So, when I was asked for a bio on Opinion Zero, I felt a twinge of shame because not only was I there for the whole thing, but I can hardly remember any of it (for what it was) owing to an almost continuous alcoholic blackout. But while it’s somewhat shameful to admit publicly to what everybody already knew (I was the last, maybe), it was also the most fun I think any of us had in our lives.
When I was in 9th grade at Amphitheater High School, Tucson, AZ in 1980, I was one of three punk rockers. We had our fun, but mostly we were targeted for verbal (and occasionally, physical) abuse. I fronted a band that sounded like Rush with a wannabe Punk rock screamer (Me). We were disqualified from a student talent contest when I showed up drunk and grabbed my crotch and told a heckler to “suck my dick”, all at 8:00 a.m.
Fast forward to 18 years old – my mom moved me into the Corporate Whore House with Slug, Phil and the boys. I was about to be transformed at what was to become the center of the Tucson Hardcore Scene. Out of that house was born U.P.S., White Super Beings and what would later become Opinion Zero. I learned to live on eggs, potatoes, cheap beer, second-hand bong hits and almost no job at all, ever. We played music all the time, and went to shows and parties. All of them! It was in this continuous stream of parties that the acquaintances were formed that gave birth to the drunkest band I ever played in: Opinion Zero.
I feel that it’s not simple vanity that gives me the license to equate the band’s bio with my own, as it was in large part my own delusions that drove the creative content of O.Z.. But, not all of it and that is mostly why it survived for the length of time it did and surely why it enjoyed the measure of popularity it received.
Opinion Zero was a cynical conception of the powerlessness of the common man over his own destiny. I was obsessed by a conspiratorial world-view, and most of my lyrical output was driven by this notion. There was a certain amount of pride I took in my ability to insert an academic vocabulary into simple rhymes and the only thing I really overlooked (besides actually attending academia) was space between words for the singer to breathe. The chasm between the topics in my songs and reality may have been wide, indeed, but I really liked those crazy word arrangements. That is poetic license, motherfucker.
Opinion Zero was a party band, it turned out, and we were popular fare at the continuous series of house parties that made up the scene in Tucson from late ’85 through ’88. It was an incredibly permissive time in Tucson towards public (and underage) drinking and loud noise in the University area. Most of those parties with a hundred or more people were never broken up. And most of the bands (usually 3 per gig) played their entire sets.
Our group obsession, however, was to TOUR. The dream of legitimizing our efforts with a tour was overwhelming and we actually put all our energy into what would turn out to be 3 out of town dates and a blown engine in the middle of agricultural California. I’ll never forget the phone call to my Dad for the $1000 it took to get ourselves and our equipment home on a Greyhound bus. We got home and all had to live at a warehouse called Dodajk in a freezer locker ‘till we could get re-established. The best show we ever played - we never played. There a 10 band gig at the Farm in San Francisco and we weren’t on the bill and though no one had ever heard of us we sold out of all of T-shirts and tapes in the lobby. Without that we never could’ve afforded the speed that kept us up the entire trip.
That was the band that was. We all did eventually end up going our own ways. Most of us had multiple other band projects and some of us had trouble letting go of the lifestyle in the interest of health and sanity. But most of us survived and had a damn good time doing it.
John Henkel - guitar & bass
released March 4, 2010
John Henkel - guitar & bass
Sam (Zero) Preston - vocals
Mike (Psychic) Gray - guitar
Mike (Rambo) Piek - drums
Dean Miles - drums
Doug Hand - drums
& Slug Useless - bass
Deloy Samuel Preston III “SAM ZERO” - 1965-1996
Cover art by Stevo Cide
CD Jacket Layout & Design by Dennis McKeown
Digitized and Remixed by Slug Useless
at Disillusioned Studios - 2010, Seattle, WA
STORM und STRESS:
Originally released on cassette tape
“Storm und Stress”
recorded at the Sound Factory,
February 1987 - Tucson, Arizona
Produced by Dr. Blood
Recorded at David Slutes’ House,
1988 - Tucson, Arizona
Tracks used for 7” vinyl compilations:
“Noise from Nowhere - The Last Roundup”
Recorded & Engineered by David Slutes
RV’s HOUSE RECORDINGS:
Recorded in the Fall of 1986 - Tucson, Arizona
Engineered & Mixed by Bob Bloodspasm
Disillusion Music Label started out in 1987 as Disillusion Records and was brought back in 2008 by Slug Useless. It is the
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