About Alex

Alex Zander, founder publisher MK ULTRA MAGAZINE and MK Magazine. Also creator of mk ultravixxxens at www.ultravixxxens.com. Currently residing in Chicago USA

Tell us what you’re gonna do tonight, momma, There must be someplace you can go, In the middle of the tall drinks and the drama, There must be someone you know

So close I can taste it

Dad of Water Cat. I love water and hotel pools with giant frog slides are a bonus.

I don’t think I’ve ever kicked off a summer so appropriately. LA GUNS in Rockford is only 10 days away. But first, Memorial Day weAkend, a guest from Terre Haute bringing me heart attack grub followed by a BBQ jam w/ my new guitar

It’s really hard to have a bad day at work when you get to bike this on the way into the city in the morning.

Montrose Beach Pier

Looking at Montrose Beach from the pier

Three hand-seasoned all-beef patties topped with Bistro sauce, parmesan seasoning, three slices of Swiss cheese, grilled onions, Onion Tanglers, and served on a toasted brioche bun.

Two large hand-seasoned, 100% beef hamburger patties, topped with two slices of melted American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion, dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise all on a toasted bakery-style bun.

Guess I lost my way, there were oh-so-many roads. I was living to run and running to live, never worried about paying or even how much I owed. Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time, breaking all of the rules that would bend. I began to find myself searching, searching for shelter again and again.

I recall only waking up once during the night. I slept through the Medved show and Hugh Hewitt was on the box and he annoyed me. I put WTTW World, took another OTC sleep aid and fell back to sleep. The alarm clock next to my bed went off at 530a and I once again slept till alarm time. When I put on WBBM News Radio I was told that it had just stopped raining. It wasn’t forecast to stop raining and after I double checked the radar prepared to bike into the office. It was 64 degrees  cloudy but very pleasant for a 7.5 mile ride. Even as I stopped to take pix and got a 5 min later than usual start I still made it door to door in 40 min. By the time I changed clothes in the restroom I was still the first human in office. It was a nice day at work. Perfect flow of busy. When I left the skyscraper which sits a block away from the lake it was a lot cooler outside and very windy. I would be biking against the wind which makes for a helluva work out. I was a human rubber band by the time I got home. On my mobile there was a call from my dear friend Morgan who lives in Alaska on the island of Sitka. It had been a few months since we spoke and I happened to have been thinking of her earlier in the day. 

It’s Tuesday night. 

Playing in CHEAP TRICKS hometown, Friday night June 1st, 96.7 The Eagle presents “Rock The Dock” at Prairie Street Brewhouse with L.A. Guns. The first of a summer concert series, ON THE DOCK.

After Prongs set with Ashley Darling and Cassie Balazic. All in all a most wonderful day. 

I swear I work as hard when I come home from the office as I do at the office

Wednesday was a really good day. It was confirmed that I got the project I’ve wanted for work and will close out my current contract on June 1. Later that afternoon the great Adam Becvare messaged me that LA GUNS would be playing July 1 in Rockford home of Cheap Trick. I’ve only been to Rockford on 3 occasions. Once I was driving back from New Glarus and the snow as so bad that we had no choice but to stay at a local motel and get up the next day and make the hazardous drive back to the city because the firm I worked for insisted I still come to work. It took 3 hours that morning to make a 90 minute drive and I believe it was the last time I ever ate at a Burger King. That company didn’t even care of someone close to you died, they still expected you to come into the office. There was no working from home in regards to that now defunct organization. 3 months later that company would fold into bankruptcy and as it fell, me being the loyal employee that I am stuck it out to the end. The next two visits to Rockford were leisure and I went to see the massive exhibit Rick’s Picks: A Lifelong Affair With Guitars & Music at Burpee Museum. 5,900-square-foot exhibit which featured not only a vast selection of Rick Nielsen’s famed guitar collection, but also tons of Cheap Trick memorabilia. LA GUNS who I’ve already seen 3 other times outside of Chicago in a year (St. Charles, Joliet and Valparaiso IN) still haven’t landed a gig within Chicago city limits which says a lot about the current state of music promoters here. I will venture again with Newbomb Turk Hoeksema a man that loves good hard rock as much as I do. One of those rare friend you find in adulthood who remains as passionate about rock music as you are in youth. 

