Archive for the ‘Music’ category

Smith and Jones Forever

August 8th, 2019

In 2006, I was somehow on the board of an organization called COFOE, Coalition for Free and Open Elections. COFOE was going to have its annual meeting in Manhattan, some time in March or April. I successfully lobbied to have the meeting held the weekend of March 18-19. This way, I could see the Silver Jews at Webster Hall, on their first-ever tour.

The whole excursion was a whirlwind. It was the first trip Michelle and I had taken. I scheduled a trip around a COFOE meeting and a Silver Jews show, and this was somehow perfectly acceptable to her. When we got back, it was walking back to her apartment that I thought to myself, yeah, I guess I could handle living in Chicago after all.

Twenty-four years ago, more or less, and I recall it surprisingly vividly, for something so mundane: I was sitting in my dorm room and I was listening to Starlite Walker. I associate the memory with… consequence. It feels foolish to write something like that. I’ve sat down and listened to an album countless thousands of times in my life and what the hell does it mean to associate any such occurrence with… consequence?

Well, I was 18 at the time and didn’t know shit. I mean, I shouldn’t say that. I had recently taken a class on the Russian Revolution, so I knew something.

What I mean is that I was still at the beginning of the process of figuring out who I was, and for whatever it’s worth, I associate a lot of that with music. I started buying CDs in meaningful numbers only when I got to be about 17, and even then I was mostly just starting with classic rock.

I had a friend a couple of years older, already in college, and he’d come back talking about stuff nobody had heard of in Winnebago. The details of all that aren’t especially interesting. Suffice to say that it so happened when I went off to college I had a copy of Slanted + Enchanted in hand. Pavement was a gateway.

For whatever reason I dove in deeper. I get into something, and I suppose I really get into it, or at least that’s how I used to be. I bought Wowee Zowee the day it came out. I was one of those college kids listening to college rock or whatever. But I took it a little bit farther. I got on all these listservs, old-school listservs dedicated to bands, and the Pavement list was one of those, and I’m sure it was through that I in turn went out and found a copy of Starlite Walker.

Holding it in my hands now, I can’t tell you exactly what I must have thought about any of it. The back cover is a picture of Stephen, David, and Bob in the woods. David’s the tallest of the three. He’s wearing a long-sleeved red shirt and red pants. The shirt and pants are different shades of red. I’ve never in my life seen anyone in person dressed in such a manner.

The album is named Starlite Walker but on the disc itself it says STARLIGHT WALKER and the band is identified as THE SILVER JOOS. Was this all ridiculous at the time? Were all of these things somehow important too? What?

This thing was somehow a way of staking a claim, to no one in particular, that I was going off looking for meaning somewhere else.

The Webster Hall show was one of the two most important shows of my life, by which I mean, it was somehow very important to have been there. It is worth contrasting this show against the other on this short list. I will do that. Right here:

In 2009, we saw Leonard Cohen at the Chicago Theater. Leonard had been in a monastery or some such thing for who knew how many years; would the possibility to see him ever come up again?

Heading into 2006, David Berman had never toured. Who could have believed he ever would?

Why did these two men embark on these two tours? Because they both needed the money.

Leonard, of course, was… transcendent. His band was impeccable. I’ve never seen a performer so gracious, so charming, so sophisticated, so charismatic, so wonderful to be in the presence of.

David? At one point he took a cigarette out of his mouth, threw it on the floor, stared at it, and then jabbed at it with his foot, as though he expected it to crawl away.

Leonard commanded a broad and deep retrospective of work spanning decades.

David needed a music stand in front of him just to keep track of what he was doing with arguably his best-known songs.

Both nights were magical.

Pavement was an indie-rock band. The Silver Jews, though? They were indie-rock itself, a pseudo-band fronted by a guy who wouldn’t actually play live.

Or, at least, not in the way you might think. One day in 1997 I was interviewing Eric Allen, then bassist for the Apples in Stereo. He told how one night they were playing a show in Austin, and Berman showed up on stage with a trumpet.

So I guess the whole not playing live thing was… relative. Was everything relative?

It’s awfully tempting to quote David. There’s so much available to choose from. The thing is that I keep coming back to lines I don’t want to write out.

I think across all of the songs I ultimately have two favorites. The first one is from The Natural Bridge. It’s called “Black and Brown Blues”. I can’t sit here and attempt to describe this song, except to say, it’s achingly beautiful.

