In 1990, an 18 year old Frank Jeffrey DeSanto stood literally a foot away from Peter Hook as he played the long forgotten Marquee here in NY and everything changed. Immediately after, I bought a bass and went around proclaiming to anyone I met that I was, in fact, a bassist, which is sort of a misnomer even to this day, but this is my story so fuck yourself.
A year later, a young film student named Ehren Kruger told me he loved Thrill Kill Kult. I told him I loved Ministry. And after one fateful night at the Ritz in 1991 or so, we both realized we loved the Sisters. Anyhow, neither of us had any musical talent, but goddamit we had ambition, and a Yamaha QY10 sequencer, and this led to many a night in the “music room” (read an empty room with a piano) in the basement of Hayden Hall improvising what would become the core songs of MOG and later Pirates of the aggression and then simply (thanks to Thompson’s dad) the aggression. Sometimes Link (who’s contribution to all this cannot be underplayed mostly because he was the only with any sort of musical background) was there, sometimes drinks were there, and of course the motherfucking QY10 was there, but no matter what, wherever I woke up the next day, there was a full audio cassette of the lowest fi insane shit I ever heard. In my mind, it was THE BEST SHIT EVER. Now, I had a band, and made sure everyone knew. I now had an excuse to justify my behaviour. And then Kruger and I decided to play. In the basement of a bowling alley. Not by choice. The sight of Dan Hamill laughing his ass off in the crowd at us will haunt me forever. I knew Lurch for 15 minutes when I handed him a video camera to tape said gig. Not only does he still socialize with me to this day, he even started writing an aggression biography when the band was like a year old. Full Impact.
I immersed myself in the world of “industrial”. Now, put it in perspective. Back then, this was truly underground. Not some Hot Topic bullshit. This meant something, not like today. Yes, there were several cowboy hats. I lived the gimmick before the gimmick was cool. And while Kruger was writing and Link was winning, your hero had to do something to bring home the bacon. And at a party inside the house in front of the backyard where I wrestled, Mark Mohtashemi was found, half melodrama, mostly indifferent, and with a talent and interest that matched my own. And everything changed. Suddenly, we could rock and suddenly I had a true partner in crime. Kruger named him Fingers, which later became Phingers (I still don’t recall how but I think it was something scientific). Riffs abounded, guitar riffs that is. This is all just around the time I started writing fan letters to Jared from Chemlab who revealed there were others out there. And while it saddened Mark to learn he wasn’t the one who invented the idea of marrying guitars to electronics, we were both excited to find there was a world of musicians who got this.
After the now legendary gig at the Underworld, Kruger and Link went on their way to adult lives and for a while, Mark and I continued making music in dorm rooms and living rooms and basements. I’m still convinced the aggression got Mark transferred to Fordham from NYU. We fucking lived it and lived it hard. But you can do that in your early 20’s while living in a dorm room in the greatest city on the planet without an iota of responsibility. We didn’t have a campus or a frat, we had Limelight and the Batcave. That was our education.