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OFF the wall illustrated tribute to the king of pop

J Chris Campbell- - - - - - - - - - - 27

Jim Mafood- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20

Gregory Dickens - - - - - - - - - - - 24

Brad McGinty- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4

Adrew Davis- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 32

Jude Killory- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 29

Juan Díaz-Faes Díaz - - - - - - - - - 1

Michael LaRiccia- - - - - - - - - - - 33

Scott Elingburg- - - - - - - - - - - - - 21

Rob Patterson- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 34

Justin Gamon- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20

Andy Runton- - - - - - - - - - -

Mike Gowan - - - - - - - - - - - - - 31

Ben Towle- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8

Ashley Holt- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cover

Rob Ullman- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10

Jason Horn- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 31

Taylor Vandiver- - - - - - - - - - - - - 38

Josh Latta- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9

Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig- - - - - 11

jc hr is c a m p b e l l . c o m h e y g r e g o r y. c o m

a n d r e w p d a vis . b l o g sp ot . com ju a nd ia z fa e s . t u m b lr. com

s il e nc e is o ve r r a t e d . b log sp ot . com w e ir d o t o y s . c o m o z m a c hine . c o m

t hr d g l l . b l o g s p o t . com

n e w ja s o n . l ive jo u r na l. com lattaland.com

4 0 ozcomi cs.com

bradmcgi nty.com

j u dek i l l .typepad.com mi chael l ari cci a.com rati ofar m.com

andyru nton.com

Title Page

benzi l l a.com

atombombbi k i ni .com tayl or vdesi gns.com

sal l y-bl oodbath.l i vej ou r nal .com

Text and illustrations of Off The Wall are copyright 2009 of thier respective creators. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without the express written permission of the copyright holders. Names, characters, places and incidents featured in this publication are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously or in parody. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, institutions, or locales, without satiric intent, is coincidental. Thank you MJ. WAP058

WIDE AWAKE PRESS • POST OFFICE BOX 14234 • GREENVILLE SC 29610 www. wid e a wak epress.com

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Juan Díaz-Faes Díaz

Brad McGinty

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Brad McGinty

Brad McGinty

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Brad McGinty

Brad McGinty

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Brad McGinty

Ben Towle

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Josh Latta

Rob Ullman

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Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

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Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

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Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig

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Pat Lewis

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Jim Mafood

Justin Gammon

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Live! One Night Only!

The Greatest Band on Earth! by Scott D. Elingburg

a white baseball batting glove on his left hand.

Scott Elingburg

My brother wore

like a fiend, occasionally changing the beat up mid-song. You know, to keep it interesting and rocking. We only gave one concert and we only performed three 10 minute sets. And we kicked ass. Even though we called ourselves U2, we each wore a piece of garb that Michael Jackson wore at various points in his career. I wore my recently acquired white-with-black-rim fedora that Jackson wore in the Smooth Criminal video. I let Stephen wear my red and black pleather jacket with the zippers on the front like the kind Jackson wore in the Beat It video. And my brother wore a white baseball batting glove on his left hand. It was the closest thing we could find to a white, bejeweled glove like the one Jackson wore onstage. We were not stupid enough to call ourselves The Michael Jackson band. We considered it for a split second (at my suggestion, of course) but quickly realized that, as a fledgling band, we could not hope to compete with that amount of talent or superstardom. So the next logical band name (for me anyway) was to go with U2, a popular

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I was in a band once. We called ourselves U2. It was a three-person band: me, my younger brother, and my friend Stephen. Stephen objected to our name and insisted that we be called The Traveling Banjo Boys. I thought that was a stupid idea for a name because we didn’t have a banjo player. And that name didn’t sound cool at all. We only gave one concert and it was in the living room of the house I grew up in. There were four people in attendance, my mom and dad and Stephen’s mom and dad. They thought we were awesome. We thought we were awesome. There was a lot of awesomeness that night. I played a Casio keyboard, my younger brother played the “electric guitar,” and we made Stephen be the drummer. We gave Stephen two sticks from outside and told him to beat on anything he could find. My brother randomly picked some strings on the battery-powered guitar and would pluck them and then make excessive use of the whammy bar. I would kick a mad, pre-programmed beat from the keyboard (something like Bossa Nova or Waltz) and then hammer the keys

A modern day cops-and-robbers saga where I got to play out my fantasy of being a criminal who was not only smooth, but could dance his way out of the hands of the police if necessary.