That was two bits of good news mid-week and then I got an email from Prong’s Tommy Victor who put me and Ashley on the guest list for their show at the Bottom Lounge the next night. He needed me to run to Trader Joe’s for him. His request: Low salt cashews, almonds. Almond/cashew butter, a couple of veggie protein bars and a loaf of Dave’s bread. The next day I planned to hit Trader Joe’s after work on my way to the venue which meant my bike ride to work and back and then take CTA to the venue was out, and it was a picture perfect weather day.

Thursday it was planned that after work I meet with Heather at Nilly Cafe’. Heather for those who don’t know was the young lady I was in a relationship with for 3.5 yrs and we moved to Chicago from Indianapolis together. She was also in most of those 3 years a very big part of the MK ULTRA team as we slowly made it into what it went onto become. She was as much a part of the magazines success as anybody even though I was the face of it. I recently came across a disc of hundreds of photos of our adventures from the last 18 months of our relationship as I was going through boxes of media for the creation of the book I’m working on. I copied them to a thumb drive for her and we met up for a half and hour chat to catch up and for me to deliver the images. At 4p I had gone into the restroom on my office floor and made the transformation. Nobody in house knows of my alter ego…..yet. I ordered an iced coffee and sat outside putting in my earrings, a skull ring and tried to attach my black iron cross around my neck over my hat. I was having trouble and I heard a ladies voice, “El Diablo.” It was a nickname I hadn’t heard in years,  and in recent years only from Sinderella Pussie of Thrill Kill Kult fame. It was Heather looking like she hadn’t aged since we met. Any baby fat she still had on her once round face was gone. She had become a well sculpted mother, her facial features now defined. Yup, she’s a proud mother of a little girl and I’m happy for her. It was a nice casual  visit and hard to believe that over 20 years have passed since we met. Strange that with all the time that has passed that we are exactly the same in being comfortable in conversation. 30 minutes seemed to fly by. 

Hopefully she gets some laughs from the images. 

I went on my way at 430 and sent Tommy a text that I was at Trader Joe’s. They didn’t have Dave’s bread and luckily he messaged me that he needed some Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread. I managed everything in less than 10 minutes and was on my way to the west loop and the Bottom Lounge. I hadn’t been there in years. I walked in and the entire staff was amazingly friendly. No yelling like security do on the north side at venues such as Metro, The Vic(infamous) and Riviera theater. They shook my hand and took e to the dressing room where I| hung out with the band till sound check. After a nice brief visit I met up with Cassie Balazik, who was shooting the show for MK, out front and we were later joined by Ashley who just like a year ago joined me for a PRONG show.

Between sets I got a chance to talk to Lauren O’Neil the on air personality from Q101 who I met last summer at a CHEAP TRICK concert. She was wearing a very Cheap Trickesque black and white checkered mini-dress that was oh so cool.  I also got a couple of minutes with metal veteran/guitarist Shaun Glass. I saw a few other friends and enjoyed a loud and tight solid 1 hour performance of PRONG who are still at their peak and have released six records in the last six years. Tommy is in top form and Art Cruz is one of the best drummers I’ve ever seen. The crowd was really into it and the room was hot and sweaty by the time the band closed with ‘Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck’. We hung around a bit and I knew I needed to get home and sleep so I could go into work the next day. Ashley called an Uber and I would ride as far as the Red Line with her. On the way out I ran into Fred who I haven’t seen in a coons age and it was really nice to run into him. He also had to get up for work. I was exhausted and thought over and over about how I used to do this 5 out of 7 nights a week and go till the sun came up.

