Living in Pittsburgh, I have achieved a sort of placid comfort normally reserved for retirement communities and making plans around post-season runs for Cleveland pro sports teams. I don’t mean that I’m hitting the early bird specials, only that when I make plans to do something, in Pittsburgh, I’m rarely inconvenienced. Movies sell out, but generally not the movies I want to see. Concerts sell out, but there’s never a rush to buy tickets to any of the bands about which I wax poetic. I don’t want the secret to get out, but Pittsburgh boasts many of the things that larger cities claim as their own… a stunning cityscape, a thriving arts community, a busy concert calendar (at least lately), three professional sports, a very good symphony with A-list conductors, etc. I don’t want to profess delusion; I daily long to live in Boston again, but for a town of only 400,000, Pittsburgh offers more than your average mid-level metro area for a relatively few number of people.
So imagine my surprise this past Wednesday when I was on my way to the Frankenstein double-feature, and when stopped a light, I tried to buy tickets in advance and the Fandango app told me the show was sold out. Sold out? Surely, Fandango was just full of shit. Of course there are m’f’ing tickets. Nevertheless, I was concerned. On one hand, when I went to see Ghostbusters last year at this same time, the theater still had plenty of seats remaining. On the other, Frankenstein was just one night,Ghostbusters played on at least two consecutive Wednesdays.
After parking the car in a pretty empty parking lot at the Settler’s Ridge Cinemark, I’d again convinced myself that there would still be tickets. I hurry in to the lobby, still with 20 minutes to spare. There’s Frankenstein Double Feature. 7:00. And there’s the flashy flashy SOLD OUT. Dismay. I’d planned my entire week around this event. I’d chosen Frankstenstein and Bride of Frankenstein over the Dinosaur, Jr. and Shearwater show. It was planned. This was my trip out for the week. I’d gleefully thrown the three-year old into my wife’s arms and run out the door with visions of a big ass popcorn bag, a tub of Coke and corpse reanimation.
I stood in the lobby of the theater staring at the movie times. There were plenty of movies I wanted to see but it didn’t matter what I chose, not really. It was all going to be something other than an angry mob hunting a walking hulk of mismatched appendages.
On one hand, I’m thrilled that people in Pittsburgh are supporting these special repertory screenings. (I wish more of them would support the films, not promoted by the TCM muscle, at the Hollywood Theater.) On the other hand, stop going to see my shit and leaving me, stunned, in the lobby while I decide whether to wait an extra 15 minutes to see Argo or go see The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
For those that care, at best maybe three of you. I saw Wallflower because there’s a kind of backwards pride associated with seeing our little town on the big screen — even though it is happening with increasing regularity. I found much to like about the movie, even if the final act seemed a little rushed. Seeing my primary commute through the Ft. Pitt tunnel become a repeated and primary plot point for the film felt a little out-of-body. And speaking of the The Hollywood Theater, the Dormont establishment (less than a mile or so from my house) even makes a brief appearance as the setting for a Rocky Horror Sing-a-long. The movie could have been terrible (it wasn’t, go see it) but I would have enjoyed it for one stupid reason alone. When the high school kids in the movie had nothing better to do, they went to Kings. Facepalm for truth.
I always consider Pittsburgh to be this void of cultural taste. Its possible that having spent so much time in Kings during my high school years has irrevocably tarnished my impression of this city. Honestly it’s like Waffle House, only less happy. My relationship with this town can be a little patronizing. I admit. It only grew more so in the decade we were apart. But maybe it’s time I gave the people here a little more credit. After all, those non-cultured bastards prevented me from seeing Frankenstein on the big screen for the first time.
Anyway, after Wallflower, I went home. Put on the Frankenstein DVD and promised myself the next time I rearrange my schedule to do something, I’ll actually buy the tickets in advance… because there are at least a few hundred people just like myself out there, and goddammit, they’re going to steal my ticket.