The second one is from Tanglewood Numbers. It’s called “Punks in the Beerlight”. It’s an honest-to-god rock song. Every so often I post the video for the song, which I won’t describe here, except to say it’s also my favorite video of all time, and when you see it, you’ll think I’m fucking insane.

But, see, I’m not.

Maybe, tonight, that’s the problem.

I’ve been here before. Chances are, you’ve been here before too. Maybe even at some of the same times as me.

Vic Chesnutt. Mark Linkous. Jason Molina.

The processing is different each time. I don’t know how to explain that, I just trust you know what I’m talking about.

It had come out in recent interviews that Berman was actually living in a little apartment adjoining the Drag City office space. For whatever reason it’d never occurred to me before reading those to see where that office space was. Turns out, I’ve driven past that very location a few times in the last couple of months.

That location isn’t too terribly far from where, in a little over two weeks, he was scheduled to play two nights. I would have been there night two.

The other instances all seemed very far away. This feels different. I know I’m not speaking for just myself when I say that this day does not come as a huge surprise. It was actually the new album that was a huge surprise. It was the new tour that was a huge surprise. It was like we were able to say ourselves: In his way, he’s okay, and we’ll be able to see as much for ourselves.


For the love of God, please send somebody over the ocean to keep an eye on Darren Hayman.

I had a couple people respond to a post of mine tonight… it’s like the electronic equivalent of seeing each other at a funeral after a long time apart. And fuck, maybe we shouldn’t have been apart for so long.

This story here has nothing to do with David Berman, but I share it anyway, because I think about it quite a bit, and yes, I’m going somewhere with it.

My dad saw John Stewart in concert dozens of times. John Stewart, way back in the day, was a member of the Kingston Trio. His greatest success as a solo artist was in the late ’70s when he somehow got hooked up with people from Fleetwood Mac. I was with my dad to see him at least twice – he played an acoustic guitar and his entourage consisted of one other musician, accompanying on guitar.

One night my dad was having a conversation with an old friend of his, explaining how as time had gone on, he’d see the same people at these John Stewart shows, to the point of knowing several of them by name. The ensuing debate was over whether these fellow concertgoers qualified as friends. These were people who clearly shared common interests, right? But when a show was done, wasn’t the connection done too?

For those of us who saw fit to spend actual time on listservs in 1995, well, we were clearly people sharing common interests, right? And while a concert might end, a listserv doesn’t exactly end, right? I mean, yes, eventually, that’s exactly what happens with such things.

But my point is that we do have more in common, and we do have more shared experiences, even if temporally separated. Maybe it sounds bizarre to some but I’m not ashamed to say that the shared experiences of silly listserv exchanges, those are things I look back especially fondly on. The Natural Bridge came out, and there were actually people out there to discuss it with.

I thought when I graduated college I’d go off to grad school and find a whole lot of people who shared a whole lot of interests with me. You know what? I never went to a single show with anyone I met in grad school. But I did go to shows, while in grad school and later, with people I’d met off of the Pavement listserv. At some point we lost most track of all that – Pavement had broken up, after all – and so maybe we eventually found a handful of each other on Facebook or whatever. But I drifted away from music being a true driving force in my life, and of course a great many other things changed too.

Well, it may be a virtual funeral, so on the one hand it’s a funeral and not exactly the right thing to say, and on the other hand it’s not a fucking funeral, I’m writing a fucking blog post for which I’ll share a link on fucking Facebook and fucking Twitter, so it’s all even more ridiculous to say, but here goes anyway: It’s nice to see you all. I wish we saw each other more, whatever the hell that means. I’m so sorry for our shared heartbreak tonight.

I don’t know who all would have read this far down. I’ve been trying to think my way, write my way through a tough night, and I suspect that most of this made precious little sense to most people.

I’m tired now, and I’m sad, and truth be told, I’ve been depressed lately as is. Tonight doesn’t help. Writing my way through it… I suppose that it helps a little. I miss writing so badly. But it just feels so pointless to write when there’s not really anybody to read it. And then striving to create… it really burns the idea of creating when the most important creative people in your realm take the ultimate act of destruction.

There are all these ways that Dave Berman proved to be formative to me, some of them ways which I could never have imagined. The different Silver Jews albums function like soundtracks to different times of my life, up until the point about 10 years ago when he wasn’t making them anymore. No other single musician performed that function for me so strongly and for so long and across so many transitions.