Scott Elingburg 22

band at the time, but still not quite in the realm of Michael Jackson. U2 and Michael Jackson were the only artists I really cared about at the time of our by-invitation-only concert performance. Sure I was marginally aware of other bands that my sister pumped from her plastic off-brand record player. Bands like Wham!, Culture Club, and Tears for Fears and artists like Madonna, Debbie Gibson, and New Kids on the Block regularly crept into our small upstairs bedrooms. I liked hearing these bands but they felt inadequate and unsubstantial to my growing musical appetite, kind of like eating a jar marshmallow fluff and calling it dinner. I needed some music I could claim as my own; some music to help me establish my own cool adolescent identity. So, I finagled a trip to the mall out of my mom. There the ridiculously commercial music store Musicland awaited me with its rows and rows of cassette and VHS tapes. A few aisles in the middle of the store were showcasing what were called “compact disks” at the time. These were ridiculously overpriced and would soon to fade into oblivion because they were so expensive—at least that’s what my mom said. But I didn’t bother with anything past

the first ten feet of the store; on the left front wall were the vertical rows and rows of cheaply priced cassette singles. And they beckoned for my money. I had $7 from various lame chores I completed around the house; just enough for two cassette singles. I already knew I was after Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal single for obvious reasons. The song was insanely tight rhythmically (an element I can identify now, in my older, wiser years, but as a kid I just knew that it rocked my face off), the video was killer (especially the part where he leans beyond gravity’s reach), and, honestly, who didn’t want to be a smooth criminal? Who didn’t relish the idea of dancing their way into a life of kick-ass crime, wearing a loose-fitting white suit with highwater pants, white socks, black shoes, and, of course, that awesome, awesome fedora. Smooth Criminal was everything a pre-pubescent desired; a modern day cops-and-robbers saga where I got to play out my fantasy of being a criminal who was not only smooth, but could dance his way out of the hands of the police if necessary. I never understood who “Annie” was or what exactly the smooth criminal in the title did to her to make her not okay. That didn’t matter, though. It was all part of the mystique of the song and also part

Scott Elingburg

didn’t even know where to begin. The best I could do was copy his fashion sense with makeshift accessories and force my brother and friend to do the same thing. The last Michael Jackson album I purchased was Dangerous and I spent hours huddled in my room playing Nintendo listening to it on cassette, mesmerized by it. Eventually my musical tastes changed (as did most of the nations’) with the onslaught of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots. Jackson’s cool, dance-pop music was out; angst and flannel were in with me and my friends. It would be cool to say that I never forgot how much I loved Michael Jackson, but (like most of the nation) I did. I want to say Jackson always remained an influence on my life and musical tastes, but that wouldn’t be wholly truthful. He got lost in the rearview, thrown out like I threw away my Dangerous tape and my cassette singles, including “Smooth Criminal.” The pleather, “Beat It” jacket got sold at a yard sale, I sat on my white fedora and crushed it, and the batting glove went back to being just that: a glove to play baseball in. But I did put “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” on a mixtape I made for my wife a year or so ago. And every time we listen to it, I pump it up and mimic playing the groovy keyboard riff in the chorus. So, I guess I never stopped trying to be Michael Jackson; never stopped pretending I could recreate the music he made. I’m missing the outfits now, but I’m still that kid in U2 who wants to be Michael Jackson. That silly part of me just got buried under years of growing up and has only just reemerged recently after the King of Pop, sadly, passed away. And it reemerged after years of neglect to poke me hard in the gut and ask, “Hey wasn’t that fun? Wasn’t it fun being a kid and dancing and singing and having that first brush with music that seemed like it could swallow you up?” Yes, Michael. It was fun. Thank you.

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of the mystique of Jackson’s personality. Some of the lyrics were lost in the ether, as well. I only ever picked up on half of what he sang. Although Alien Ant Farm’s cover of the song brought a great deal of clarity to the lyrical content, I remember thinking that the real lyrics weren’t as good as the ones I thought up in my head. The other cassette single I bought was U2’s song “Desire” off of their Rattle and Hum album. Still a great song and the b-side, “Hallelujah, Here She Comes,” is a superb example of what U2 is capable of when they tone down their bravado. But U2 is only a side note in this tale. This is about our band U2 and how I inflicted my desires to meld the music, look, and performance styles of Michael Jackson with U2 and then forced my younger brother and best friend to perform a concert live onstage, for one night only. Which is pretty dumb when you think about it. We should have just called ourselves the Michael Jackson Band or the Smooth Criminals. But I guess I didn’t because Jackson just seemed that untouchable to me. He was too grandiose and exuberant for me to wrap my mind around completely. I felt like, if I tried hard enough, I could do what U2 did. I was already taking a half-hearted interested in learning the guitar and I could mimic Bono’s vocals pretty well in my bedroom. But Michael Jackson? Hell, I

Gregory Dickens

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Gregory Dickens

Gregory Dickens

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J Chris Campbell

J Chris Campbell

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Jude Killory

Jude Killory

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Jason Horn

Andrew Davis

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Mike LaRiccia

Rob Patterson

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Rob Patterson

Rob Patterson

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Mike Gowan

Taylor Vandiver

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Off The Wall