Today’s guest poster, Travis Nichols, is the author of Punk Rock Ettiquette, which we are giving away! To win, give us three of your best musical biography moments in the comments to today’s thread. We’ll keep it open til Monday’s page goes up, and decide the winner Monday afternoon.

Excerpts from Broken Strings, Broken Hearts: A Nonexistent Memoir in Protracted Lists by Travis Nichols

7) Back seat border disputes are temporarily set aside when my sister and I draw faces on our feet and sing to them. Be My Little Baby by The Ronettes and Stay up Late by Talking Heads are naturally the songs of choice for this act.

8) My godbrother Kris and I are at my grandparents’ house. We build a fort behind a big chair in the den and listen to Kris’s Debbie Gibson Tape. It’s radical. I mean, she’s no Gloria (from Kids Incorporated), but she’s really good. We found a box of my grandmother’s costume jewelry and we have five or more earrings clipped on each of our ears. My grandfather comes in to call us over for lunch and sees us adorned with assorted fake rubies and pearls and charms. He takes a deep breath and grumbles, “Aw, dammit.”

11) I’m spending the afternoon with my friend Matthew. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for NES is freaking impossible. His mom takes us to Target. I buy my first album with my own money—Def Leppard’s Hysteria on cassette. I listen and flip, listen and flip, listen and flip. I get little speakers that plug into my Walkman and attach them to my bike’s handlebars and race around the neighborhood.

A wild ride, over stony ground / Such a lust for life, the circus comes to town / We are the hungry ones, on a lightning raid / Just like a river runs, like a fire needs flame / I burn for you.*

12) My mom won’t let me go to the Poison concert. I will never forgive her.

14) Pee-Wee’s Playhouse just ended. I switch over to MTV. A guy in a striped t-shirt is screaming a bunch of gibberish. His hair is in his eyes. Bored cheerleaders with anarchy symbols move in slow motion. Two minutes later, it ends, and my dad looks up from his newspaper. “That was terrible.” I notice that his expression is identical to his I-smell-a-dog-fart look. I decide to grow my hair out. And get a guitar. Immediately.

15) My neighbor Michael and I form a band called Yahoo for Pablo and write a bunch of coded songs about people from school. At a sandwich shop nearby, there’s a back wall display of advice cassettes for teens. Pregnancy, drugs, etc. The idea is that you can take a tape that you need, listen to it, be healed, and return the tape. We take a bunch and record our songs on one of them, leaving little bits of the original audio throughout. Between the first and second song, a voice says, “There are two gangs at my school. Three, if you count the girls’ gang. I’m thinking about joining a gang…”

18) Choking Ahogo is scheduled to play at my girlfriend Rebecca’s house. It always has this nice peppery smell. In the afternoon, I sit on her living room floor and write two songs. “River City Ransom” – about video game addiction, and “My Gay Friend” – about Tony. Tony isn’t gay. Dustin learns the bass parts to the songs and we set up. Our friends arrive, and Tony sits on the bass amp while we play. He loves the song. There’s an American flag hanging behind us, and I am so full of joy that I want to play forever, but we only have nine songs, and none of them are over two and a half minutes long.

21) I’m at my web design job at a computer lab in the engineering department at my college. I’m covertly burning CDs and printing sleeves for the first Needies release. I have a nose ring. 95% of the bands I listen to are local bands and friends. I’m probably going to get a deal with Vagrant or Saddle Creek soon.

25) The Needies are on tour. Shaun and I have multiple sets of complimenting outfits. Our Albuquerque show at a record store / comic shop is canceled the day of because of landlord issues, but the shop owner gives us $90 and says he might be able to find us another show for the day after (which is open because of a Santa Fe show that never materialized). We hear on the radio that some friends of ours, Weapons of Mass Destruction, are playing at a bar downtown. We get there, but we must’ve heard wrong, because they’re not on the bill. We stay and watch The Potty Mouth Sherry’s. We talk to them after and they hook us up with a house show the following night. It’s amazing. Scott makes a blender full of hummus with all sorts of weird stuff in it. Like corn. What? I only break two strings during our set. I meet Lindsay after the show and we buy singles (cigarettes) at a laundromat and hang out all night. Touring is the best thing in the world, and Albuquerque is the best city in America.

29) I’m at BEA in LA to promote Punk Rock Etiquette. I’m led around by Colleen, who orders an appetizer, drink, AND dessert at dinner the first night I’m there. It’s a company policy to make authors not feel awkward about ordering. She explains the policy as well as exercising it, which I think is fantastic. Similarly, she tells me that if there was bread for the table, she would have taken the first piece. But it’s Japanese food. At my signing, I’m two seats down from Henry Winkler, and it’s the second time in my life I’ve seen him but not spoken to him. A teenage girl tells me about the band she’s trying to form with her sister and friend. They’re my favorite band of all time.

* Lyrics to Animal by Def Leppard. Respectfully and lovingly used without permission.