This poster hangs in my basement “lair.” I refuse to use the term “man cave” because that term needed retiring before Tony Siragusa had his own home improvement show. It’s one of my favorite things. It’s less a bauble than a thing because a bauble, to me, must be something that collects dust. This is too vertical. I’d been on a Ghostbusters soundtrack kick lately because my daughter really enjoyed dancing to “Cleanin’ Up the Town” by the Bus Boys.
I’m pretty pumped that I bothered to check for the Bus Boys’ video. Man. If you haven’t seen it or don’t remember, do yourself a favor and watch it. Just pure fun. They get to drive the Ecto-1. I’m jealous. Plus stop-motion drum kit assemblage.
But, as always, I digress.
As I was putting the record on the turntable one day, my daughter says, “You have that downstairs.” Of course, I’m like, silly three-year old, I have no record player downstairs and therefore you are mistaken. “No,” she repeats. “You have that,” she taps her finger on the sleeve, “downstairs.” It dawns on me she’s referring to the poster flanking my TV. The three-year old has called out her father for underestimating her keen powers of observation. They remember everything. Every minute of every hour of every day. They have nothing to do but remember. Even if they can’t verbalize exactly what they’re thinking, they know.
And this sets me to thinking about a life-fact that I’d considered after she was born. But it hits me harder now than it did when she was a newborn, when it was merely an observation, because she’s a walking, talking human being with opinions now. She likes the Cars and Foster the People and the Black Keys and the Ghostbusters soundtrack but she definitely, violently dislikes the Reverend Horton Heat.
My observation is this: Ghostbusters came out 25 years before she was born in 2009. I don’t remember a time before Ghostbusters. I remember vividly seeing it four times in the theater in 1984. I was not yet six and I covered my eyes each time Ray Stanz charged the librarian ghost in the library. Last Halloween, I documented my first time seeing it in the theater since 1984 with this post. Consider a movie that came out 25 years before you were born. What’s your first thought about that movie? Okay. First let’s do mine.
The Top 5 most memorable (a subjective determination) flicks that came out 25 years before 1978.
From Here to Eternity
Gentleman Prefer Blondes
House of Wax
And the first thing I think? My gawd. Those films seem really old. Next thought. My gawd. In my daughter’s frame of reference, Ghostbusters is going to seem as old to her as From Here to Eternity seems to me. Of course, this does not take into account that black and white movies have an extra aura of oldness. But then again, Ghostbusters, boasts rotoscope mattes and stop-motion animation — advanced special effects techniques for the 80’s, that probably look a little “hokey” to kids raised in a post-Terminator 2 world. By the way, if you care to read more about the Ghostbusters effects, this is a pretty interesting article I found on Spook Central (a Ghostbusters Companion site) that was published in 1984 in a magazine called Starlog.
How does one necessarily assimilate this idea? I fall too often into the trap of considering my daughters an extension of my own frame of reference. It’s haunting to think how quickly the years pass, to think that my dad perhaps considered From Here to Eternity the same way I think of Ghostbusters now. I find myself thinking of my parents and wondering what they over-analyzed when they were my age. And what loves did they once hope to pass down to me before I spurned their attempts or misunderstood their intentions to offer me a piece of themselves? The more I observe my oldest daughter, the more I understand that, like myself, she too, will eventually come to dismiss these frivolous pieces of her father, her most-of-the-time stay-at-home-caregiver, in favor of the new and the now. Sure, eventually she might rediscover (or uncover for the first time) these things, but they won’t, like the Ghostbusters soundtrack now, be the impetus to run and dance and laugh with her dad. The music, movies and movie posters she recognizes now as an inextricable part of her early years will become something old, they will become other, as she, and eventually her five-month old sister, venture out into the world to find their own loves and revelations. They must find their own nostalgia.