The Red Line at 10PM was a crowded nightmare at best but I made it home and into bed by 11PM and slept great now 4 nights in a row. Friday was very busy at work and very few people were in the office. Early in the morning I heard back from Captain Jack at 96.7 FM in Rockford that he’d put me on the guest list for the LA GUNS show. It was another good day. I kinda wanted to get a bottle of Irish whisky and toast my new career move with a friend but opted for pizza at the last minute. This was only the second time this year I’ve had pizza and this had to be Jets.

I did a bunch of MK ULTRA online updates and watched the season finale of Gotham. My plan was to enjoy a quiet low key weekend. Life is about to get very busy starting next week.  I woke up, had coffee and watched ‘American Swing’  a 2008 documentary about the 1970s phenomenon of swinging at Plato’s Retreat in New York City. (not one person in the 1 hr 21 minute doc looked anywhere near as good as the image below)

It’s now just before noon on Saturday. I’m full of pizza and coffee. It’s chilly out but I’m taking the bike out.




Now you`re just a memory, don`t mean nothing more to me. A photo among others of my old friends and my lovers. And the winter is gone, a new summer`s coming on. A new summer´s coming on for you as well somewhere Rosalita.

Watercat in the act

Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the thaw out

So I’ve decided to name the music project/collaboration LEMMON714 and also chose an old power pop Romantics-meets-The Kinks tune I wrote in 1983 as the b-side titled “She Looks So Good” and give it a Jesus and Mary Chain-meets-Love and Rockets vibe. If all goes well the 45 rpm of “The Redhead on the Red Line Blues” will be pressed by XMAS

No biking to work next week

May 11th and the heat in my building is turned back up. It better be a long hot summer.

Six Unit Residential Building Coming To Last Remaining Vacant Lot On Kenmore

A construction permit was just issued for the long vacant lot (next door to my favorite house on the block) in Buena Park. According to the permit, 6 units are planned, each with 3 bedrooms. A rooftop deck and 2 garages providing the ever important parking for each unit is planned.

When I first moved to the block in 2005 the condos on the right went up and was followed by the condominiums across the street next to the park. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood and more and more constructions is blowing upward all around. I only hope Buena Park can manage to maintain most of its vintage and historic charm. The first building I live in here was built in 1930 and my current residence was built in 1896. 

and so it begins

It was damned chilly Saturday and after laundry and some chores during that cycle I took a bus one hour west to the Belmont Cragin neighborhood full of unsavory or at best unkempt types that didn’t even bother to comb their unwashed hair. I took care of business in less than 10 minutes and on the less crowded and less itchy ride home with detours the rains let down also delaying game two of the crosstown classic for 2 hours which was a crowd I wanted to avoid altogether. When I got to the Belmont station (two stops from home) and went up to the platform a closed and empty train sat up top. I checked my phone and sure enough a fire at my station rerouted all train traffic going both ways. I had no choice but to take the Brown Line to Irving Park and transfer to another bus going right into the heart of Cubs/Sox traffic. My planned 2 hour 15 minute commute turned into 3 hours and 15 minutes. I got home, stripped and put on some sonic therapy which would be Type O Negative’s ‘Life is Killing Me’ platter.

The Cubs kicked the Sox ass two days in a  row.

It did cross my mind that the Dock on Montrose must really be losing money and my heart goes out to the staff there that hope to make the same tips as they did \may a year ago when it was busy almost everyday.

I’m expecting some good news this week regarding a career venture. I was told it looks positive and I’m optimistic. So today I’m getting as much spring cleaning as possible done around this huge home so with a dry weekend after a washout week of rain I can actually begin to enjoy what I work so fucking hard toward.  I’ve got PRONG Thursday and EXXXOTICA just a few weeks away.

Vigor, vim, vitality and punch, The ability to act on a sudden hunch, Nerve to tackle the hardest thing, Feet that climb and hands that cling, A heart that never forgets to sing.

350P, 10 min before I was off work and my friend Tom messaged me and wanted to meet for dinner. I went outside and it was 80 degrees.

