(All song clips in this entry are songs that I was listening to at the time I'm ranting about. Coincidentally, most of it came out at that time too. Thank GOD, whoever he/she is. Music marks history, but is above & beyond it at the same time. More importantly, it's a great soundtrack).
"How can you STAND the NOISE?!!!"
"I just couldn't HANDLE it.....NO!"
"WHAT the HELL is GOING ON here?!!"
I hear it all of the time, and, frankly, I suppose I do understand the sentiment....even though sometimes those quotes are about ME.
(Sorry about that).
But, as I've probably told you....I flew into town with five suitcases that literally bruised my shoulders...only to wake up on my friend's floor (where I was very happy to be -- see previous blog for THAT story....it's a good one). I remember waking up, thinking to myself, "Holy shit! I'm here, and I'm alive....and I don't even know what that means!" I was about to grow, because I had no fucking choice!
I showered & scanned the Village Voice for job, apartment, and audition ads, like so many others undoubtedly did that day (there was no Craig's List yet, and certainly nothing resembling Social Networks).
The last thing I heard before I walked out the door ...made me think....."What the FUCK is THIS annoying HORSESHIT playing OVER and OVER again?!!! Sheee-IT, Man!!! Could you SWITCH it UP at least?!!! Play something ELSE that SUCKS, perhaps, but is DIFFERENT!!!"
Yes, it was the Mr. Softee Ice Cream Truck....and yes, I was a newbee.....but holy shit, that spooked me out!
I walked to the train, and heard some bird call me, "Billy Ray Cyrus", because of my leather cowboy hat that I was wearing at the time. "Welcome to New York", I was thinking. I was also wondering why the bird who said that didn't recognize a ROCKER when she saw one...or maybe she did, liked what she saw, & was trying to get me to give her a second look. I had a much thinner skin then. Looking back, that was a good one!
Soon, I found my way around town, in that relative sense. If you want to know what they mean by, "Do or die," then chuck everything for the big city, like my homeboys and I did....then come talk to me, because I want to hear your take on it! Everyone's experiences and perspectives are different, and totally valid.
But the sounds on the streets, in my speakers, and in my head....never have been lost on me. They represent a time & place...from the sound of the dude cursing & payphone & slamming the receiver down so hard that he broke the damn phone (if you see a broken payphone, you know what I mean) to the sound of the 8am subway train on my way to my first job in town (This AT THE DRIVE-IN song still sounds like the A train arriving on 44th & 8th) to....the sounds of hookers cat-calling at me on my way home from striking out at Doc Holiday's after drinking a shitloads of Pabst Blue Ribbon & Jim Beam.
I'm in a completely different place now, but these songs, when I hear them, bring me back in different ways. They can make me feel uncertain, or tired, or wistful, or irrationally determined, or melancholy, or scared, or desperate, or clueless, or whathaveyou. It makes me think of the state I was in back then, when I really didn't know what to expect from one minute to the next. It was an extremely exciting time, in a lot of ways. I think that it took a lot of courage to jump head-first into the belly of the beast, as they say. But I did it in such a state of suspended animation, as if I was watching a someone else go through all of this crazy shit.....shit that I don't think is so crazy now, really.
I mean, think about your life.....and all of the experiences you've had that you can remember. Wouldn't your life be different if you took away ONE of them? (I'm not referring to the irreparably shitty ones, of course. We can all do without those). You wouldn't exactly be YOU if you didn't have them all filed upstairs.
What's funny is that, NOW, when I hear the Mr Softee truck & all of it's inane noise, or when I see some half-drunk dude playing air-bongos on the sidewalk along with Salsa Music blaring from his car at 6pm on a Friday, when he presumably just got finished with work, or I hear the sirens going Nowhere North of Nowhere every day.....I don't mind so much. It reminds me of where I am, and that I'm well on my way with succeeding at what I came here to do. It's many years and miles away from the deafening silence of the Midwest, which I was scared to leave, and even more terrifed NOT to.
So....BRING THE NOISE!!!!