By Devon Wendell
It would be wonderful to grab “Doc” by the neck and toss his fucking ass in front of a Los Angeles Rapid Transit bus and never look back. It might be the most beautiful and honest contribution to art that I could make at this point. I created the ruthless bastard so I can easily rub him out with one broad brush stroke.
John Lee Hooker gave me the nickname “Doc” many years ago because he simply couldn’t remember my real name and I then designed this entire persona out of an unhealthy mixture of boredom and terror. The character traits root back to my 3 years of intense acting classes at NYU. My then acting instructor Maggie took one look at me before my first class and said “You’re very shy. If you learn this craft you can go anywhere. You can be a better musician, performer, and be more outgoing than someone who isn’t shy”. No shit?
That was exactly what this young emotional cripple desperately needed to hear and she was right, or so I thought. It was an exciting prospect that I could become this well oiled and perfectly orchestrated fraud; one of the many prismatically painted animals running around New York City, manically butchering away at every situation involving human contact. And no more fear at all, or so I thought. I could follow the illusion as far as it could take me and I did just that.
One thing I hadn’t bargained for was the inability to idealize or romanticize any fantasies, disguises, or bullshit. This started to sink in when I was approaching 40 a few years ago. Much of it also has to do with being a sober alcoholic/addict and being further away from the external poisons. The paint chipped away from the brightly shinning beast and at the core of it all was me, “Devon” and a few naked and lingering insecurities which I had to let go of or they would’ve killed me without mercy. It all happened at just the right time when it was getting harder to distinguish “Devon” from “Doc”.
The only problem I’m facing now is that there are certain aspects of the “Doc” character which I love but he’s looking more and more like some vile, malicious ghost or cigarette ashes on some half broken, faded- blue glass ashtray.
So as I write the lyrics for an upcoming album that I can’t afford to record in a dead music industry; my lyrics are centered on a most bloody and violent murder of someone who never truly got what was promised by that acting teacher 22 years ago. Much of what was promised I could never use anyway. But whether I’m “Doc” or “Devon”, I’ll never be like most of the friends that I grew up with that now have successful jobs, 2.6 children and singing them low-down cul-de-sac blues in the crotches of some dreadful Jersey suburbs. And we can both live with that just fine.