Tac Quick had their windows were open wide and the patio open for business, finally. 

Grilled Squid: Char-broiled marinated squid with spicy chili garlic sauce.

Spring Rolls: Fresh rolls with sweet tofu, egg, bean sprouts and cucumbers with special Thai sauce.

Lad Nar Seafood Khee Mao Noodles: Medium spicy. Stir-fried seafood mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, basil leaves and gravy sauce over wide rice noodles. YUM!

Tomorrow morning, first ride to work 2018. 

Ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.

May 1, 2018 655AM

May 1, 2018 655AM

May 1, 2018 655AM

May 1, 2018 Opening Day at the Dock on Montrose

May 1, 2018 Elotes is up to $3.50 this season

May 1, 2018 Pricele$$

May 2, 2018 645A

May 2, 2018 literally the calm before the storm.

Finally found a way to keep her from putting her feet up on the
dash, which by the way, isn’t cute.


10P May 2, 2018 as I turned off my TV I smelled smoke and then looked outside to see the house across the street with the roof on fire. 

CFD kicked some major ass. I was impressed

I’ll be filling in the blanks as this is becoming a very busy weAkend
 Krztoff  called me around 930A Thursday, I was at work and he was getting ready to go to bed. When I returned his call that evening he answered by serenading me with his rendition of Sinatra’s “Summer Wind”. The K man will be driving in from NYC for Memorial Day WeAkend/BBQ.
Missy Monroe
I love when I ask a guest what they want to hear and after their request I can deliver without using the internet. I played  the debut of Faster Pussycat on the radio back in teh 80′s when it came out. This IS the same record I played on air. it’s a promo as is the Gn’R.
When I broke out the banned Gn’R album cover she asked, “Do you know how much that’s worth?” and I replied “Do you know how much that’s worth to me?”
Just like a dummy I went to sleep last night without the aid of any meds or alcohol in my system. Big mistake. Been up since before 3AM. After work tonight I’m going to clean house, update this page, watch a movie and knock myself out. 

Well the weAk end started off good.

Friday night I grilled cod and drank some Absolut Lime with Christine who I haven’t seen in several years. Early 2014 I’d guess was the last I saw her. We didn’t make it into the second bottle and she went home and me to sleep.

Saturday I had plans to meet up w/ Greg Duncan and see the new Avengers Infinity War at the newly remodeled Davis Theater. I have a few things to do before and then biked over and made it to Lincoln Square in less than 15 minutes with traffic. I was early so went into Hansa Clipper and has a couple of tacos made by the bartender Christina’s mother. It’s a tradition. I washed them down w/ a cool Stiegl Pils. When Greg arrived we shared another and went to see just about the biggest movie I’ve ever seen. Now just huge but very heavy. The 2 hr 40 minute running time went quick. Greg’s response to the ended was perfect when he let out a loud WHAT THE FUCK! I felt the same way. We had another round at Hansa Clipper and I biked home.

Sunday I was up early that I would have liked to have been. I had been craving a Punisher from Byron’s (Double cheeseburger topped lamb gyro served on hamburger bun) but as I went to do laundry and being close to Jungle Jewel opted to make my own with their pub burgers. I got home put my clothes away and fired up the grill. I made 2 of the 4 patties, very very rare and by that I mean barely cooked. I would come to regret this about 12 hours later. I decided to watch an episode of Master of Horror and another flick called The Babysitters before watching most of The Rambler starring Dermot Mulroney and Lindsay Pulsipher directed by Calvin Reeder. In the David Lynchesque indie flick The nameless Rambler, Mulroney embarks on a mysterious journey en route to reconnecting with his long-lost brother. Traversing treacherous back roads, lost highways, and isolated small towns, he unearths a multitude of bizarre and wickedly depraved slices of Americana. It would be Tuesday before i would finish the flick.

