Thursday, April 5, 2012

I can feel the wheel but I can't steer

The summer before the first video game war, yours truly was browsing at Peaches, later to become Coconuts then FYE then abandoned, ready to blow whatever hole-burning scratch my meager shit job threw in my pocket when the craziest, acid-fuck cover caught my four eyes & I was smitten before I heard a note. Filed in the metal section, so no Bell Biv DeVoe danger, Facelift lifted them; not tearing as thrash, but a creeping, painful rip. Pulling the Band-Aid slow always hurts more. Never getting as much love from the gatekeepers as other acts only added to the fuck you, plus it was & is good brooding & bike-riding music. Cue time travel: blind date success, the U of Akron, Clash of the Titans, far too early domesticity, & a sickly haunting curveball of solace in the form of Sap. 1992 was my K-T Boundary.

I want you to scrape me from the walls

North of the future Via Popearosa, I strolled to then fro from Disc Connection & its proprietor who bore an uncanny resemblance to a brutal Skynyrd or 38 Special roadie but was actually a swell guy beneath the perpetual shades. 55° that late September day the papers say, remember it being warm, was 82° as close as the 17th & hit the high 70s the following week. What's with the heat mapping of doddering memory? 'tis more than its cracked orange cover image. Heat births sweat which in turn births conscious acknowledgment of something awry, at least for me.

Here, i.e. then, I was 19 with no skills save a local Tecmo Bowl mastery & hashish-less heshering & I haven't expanded my repertoire much since, no loot past meager "work"-"study" [ed. note: verily, quote marks are apropos to both] scratch, & a new wife whose oven was bunn'd. Stupid adults aren't ready, so stupid kids sit behind the 8-, 9- & 10-balls. Despite having no first-, second- or third-hand experience with the ravaging stampede of white horses, Dirt became a security blanket.

To the non-idealist drowning in a sea of sorrow stupid with no island in sight though if there were it'd be populated by a cannibal holocaust, all is melodrama. Being predisposed to emotion over reason, like eating ten too many poem-stuffed pizza rolls with a cough syrup chaser & regretting the paralyzing numb when I should know better, Layne was singing my song. Now who's stupid, you query? Contraceptive failure rates exist as numbers on packaging & who hasn't always wanted to feel that special joy of existing as a statistic. What of Roe v. Wade, you inquire? A dozen nanoseconds, & nein. As with everything, until you're wearing the clogs, you ain't dancing. But this isn't about that divide & conquer bone so fuck off, but the whole I feel so alone/gonna end up a big ole pile of them. Like I said, melodrama, much preferable to the Sominex of coolly detached irony, & I haven't even hit on the still-omnipresent shadow: Brother, but not, from the aforementioned EP, chorus, first line.

Got me wrong

This was the original pressing with the proper song order, i.e. Down in a Hole as penultimate track. Such scene cred was important, I imagined, for those carousing & chording in a scene. When Bowling Ball Keith (liked to & looked like) & Rabid Mike whose woman done him wrong like a country music song [ed. note: no joke, crazy attracts crazy I guess] refused the shape of things to come, the former high school scene shrinks to two though feeling more like one, oft darkthroning before I knew what the hell that was. Candles pissed upon, proof of who's a fake. Exaggeration? For a time, just a time, the river was dammed indeed, comfort found in claustrophobic spite spackled over with its sonic expression & a predominantly forest green flannel & USC sweat pants [ed. note: beats me, so don't ask; wish I still had that Marijuana Pickers t-shirt handed down from gramps], the ensemble a walking vomitorium that I of course wore on my first day of student employment inside the Towering Slab.

I wasn't high on that chilly October afternoon, merely gorging on inattention to surroundings & others, a theme recurring to this day. Selfishness or safety? As with all things, a bit of both, & part of the problem.

Shocks to the system make one feel like a fly trapped in a jar, & those ghostly tracks plus the slow-burn death spiral on the self-titled a few years later sealed the hermetic deal. Frogs still pierces without remorse.

So, ten years later give or take, today in fact & the reason for this post, Layne's a syringe masquerading as a corpse, & ten after that, I'm still here, the bun out of the oven & into the frying pan-on-low-heat of misleadingly-labeled higher ed, just like yours truly was when Dirt first spun, a timely coincidence of marking out invented miles along an artificial road.

Looking back on all that, the causes of antisocial behavior, characters tuning in, dropping out as a tree's April buds (some have stood out, still do, & will because they're the rarest of creatures), wondering whose fault(s) was/is this spooling aftermath lip to silent lip, a thousand words for every one, more than one supporting or no, I've my suspicions which are probably less fault & more it is what it is, what shall I do, rooster snuffed yet animate?

If I would, could you?

To mope, to mope, sawed-off shotgun riffs choking dead meadows, fetal in the curling smoke of primal brooding, necks arcing, whipping, bending in the wind of dissolution, never breaking in time, this kind of crumbling takes time, rebuilding even longer. I have never felt such frustration/Or lack of self control. Aural scrawlings on repeat about drug addiction & darkness & the attendant figurative holes left after each step on a mine still harrow twenty years on in their hallowed comfort. There are other kinds of addiction, of that I'm versed well. So, desert island gaming at gunpoint, the works of this band. There can be no other choice, because there's always something to rebuild, preserve, & put off till later both home & abroad & what better fuel for hopeful lungs than an air of destruction?

We humans are storytellers, sure, & most are boring, mine included. But it's the only one I know well. & Down in a Hole is still the most beautiful song ever. Thanks, Layne & Co. Could've done it without you, but it would've sucked a little bit more.


Prunella Vulgaris said...

Still jealous you got to see them twice, and of course you say things better than I ever could.

Demeur said...

Other addictions? Of course there are, just choose you rut carefully and never trust anyone with pink hair.

Laura said...

Excuse me.. WTF?
Am I going to have to go onto the Yousguystubes all by myself and look this up?
Sheesh! ;)


Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

I love the way you write about music. Of course, your taste in music is appalling. What's wrong with Celine Dionne, snob?



ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I can steal the veal, but not the steer.

Life As I Know It Now said...

all is melodrama

amen to that :)

Randal Graves said...

duchess, that's what you get for being a whipper snapper. Too bad those shows didn't happen now, the whole thing would be on the interwebs.

demeur, you have no idea how inside joke your pink hair comment is.

laura, W = Alice rules.

tengrain, it's Dion, unless you're talking about Marcel the old Kings' center, you hateful left coaster.

if, I would, could moo.

life, go old school, go.

Tom Harper said...

"I can feel the wheel but I can't steer." I hate when that happens.

Beach Bum said...

Here, i.e. then, I was 19 with no skills...

I'm 47 and for me they jury is still debating any skills I might have and the signs and portents do not look good.

susan said...

The funny thing about life is when you're in it everything happens by chance; when you're out of it everything was fate.

Randal Graves said...

tom, precisely why one shoots up at home no whilst operating heavy machinery.

BB, don't be so hard on yourself, I'm sure you're a champion beer swiller.

susan, that's not funny, that's not funny at all!