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Monday, November 12, 2012

My Life With Old Skull

When I was about 10 years old, my older brother Ben, who got me into bands like Minor Threat and The Dead Kennedy's, turned me on to a band called Old Skull. This was around the time they released there 2nd album CIA Drug Fest. At the time their 1st album Get Outta school was released, the members of Old Skull where between the ages of 8 and 10. I was immediately drawn to them. I did not care that they couldn't play there instruments. I knew that didn't matter. As a very rebellious child I thought their could be nothing cooler than having a punk band at such an early age. a few years later, my brother made some random decision to move to Madison Wisconsin. a couple weeks after his big move (he was 16 by the way) I received a call from him, "hey I made some cool new friends out here. JP and Jamie Toulon. Their brothers and they where in Old Skull.". I was pretty psyched. I had learned everything I wanted to know about them. I had learned that they where put together by their father Vern Toulon with a little help from Mojo Nixon.
After Madison got old, Ben and JP decided to move to NYC and be squatters together. Train hopping was involved as well somewhere within these years. Jamie ended up moving to NYC sometime in the mix as well. JP was 15 when I met him, I was 13 I think. He was like Elvis to me. An Icon. We ended up becoming good pals during the times that Ben would bring him up to visit. Mainly we just watched a lot of television together and would crack jokes. BB guns where a big part of our relationship as well. Jamie and I never got to close. He was a serious loner in most peoples eyes.
JP and Jamie's father had died of a heroin overdose at sometime or another. Their mother, hit by a train. This was probably a big factor  in why they fell into deep dark drug addictions. My brother became a big part of that as well. Sometime, somewhere down the road I had joined them. Ben was not supportive of my decision but at times he was forced to overlook that. There I was, going on dope runs with my childhood heroes. I thought I was bad until I saw JP do things like stick a syringe in his neck because all the veins in his arms had collapsed or shoot 10 bags at once. I am not calling myself a saint. I would constantly go on benders, run out of money, get sick, repeat. it turned into a scheduled agenda. I'll spare the real gory details.
To make a long story short, my brother who was doing quite well had one of his little slips about 3 years back. He was found dead on a bathroom floor. One year later JP died of a speedball overdose (cocaine and heroin mix). One year after that, Jamie hanged himself. But no matter how skeezy JP was, everybody loved him. He was one of the funniest and most charismatic people I have ever known. I haven't even thought of doing hard drugs ever since my brother died. He left behind a beautiful little girl named Adelaide, she to me is better than any drug ever created. JP left behind a beautiful son named Aiden, who is the same age as my niece. My brother played a huge role in making me the man I am today and I am extremely thankful for that. I always count my blessings and I still think Old Skull is fucking awesome!
JP Toulon
Oh yeah another thing. I went to the Old Skull reunion at CBGB's. JP dedicated the song Pizza Man to me. They where all really good at playing their instruments which was weird. It was pretty funny.
JP Toulon (around the time I met him)
My Brother Ben
Jamie Toulon



A personal favorite

6 comments:

  1. Correction: A solid answer was never given as to how Vern died. He was found in the attic of a woman's house in Madison.

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  2. There's a 2010 interview with Jamie on WFMU's Dusty Show here:
    http://wfmu.org/flashplayer.php?version=2&show=37076&archive=63095

    Jamie and I got pretty tight in Madison and then NY, but that was before he got really strung out. Only saw him once after that, at that last show at CB's. I have a bunch of pictures from that, let me know if you want them. Mostly of the set, but a few of you & Ben, too.

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  3. I remember seeing old skull with laughing hyenas and sonic youth in '89 at the ritz..recall them playing about an hour before next band because they were not allowed any later..
    Jerseydinerguy

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  4. OMG, this was so sad to see, randomly googling on a Friday afternoon. I was friends-of-friends with these two and used to party with them and the Scott brothers, for a hot minute there in high school. That was before everyone is Madison got into the dope thing, though...

    Thanks for the photos and the memories. I wonder if we ever met before I got outta town?

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  5. Is anyone here familiar with the term; "Targeted Individuals"? The US has been secretly liquidating dissidents for decades. How it is done is now published all over the internet. You would think the punk rock community would be aware of this?

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  6. I grew up in Madison WI. I was basically the same age as all as these guys and liked punk music and hung on state street. I stayed at JP's place a few times. this was 1993. I knew they were in a band or something but did not know and they did not gloat about the music. We would watch obscure films like eraser head and for the most part were sober. Interestingly I looked this band up and found this post. I remember talking to Ben at length. He was a nice person to talk to. A few months later I entered highschool shaved the Mohawk and got into sports and have forgotten this until now for the most part. My email is javingibson@yahoo.com if anyone has any inquiries or photos from '92-'93 madison time. since I am probably the only one left alive it is strange to find these people are all dead. I was the crazy one. life is fucked up that way.

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