Sunday night I tempted the fate of going to sleep without any meds or alcohol. Bad idea being that Sundays have historically been the most sleepless night of my week. Again I dreamed in Excel as my mind was on a project at work with the deadline looming. I awoke around 230AM and was sick and in and out of the bathroom and sleepless most of the morning. I was sick and once at the office sicker. I had a reaction to the uncooked beef from Jungle Jewel. I didn’t eat lunch and had cold chills and sweats most of the day. I was home by 430 took some meds and in bed before 5P and stayed asleep till 530A Tuesday. I got to work and kicked the projects ass finishing my part a day ahead of deadline.

The downside is that it was the perfect weather day for biking to work but I felt too weak and didn’t want to chance it so I took the damned CTA, on a Monday.

One month from today

Don’t know that I will, But until I can find me, The girl who’ll stay, And won’t play games behind me, I’ll be what I am, A solitary man.

A new point of view


Tommy Victor the human flying V

Sept 11 2016 I think this was after German American Fest

I finally got to sample this today and have decided it will be my new summer drink

Sunday morning sonic therapy

On April 7th Dale and I went over to my friend Tom’s house to help him load some furniture into his daughters van and to put some other items out in the alley as he is moving. He gave me this over 5 ft tall Spirit House and stand he brought back from Thailand years ago on one of his visits there. This things is quite heavy. It now has a new home in the spare room. 

Around 2006/2007 Tom brought this back from Thailand as a gift for me. It’s small but supposed to be “good” so I’ve kept it close. Now it has a proper home. My favorite part of his trips over there was the pictures of the beautiful women he met during his travels. They always made me smile. 

I’m going to get a really nice air mattress for use in the guest room. One that I can also use camping. A new guitar is being added to the family very very soon and that space will be much needed for storage when they’re not scattered about the dining room coming summer jamming season. 

Sunday afternoon very motivational sonic inspiration.

You’re harder than nails and baby I know what’s on your mind. That little girl smile has turned me around (saved your skin), not this time

My brothers always said that I was Rex Racer aka Racer X from Speed Racer when we were kids. That was a prophecy that eventually sorta’ came true and my brother Blue created the image above. I think I’ll be him for Halloween this year. 

Great new shot of Tracii

New shot (have I posted this one already?) of Tommy who I’ll see in a couple of weeks. 

My brother found this pic from Senior Prom 1983 at our Grandparents house. How the hell does he keep finding these token of my youth?

Danny Lee Hill working on a song with me.

Today marks 39 years since my very first rock concert experience. April 24, 1979 Cheap Trick at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling WV. It changed everything. 

Reopening on Tuesday May 1 THE DOCK AT MONTROSE

Tuesday The Dock at Montrose opens for the 2018 season. My plan is to swing by there Sunday on my way back from a ride down to the office so I can plan for any detours, construction or other obstacles that I would not otherwise expect. It’s gonna feeel good. My new commute via bike is only 15 miles round trip as opposed to the 20 miles round trip it wa for the past 6 seasons. The long cold winter has made an even more difficult winter for me even more of a pain in my arse.

In May I’ll be seeing Prong again with Ashley and I’ve invited Too Dark Mark up from the south to join me for a Cajun infused BBQ for Memorial Day Weekend. Then to close out May is Maifest and then I have just enough time to ready myself for EXXXOTICA. I need summer in a bad way especially since last summer I had that dark cloud of uncertainty hovering over my head. It finally lifted in early November as did my 6 plus year tenure at QLK.

I’m in dire need of Elotes and Mexican Spicy Fruit, toes in my sand and a drink in my hand. Summer 2018 I welcome you with everything.



It’s so easy to blow up your problems. It’s so easy to play up your breakdown. It’s so easy to fly through the window. It’s so easy to fool with the sound.

A nacho cheese burger on bagel slices for breakfast. Why not?