In their ten-year-long effort to purge “the shrine” aka my old high school bedroom, my parents occasionally drop off boxes of my old “stuff.” So far I’ve received boxes of baseball cards (one of dozens), books, magazines, Super Nintendo and Genesis games, CDs, Transformers and now cassette tapes — a big ole shoebox full of cassette tapes, almost all of which are dubs. Plenty of the cassettes are completely free of label. So it might take me some time to go through them all. But I’ve found three labeled tapes, three labeled mixtapes, in the lot. I’ve created Spotify playlists for each. I’ve not “bettered” the mixes in any way. The awful tracks remain, blemishes on my taste (and lack thereof) as a teenager. What you see here is the track order as they were created from 1993-1996. Enjoy these time capsules (or not), these (ugh) plastic windows into my teenage schizophrenia.
The Mixtape Project: Volume 2, Stuff #1
Unless my mixtapes were thematic I always called them “Stuff” and then numbered them sequentially. I spent more creative juices coming up with titles for the thematic mixes (e.g. Caffeine) so I should get a bye for not wasting energy with these titles. Out of all ten or so “Stuff” tapes, only #1 survives. Or at least, it’s the only one that still has a label. I may find more as I go through all of the unlabeled tapes in this box. A handful were lost when someone stole my car in college. So it goes.
If I could have opened every mixtape with “Big Sky” I would have. Reverend’s Rockabilly burner brings all of my favorite mixtape-opener elements: 1) instrumental; 2) 3 minutes or less; 3) also opens a favorite album (1994’s Liquor in the Front).
“Another Day” – Dream Theater
After a burner, I always liked to drop the pace. So far I’m going paint-by-numbers with “Stuff #1.” Reverend. Check. Dream Theater. Check. Prog melodrama (featuring a killer sax solo/outro) may have been a jarring switchback after Reverend, but considering I listened to an EPIC CRAP-TON of Reverend and Dream Theater during these years, I’ll allow it.
“Pain Lies On the Riverside” – Live
Jackin’ the pace back up. If you’re a Live auto-hater and you auto-hate “Pain Lies On the Riverside,” FOR FLIPPING SHAME. Live might have eventually sucked donkey balls, but Mental Jewelry was a great rock album and this was a legitimate jam.
“Dela” – Johnny Clegg & Savuka
The first monkey wrench. Some people went through their Afro-pop phase with Paul Simon, but Johnny Clegg and I cruised that savannah with the top down and the Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World album on repeat. I recently learned that this song played a prominent role in the movie George of the Jungle. I have no comment. Don’t ask me again. I don’t know anything.
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds
Staying in the 80’s, I maintained mid-tempo with a low-hanging Simple Minds track. At this point, I’d stumbled into the Simple Minds backwards through their underappreciated 1995 record Good News from the Next World and then Glittering Prize, their 1992 greatest hits collection. I’d retrospect this one into “Up on the Catwalk” or “All the Things She Said,” but, like I said, they were new to me at the time… and thus this song wasn’t yet burnt out.
“Pass the Hatchet” – Roger & the Gypsies
Does anyone still listen to the Desperado soundtrack? Man, what a record. And such a slice of my 1995 moment. I was smitten with the movie and Salma Hayek, the soundtrack and, well, Salma Hayek. (I was 17 when this movie came out.) I loved throwing these curveballs onto different “Stuff” records because songs like this introduced a style of music I’d not yet discovered. This song and the Get Shorty soundtrack opened a gateway to the Stax instrumental funk/soul sound of the 70’s.
“Sister Havana” – Urge Overkill
When I think over forgotten gems of the 90’s I think of “Pain Lies On the Riverside” and “Sister Havana.” Prior to Saturation, Urge Overkill released three relatively meh records and after Saturation, they released another couple of records to which nobody listened (they were actually pretty good, including 2011’s terribly named Rock & Roll Submarine). But for a fleeting moment in 1993-94, UO killed it, which is really better than not killing it at all. In the end, they’ll just be remembered for playing the Neil Diamond cover “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Is that fame? Fame by association perhaps. Maybe they could make a comeback by doing a “Cracklin’ Rosy” cover.
