Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sailing All Alone...

i had a fantastic time last night. the atmosphere was awesome and it felt really great to get out and hang with some great people. i helped with keeping score all night while everybody else played volleyball. i'd forgotten how much fun going to these things use to be. i remember back to my early childhood when my dad would open the gym at my old church for all of us to play. i would run around and get into trouble while the parents and other adults played, and laughed, and seemed to have an overall good time. heck, i even developed my first crush during one of those nights!!! and this time, it was me who was the adult, but i was alone. well, not really alone in the sense of nobody being near me, but alone in a personal matter. still, that didn't keep me from having a good time despite that fact.

time and time again, it is with highest regard, that i try my very best to introduce you all to music that has made a personal impact on my life. i don't worship music, i just love it. today i want to discuss a very important band. this particular band saved my life in 2003 and introduced me to a new world of music that is all i really care about today. i'm am definitely not the first one to mention these guys, but that doesn't mean i don't have my own story to tell of them. ladies and gentlemen, it is with my greatest pleasure, that i introduce to you all, the band, the legends, the source of a once great impact on my life, At The Drive-In.

this is another post that i have been thinking over in my head for quite some time. heck, it's one of the first things i thought of when i decided to make a blog. this band here, well it's hard to say for me because it's a matter of personal impact and memory, but this band here is in my top ten and still stand as one of the best musical acts to ever grace our human lives. this band is the definition of art. they all came together when they were young, 1993 to be exact, and crashed and burned in 2001 at the peak of their popularity and the start of their futures. they were on the verge of mega stardom, and often cited as "the next nirvana" but that would not be.

let's go back a bit to the start of this band. they hailed from el paso, texas and formed in high school. right away they started playing as many shows as they could, and got their name around like most good bands do. they were part of the early 90's emo/hardcore/punk sound and, in my opinion, the best of that bunch. they took inspiration from bands like Fugazi and Nation of Ullysses and also closely related to other noteworthy bands like Drive Like Jehu and Still Life. now i know that is a very radical statement, when it comes to old emo purists, but hey, it's just my opinion. and no, i never got to see them live, but that doesn't change my mind when it comes to how much these guys mattered.

they released several ep's and full length albums on many labels that believed in them. their live shows were the seal of approval for those who didn't know beforehand. once you saw them play live, in whatever dingy club or basement you could, you knew they were something much more and truly special.

i remember a conversation i had with my dad about great live concerts we've both been too. he beat me of course because he got to see Led Zeppelin three times, which i think is really cool of him. but the conversation sort of went south when i discussed certain bands he's never heard of. i mentioned At The Drive-In, Deftones, Explosions In The Sky and Jeromes Dream among others. i explained each band's impact on me and how they each played their live shows with their own creative style in influences. he couldn't get past the fact that they all played basements and vfw halls. i guess my dad, like my mother, is used to big arena type spectacles. well, i'll forgive my mother because she likes explosions in the sky, but yeah, our conversation went like that. it's hard to explain to someone how much an intimate show can matter to someone if they have never been to one. i don't think the guys from Rush or Aerosmith meet and great their fans without being paid. i also know for a fact that those guys don't carry their own equipment and sleep on people's floors to save money when touring.

since i'm a self proclaimed "writer" i try to find inspiration for my stories from everyday life like most writers do. i don't know why, but the aspects of music and touring have had a huge cultural impact on me and has set a standard in my writing. i try my best to make it all seem real and relatable, and a band, like at the drive-in, inspires me to be better at what i do. i thought of them and many other musical acts when i was writing my new short story a few weekends ago. just thinking, about how much that style of living had on one's own mind was fascinating and made me really ponder on how our modern music is made. you can listen to certain things and get a true feel for what the artists were feeling, or meant when they created it. and certainly when they play live, you get all that emotion and baggage out front and center. it's almost naked in a way. and going back to adam an eve, when they were naked they were ashamed...

in 2003 i discovered at the drive-in. i was at a big chain record store for a midnight release of a new Korn album. uh, yeah so while we were waiting to be let in to purchase that cd, we were given free gifts outside. i got a poster, some stickers, and a dvd. once midnight came, i went in, got the cd, and went home listening to it. at the time i claimed it was korn's best album, but i was only denying the fact that it sucked and i was too ashamed to admit to it. you see, by that time, nu-metal was dying out and right under the fringes was this new style that was rising up from the underground to take away all the mess that MxTxVx and the radio created and spoon fed to the masses. i was also on the fringes back then, and at the time, the deftones were my only buddies. the deftones will always be with me, but i needed something a bit different, so cut to that weird dvd they gave me. on it were lots and lots of music video's from nu-metal bands that i dare to mention here, but if you liked that stuff back then you can pretty much decide who a lot of them were. anyway, on the very bottom of the musical selection was at the drive-in. i eventually got to them after watching all the rest, and let me tell you, it hit me like a bat to the head. (i got hit with a bat in 2002 by the way...) there in the selection was the video for the song, "one armed scissor" and then a companion video documentary showing the band in the recording process for their new album at the time called, Relationship of Command. what first struck me was their weird fashion style. they weren't wearing baggy jinco jeans and sporting chain wallets. instead it was tight pants, and slim fit shirts. the second thing that struck me was their spastic live performance that was highlighted in the music video. most nu-metal bands were always head banging, but kind of slowly chugging along with all that drop tuned guitar riff junk. but here, this band was all over the place and showed so much energy and live presence that i just couldn't look at any of my bands with the same feelings. (minus the deftones because those guys were always full of energy)