Finally got my own copy of the Made in Milan DVD

Better late than never. Not only was the 3rd installment of the Thor series visually stimulating, it was hilarious to boot. The film blazes gloriously through as it paints a fun colorful adventure for our epic God of Thunder. (Lord of Thunder). I think Taika Waititi brings a lot of his experience as a comedian to dress it up in a way that takes the humor of the Marvel formula to a different level. Excellent supporting cast with Cate Blanchett as Hela, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, the deadpan stylings of Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster and the best performance ever of Tom Hiddleston very likable as Loki.

After work Friday I met up with Greg Duncan where he works at VelocityEHS in the Merchandise Mart.  Our plan was to play some pinball and then rent “Thor: Ragnarok” There in the food court I spied a Luke’s Lobster and almost began to salivate. I’ve since decided that I’m going to eat there next weekend. My memory drited back a few years to when Cari from Milwaukee and I went to the Lasalle Street location to eat prior to a booze infused weekend. As we started on our seafood I mentioned how good the sodas might be with vodka and she then produced a bottle that had vodka in it and spiked our drinks. That was a fun visit down memory lane. 

The weather is hellish but it made for a good night of sleep. I dreamt all night about an old flame and that I moved in with her far from Chicago. Even when I woke up around 3A I went back to sleep and the dreamed picked right back up. I haven’t thought much about her for a while and wonder why now she’s visiting my dreams. Of course as in real life it wasn’t short on drama during that cinematic voyage of fact based fiction in my minds eye. That I do not miss. 

Adam Becvare and I drove to Portage IN for wings at Quaker Steak & Lube Sunday the 15th. It was a terrible weather day again. On my way to his place the Red Line stopped underground and we were stuck there for about 20 minutes, Second fire on the tracks that morning on the southside and earlier that morning there was an unauthorized person on the tracks. I had to urinate so bad when they finally let us out that I went up to target and used the Mens room. I walked down to the Jackson Red Line to Blue Line and took the train to Adam’s where I found him waiting in his SUV for me along the street. Jason Harmon who was in teh region met us for wings. They tasted really really good and the place was really really dead. 

Dusted Ghost Pepper (11,700 SHU). Blend of spices & India’s Ghost Chili Pepper

Third Monday of April in a row and I wake up to this. I am officially snowblind. 

Just like the old soft shoe or the old song and dance. The only check that’s in the mail is probably already cashed. Are you a victim of chance? is this the way to succeed? Or just a crack in the wall of what the people believe?

April 4, 2018 655AM (officially sick of it)

April 4, 2015 breakfast w/ Greg Duncan at El Palmar. How things have changed in 3 yrs.


El Palmar after midnight dinner. The latest I’ve been up all year. 

Breakfast at Pancake House aka Patsy’s Pies. (Shameless)

Classic Dale

AZ in dire need of a tan

Well, it’s been a cold hard ride into the new year but here I am, again. I’m too old for this shit but hey, I’m gonna take life by its bullhorns again and get back on top of things.

I’ve been so down and out and living a struggle or as my brother would say, “a state of transition”. No matter what since my last visit to the Looney Bin in mid-December and a night with the Wattles at Christmas, I’ve been unable to have fun, feel good or get ahead of things. I’ve tried and for fucks sake I know my friends have. My buds Dave and Steve, Bob, and even my darling Ashley have been able to break me out of my funk. Cathy, Valerie, Greg, and Dale have come to my aide. My mishap, accepting a friend’s plea for help only put me further in the black. That was a month ago.

Since then I found a gig I really seem to enjoy where I am appreciated and then MINISTRY was coming and so was Dale. I needed a good hard shot of unfiltered rock n roll testosterone. Just what the doctor ordered. And boy oh boy did the devil deliver.

It’s been since it was last warm that I’ve been to the Hansa Clipper in Lincoln Square. Little did I know just how much I needed this. I leave Dale at Laurie’s Planet of Sound, walk up the block to find Greg outside of Hansa finishing a smoke. I walk into the crowded and loud German pub and the most beautiful bartender in Chicago sees me and loudly exclaims, “OH NO!” The patrons all turn around and yell , “BUY THAT MAN A SHOT!” I ask if there’s room at the bar, people make room and Christina lays over top of the bar and gives me a hug. We had an hour to kill.