“Cancion del Mariachi” – Antonio Banderas & Los Lobos
Two points to mention here. 1.) See all that was said about obsessing over Desperado above. 2.) 2:00 filler. But, you know what? No apologies. It’s a damn fine song. Whatever it is.
“Jessica” – Allman Brothers Band
I think I said something earlier about opening mixtapes with instrumentals, no? I took it one step further. I opened Side B with a instrumental too. This must be the best mixtape ever. Now I own this record on vinyl and it still gets plenty of airplay. My daughter doesn’t quite know what to make of it though. Hell, I originally owned Brothers and Sisters on one of those pimped-out gold Original Master Recording CDs.
“I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” – Buckshot LeFonque
This is Branford’s acid-jazz collective / collaboration with hip-hop producer extraordinaire DJ Premier. This self-titled record served as my gateway to Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, et al. I’m not sure the entire record aged as well as this track, for which Branford and co. built music around a recording of Maya Angelou reciting her poem of the same name. It’s a remarkable cut that works as an individual piece of jazz/fusion and as a aural worship of Maya Angelou. I, of course, cannot help myself and follow this with…
“Holler If Ya Hear Me” – 2Pac
I loved me some sonic mixtape whiplash. The best 2Pac song from the best 2Pac album. The albums released after this, including all of those released after his untimely death, catered to a broader audience and really lost track of the raw production and lyricism that populated his first two records. Don’t tell me you “just loooooove 2Pac” if you don’t looooooove Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
“Low Rider (En Espanol)” – War
I must have thought I was being innovative, tracking down a version of “Low Rider” en Espanol. 2012 me isn’t all that impressed with my musical fascination with “Low Rider” in any language. I am impressed with my ingenuity, however, since I don’t even know where I even found this track.
“Mama Take” – Chicago
So I liked Chicago quite a bit. Even all the later schmaltzy stuff that makes some people think of Air Supply. “Mama Take” comes from their twelfth studio album, 1979’s XIII, otherwise known as intersection of critical and commercial distaste. I will not admit to seeing them four times in concert. The disco-era had begun to seep into the band’s jazzy sound on this record. Thus, hate. It’s not that really that bad (IF you like Chicago). If there’s a moment, however, when “Stuff #1” leaves the reservation it’s the transition into Chicago from (Latin) War and then into…
“As I Lay Me Down” – Sophie B. Hawkins
I guess I needed one of those pop songs that you’ll always remember even if you forget the name of the artist that recorded it. Must have been my token female artist for the mixtape. If you don’t take yourself too seriously, this is still a good song. If you hate 90’s pop nostalgia, and/or fun, you’re going to rage on this choice. By the way if you want to witness the person most tired of this song, watch Sophie B. perform this song in 2011. The recording method doesn’t help, but damn. I bet she’d rather be doing a Neil Diamond cover too.
Well, I was workin’ on my farm ’bout 1982, Pullin’ up some corn and a little carrot, too When two low-flying aeroplanes, ’bout a hundred feet high Dropped a bunch o’ bales o’ somethin’, some hit me in the eye…
So I cut a bale open, an’ man was I surprised Bunch o’ large sized baggies, with big white rocks inside So I took a little sample to my crazy brother Joe He sniffed it up and kicked his heels, said, ‘Horton, that’s some blow!’
“Recipe for Love” – Harry Connick, Jr.
I dunno. Just… I dunno.
Bombay Vindaloo – Dream Theater
The Good: Dream Theater never recorded this track in the studio and it only appeared on the Live at the Marquee album. So it’s got some rare-track fan cred and serves as a great closing track to the mix. Slow build, another instrumental…
The Bad: 2nd Dream Theater track on the record. After the Harry Connick, Jr. song followed by a 2nd Dream Theater I clearly ran out of ideas and just started phoning this one in. I’d have rather dropped “Another Day” from Side A and left this one right where it is.
