the party after the party.

We loaded the car with our things and made the trip back home, ecstatic.  I don’t think it would have been possible to be any happier.  We had a pocketful of cash to donate to the Center for Food Action, we had packed a club to the point where it was overflowing, we had a bunch of happy bands, and we had plans for our next two releases: a re-issue of the Melting Hopefuls’ “Suck My Heart” 7″, and a brand new 7″ with Godspeed.

When we got back to our apartment, it was also pretty crowded.  Frank and Rich were there with us, as were a number of other friends from high school.  We had some college friends there as well.  A few guys from some of the bands came by.  There was a general feeling of relief.

Sandy and I were absolutely elated.  We had spent so much time, trying to figure out how to make a record, trying to find bands, floundering around, absolutely clueless, and we finally had a win.  It went beyond having CDs in our living room. We had met ten bands, made a CD, and had a show that a lot of people attended.  

Also, we sold some CDs.  Not many – maybe 10 or 20.  But there was no way for me to quantify the meaning this had to me.  For me, once a CD is in my library, it becomes a part of my life.  

There’s a phenomenon with music that’s difficult to explain.  It goes like this: next time you hear a song that you haven’t heard in ten years, or twenty, stop and pay attention.  You still remember the song.  You can sing along with it in your mind, you know where the guitar parts go, you know when it starts to fade out at the end.  Sometimes you can hear the imaginary DJ in your mind. Sometimes you can remember what you were doing during an important moment in your life when that song was playing.

Example. When I hear Van Halen’s cover of Roy Orbinson’s “Oh! Pretty Woman” – a song I hate by a band I don’t like much – as soon as it ends, The Doors’ “Touch Me” begins playing in my mind.  That’s because when I was a kid, I taped the Van Halen song off the radio, and The Doors song came on immediately afterward.  I clipped the first few notes of the song on my tape, and now its permanently etched in my mind.

Music has that impact on people.  I can see a film I haven’t seen in 20 years, or watch an episode of a TV program, and barely remember it.  Ask me to recount the storyline of Northern Exposure – a show I watched religiously when it was current – and the best I could do anymore is tell you that it was set in Alaska, it was offbeat, and there was sexual tension between the doctor and the woman with short hair. I don’t remember the storyline, the names of the characters, or virtually anything else about the show.

Ask me, though, about The Angels’ “She Keeps No Secrets.”  When I was in 7th or 8th grade, I heard the song on the radio, and taped it on my boom box.  I loved the song, but the DJ didn’t back-announce the band, so I never knew who did the song.  Eventually, I lost the tape.  But the song was stuck in my mind forever.  I knew the lyrics, I could hear the singer’s voice, I knew how the guitar solo went – and I had no idea what the name of the song was, or who performed it.  It was only after the internet caught up with us that I was able to Google the lyrics, find out the name of the band, and buy the song. The fact that I’d search out that song years later and acquire a copy is a testament to what music can do. 

For 25 years I kept that song tucked away in my brain.  

Music has that effect on people, and now 10 or 20 people owned a record that I pieced together, packaged, and made.  There were ten bands on that record who worked hard at writing and recording their music, and now 10 or 20 new people owned it, and could listen to it and etch that music on their brains.  Not to mention the 500 or so people who came into the club that night, and hopefully hung around long enough to get turned onto a new band.

It was a huge thing for me, to potentially help a band impact somebody that way.  And, in celebration, I got myself appropriately drunk at the after-party.

At one point during the evening, Walt made a snarky comment and I wound up dumping my entire bottle of beer on him.  He reciprocated, and pretty soon we were having a full-fledged beer fight in our apartment.  By the time we were done, there was probably a half inch of beer on the living room floor.  We were all laughing and drinking, blasting the new Melting Hopefuls tape that Ray gave me at the show (which was great, and included that “masturbation song” that they played at the show).  

Sandy, ever the gracious hostess, produced some snacks – I hadn’t realized how hungry I was – and we all ate, drank, and talked about what a great night it was.  Everyone was thrilled.  I handed a copy of the compilation to everyone who was there.  Gradually, everyone left.

Rich was too drunk to drive home, so we invited him to stay with us.  Walt, who was living in Rhode Island at the time, was also staying with us.  Walt had (and still has) a tendency to fall asleep anywhere, under any circumstances, and snore really loudly.  He could be sitting on the floor, in a roomful of people, and all of a sudden he’s snoring.

Walt fell asleep first, and then Sandy and I went to bed.  We were in bed for maybe two minutes when Walt started snoring.  He sounded like he was operating a chainsaw.

“Oh yeah, Rich?” I called to Rich, who was trying to fall asleep in the same room as Walt.

“Yeah?” he called back.

“Walt snores.”

Rich broke up laughing, and so did Sandy and I.  It was a great, great way to end an absolutely awesome day.

~ by Al on January 27, 2009.

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