That weekend in New York was like a culmination, from that time sitting in my dorm room with a sense of consequence, to over a decade later when it was like I was showing this poor girl that this is what you actually have to put up with and she just rolled along with it.

I’d been afraid to listen to the Purple Mountains album. I can’t really explain it. I was actually kind of afraid of getting a ticket for the tour.

The thing is, I’m at my best when music is formative to my daily existence. And it’s been missing lately. Whatever exactly I mean by saying I was “afraid” of an album, it’s tied up in that. How I long to push past whatever this particular funk is. And maybe I thought Berman would be part of that. And maybe I was afraid he wouldn’t be after all. But, well, I guess I wasn’t afraid of this, where we sit tonight.

Dave Berman has enhanced my life in incalculable ways. I’m so gutted tonight that he’s gone, and that he’s gone like this. But I am thankful that I can wake up in the morning to a beautiful family, one which, though I’m not sure exactly how it all worked, he was somehow a part of making come to be.

Remembering Michael Dahlquist

July 14th, 2015

Ten years ago today, we lost Michael Dahlquist. He was, in my opinion, the greatest rock drummer on the planet. He was also just a goddamn nice guy.

Michael was the drummer for Silkworm. If you know me then you know how I feel: Silkworm was the single greatest American rock band of all time. I consider only the Beatles to be greater.

Upon his passing, I remember an article in which Tim was asked if Silkworm would continue. The answer was: “He’s irreplaceable.” It is a testament to what kind of guys they are that rather than continuing the band, Tim and Andy formed a different band together and retired all of the Silkworm songs. Michael didn’t write most of those songs. They didn’t have to do that.

I saw Silkworm 9 times. This is even though, as of the time I first saw them in 1997, they were no longer a persistently touring band. They’d all moved to Chicago by 2005, but I hadn’t. Every single time I saw them it took at least two hours to get there.

Michael seemed like a very tall man. I don’t think he was actually all that tall, but he was thin, lanky. He’d usually take his shirt off while playing since he’d get so sweaty. And he played with gardening gloves on. There was no blatantly intended comedy in any of this, and yet here was a power trio, co-fronted by two straight-laced, serious rock guitarists, and the guy behind the kit was wearing just shorts and sneakers and a beard and gardening gloves, and he was tearing the shit out of it all.

Look. I’m not an expert on drumming. Don’t take my word for it. Read the tribute written 10 years ago by Steve Albini. Here, I’ll provide the link. But don’t click it yet. Let me finish up first.

Silkworm never sold a ton of records. They were not rock stars. And it’s been 10 years now, so it’s that much less likely that people are familiar with their discography.

If you give a good goddamn about rock and roll, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted, not only with the extensive back catalog, but also what Tim and Andy are still doing today.

Start with these:

“Bourbon Beard” from Italian Platinum, one of the few songs Michael sings on:

“Nerves” from Firewater, the opening track from the band’s first album as a trio:

“Dremate” from In The West, back when they were a four piece:

The Night I Saw B.B. King

May 15th, 2015

I can’t say anything more profound than what scores of better-equipped people have already said about the passing of B.B. King. Flags should be at half-staff and this should be the lead story everywhere. But the eulogizing is best left to others.

Instead, I will tell the story of the night I saw B.B. King. In retrospect, having seen hundreds of concerts over the course of my life, it might just be that seeing B.B. was the absolute weirdest one of them all.

It was a Friday night in Beloit, Wisconsin in June 1993.

I had spent the week at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, attending something called the World Affairs Seminar. It was nominally a bunch of people like me, high school students entering their senior year, gathering to learn about, you know, world affairs. Among other things the week consisted of:

  • A Mexican trade representative extolling the virtues of a then-current proposal called NAFTA.
  • A walk to the only known record store in the city – Wal-Mart – at which time I bought a copy of Dream Police. On cassette.
  • Hanging out in a laundry room with a cute girl who lived in Mount Morris!
  • Watching the Bulls-Suns NBA Finals in a large dorm lounge with many people but most prominently a self-identified Mavericks fan from New Hampshire who was the only person in the room rooting for the Suns.
  • The burning of a Canadian flag.

In other words, it was a completely normal week.