Unlike “Caffeine” this one at least makes a lot of mixtape sense… until the end. Without docking points for the Desperado rehash (filler clemency), it’s a damn good mix of the moment. September 1995. I can’t fault too many of the song choices. I’ve noted my beefs. The moment begins to wear thin by the time the mix hits “Low Rider.” Meh. But bonus points for being a curio, I suppose.
As a dynamic mixtape that borrowed the rules of mixtaping, the rise and fall is strong. I never held too closely to single style and quarantined the oddities to the B-Side, where they generally belong. Side B might be a little too retro with the Allman Brothers, War and Chicago… and I needed to refrain from doubles. It’s a stylistic concern that should have been addressed. No doubt. I would have thrown another hip-hop song on the Side A for balance and slotted in some more contemporary rock that wasn’t another Reverend double up. Dispense with the doubles. Pfft. Lazy teenager.
In their ten-year-long effort to move me out of my old high school bedroom, my parents have occasionally dropped off boxes of my old “stuff.” So far I’ve received boxes of baseball cards (one of dozens), books, magazines, Super Nintendo and Genesis games, CDs, Transformers and now cassette tapes — a big ole shoebox full of cassette tapes, almost all of which are dubs. Plenty of the cassettes are completely free of label. So it might take me some time to go through them all. But I’ve found three labeled tapes, three labeled mixtapes, in the lot. I’ve created Spotify playlists for each. I’ve not “bettered” the mixes in any way. The awful tracks remain, blemishes on my taste (and lack thereof) as a teenager. What you see here is the track order as they were created from 1993-1996. Enjoy these time capsules (or not), these (ugh) plastic windows into my teenage schizophrenia.
The Mixtape Project: Volume 1, CAFFEINE
I drank my dad’s cold coffee when I was five. It should come as no shock that by the time I reached high school I was naming mixtapes “Caffeine.”
I played AC/DC Live a lot. It was and still is the only AC/DC album I’ve ever owned. Any AC/DC album cut sounds odd to me. I can’t think of another band for which this is true.
“Judgment Night” – Onyx and Biohazard
Frankly I’m shocked this is the only song on this mix from the Judgment Night Soundtrack.
“Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
Check Your Head was my first real exposure to the Beastie Boys. Looking back I can’t remember a time before the Beastie Boys because this song opened the floodgates for obsession. An omnipresent MTV staple, friends called friends to tell them when the video was on.
“Bring the Noise” – Public Enemy and Anthrax
The Public Enemy only version of “Bring the Noise” is good, but without the Anthrax guitars, it’s not “Bring the Noise.” For a brief period, and likely due to Judgment Night, all of my favorite rap songs had heavy guitar.
“Batdance” – Prince
My parents were convinced the lyric “Get the funk up” was actually “Get the fuck off.” At the time I didn’t know what it was but I couldn’t convince them otherwise based on the lack of a parental advisory warning on the album. I continue to love this song shamelessly.
“Battery” – Metallica
I was listening to “Battery” between games at the Harmarville Hoops 3-on-3 tournament and waiting for the next game on a court. I had this song blasting in my headphones, but a dude broke his leg on the hoop base right in front of me. I heard the snap over everything else. That *snap* still haunts me. And I can’t hear “Battery” without thinking about it.
“Mama Said Knock You Out” – LL Cool J
I suspect that when I’m old and senile and every other detail has disappeared I will remember the lyrics to “Baby Got Back” and “Mama Said Knock You Out.”
“Great White Buffalo” – Ted Nugent
So my parents used to work for Ted Nugent, running a farm in Southwestern Michigan. Yes. I grew up on a farm. Moving along. I have a sneaking suspicion that my first concert was a Ted Nugent show. If all you know about Ted Nugent is “Cat Scratch Fever, you may be impressed with “Great White Buffalo,” a track originally written during the Amboy Dukes days. Or you’ll just consider it crappy 70’s guitar rock. And you’d probably be right either way. Footnote: I don’t care about anyone’s politics here. This is about Ted Nugent playing guitar.