In a few hours my ol comrades MINISTRY would take the take infusing me with a much needed injection of a whole lot of everything my soul has been in dire need of.

Hansa Clipper w/ Greg Drunken

Dietrich Thrall flew into town, came over to hang before the show and we met up with Sin Quirnin of Ministry 

Mister rock n roll all night is Mister worn and out post Ministry eats at El Palmar. For a decade or so I used to put together after show parties for the band. Now I barely drink at the show, go right home and into bed. The tacos did the trick. I was right in bed after peeling off my rock n roll wears. 

I’m using my laptop to work my MINISTRY experience and came across this pic meeting up w/ ol mk ultra mainstays GARBAGE. As it is w/ MINISTRY I’ve lost track of how many hours I’d spent with them. I miss it They were good and fun people but above all an incredible collection  of talent. I don’t think in my career I’ve ever put in as many hours with a band as I have w/ MINISTRY over the past 25 years of life. 

605 PM Dale is home, sent me this picture to wet my appetite for my July trip.

Friday I booked my Megabus trip to Iowa City (Coralville), IA to see Cheap Trick with Dale and hit up that Drive In the following night. My round trip (5 hours each way) was only $13.49. I could have got it for a grand total of $4.50 but didn’t want to leave Iowa at 9AM and miss Lauren Moss on the morning news. I think there’s a Chicago Cubs/Cheap Trick shirt in her future. Dale said he and Dr. Gard may be back here in a couple of weeks. I’d really like that. Summer is getting booked up finally. 

Next weekend I’m off to Portage IN with Adam Becvare to get wings at Quaker Steak & Lube. It’ll be good to see him again and is alway nice to spend quality time with like-minded people involved in the music industry. I wonder if they’ll remember me by now.

Monday June 9, 2018 looks like it did a week before at the same time in the morning. 

Yesterday, is far away, so take me out to sea. Far away, I’ve been what never will be. Check me in, to lose or win, I’m livin’ memories. The drift begins, the dream of it sets me free.

What’s in a name? 

It was 1993 and I had just turned 28. I had done the unthinkable and got my first tattoo, the Sisters of Mercy symbol, had pierced my other ear and that spring would get a vasectomy. I was also burned out on Columbus Ohio and done all I could do there. My friends and I took a long spur of the moment drive across 3 states (does WV really matter?) to my former home of Pittsburgh just for the hell of it. My club/rave DJ career was at a regional legend status and my journalism career was fading being that the press I had written for in Columbus had dried up. It was time for a change and one of the things I had been tossing around in my skull was a new pen name. Nothing rolled off the tongue until that trip to Pittsburgh as we were leaving the 17,000 square ft. 4-story store Eide’s entertainment, the mecca for comics and music fanatics. It was at the cash register and sitting there before my eyes as I paid for whatever I bought spied the selection of the week, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick’s self-titled solo album. I looked at my 3 travelling companions and proclaimed, “That’s it. Al X. Zander.”

Two months later I moved back to my old Pittsburgh neighborhood of Bloomfield with a new identity and new beginning on life. For about a year I was known as DJ Al-X and in print as Al X. Zander as I wrote for two rags run by Aaron P. Arthurs who I had met at Lollapalooza the summer before and was a huge MINISTRY fan and another read by Dennard Summers. Both gents that less than 2 years later would contribute to what would become MK ULTRA. It wouldn’t be long before I morphed into the caricature of Alex Zander the man.

I’ve told the story over the years and always looked at it as a symbolic suicide. I was certainly no longer the person I was born fighting to be my own person, yet attempting to live life to my father’s “double” standards. In fact it was during this transition I felt the need, if not for anything else my mental health, to divorce myself from my family. It wouldn’t be till late 1995 that I got back into touch with my youngest brother. For reasons that shall remain undisclosed I still remain detached from my father.

