Josh Ellis, aka Red State Soundsystem, went to the so-called murder capital of the world, Juarez, Mexico, to get his teeth fixed and lived to tell about it:
The dentist is a taciturn son of a bitch who doesn’t speak much English and he has a device in his hand that looks, in my peripheral vision, like a steel bar with a sharp screw on one side and a thumb dial on the other. He’s going to screw this thing into my ruined back molar like a drywall anchor and rip the tooth out of my skull.
He jabs in another long, sharp needle full of anesthetic. After two and a half hours in the chair — during which time an oral surgeon has removed my upper wisdom teeth by sawing them into pieces and pulling them out through my gum — my face is pretty much numb from my cheekbones to my Adam’s apple. But I still feel the jab, which worries me.
It worries me a lot more, a second later, when he puts his little drywall anchor to the top of my tooth and begins screwing it in. My head is filled with white-hot agony. I yelp and he pulls back. “What?” he says in English. “Pain?”
“Fuck! Yes, there’s pain, Jesus fucking Christ, goddamnit,” I snarl.
So he hits me with the needle again and tries the screw: it still hurts as bad as before, and I scream again. But after those two and a half hours, I just want this over with. “Fuck it, man,” I mutter through lips that feel like they’re constructed of inner-tubes. “Let’s do this thing.”
Of course, what neither of us knows yet is that the dentist is pushing the needle straight into an infected part of my gum, and the infection is immediately soaking up the anesthetic. He might as well be injecting me with sugar water.
Oblivious, he bores in. And that’s when I start screaming for real.
See also: see my interview with him My interview with Josh about his music.