“Scalped” – Dick Dale
Thanks to “Miserlou” appearing in Pulp Fiction I bought CDs from five or six different surf guitarists. Dick Dale’s essentially the beginning and end of this conversation for any0ne interested in the microgenre. Dale released this album in 1994 and it was just as righteous as his old stuff.
“Drum Trip” and “Ecstacy” – Rusted Root
For a period of two years here in Pittsburgh, Rusted Root might as well have been the Beatles. They were local celebrities and everyone recognized them. Hell, I sat across the aisle from them at a U2 Popmart show at Three Rivers Stadium. I was obsessed with the drums that opened the album When I Woke and segued into “Ecstacy.” Thus the two came as a pair to close out the first side of this mixtape.
“Another Day” and “Take the Time” – Dream Theater
That there are only two Dream Theater songs on a mixtape called “Caffeine” that I made sometime in 1995 is somewhat of a miracle. Including “Another Day” as the leader on Side B is just pure laziness because I liked the lead in to “Take the Time.” Have an original thought, 1995 self.
“Coma” – Guns ‘n Roses
That I’d blow ten minutes of quality mix time on this song is a mystery. Rule #6 of mixtape creation, don’t waste ten minutes on a song that’s not m’f’ing epic. I don’t remember ever really liking this song, but apparently for a fleeting moment in time, my G’nR fix came from this 10-minute burner off of Use Your Illusion I.
“Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me” – Huey Lewis
I went all the way back to Huey Lewis’ debut record for this kinetic New Wave popper. It’s not shocking. As you may well know (faithful reader), I’m obsessed with Huey Lewis and he used up almost all of his energy on that debut, self-titled record.
“Slam” – Onyx
Man. Before DMX came along and made every rapper look like wussies, Onyx sounded hard. Their style was brand new in 1995 (and still never really duplicated). I’m disappointed in my extremely obvious choice of Onyx songs, but it’s hard to beat “Slam.” And don’t neglect their undersold, underappreciated second record.
“Superstition” – Stevie Wonder
A great song. But out of left field much? Did I even listen to Stevie Wonder in 1995? I certainly don’t remember even having one of his albums. I must have gone raiding my parents’ stash. Hell I don’t even really listen to him now.
“The Girl Tried to Kill Me” – Ice T
I’ve always been on team Ice Cube in the battle of the Ices, but out of all the early Ice T tracks, this is the one. And the only one I would have ever picked for a mix. Also note the guitar. Kind of a running theme in these rap song selections.
“Scandalous” – Psycho Realm
From the soundtrack to Mi Vida Loca. The movie sucked. But the soundtrack deserved more press. The bands you knew phoned it in, but the groups you didn’t know and don’t remember provided some interesting tracks — Psycho Realm (before B-Real got his hands on them), Shootyz Groove and Funkdoobiest included. This was Psycho Realm’s first recorded track and reeks of a solid Cypress Hill tribute band.
“Gentleman. Let’s broaden our minds… Lawrence!” Another choice cut from the Batman soundtrack to conclude the tape. Another mixtape staple, “Partyman” showed up whenever I needed to wrap up a short remainder. You’d be surprised how many times you need a three-minute song for filler.
Rock, rap and Batman… and then there was Rusted Root, Huey Lewis and a moonlighting Stevie Wonder – who must have stumbled onto the tape looking for the (now lost) Soul Mixtape because he fit the required time stamp. Unfortunately this mix hit a short time before I discovered electronic music. What this mix desperately needs is some Prodigy and some Gravity Kills… but alas, both were yet undiscovered.
