, to find that Braga was running the cymbal line as though this were 1987 and THIS was the 1987 SCV Cymbal line. Lets start with some definitions.
A drum corps cymbal line – an extremely physical job from high school level up to division one (World Class) the cymbal line marches, attempts crazy difficult drill, accentuates the visual feel of the program. Musically all sorts of sounds can be made via scrapes, crashes, “shings” and tastefully marching in front of the battery so they have a crash or ride or (???) cymbal to use on the fly. Cyms are part expert dancers, military-precesion-marchers, elegant musicians and marching masters.
The SCV Cymbal Line – These guys are famous for being “so far over the top as to be obscene. Every time I saw them; they did everything together: they sit together on the drum bus. When the direcgtor (or any staff address them) they stand in a perfect rank, side-toe-contact. They rarely if ever make mistakes. Holes in this line are filled by an audition of 1000 competing for one spot. They eat togther – yes, in a rank. At night, they stack their bunks adjacent, in a rank. Every SCV member busts their ass; but NO ONE works as hard as the cyms. Finally; no one in their right mind would mess with them while on tour; they are tougher than any d-line for any college football team and were they soldiers? They’d return from combat HEAVILY decorated …. pardon the expression but you ever met a group of guys so tight they’s “eat each others’ sh!%?” —ok that’s the SCV Cymbal line for the past 30 years at least.
So Braga, even though, this ostensibly laid-back “Senior Corps” that only rehearses weekends (9-5 in stead of 9-sunup the next day, ‘EIGHT days a week’) and will not receive a score (Sr. Corps are usually exhibition at DCI shows) …Braga is not only acting like he is back in an SCV-hardcore-as-fuck-hand-me-that-bowl-of-shit Cymbal line….he is making threats, making some of his fellow Cym CRY. Doing the opposite of why we took off work and pissed off our kids & significant others – to make visually pleasing, aethetically beutiful, sonically sonorous, loud music – for us, for the fans, for everyone. The sxn reported; AND BRAGA (on the field of honor**) says [PARAPHRASED]
NO, FUCK YOU GARY IM NOT GOING ANYWHERE
…again WIP this mess is about a quarter done. Sorry to put you blast Mike….no I’m not sorry….You suck….I’m ashamed to call my self any sort of “alumni” list that beats both our names. You are a disgrace to the Silver Star, The Green Shield and the memory of Gail & Myron. Start my NEVER HITTING ANOTHER WOMAN EVER. If you eant to hit someone….the comment section is below. -c
Braga decided (at some point) that as de facto Cym section leader of Kingmen Alumni; the best way to run the line was to act like a fascist white-power-prison-gang “grand-intimidator – thinking that excellence could be achieved via anger, cursing, threats, yelling and general douchery. If you’ve been incarverated or not; pictire that Napoleonic psychopath you pray never crosses your path. “I just want to do my time & get out with most of my teeth. Then you meet Braga. He wants to know “who you are, where youre from, what your deal is….are you a narc? He makes comments about your manhood to compensate for his lack of. I mean, what kind of man has two violent strikes for beating his wife? Usually the kind to scared to hit a dude.
Braga created an atmosphere of misery for the other Cymbal players in 2007, thinking this was the right thing to do …. One afternoon at Long Beach State; the Cyms had a meeting w/o their fear[full] leader; they decided marching in the Kmen Alumni no longer fell into the “fun” category. It would be fun if not for Braga; so they took the issue to Kean and said “Him or us.”
Simple, lose the douche. That’s where the story should end. With lightning-strike exceptions; an SCV member or alum obeys on0field orders from staff, section leaders, the Horn Sgt., all techs, consultants, caption heads and the director without question, so with my 1991 Kanstul 3v G Baritone at a pistol; I was shocked to hear Braga ARGUING with the fucking Drum Major!!! He was refusing to leave, saying he did nothing wrong. Kean is a smart, shrewd and peaceful man. He was not about to risk a figth with this hulking ,ass clearly looking for a violent outlet for his maniacy. The KAC rented dorms, a parking structire and a practice field; making the field (thank God) corps property. Member or no; the director/DM asks you to leave its not up for discyssion. NEVER on the field of honor. Before Kean could finish rationalizing “leave no you sciopath. Please leave and dont ever come back.” —several members hit 911 on their cells. The LBSU PD and LBPD showed up quickly. Braga was dragged off the field by them snarling and shooting red daggers out of his eyes, blaming the staff, the corps, the Cyms, Kean, the members, using words I woulnt place in a artice ABOUT the field of honor.
Not Familiar? Any field is a sacred place. Treat it that way if you ever want to march on Game (Saturday) Night. Since the 70s (60s?) Guards say a prayer to field before entering it. Batteries & Hornlines dress as nice as weather allows on the Field of Honor, they don’t swear on it, the NEVER sit on it, They use G-rated language on the field, they act professional; because they ARE. Only the teachers, leaders and technicians talk betweenn takes. Rehearsals are done with a purpose, memberws run back to their sets. Breaks only exist to keep memebers hydrated. We keep out ears open and our eyes up. We treat a painted field better than a board room in our chosen professions. To disobey chain of command, to shout vilent threats, to force law enforcement to drag you pff the field and worst of all; to stalk the corps after like a NeckBeard whose My Little Pony collection came to life…is deplorable.
—–next—–part III. Deep Background & Diane Feinstein….