Wednesday, March 7, 2007

This is a scene, not any other bullshit

I didn’t think it was real. I mean real in a lasting way. Naturally, it would fray at the edges and eventually come apart completely in time because no one but me and a few others really cared about it right? When we started having Tuesday Night Band Night in Oakland a year and a half ago, it peaked in a couple weeks. I mean everyone I knew vaguely through music was packed into Radio that night, you couldn’t move - but a few weeks later it was just Ash and I. I figured somewhere that I’d lose everyone when I went out on the road, but I always come back and they’re there, or they’re gone now, but they come back and I’m there. We share something that keeps us closer than I thought friendship could bring you at this age. The only competition in our scene is healthy, keeping us on top of our game, trying to write and play the best we can. We keep each other afloat in rough waters and lift each other up when opportunity is there.

Walking down Divisidero this morning, I wait to cross the street beside two small stray children fighting as obvious siblings. I get my first smile of the day with their classic back and forth, “shut up! stop copying me!” Heels clicking on the sidewalk approach from behind and pass by realized as a woman dressed for the office in a skirt, grays and blacks. Everything about her is fresh and pulled tight. I see her juxtaposed to me in a ghastly storefront reflection. These clothes fit better yesterday. I follow her into a Starbucks, counting the hours I slept – four or five? but was it real sleep? Can I count the twenty minutes I spent walking here? I downed a free sample of some sweet new latte as I waited for my coffee. I found my car and fought my way to the freeway. Opposing the commute, the lanes were spread empty and wide in front of me. I feel heroic crossing the bridge at this time of day, the steel beams and pillars passing in rhythm on either side, long shafts of sunlight, the bay reflecting the sky in a triumphant blue - I hear trumpets, I feel the earth move, I turn off the radio and sing.

Ryan and Mike - Mike’s legs are loose and rubbery under the weight of his thin frame. He moves about the sidewalk like a squid in an aquarium. In an endless and unobstructed field, without the gravity, he would appear graceful, his movements marvelous and unintentional. But in a world of walls and parking meters, storefronts, and tables and other people, his grace is denied. He hugs you like a blanket, he curses nothing, he recites to you all of his blessings. Ryan knows this is the best part and that’s his secret. He isn’t way back there or way up ahead, he’s right here, always right here. He knows it and he takes advantage of knowing. The rest of us, we understand but we don’t know. Ryan is confident in this. He takes care of Mike and brings him in with him. They push each other, they don’t think about where they will sleep, they’ll share the carpet in the hallway of a house of a stranger. They have become brothers and I have a great love for them. You probably don’t know them yet, but you will – everyone will – in a short matter of time.

Ben was bartending. He makes sure everyone is alright. He has huge heart, it swells when he can take care of you. I don’t know whose vacant bed I slept in but he brought me to it. He has showed me my fair share of places to lay my head. When we try to sing Jawbreaker we only sing invisible harmonies, there’s no lead and it sounds like shit probably. Spinal Tap is playing on mute. Cigarettes are piling up. I’m in this room and that room. He has his girl there. She is giving too, she knows that everyone else is on the other side of love and does what she can. Loneliness is just as indefinable as love. It is merely the void of love. The thing to understand is that you cant fill all the empty space of loneliness at one given time. Different loves come into your life at different times and the shape of your loneliness changes. It expands and contracts. We are stagnant, everything changes around us, brings out different shades of our personalities.

Brett was there, but he was talking to some people I didn’t know, though he did give me a ride at some point, smacking the dashboard at every downbeat of American Girl, singing- screaming along. Brett has a strange confidence, a great interest in people. He can genuinely talk to anyone. He can tear them apart, he can provide a brash wisdom, he can burden you and take your burdens. He left at some point in the night.

These are my boys – or at least a few elements of them. None of this is forced. We’ll all be playing a show together at SXSW and someday we’ll all tour together, obliviously tearing city after city limb from limb – We’ll have the best intentions but something will get out of hand. It always does.