Side A starts strong. Four tracks I could legitimately put on a similar mix today. “Batdance” puts a kink in the method, but it could have survived had I followed Prince up with something less jarring than “Battery.” Three pairs of tracks from the same album = lazy. The Rusted Root pair works since they blend into each other. I shame my sixteen year old self for not venturing out into the depths of the CD library for a few more deep cuts, like Psycho Realm’s largely forgotten track on the B-side. Speaking of the B-side…
Side B’s a damn mess. A ten-minute track. A pair of unlinked songs from the same Dream Theater album. The Ice T song feels out of place. Stevie Wonder? Why not just throw some goddamn Bee Gees on there if I wanted to derail the tape entirely. If not for Psycho Realm and Onyx, I’d just rewind Side A over and over again.
As much as I like to be spontaneous (I’m really not) and as much as I like to make last-minute, spur-of-the-moment plans (I generally won’t) and as much as I can make split decisions… meh. You get the picture. I often look at a perfect opportunity, last night for example, to escape from the daily grind. Everyone’s got a daily grind, be it a 70-hour-per-week job, a litter of kids at home, a work-from-home situation that feels like the end of sanity. If you’ve read a sizable portion of this bl-g you’ve probably read a few posts that encourage active participation. It’s just so much easier not to do things. To not go see that movie. To not attend a band’s show because I just don’t have the energy. Staying home is almost always easier. But do you make memories, entertain new experiences?
A few weeks ago, I Shazammed a song by a band called Dry the River. I finally had the opportunity to listen to the full record sometime last week. From the very first spin, I was hooked. Full-on, hooks through the gills. I’ve been pushing the band on Twitter (@drytheriver) whenever possible. They remind me vaguely of Shearwater (probably because I’ve been listening to Shearwater a ton lately) if Shearwater were enamored with some Scandinavian folkies like First Aid Kit. They’ve mentioned the influences of Leonard Cohen and At the Drive-In, a comparison I quite like. So yesterday I received one of those concert announcement emails from one of the local promoters. I don’t always skim these things because I’m usually aware of a show before it arrives in my inbox. Well, there at the bottom of the page was a small blurb mentioning Dry the River playing at the Club Cafe, that night. Ugh. Overlooked, likely because they just recently became a name on my radar.
I wanted to go, of course. The rules of Interweb hyperbole permit me to claim that Dry the River’s Shallow Bed is the OMG best m’f’in album of 2012. But I just couldn’t muster the gumption to go last night. A night in which I had nothing doing, nowhere to be, no immediate responsibilities to undertake. And I make these grand speeches about making the effort on this bl-g. I’m a hypocrite.
It takes energy and time to go out into the world. It seems silly but it’s true, especially when days are filled with other responsibilities. Work. Kids. Wife. Coffee consumption. Fiction writing in between all of that. I build myself up for going out. I look forward to my dates with live music for weeks in advance. Could I talk myself up in one day? Ehhh, not so much. All I wanted to do was get the kids to bed, do my workout and catch up on some Sherlock, some baseball watching and maybe paint the attic stairs. Some nights you’ve talked yourself up for a night of nothing whatsoever. And when you’ve talked yourself up for nothing whatsoever that something that comes along, even something as fated as a Dry the River show the moment after discovering the band, just needs to take a night off.
To be fair, I almost talked myself up. The wife even told me to go. After all, I could have written a spectacular bl-g proclaiming my love for this soon-to-be buzzband, touting their brilliant mishmash of folk and rock. I could have marked off another venue on my Pittsburgh concert-going to-do list. Somehow I’ve never been to (or don’t remember) the Club Cafe. It would have been glorious, I assure you. But on the other hand, I’m writing this instead. And while it’s not as glorious as a night out with live music, some contemplative time about choosing to squander opportunities can almost be as valuable. I’ll go out there and get ’em next time. I promise. I might just need someone to remind me about this post, three years from now when I’m complaining about how I didn’t go to that Dry the River show on some arbitrary, ho-hum Tuesday back in Oh-12.
A bl-g about classic and not-so-classic movies, music and nostalgia by James David Patrick