That Friday afternoon, my dad picked me up from the campus and we drove down to Beloit. We were going to Riverfest, or whatever exactly the fest on the river is/was called. We were going to see B.B. King. And also Blue Öyster Cult. Because that’s what would logically happen in Beloit in 1993.

And so okay, we got to Beloit, and I really don’t remember anything of what happened between Whitewater and when B.B. took the stage. I sort of doubt anything too notable happened. If I forgot any kind of highly important life message imparted to me during that drive, Dad, I apologize.

B.B. took the stage. We didn’t know going in, but it turned out that he was touring with his boogie band, not his strict blues band. There were a lot of Hawaiian shirts being worn on stage.

I specifically remember that the bassist was a very uncool looking white guy playing a square bass. And every time anybody else would do a little solo, B.B. would put his hand to his ear and peer over at the soloist. His hands were immense. When he would put his hands to his ears it looked unreal. In retrospect, the word that comes to mind is Ferengi.

Now, I was 16 at the time. I didn’t totally understand the distinction between him hauling out his boogie band as opposed to his blues band, even though I tended to listen to the blues show on WXRX (the X!) every weekend, and even though I’d seen other blues luminaries previously. I mean, I did understand the distinction. Just not totally. It was all kind of weird to me.

And then somewhere along the way it started raining. And then raining kind of heavily. It wasn’t cold out per se, but after a while, wow, it was cold. And it being a Friday in late June, nobody had any jackets.

Now at one point, B.B. went to take his pick and throw it out into the audience. Okay, fair enough. It landed somewhere in what was becoming a soft mud lawn and a couple of people lunged for it.

But then somebody on stage and went up to B.B. and handed him many picks. In my mind it was a total crapload of picks. He flung them all. And some people went crazy. In particular I remember a couple of women near me freaking out and diving for picks and bumping into people and since we were all wet and cold it made me even more cold and it was ridiculous.

I’ve been to other shows in the rain – though I don’t remember that much rain. I’ve stood in the mud – though I don’t remember anybody diving through the mud. I’ve seen other outright legends – though I don’t remember them wearing Hawaiian shirts.

Eventually the set ended. And, absurd as this seems in retrospect, we were like, well, is Blue Öyster Cult going to play now?

We walked to the other stage and nothing much was happening. Chants erupted:


“Blue Öyster Cult! Blue Öyster Cult!”

And my favorite:

“Fuck the rain! Fuck the rain!”

It was all to no avail. The stage was too wet. Blue Öyster Cult would not appear.

It was okay, though. I managed to see them a few months later at the MetroCentre with Nazareth, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash. Andrew and I went. We saw our Spanish teacher there. The next day, Señor commented about how odd it was that Nazareth tried to get the crowd to sing along with “My White Bicycle”. He was right.

Anyway, since Blue Öyster Cult did not come out on stage that night, my dad and I got in the car and went back home to Winnebago.

I think that I was intentionally in Beloit once since that night. I’ve had to drive around it and maybe stopped there for gas. But I do remember winding up at of all things a ska show in Beloit some time during my senior year. MU330! Buck-O-Nine! Gangster Fun! But I have not been back since. I mean… it’s Beloit.

And I never got a chance to see B.B. again in a less absurd setting. I can sort of make a throw-off comment that I regret that, but really, wasn’t it fabulous to see an icon in the rain in the armpit of Wisconsin? Why would I want an experience like that to be diluted in my memory?

As for other things, I talked on the phone a couple of times with the cute girl from Mount Morris, but for some reason we never actually hooked up, probably because I was 16 and had no idea what the hell I was doing. The Bulls beat the Suns in 6 games. I specifically remember listening to “Gonna Raise Hell” right before getting out of the bus in Oglesby before the regional math tournament. Also, NAFTA passed.

All of this is a long way of saying: Rest in peace, B.B. King. Thank you for the rain and the picks and the boogie. But mostly, thank you for the blues.

Being Phil

November 16th, 2011

We finally saw the Phil Ochs documentary tonight. I recommend it, but I recommend it from the perspective of having read all of the biographies, and I encourage people to read the biographies too.

