“I’ll never forget the first time I heard JJulius. I was stumbling down the waxed marble steps of the Sunset Marquis, sipping in vain from my empty flask, when David Bowie pulled up in a tangerine Hummer H3 he “borrowed” from one of those Kraftwerk guys, either Hans or Franz. Michael Stipe was sitting shotgun (this was his pre-fame, big sideburn phase), so I told him to move it or lose it – we had plans to pick up Queen Latifah on the way to soundcheck and there was no way the Queen’s first impression of me was going to involve playing second fiddle to Mikey. “I get nauseous in the back”. he argued, but I still had a few pills in my pocket that my friend Dave gave to me the night before, so I offered them to Stipe as a “macrobiotic dramanine alternative”. He quietly declined and shuffled past the center console onto the bench seat in the back. Some years later, Dave started calling himself Oderus Urungus and formed the shock-metal group GWAR.

“How do you drive this thing?” is a funny thing for anyone to say while driving the car you’re in, but David made those words sound like a new hit single. I was going to ask him to play something fresh and exciting to help rattle the prior night’s dice out of my skull, but I recognized all the tapes crammed between the seats: Grace Jones, more Grace Jones, Sepultura, The Cardigans, and lo and behold, someone (or some thing) called JJulius. I slapped it in the deck and it started mid-song, at an uncomfortably high volume with zero bass correction. David was on his cellular, shouting at who I still believe to be Lou Reed, and their conversation quickly turned to the music in the Hummer – JJulius always commanded an audience like that. He’s pulling onto a jammed-up 101 without looking, arguing with Lou whether it’s “Jay Jay Ulius” or “Juh-Julius” or “Julius (the second J is silent)”. In that moment, it was all they cared about, these two salty geniuses recognizing that same spark of aesthetic immaculity they thought could only come from Brazil, or Japan, or themselves. I’ve witnessed boats sinking and babies being born without epidural blocks to the sounds of JJulius and like the shark that I am, if I stop moving, I just might start to cry.”