Saturday, April 28, 2012

Gifts from Paul Hatch

My youngest son is Tydus.

He is 20 years old, goes to college in Iowa, and secretly dreams of being a Hip Hop God.

However, over the last year, he has found it in himself to experiment musically, and sometimes while home on breaks, I find him digging through my music.

Growing up during the 60's, I rebelled against my mothers Hippie music.

Other than Bob Dylan, all the music from that period made/makes me ill.

Klecko didn't find his sound...

Klecko wasn't liberated until the mid to late 70's when he discovered punk rock.

The Sex Pistols, Ramone's, Iggy Pop and Blondie.....

They were the JACKPOT I had waited for my entire life.

At 16 years old, I spent an entire autumn standing in a convenience store parking lot, smoking cigarettes, and wearing a Walkman than was set on continuous loop to David Bowie's Hero's album.

Girls would pass by, and I would talk to them thinking I was all cool, as if Bowie wrote that album as my own personal soundtrack.

Well this morning, after I finished working out, I exited the gym and went next door to Cheapo Records to find discs from my past. Discs that I thought my son would like.

As I browsed, I ran into Husker Du (Candy Apple Grey).

Immediately I picked it up and smiled warmly.

Husker Du came from the Twin Cities, like so many of the premiere mid 80's punk / new wave bands.

I'll bet it was 1984 or 85 when that album was released.

I first heard it at Sherman's Bakery.

This was my first official baking job where I actually was more than a pot scrubber.

With that said, during this period, I was what the industry fondly refers to as a "Roll Mole".

This means I pretty much, just worked the bench.

All the guys who worked there were older than me.

All the guys that worked there had personalities that were loud, colorful and in my 30 year career, I don't know if I ever saw a group of bakers that was so opinionated.

These guys loved each other, but they fought like step brothers.

I have fond memories of this crew, but If I were Dorothy boarding that balloon back to Kansas, you know where she says her good byes.......

My "Scare Crow", or the guy I ended up missing the most was Paul Hatch.

Paul wasn't necessarily a punk rocker, he knew every genre of music, and he introduced me to so many things.

In some ways he was the crews dark horse because not only was he more intelligent than anybody who worked there, management included, but he was an outsider.

Interlopers are never welcome in kitchens or bake shops, at least not at for awhile, and Paul I assume knew that, but none the less he'd be scaling French baguettes and then he'd scream out....

"I danced with Patty Smith, in Detroit....on the dance floor!"

Then he would get a huge grin knowing how much these types of comments rubbed his colleagues raw.

When you work in the Food Industry, music is everything.

The bands you liked were almost like a badge that signified who you were.

All the men that worked there were so much more proficient than I was, and certainly more confident, and although most of the people who worked there liked me......

It was Paul Hatch who slowed down and looked over his shoulder to make sure I didn't fall too far behind.

I remember being that I wasn't mechanically inclined back then, the automated parts of baking intimidated me.

I did every thing I could to take the hard, crappy-grunt jobs, anything...just as long as I didn't have to figure out some of the equipment.

Paul noticed this, asked me about it, and I made up some feeble lie.

I still remember, like it was yesterday, how he told me not to be such a pussy, and them he forced me to learn everything about the French line, from mixing the dough to baking it off.

He even made it possible for me to bake off the French baguettes one night.

That meant I was the last person there, and this was the first time in my life I had the chance to work by myself.

I felt closing the bakery might have been the biggest responsibility I had ever had!

I was terrified, I was thrilled.

After that night, my life changed, I attacked machines, automated concepts and opportunity as well.

This would have never-ever-ever happened, in fact...I might not have stuck it out if it wasn't for Paul Hatch, and I don't know if I've ever told him that.

As time marched on....Paul turned me on to Joe Jackson's "Look Sharp" album, This is Big Audio Dynamite....and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

On one album Cave does nothing but covers, and one of these cuts was Johnny Cash's Wanted Man.

O-M-G.....the tempo and tension in that song builds and builds, and about the time Nick would scream.......

"Wanted man in the Minnesota woods", Paul would be frothing at the mouth and going into convulsions LOL.

So now that I look back at my life, and when I think how I really didn't have a father, or strong male presence during my formative years, I don't know if its ironic, but I do think it's worth noting, that the music that is most important to me, the music that represents who I have was given to me by a guy who danced with Patti Smith, in Detroit....on the dance floor.


  1. The greatest virtue is gratitude. It helps YOU more than any other good thing. Sweet!

  2. Beautiful essay. I know Paul and you did him proud! Thanks for writing this. ks