Phil, in my mind, was the quintessential actor of the Sixties. For what it’s worth, historians think of “the Sixties” as either 1961 or 1963 through about 1975 – you pick either JFK’s inauguration or JFK’s assassination as the starting point, and the end in Vietnam as the end. Phil, who wound up in New York in 1961, and who died in 1976, pretty much fits the era exactly. He rose and fall as the era rose and fell. In this respect, I’ve always found him to be a more fascinating figure than, say, Bob Dylan, who was always more of an iconoclast, someone who was (and still is) fascinating for ahistorical reasons.

Phil died in April 1976. I was named after him (or at least, the genesis of my name came from him) seven months later. He was 35 when he died. I’m 35 now.

One thing the documentary brought up, which I think is very important but easy to lose sight of, is something Sean Penn addressed in talking about Phil’s outlook on the war: the idea that no matter how horrific Vietnam was, it was more ridiculous than it was horrific. The terror, the tragedy, the destruction – and all of it had no real point. That distinction, that understanding, it’s an important one for me as well. The gubernatorial races in 2006 and 2010 are best understood as these utterly ridiculous fragments, things that don’t really make a lot of sense and which need to be adapted to.

I think if I got caught up in the horror of existence without being able to step back and regard the sheer absurdity of it all, it would just drag me down. And I think what happened to Phil and to the Sixties more broadly is that people couldn’t help but get caught up in and dragged down by the horror. It’s the absurdity which is easier to fight than the horror. The horror makes you despondent. The absurdity makes you feel capable. It’s a hard thing to explain. But I think complacency comes when you accept the absurd, and despondency comes when you get caught up in the horror, and I don’t want to be complacent or despondent.

I wish I knew others who had read the biographies and seen the documentary. These are things I’d like to talk about, but I feel like I’ll inevitably do all of the talking.

here come the painbirds

March 17th, 2010

Somehow a week, almost two, went by before I heard about Mark Linkous. Here is the incredibly short version: Mark Linkous fronted/was Sparklehorse. He was, at his best, on a level almost with practically nobody else. And he apparently went outside, sat down, and shot himself in the chest with a rifle on March 6.

Three months ago, Vic Chesnutt did just about the same thing. Vic was also one of the great ones. I really wanted to say a lot about it, write a lot about it, and I guess I just never did. I never really could figure out what to say. I guess I’m mentioning Vic now as a way of apologizing for not having said what I should have said before, even though I still don’t know what that was.

I feel a little better equipped to talk about Mark Linkous, for a few reasons, including that it’s been 10 years since I’ve seen him, and because I feel like I can much more directly explain where and when and why he mattered most to me.

The first Sparklehorse album was Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. It came out some time in 1995 but damned if I know when. There was a minor hit from it in “Someday I Will Treat You Good”, which managed to get airplay a couple of times on 120 Minutes, which we watched fairly religiously, at least in so much that freshman in college do anything religiously. I don’t really remember what the reason was, but at some point in 1995, or at least I think it was 1995, maybe at the beginning of the summer, I was with my dad, and we were going into Evanston, or at least into somewhere near Evanston, and we stopped at a record store, and they were selling Vivadixie with a free t-shirt to go with! So that’s when and where I got that album.

I listened to it fairly frequently over time. “Someday I Will Treat You Good” and “Rainmaker” were frequent plays over time on my radio show (GOAT-SPIEL for those of you who don’t know). Honestly, the album didn’t sound like anyone or anything else. In fact, it made almost no sense at all that this recording existed like this. Inexplicably, it was released on a major label (Capitol), even though half of the songs sounded like they were recorded in caverns, and the entire album was basically conceived by and recorded by Linkous; I’m not even sure there were any other musicians on the album. I’ve seen some strange words used to describe the sound, like “psych-folk”, but really, it’s a pop-rock album, sort of schizophrenic, sort of reminiscent of some of Tobin Sprout’s songs for Guided By Voices, but the recording itself has this completely different quality to it. A lot of the album really sounds like context to the parts of the album which we’re supposed to listen to most closely, if that makes sense.

It took a long time for the second album to come out, because Linkous managed to almost kill himself along the way. Technically the report is that he was officially dead for two minutes, stemming from some mixture of chemicals/drinks/prescriptions/whatnot. This all happened while I was in college, during a time when all kinds of tastes and interests come and go, where the pantheon of greatness expands beyond any point which makes any sense. Over that time I managed to find crazy 7″s – not that I owned a turntable to play them on – and in general I would say that I was very pumped about Good Morning Spider finally coming out. That Linkous almost died along the way just added to the mystique.

