Ezra Titus

1966 – 2009


In 1992, I played guitar for a NewYork, thrash-metal band, “Les Sex Dogs”. We had a solid rhythm section. I’d even written a few good songs, like “Fly With the Devil”, and “Nightmare”. Helmut, our singer had a great look for metal, but his singing just sucked. It sucked to the point at which no one even had to say it. We all knew nothing could be done. But I was happy to play guitar for drunk girls in condemned buildings.


Ghila was a classical tuba student from Taiwan. He weighed 345 pounds and had six-foot long, dry rope-like black hair that looked just like a huge halloween witch’s wig. He had a nose piercing through which was threaded a large steel marijuana leaf. It was always infected but he refused to take it out. His teeth stuck out of his face in every direction. A fat ass in huge black jeans, combat boots, acne and a thick, filthy black head-band topped it all off. Always in black, he looked like a mad sumo wrestler from a post-nuclear holocaust movie. He smelled like spare-ribs, and he used to get angry if we didn’t stop for food when we said we were going to.


If he didn’t perform well at each tuba recital, he’d lose his scholarship. Then he’d have to go back to Taiwan where he’d have to join the military, as was mandatory for men his age. As fat as he was, he’d have been nothing but a whipping boy in the Taiwanese army. In fact, he told us that he might be killed. Still, he wanted to hang out with us and play metal.


Hank, the drummer, had long, flat hair like me. We were both thin, with leather jackets and those black, concert t-shirts. We couldn’t take each other seriously unless we were looking at each other on stage. Ghila looked so ridiculous, one couldn’t effectively listen to him, except on the phone. So, Hank and I made most of the decisions.


Nevertheless, Hank secretly began contacting Ghila, the bassist. They wanted to replace Helmut. They plotted at Ghila’s apartment in Harlem and, eventually, came downtown to tell me the plan. They pulled up to the coffee shop in Diane Sawyer’s Mercedes. Hank was her chauffer and we used the car every night. Usually, Hank and I would go to Harlem and get Ghila. Then we’d get some Chinese food and Hank would sell some bags on the lower East side. I even had my own setting programmed into the seat-position computer.


At any rate, they wanted to keep Helmut while we adverstised for a female singer Hank thought we’d get signed if we had a hot girl who could actually sing. I had to agree.


When Helmut found out, he pushed me on the way out of the rehearsal space. He never forgave us.


So many girls responded to our ad in the Village Voice, we realized it would take weeks to give each one a fifteen minute audition. We decided that Hank, Ghila and I would spend the night in a bagel place, drinking beer. The girls would have to show up in person with a tape. I felt like Otto Preminger. Each girl tried to make a good impression as she sat down and gave us a cassette. When a new girl would arrive, Ghila would politiely see the last applicant out. In between girls, Hank said, “Let’s keep it moving. Diane’s going to the opera tonight.”. We all laughed.


That night, Ghila and I got out of the Mercedes in front of CBS, where Hank had to pick up Diane. “Thank God”, said a business woman coming out of the door, “Marines”.


We decided to hire three of the female singers. They were all pretty, too. Of course, it didn’t work out and, finally, only a girl named Marla stayed. She had beautiful, straight, red hair, a gentle face, and a good body for being on stage. Hank and I were getting high one night, laughing about how Marla’s beauty, contrasted with Ghila’s monster-look might somehow be like a tragic oriental drama: “The Princess and the Dragon”. We laughed so hard, we almost crashed Diane’s car.


After a few months, we’d changed the name of the band to “Infinity” and Marla would only work with me outside rehearsal. She was scared of Hank who, even by his own admission, was a potential serial killer. And, Ghila…. well, he lived all the way up in Harlem. So Marla and I worked all night at my apartment, writing songs, which was nice. Finally, it was time to make a demo-tape.


The recording studio was upstate, so we all piled into Hank’s serial killer van. As soon as we hit the thruway, Ghila became irritable and said, “We must stop for food. I am hungry”. When he talked about food, it always sounded very important. Hank, smiling sadistically, said, “Wait until we’re upstate”.


“How far is upstate?”, Ghila demanded. After about a half hour, he began to complain. Marla looked uncomfortable. I was too. There were no actual seats in the back of the van and we’d let Ghila sit in the front.


When Hank finally stopped at the hotel we’d booked, Ghila pranced toward the attached diner, singing, “To go!, to go!”, like a happy, black-clad Santa. Marla insisted on her own room. Fred was staying with a girl nearby, so I roomed with Ghila. He brought back hero sandwiches and ordered pizza. He offered me a slice but I wanted to hit the strip joint next door (which was the reason I’d demanded that particular hotel in the first place). Thinking it would be entertaining to bring Ghila, I tried to persuade the evil samurai king to join me. He said he was eating and that if I wouldn’t eat with him, I should leave. After I kept insisting, he finally agreed go to “Rusty’s Whorehouse”, or whatever it was called.


Ghila sat down angrily, at the edge of the stage. I bought him a coke. The stripper stood in front of Ghila. I told him to give her a dollar. He said “No”. So, I gave him a dollar to give to this girl in blue panties and high heels. She had silk, chestnut hair, long, red fingernails, and legs that were more interesting to me than anything else on earth. She knelt down in fron of Ghila and said, “Hi cutie!”. He looked irritated. She stood up, dropped her panties, spun them around her foot and hit Ghila in the face with them. A piece of cheese fell out of his mouth and he said he wanted to leave.


I returned to the hotel room, drunk, around eight hours later. Ghila yelled at me for turning on the light. There were pizza boxes and hero bags everywhere.


“Jesus!”, I said. “Dude!”


He scowled and covered his face with the pillow. I turned off the light and laid down. I lit up a cigarette and turned on the TV, quietly. Ghila popped up out of the blankets.“You are smoking!”


“Yeah!”, I said, “I like smoking”. He implored me to stop, and to turn off the TV.


I was over-stimulated. I didn’t really want to sleep. I tried, but he started snoring. It sounded like a dinosaur screaming in a primieval jungle. After a few minutes, giggling, I made a short noise to jar him. “Huh!”. He stopped snoring without fully waking. I started feeling a little tired. Then, it started again… “Heeaaaaaah!”. This time, I started laughing out loud and threw my sneaker at him. He woke up. He was really mad now.


“Okay, okay”, I said, “I’m sorry”. He quickly went back to sleep and the plaintive cry of that snore must’ve cut through the whole hotel. He woke up immediately when I lit a cigarette. So, I spent the night hanging out near the soda machine in the parking lot, getting high and thinking about asking that girl at Rusty’s if she wanted to go to the movies.


At around dawn, I went inside the room to take a shower. When I got out into the bedroom, I stepped in cheese. Ghila was awake. He gazed at me weirdly, and started farting. The way he was staring at me, I knew it was important. And he kept on farting. Just when it seemed he had stopped, he would start again.


“Dude!”, I yelled.  He put his head back, and made an even worse sound, like he was trying to shit the bed out of his body. I cringed, and locked myself back into the bathroom.


“Dude!”, I shouted through the wall. “It is morning!”


He bellowed, angrily; “Morning time for farting!”.


Hank arrived shortly after, thank God.  Before we left for the studio, I moved to another room.


We played as well as we always did. Everything sounded cool. At about 7:30 that evening, we went back to the hotel. I was happy. I was falling asleep with the TV on, in a haze. Then, I heard him in a room on the floor below me to the right. “Heeeeeaaaaaaaah!” But, now he was far away…


“Far away”, I thought.