Observations

Although what you are about to see is a work of fiction, it should nevertheless be played at maximum volume.

Here’s why I never slow down for too long: on days like today, when I’ve taken a break from thinking about work [there’s a first time for everything], the sun comes through the trees and I hear helicopters and drink my coffee and listen to albums like InMe’s THE PRIDE and think, I don’t have enough time to appreciate this. I have to do it now, to soak up the rays of rockstars and cement, to read books and comics and columns, to visit Amoeba and laugh on the sidewalk and squeeze between the alleyways of civilization. To do it all, before it’s too late.

The weight of the world hits me hardest in the spring. April zooms by like a timewarped songbird, chirping at me with every ounce of extra daylight, and before I know it, May’s jumped in my face and hide memorial day rockets across the world with a lick of his yellow guitar.

I start to PANIC. To shudder. To think, WHATIFICAN’TDOITALLINTIME? Where should I be right now that’s better than right here?

The answer is always the same.

Here’s why I write so much about live music: because there are only two places I can be—crafting words on a whim, and sweating out lyrics while watching a stage—without wishing I were somewhere else.

Here’s why listening to the British band InMe still blows my mind: it’s the only instance in which, rather than discover a band and then write about it, I wrote a story about music and then discovered the band. I made up my ideal sound; I thought yes, that’s what a band from my brain would sound like [see: I wrote a book ten years ago that I still want to publish.], and then they showed up and rocked my world. [I think it’s probably best that InMe don’t tour America—if I saw them live, my brain might explode.]

I save all of my concert ticket stubs and all of my single issue comic books because live music and storytelling mean more to me than the state of the entire civilized world.

Music has movement. It helps carry me over the mundane. Stories have movement. Both are fragmented. When you break things into pieces, they’re so much easier to wrap your brain around. I wish the day itself would break in half, fall into little 22-page monthlies so I wouldn’t have to wake up to such a whole, seamless reality.

It mean, it’s silly. Most people get over the rock and roll thing, right? They grow out of it and get married and slow down and have babies and start listening to NPR. I can’t imagine my creativity thriving in such an environment. I’d drink myself into a stupor and turn into one of those old people who just rock back and forth talking about the same songs over and over and over again.

I can’t slow down and worry. I can’t lose those songs. I rip too many stories out of them.

“Lets take control of our own lives. Let’s give our souls to these songs tonight.”

I never need to be anywhere except right here.

[Seriously, I can’t recommend their new album highly enough. You know how rock music has sucked lately, right? How everything seems to be about 90s bands reuniting, and turning on rock radio stations makes you want to stab yourself in the face? THE PRIDE is the first rock album since around 2007 that hasn’t made me go “Fuck, the 90s was so much better than this.” It’s full of sprawling guitar solos and retardely awesome vocals by Dave McPherson that could crack the invisible glass ceiling in the sky. It also reminds me why I wrote a book about rock and roll.]

[Disclaimer #1: I am not crediting the rather fantastic pop albums that have come out in the past few years as part of ‘rock and roll’, though perhaps I should. But somehow watching musicians on television can’t compare to seeing them at a sweaty club.]

[Disclaimer #2: If you think I’m advocating an illegal download of THE PRIDE, go fuck yourself. Get the album on iTunes or Amazon or your local import record store. Artists have to pay the bills too, you know.]

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