as i type this i'm listening to my personal at the drive-in play list to remember the feelings. well, back to the story, i was hooked on who the heck these guys were. i just didn't know and i asked around and people gave me strange looks, except for one kid who i remember being a loner in high school like myself. "yeah, i've heard of them. they were pretty good. that one album they have with that song is great." okay, so that might not have been what he said, and i can't remember if it was a high school kid or not, but this person knew of them and that at least gave me some sense of right direction. i wasn't crazy then. well, in 2003 i was barely passing my classes and about to graduate. by the spring, i had found their album at a best buy and became a huge fan. i went around telling everyone about them, but by then it was too late and nobody really liked me anyway except for the stoners whom i frequently hung with. at the drive-in introduce me to emo music. i read that label and went out searching for bands with that moniker. i discovered the bands, Thursday, Thrice, Poison The Well, The Used, and Glassjaw all during that spring of my senior year. my friend quickly noticed this change in me. i stopped jamming Disturbed and Mudvayne and instead blasted their ears with the screams and soft singing of these newer bands. they all didn't like it, but whatever!!! it was great and felt so darn refreshing to be involved in something new!!! it didn't stop there. i quit going to all those metal shows, and instead dived into the dirty smelly punk clubs. slowly, but surely, more and more people started to come into this type of music as well. it was more of the younger kids at my high school than those who were in my graduating class, but nonetheless, it was awesome to see these kids rocking out to something different. heck, i remember changing my clothing style too, and wearing tighter jeans and letting my hair go to crap just for that "shaggy" look. oh man, just remembering this time is making me excited all over again because i'm honestly remembering how amazing it all felt to me. i was that kid who had no one to connect to, but instead connected to music and art, and never looked back.

it's 2010 now and i'm 25 years old. my 18 year old self wouldn't think i'd be the way i am now if he looked at me and saw what he saw. i've been living on this earth for some time now, but technically i'm still young. i don't really feel that young though, and because of that i have become a little jaded towards a lot of things. music will forever continue to change, and i'm glad i have gotten over the fact that it has been through so much. after 2005, the times developed into mainstream again, and all this music i just discovered and loved so much was at it's peak and corporate scumbags destroyed something that was once pure and heartfelt. this organically evolved music became the food for hungry evil people to sell to uninspired youth, and i jumped ship once again. at the drive-in saw this before i did, and stopped dead in their tracks. in 2001 they played the australia rock festival, Big Day Out and it was here that they imploded and broke up. look for their live video's of this time and performance on you tube. it's the peak and the crash of this once powerful band. members would later go on to form the bands, Sparta and The Mars Volta. and after all of that, it is only now that i can go back, with safety and nostalgia, and remember this music that helped me through the tough times and developed roots in my soul. at the drive-in was one of those artists that came along at the very right time, and i'm forever thankful to god for that. music is my life...

this is a mega post for sure, and one that has taken me through some tough emotions because this music means so much. i want all of you to take a listen and hopefully witness what i first heard. today you will find the bands entire discography minus a few splits and live bootlegs. this is it, all the main essential stuff is here. first we have the 7inch titled, Hell Paso followed by the ep ¡Alfaro Vive, Carajo!. next we have the amazing debut full length, Acrobatic Tenement. this is my second favorite album by the band and it showcases their youth and those great 90's emo elements that many people love so much. the rawness, the off key vocals, and the intimate lyrics are all present on this album. following the release of that, they made the ep, El Gran Orgo and then recorded their next full length, In/Casino/Out. this album is special for the fact that they recorded it all live in the studio as a way to transition their intense live shows onto the recordings. it was an awesome experiment, but ultimately not the solution until a bit later. after that they made their last ep titled, Vaya. this little doozy is the middle ground from post-hardcore to progressive music that they would end with. and with that comes their final album and my first album and favorite album by the band called, Relationship of Command. this is the band at their peak of perfection and you can see how they splintered into the two groups sparta and the mars volta here. this is them live, but not live. it's bleak, but also punchy. spastic, but controlled. awesome, and yet sad. it's a true statement to the bands talent and legacy and it stands as one of the best albums EVER made. time will tell how great this album really is. people will be talking about it years and years from now and still trying to figure out why it is so powerful. really, this album take you by the shoulders and doesn't let go until the very last note is strung. and for the purists, fearless records released a sort of "greatest hits" type album, but one that is worth having since it contains many hard to find tracks from the various splits the band did. that album is called, This Station Is Non-Operational, and it takes it's name from the song, "one armed scissor". ironically, this would become their highest selling album, but that doesn't and didn't really matter. so, for those who don't know, here is your chance. for those that do, take a little trip back if you want and enjoy!!!

i write to remember...

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