I totally remember seeing Zoinks at the Fireside. Do I remember this particular show? Um not really, all the shows blur together, but I know they were one of the many, many bands I saw there, along with Apocalypse Hoboken, Sleater Kinney, Bratmobile, The Third Sex, Sidekick Kato, Oblivion, Slapstick, Blue Meanies, Mr. T Experience. I could go on and on. Those are just my favorites off the top of my head. I went to the Fireside at least once a week for a year or so there. It was like home away from home. There were no ticket stubs though, so no physical memories for me to touch in a scrapbook like all my other concerts everywhere else. But that's okay. That's the way the Fireside experience should be. Volatile and everchanging the way punk rock is. Every show you went to there would be rumors that it was going to be the last because the city was shutting the place down.
I like the way my musical memories from end of sophomore year through end of senior year (note my senior year ended in January) feel like the music I listened to. I like that I stumble upon them in random ways. A YouTube video, a used vinyl at a record store in another city, a cassette tape with Mike's handwriting on it. NOFX on side A, Face to Face on side B. Made for the endless hours of driving in my car going everywhere, going nowhere.
I got pissed when I couldn't find my Tilt vinyls or my Screeching Weasel CDs because I wanted to listen to them and I bought those at Earwax Records, the punk rock record store that opened in Oak Park for all of about six months before they realized that the only people interested in a punk rock store in Oak Park was my group of about ten friends. We tried to keep them alive. We really did. I spent every dime I earned at Dominicks that I wasn't spending at Denny's or saving to get the hell out of Oak Park at Earwax.... But I'm getting off subject here. Musical memories tend to do that.
Anyway, I'm pissed when I can't find Tilt or Screeching Weasel or the Queers or Operation Ivy. Or worst of all that original pressing Minor Threat record which I'm sure was worth something. But I know those CDs and records are missing because I lent them to someone and didn't get them back or I got drunk at a party at Antioch and we put them on and they disappeared. And that's okay somehow, for punk cds and records to disappear in this way. What's not okay is the music I willing gave up.
Whenever I am asked the question, "Do you have any regrets?" I always say no because even the bad, horrible, ugly things that happened in my life had their purpose and led me to the place I am now. But I realized today, as the result of a silly Facebook quiz, that I do have one regret: my tendency to destroy/giveaway/get rid of my possessions when they become associated with bad things/people. I purge. And it's one thing to purge old letters and tacky gifts and clothes that are worn out or you will never wear again, but it's another thing to purge music and I am guilty of purging music.
This all started when I took the "What Goth Band Are You?" quiz. I ended up with Specimen, who I did not immediately recognize. Then Tai commented, "You've heard them. They were on the comps we listened to." Oh yes, the comps! I start to get up and then I realize, I gave my ex all the goth CDs when he moved out because I associated goth with him and I wanted to be rid of him and those memories. But there was goth in my life before him. There was me and Tai in black lipstick. There was that hole in the wall goth record store on Belmont just east of Halsted. Armageddon or something totally gloom and doom sounding where we hunted for those CDs, those comps. And the hunt, the sense of discovery was so much fun.... And I just handed it off because in that moment all I saw was a tall boy with Robert Smith hair and too much makeup who I'd fought with too many times and didn't want to remember. I took solace in my punk, my grunge, all the things I was before I knew him (even though I was goth too before I knew him) and I let him leave with my discoveries. And now here I am wanting those damn comps and they are gone.
And I'm cursing myself, regretting things for the first time ever because this happened to me just a few weeks ago. I wanted to listen to Pavement. I was never a big Pavement fan. All my friends were and I felt kind of left out, like Pavement was a joke I didn't get. I took solace in the fact that my best friend didn't really get it either and I clung to the other indie bands that I had in common with the other friends like Slint and Sonic Youth. But I did have a Pavement CD. Asshole gave it me. (Asshole being my sophomore year boyfriend; his name has slowly been abbrieviated over the years from "my psychotic abusive asshole ex boyfriend" to simply Asshole. Just like my aforementioned ex had a lot of adjectives before ex as well, but now he is just Ex. Anyway the explanation of the Asshole relationship is here.)
Everything that Asshole gave to me has been destroyed. Even my journal from the time I dated Asshole was thrown away (another regret). Even the Nirvana bootleg he gave me was given away even though Nirvana is my favorite band on earth. I stopped listening to them for about a year post-Asshole because he was a wannabe Kurt Cobain when we dated so even my favorite band totally associated with him. Such was the trauma of Asshole. The Pavement CD particularly upset me though because it reminded me of the people he was friends with before we started dating; people I wanted to be friends with. My relationship with those people was fucked for years because they associated me with him. We were all victims of his assholishness (did I just invent a new word?), but weren't really able to see that/mend things. Any way, the point is Pavement is gone. CDs that are gone because of Asshole are a particularly sore spot with me because I used to buy CDs and he would take them from me to listen to first and then he would decide they were not good enough and he would sell MY CDs. He sold my Jawbreaker CDs for example and I was pissed for days, but he thought Jawbreaker was lame and boring. Of course now he has a Jawbreaker tattoo so I hear....
Again, getting off topic. I sold the CD I lost my virginity to. It was Saturation by Urge Overkill. That's probably the one CD I really don't want back. The memory is still too ugly. Though sometimes I want to listen to "Erica Kane"; I suppose I could download that.
I'm sure a lot of people are thinking, just download the songs, who cares, but it's not the same. There is something about the particular CD or vinyl. Memories of the discovery and the hunt. Memories of the good and the bad moments associated. My life could be told in music and I suspect one day I will attempt to do so. I have a working title for a personal essay collection: "Geek. Goth. Grunge. Grrrl." which I think about covers it. I started out pretty eclectic. If you asked me who my favorite bands were when I was 10, I would have named The Beatles, Faith No More, Depeche Mode, REM, and Madonna. Somewhere in junior high, I started trying to put myself in a musical box. Like it wasn't okay to like Nirvana and Madonna, or later in the pretentious punk period when I was disavowing bands on major labels, I couldn't like both Smashing Pumpkins and Propagandhi. Then during the goth years, the punk went into a box and a lot of it went missing.
So my words of advice is don't sell (or I guess nowadays, delete) that song you associate with an ex or you think is dorky now. You'll miss it later. And besides it's still part of you. I still know all the words to Ice, Ice Baby...
What are your musical memories?