Goodbye Cambodia, It’s Been a Hell of a Moto Ride

“I came down with nothing but five T-shirts and a sack of stale muffins - Love You Madly by Initial Dynamo

It’s been a hell of a ride, Cambodia.

After being embraced by you as a musician, a human being, and a bong for 5 years; it’s time to let the curtain close on Phnom Penh.

Due to the pandemic lockdowns, there was no way to do big shows or throw ultra mega extravaganzas. It’s sad, but I know you’ll make incredible things happen once the world opens up. I’m not going to scoff at a “Look how much fun we’re having without you, Mike Dynamo” Karaoke party in 2022. I’m not great at goodbyes, so I won’t keep you long, but I want to drop some thank you before I get out of here.

Big thanks to Ed Vishnevetsky, my brother who passed shortly after I arrived in Cambodia, but was the person who dragged me across Asia in the first place only for Coach Shannon to repeat this feat with a crazy idea only a month after I returned in 2016. I wouldn’t be here without either of you.

My passion became my work in Phnom Penh, and I got to live my dream because of the applause and the laughs I got from all of you.

It was when I saw this written on a door in the forgotten upstairs bathroom at Showbox that I knew I was in the right place. It's a line from a Gogol Bordello song called "Undestructable." That was the last show Ed, his girlfriend Jaycee and I got to see live before he passed. 

So massive shout out to fans of Showbox open mics, and the boys in the band the superfreaks like. Fun fact, I’d never actually done any open mic before arriving in Cambodia, so I was especially mortified to host my own at DJ Guesthouse. But we made so many magical memories.

I want to show all the love to Initial G for having the ambition to push Hypnotic Fist Technique into something bigger than we ever thought possible. From Golden Street to Diamond Moon to Vietnam and every alley and block party we could make our own. My god it was beautiful. I encourage everyone to revisit our record, Golden Age: The Sequel on your streaming platforms or buy a copy on Bandcamp or Apple Music because you love us and you want to marry us. Much love and thanks to all of our players long term and brief such as Damani, Todd, Aymen, James, Kuzey, Arone, Jesse (my dad still believes that Corona video will pay off his house).

And a bullhorn shout out to The Human Jukebox, First of his Name, Wielder of the Almighty King’s Blade, Saska Chewan; who of course gets a double helping of love along with my Mic Drop Karaoke partner, Bad Kenny and the ambition he put into the cover direction for all the joy and silliness that was The 99 Boyz! We even managed to squeeze out our own February 19th event before... y'know. And I'm glad we got to do at least one more.

Also, I bet I can put a song in your head with just one word…

Some...


Ha! You're welcome. #CloseEnough

Being in a band is awesome and everyone should do it. Don't be good. Just be there.

Thank you to the great Steve Porte for making us all look so amazing in black and white, adding a visual gravity to every performance and event around town. You truly are the unsung hero of our scene... but it’s not too late for us to write a song about you, is it?

When I wanna look dope on stage
GET ME STEVE PORTE
When I want to climb up in a cage
GET ME STEVE PORTE
When I wanna look better than Jackman
GET ME STEVE PORTE
Don't matter if I'm singing or rappin'
GET ME STEVE PORTE

Oooh that's good! I think I'm on my way to a masterpiece!

Thank you to Pierre and Adrian (and their witness protection engineer known only as “Oui Papa”). In addition to making the HFT record possible in 2017, I want to thank you again for choosing me to help bring Funan Beat Empire across the finish line with Initial G for this record we just put out in 2021. Personally, I think Retrofuturism is fantastic. It’s dark and lovely like the hair on Dr Mitsy’s head. Her efforts and support turned the Dynamoverse idea she birthed into it’s own small empire. We hosted and co-hosted and helped people share stories of their own at Verse in Prose. So many tears shed together that really helped us solidify the bonds we made. Partnership, baby. Gah… I’m tearing up even now.

It’s the people that make a place, and I am truly grateful for everyone that I met in a one-of-a kind world where time just hits different. Where we drink and ride, and experience life in a way wholly different from wherever we came from. It’s hard sometimes… even when it’s good, but that’s part of the what makes the Kingdom of Wonder so special. You never know when you’ll meet a Daelim loving motorcycle enthusiast who will loan you his bike specifically because you don’t know how to ride it (I'm a road bastard because of you, Paul), or how often you’ll say “you’re the owner of what bar/gym/corporation?” to the person you’ve been getting smashed with for 3 hours. Cambodia has its own beat and I hope you enjoyed getting to hear it like we did for a moment at a time. That’s why we play so loud every night we can.

So I’ll just repeat what I said on Halloween night 2019 at the 308 Block Party:

Behind the mask…
...is another mask.

Initial G and I have been hard at work on Initial Dynamo, a straight rap record with CIC MAN producing and support from DJ Niko Yu. So don’t get too tired of my voice saying ridiculous things in your ears just yet, as there are still surprises left to be had. Mike Dynamo will still get at you from beyond the continent.

I guess I lied about making this quick, but you know how these things go… You always fear leaving someone out, or forget some moment you want to share. It’s honestly made it really difficult to write this (or anything else) for the entire week I’ve been gone from Cambodia. Goodbyes are so hard for me I don’t even finish long running TV shows I like. Last episode of The OC? Skipped it. Book 4 of Legend of Korra? Nah. So while I hate to end my Cambodia adventure in the similar way, I can appreciate how it rhymes and hope the memories remain vibrant and fresh as we keep moving.

So, I’ll end with the following song Hypnotic Fist Technique recorded about leaving home. Because that's what I did to get to Cambodia, and that's what I'll do when I leave.

Because when it’s time to go…

...you best not delay.

I hope to see you again before too long. Because the train isn’t stopping. It’s just heading to a new destination.

Finally, if you want to keep up with me you can do it here and subscribe to my newsletter. It’s free until I'm famous, but you can drop some cash in it if you want. It's dusty, as I'm still constructing at the moment, but the content is gold, Jerry... Gold!

Michael Bridgett

Michael Bridgett

Michael Bridgett is a copywriter, songwriter, and voice talent that writes about media. In addition to essays, articles, and ideology, Michael also releases music under the name Mike Dynamo
Western Hemisphere