So I would be Alex Zander and inside of me was burning an concept for my own publication. But what to call it? What would “roll off the tongue”?


“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

— Charles Bukowski (Factotum)



It was the summer of 2000 that I realized this thing was getting too big. MK ULTRA, Alex Zander and my life as I knew it was once and for all over. In 1994 I set out to kill the person that I was born, and after 30 years of broken dreams, gallant attempts and being stifled by a socially retarded society in the region where I was raised and those experiences now long behind me, I had willingly succeeded in committing symbolic suicide.

August 31, 2000 started out just like any other day. I drove my laundry over to a laundromat around 9 AM, and more than likely due to anticipation of my good friend and fellow road warrior Mike Blackley driving up to Chicago from Indianapolis for a concert later that evening, I locked my keys inside the car. So as my clothes were being washed I naturally panicked, “how the hell am I going to get into my car?” Mike was set to arrive around 1 PM and Slash’s van (I was working the Chicago Street team for Slash’s Snakepit release and tour) was going to pick us up around 3 PM. And around 3 PM in the afternoon is NOT a good idea when driving from the inner city out to Tinley Park where the venue was, which I had attempted to explain that in advance Eddie who was the mastermind of the Slash Tour at the time. So, in my panic and desperation I decided to go in through the sunroof of my car.

A few hours later we’re in this van that has Slash’s face displayed over the thing, one of those types of vans where the image can cover the back and side windows with the passengers being able to still see outside, much like many city busses. Inside were the crew, a bottle of Jack Daniels and Mike and I had a cooler full of Coors Light. We were stuck in traffic for hours, and forced to urinate outside at the side of the road in broad daylight, when we needed to. By the time we had arrived at the Tweeter Center where Slash was opening for AC/DC on the Stiff Upper Lip Tour everyone was well on their way to being a tad bit intoxicated.

After Slash’s set ended we were all hanging in the backstage dressing room with the band and crew. One needs to keep in mind that a backstage at these large outdoor amphitheaters is not what they are, at your typical concert hall, auditorium, theatre or arena. There are masses of tractor trailers and tour busses which are not in sight of the audience and the backstage is actually underneath the stage, the rooms there are quite luxurious. No graffiti or semen stained sofas and there isn’t trash on the floor or within its halls; they are very clean, tidy and nicely catered. Of course there is always lots of booze and groupies about.

It was getting close to time for AC/DC to perform so we wanted to take our places in the pavilion, but there was one dilemma, we were lost in the cavern of tunnels and stairs underneath the stage. As cliché as this is going to seem, it was not unlike that scene in Spinal Tap where the band cannot find their way onstage. As a matter of fact, it was exactly like that, only here we were, a couple of boozy media fellas, wandering around and following the sound of organ music and screams of the audience.

Somehow we found our way to a stairwell and followed it up and found ourselves on AC/DC’s stage below a huge statue of Angus Young which had smoke coming out of its nostrils and a big cannon right out by the drum riser. The stage was covered in fog and all I could think was, “oh shit, we’re going to get arrested.” As I began to make a beeline for the front of the stage Mike says to me, “I’m going to go and touch the cannon.” What can I say, that’s Mike, and he did just that. I waited for a few seconds for him to get back over to me and we ran out and jumped off the front of the stage into the photo pit, just as huge explosions went off onstage behind us and the sound of deafening guitars practically blew us onto the ground.

Thus had landed exactly where we stayed for the remainder of the show.

It was that hot August night when it came to me, this thing I had conceived, not 6 years earlier was getting too big for me. Too big for the people in my life, as well as my soon to be ex girlfriend Heather especially, and this thing was very much getting out of control. In retrospect that is exactly what I had dreamed would happen, but at the time I kicked it into gear, it was a dream that had seemed out of reach. Out of control was part of the job description was in not? Wine, Women and Song.

That far away teenage dream had become my day to day life.

My name is Alex Zander, I am the Concierge to the International Sin Set.