I’ve long held two critiques of Good Morning Spider, the two things which I think keep the album from being considered one of the pinnacle, greatest albums ever recorded. First, it’s simply too long, and it loses steam toward the end. Second, I still really do not so much care for “Sick of Goodbyes”, which screams of David Lowery being involved. If if there were just something else there, then the first half would be just about perfect.

Having said that: Good Morning Spider is a masterwork. It’s an incredible album in a lot of ways. There’s an actual band backing Linkous on much of it (though not all of it), and it provides a lushness to what otherwise seems almost too stark to handle.

The album starts off with a noisy, pissy mess in “Pig”, which features one of the greatest pair of lines in rock history:

I want to be a stupid-ass shallow motherfucker now
I want to be a tough-skinned bitch but I don’t know how

Then the song ends, and the next song, “Painbirds”, is completely the other direction. In some ways it feels even more defiant, like it doesn’t want to be treated as the fragile, delicate thing that it is. The combination basically demands that the listener pay attention to what’s going on, because the tone, the sound, and the melody can be almost completely misleading. Remember, this is the album recorded in the wake of the man almost dying.

Now, here’s the story as I understand it. Capitol wanted to release a single, so they picked the obvious choice – the catchiest song, the biggest rock song on the album. And Linkous was adamantly opposed to this being the single – so much so that he literally destroyed the song by overdubbing it with radio static and turning it into this amazingly fucked up song-within-something-else in the middle of the record. On top of that, he took the original recording and mangled or destroyed it outright, so it couldn’t be reissued separately. Capitol wound up going with “Sick of Goodbyes” as the single. Although there was some very strange attempt to salvage “Happy Man” which did get reproduced on some weird promotional EP – and which in and of itself is really quite an amazing recording – the final result would up being the centerpiece of the record, and what I still feel is one of the ten indispensable songs ever recorded.

“Chaos of the Galaxy / Happy Man” manages to be transcendent because the power of the song itself is refunneled into a different medium altogether. I realize this doesn’t make any sense, but it’s hard to explain why what he did actually works. It’s a variation on the idea of trying to tune something in on the radio, and getting static along the way, in that buried in the static seems to be something more cosmic. It’s not like the radio band is being scanned, it’s like the galaxy itself is being scanned, and in the middle of it is this man desperate to be happy, with that desperation somehow coming off as some sort of representational statement of the galaxy.

Linkous put together a tour, and I managed to see Sparklehorse, with Varnaline opening, in Cleveland, at the Grog Shop. This was one of the ten best concerts I’ve ever seen. It was the best Varnaline set I think I ever saw, and Sparklehorse was really incredible. Linkous had to work leg braces from his accident – he’d nearly died, and in the aftermath came out somewhat crippled – and he still fronted what proved to be this tight band really just pouring themselves out. He used two microphones – one normal, one distorted – something I’ve never seen before, and have never actually seen since.

It’s A Wonderful Life came out in 2001. There are moments I really like – “Piano Fire” is a duet with PJ Harvey, and you can never go wrong with that. I have to confess that it never really grabbed me, though. It wasn’t really a great time for me to be listening to music and making sense out of any of it, maybe. It just sort of got consigned to the shelf, rarely to come off. When the followup, Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, finally came out in 2006, I bought it almost dutifully. I’m not even sure I can tell you anything much about it, except that Danger Mouse was somehow involved.

The first two Sparklehorse albums remain important albums in my collection, though, and whatever distance there might have been between my ear and whatever Mark Linkous has done the last few years, it is really a jolt to find out that another important voice in my life saw fit to off himself. Vic and Mark, of course, had a lot in common – they were both Southerners with weird musical sensibilities, Vic being crippled and Mark having been somewhat crippled for quite a while, Vic having appeared on two Sparklehorse records. They actually seem to share a lot with a third musical icon, David Berman. Thankfully, Dave didn’t use a gun, so he’s still alive.

At times like this I really feel like I got off track at some point. Even when I was at my most depressed, the primal presence of music – and new music for that matter – was this vital, incredibly important aspect of living. It just doesn’t seem right to me that I would have lost that. It makes deaths like Mark’s and Vic’s feel almost like warnings to me. I don’t mean that in the overly stark sense it might seem. But I still mean it. I wish I knew what I meant when I say that I mean it.