The Baby from 1996 and the Nitrogen Cycle

ni·tro·gen cy·cle


  1. the series of processes by which nitrogen and its compounds are interconverted in the environment and in living organisms, including nitrogen fixation and decomposition.


About two weeks ago, I attended Phoenix Ska Punk Bowling. It is a great event that brings together a ton of rad local acts and some outta-towners.  It took place at Time Out Lounge and Yucca Taproom, so it was super easy to catch pretty much all of the acts, albeit a workout for my fat ass.  I was chillen with my buddy Mark from Utah, who flew in two years ago to catch it with me last time. He and I were there from about 15:30 to 01:00.  I’m 38 now and never go out, so it felt like I was dreaming of an earlier time when I did this music shit for a living.

The incident that slapped me awake from the dream was a simple encounter with a baby from 1996.  The baby’s name is Jakob Nowell.  I remembered a pic of him on my CD that was playing in my Chevy S-10 in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico.  Although the baby was from 1996 the picture ripped through my consciousness circa 1999 in Mexico.  All my years are pretty blurry and this year was no exception due to my at the time mezcal induced consciousness.  I remember distinctly getting to the worm, and spitting it out on the sand as the baby’s father played reggae music.  I wish I would have eaten the worm because it would have made for a better story now. Don’t worry, Bart “Nixon” Birks came to the rescue and retrieved the discarded worm from the sand and ingested it.  Nixon was always good to go when it was time to get wacky.  I digress…  Here’s a picture of the baby:

Jakob Nowell

So, where were we.  Oh yes the baby from ’96 he’s about 21 years old now.  Is it 2016?  Yes we’re back in Tempe at the fest.  So Mark and I are sitting on the curb between sets outside, talking with crusty punks.  There’s this shiny-ass, black touring van parked to our north.  There he is, the baby from 1996. He’s gathered a crowd because his father was a legend and taken from us all too soon.  I approach him apprehensively because I’m sure he’s been told he looks and sounds like his father many times.  I personally think he looks more like his mother and sounds like his father but what the fuck do I know?  I greeted him and let him know that felt like I was closer to the reaper having seen him.  I let him know that the I’ve worked with his father’s homie Miguel when I used to play the game.

To add legitimacy, I mentioned an old condo that his father used to own pre-mortem that his mother now owns.  We did production there with it’s current inhabitant Miguel, in 2004.  He immediately perked up and said, “we call it the compound”.  I asked if I could take a picture with him to make sure that the phantom showed up on film…there I go again, it’s 2016,  I meant show up on binary coding.  He was totally chill and let me take a pic with him.  He showed up on binary!

Jakob Nowell


I left him alone, because I remember the road.  I am a genuinely friendly person, but there’s nothing new under the sun, including stories and questions directed at me, so sometimes you just want to be left the fuck alone.  You have to drive all day/night to get to a venue, sit there 5-6 hrs, play for 30-60 minutes, party, then fucking do it again.

If you hadn’t noticed, my old band was highly influenced by the baby’s father and my music career was intertwined with echos of his legacy.  In 2002 we went on tour with Slightly Stoopid.  I remember talking with Miles about recording with Miguel and weird-ass shit that went down in Long Beach.  He told me a story how the baby’s father got an advance from Jason Flom to put a demo together, and how the advance was spent on partying.   Flom got a demo created with a 4 track titled Robbin’ The Hood. It was a troll. hahaha He didn’t understand it and passed on signing the band.  In 2002 he understood and signed us.  In 2004, we recorded with Miguel.  I was awestruck being in the presence of royalty.  I saw pictures of the baby’s his father on the mantel, yet here he was in the flesh playing gigs in Tempe, AZ in 2016.

Brad Nowell

Brad Nowell


And so it goes.

Sorry, didn’t mean to plagiarize. Reflecting on that evening, I remember having a great time. Why do I have this eerie feeling that in the grand scheme of the universe, I am exponentially closer to being plant food than the baby from 1996?