Career Punks

Quiet down, Mom. These boys have jobs.

The Terrors then took a belated two-week jaunt across the Midwest, after which Fogarino jumped ship. "I followed my penis to Pittsburgh," he laughs. "The relationship was a disaster, and I got a lot of flack for quitting my band over a girl -- but Rob told me later that he was holding me back." Within a few months, Fogarino was back on his sister's couch in Fort Lauderdale and had joined emo rockers Gus. "They weren't afraid to get in a van to play someone's house 1,000 miles away," Fogarino says. "It served a purpose, but musically it was ten steps backward."

While Fogarino's back ached from too many couch crashes, Cell 63 singer/guitarist Rob Coe juggled beer-soaked weeknight gigs with teaching English at Miami's Palmetto Middle School. His morning-after curriculum was unique, to say the least. "I'd have 'Mr. Coe's Video Days,'" he rasps in a beat-poet brogue. "I'd screen Get a Life episodes and try to work them in thematically."

A Crumbs photo album (from left): Johnny Bonnano, Chuck Loose, Emil Busse, Raf Luna smile. Loose should have kept his shirt on. The band's Lookout! debut.
A Crumbs photo album (from left): Johnny Bonnano, Chuck Loose, Emil Busse, Raf Luna smile. Loose should have kept his shirt on. The band's Lookout! debut.
Interpol's Armani look includes (from left) Sam Fogarino, Paul Banks,  Carlos D, and Daniel Kessler
Interpol's Armani look includes (from left) Sam Fogarino, Paul Banks, Carlos D, and Daniel Kessler

Despite looking like Mr. Clean with a goatee, Coe was voted "role model of the year" by Palmetto Middle's student body. Among Coe's students were future Less Than Jake bassist Roger Manganelli and Remedy Session bassist Lori Marsh. While Coe discouraged his students from seeking out their favorite teacher at local bars, his music made an impact. "One of the kids told me his mom's car was stolen, and when they got it back, they found our first CD in the car stereo," Coe deadpans. "The thief left it behind."

Thirty-five-year-old Coe is no stranger to band drama. Cell 63's 1994 Spring tour wrap-up at Jesse's in Miami Beach was anything but a warm homecoming. Coe breaks it down: "We were supposed to open for the Nixons, this major-label band from Dallas. When we got there, we found out it was a private show for Sony with a bused-in audience -- and no outside promotion had been done. The club offered us more money to play after the Nixons. As soon as they finished, the label rounded everyone back on the bus, and we played to nobody. When we finished playing, George [Graquitena, Cell 63 drummer] said he didn't think we were getting paid. Dave [Odishoo, Cell 63 guitarist] started yelling, and I left them to get the money. By the time I got back with the cash, they were at each other's throats screaming, 'I'm never working with you again!'"

The Nixons paid the price, however. The chrome-domed Coe became a one-man rude-boy invasion. "I got in the Nixons' Winnebago and belligerently blabbed about the Replacements. I had to let them know that major-label backing doesn't excuse you for being a crappy band with cool hair."

After Cell 63's demise, Coe and Graquitena hooked up with King Friday's Jeff London and Tony Rocha. The quartet began Fay Wray, one of the most celebrated groups in South Florida history. Merging Coe's Replacements-by-way-of-Stones riffage, London's personal relationship with drunken mania, and a pounding rhythm section that got antsy if constrained to fewer than 180 bpms -- Fay Wray became the favorite band of anyone who saw them and didn't have to share the stage, because those who had the temerity to try to outdo them often suffered the consequences. While executing a back flip from the stage, for example, London smashed a merchandise table belonging to Orlando's Hate Bombs -- with his head.

Unfortunately London's commute from Gainesville (where he was working toward a master's degree in social work) to South Florida made regular shows impossible and magnified the conflict between his vida loca and that of the teetotaling Graquitena. One night after a Tampa show, London pushed Graquitena's buttons one too many times. "It's not like it was any worse than when Jeff told a pimp in West Palm Beach that his ho was a nice girl and needed a bus ticket home," Coe recalls. Graquitena nevertheless resigned, forcing Fay Wray into hiatus.

At the end of 1992, Chuck Loose also found himself in a musical lull when he returned home from the Chickenhead gold rush. "Chickenhead ran its course," he says. "I asked Iggy how I was going to top what we did on tour. He said, 'We could drop something really heavy on you!'"

To keep busy, Loose joined forces with Broward punkers the Spawn Sacs, constructed a raised platform in an old auto garage, and in 1993 opened Garageland, Oakland Park's answer to the Gilman Street Co-op. "It was the perfect location," he elaborates, "a warehouse district with a baseball field on one side and undeveloped real estate on the other. We hardly ever got noise complaints."

Running the space was another story. "The Spawn Sacs lived there, and they were drunks," Loose charges. "I'd work ten hours and then go to Garageland to fix whatever they fucked up during the day." When Loose wasn't butting heads with his partners, he baby-sat countless shows. "The cops only cared when kids would spray-paint punk graffiti around the corner. Once a cop walked inside when it was really packed. There was a little girl drinking beer in a Big Gulp cup right in front of him. He asked how old she was, and she said, 'Fifteen.' I had my head in my hands. He just laughed and told me to shut it down for the night."

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