Reckless Saints

Straight, Inc. To Mel Sembler with Love

American Teenage Holocaust (To Mel Sembler with Love)

Hmm. This feels a little awkward, as I seem to be physically shaking as I go to post this. But… Here goes.

The following is a song I have needed to write for 34 years, 7 months and four days. To be fair, for the first ten months of that I was locked up and unable to express myself in any real terms.

If you are familiar with my song “Angels Along the Road,” that may take on a little more meaning for you after this.

This is an introduction to my truth, the big ugly one I have kept mostly buried for a really, really long time. I’m hoping it might help to at least make sure that a serial criminal doesn’t leave this earth with high honors attached to his name.

Please share widely.


Thank you to all who have extended words of support, encouragement and healing since I posted this video the other day… Exposing my long-buried truth of having been trapped in a place called Straight, Inc for ten months when I was 15. It was *not* easy to write/sing/draw/say all this in public (especially putting that #$%*’s name to music), but my purpose is larger than my ego: Straight’s founder is largely and inaccurately perceived to be an upstanding citizen, which motivates me to tell the ugly truth about this monster before he dies, unless he should decide to act like a human person and apologize. Also, there are a lot of people with this garbage buried in their memories who are still affected by it, may have nobody to talk to or any real way to deal with it. Hopefully seeing/hearing this will, at the very least, provide the comfort of knowing they’re not alone.

One major reason so many of us are all still unsettled is likely because this situation was never rectified. All I know is, I ran away 34 years ago and still haven’t quite stopped running, except that I recently looked over my shoulder and saw our captor still pointing and laughing at our collective experience.

Several people have asked for the lyrics, so I have posted them below the video.


©2019 Roy Schneider/Halfstache Publishing (BMI)

Trap me in your factory — sow me in your rows
American teenage holocaust, 1980s, underneath your nose
It happened right underneath your nose

I tried to evaporate it – years of blocking it out
I’m most sorry for the ones I love who have to suffer for it now
Oh, they suffer for it

Throw me in your fiery corner on a Friday night, feed me to your demons
Ha – slam my head on the floor, but anymore there ain’t but one thought
That could wake me screamin’, that’s

Living in the hell of the hollow shell of Mel Sembler
Hey, Mel Sembler… Melvin Sembler… Mr. Ambassador…
How do you feel? How do you feel?
Livin’ so well on derailin’ my development… How do you feel?

I guess there’ll never be no consequences for your crimes
or the time that you stole
That I’ve been tryin’ in vain to regain since escaping your
invisible childrens’ hell hole

Shut me in a warehouse nobody knows about and throw away the key
Spit all over my face, chip away at my last grain of dignity
Erase my identity

Sit me on your front row, ram your fist in my back
Keep sayin’ you love me and force me to tell you that I love you back
As you paint all my windows black

Make me sing nursery rhymes of your praises all day and all night
Keep scrubbin’ my brain ’til I’m sane, a fine citizen and whiter-than-white
Well I think I’m alright despite

Having lived in the hell of the fetid shell of Mel Sembler
Hey, Mel Sembler…
How do you feel? (about & because)
How do you feel? (about & because)
Livin’ so high on the lie you told my mother so long ago
How do you feel?

I guess there’ll never be no consequences for your crimes
or the time that you stole
I guess my chances of that are the same as you gaining a soul

Melvin and Betty? You never even said you’re sorry
I guess you got away with it — I guess you all got away with it
Oh, my goodness! What’s this under the rug?

Just never forget, never forget all the children in the big nothing
The hopelessness of the big nothing
So many lost to the big nothing
To the darkness of the…

It happened in America. It happened right here.
People, it happened in America

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