Monday, September 22, 2008

Meager Beginnings

In the summer of 2002, my mother and I picked up my brother Joel from the airport, home on summer vacation from Ohio University.  Sporting a green trucker hat ("Trust me, they're coming back") he handed me my birthday present: five homemade mixtapes, each meant to introduce a different genre of music to a teenager who listened almost exclusively to rubbish.  There was one for "Indie," one for "Electronica," one for "Turntablism," and two for "Hip Hop."  I listened to them endlessly, burned them for friends, and recommended their contents to nearly everyone I knew.  In any estimation, these mixtapes were the foundation of my musical knowledge.

The mix I took to most was the one devoted to indie-rock.  I still have that CD-R and revisit it regularly.  The tracklist is basically ingrained in my mind:

  1. Neutral Milk Hotel - "Holland, 1945"
  2. The Magnetic Fields - "I Don't Want to Get Over You"
  3. Pixies - "Debaser"
  4. Red House Painters - "Michigan"
  5. Wilco - "Kamera"
  6. Eels - "Last Stop, This Town"
  7. Looper - "Burning Flies"
  8. The Microphones - "The Moon"
  9. Bright Eyes - "From a Balance Beam"
  10. The White Stripes - "You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl)"
  11. The Smoking Popes - "No More Smiles"
  12. The Detroit Cobras - "He Did It"
  13. The Soft Boys - "I Wanna Destroy You"
  14. The Hives - "Hate to Say I Told You So"
  15. Gomez - "Love is Better Than a Warm Trombone"
  16. The Walkmen - "We've Been Had"
  17. The Sea & Cake - "Jacking the Ball"
  18. Modest Mouse - "Never Ending Math Equation"
  19. Grandaddy - "The Crystal Lake"
  20. They Might Be Giants - "Nightgown of the Sullen Moon"
Now I could write five paragraphs on why "Holland, 1945" lived up to Joel's promise that, "One day, you'll realize this is one of the most perfect songs ever made."  I could write five more on why "I Don't Want to Get Over You" is as astute an example of Stephin Merritt's unique lyrical humor as you'll likely find.  And I could begin to describe the day I stopped skipping "The Moon" because I couldn't hear Phil Elverum's lyrics and began instead to hear how the production makes that track.  But the point is, this mix gave me my bearings.  This mix is solely responsible for my love of music.

I tell this story because there's a history to every passion, a spark to every flame, and it's always good to know your roots.  I hope to use this blog as a means of recording that history, however it may play out.  With such a central role in my day to day life, music will no doubt be the focus of many of my posts.  But the subject of Holland, 2002 is indefinite and the scope is unlimited.  I hope you read it because you like what I have to say, or maybe, you just want to see what I'm up to.  Regardless of my motives for writing and your reasons for reading, I genuinely appreciate your attention and any comments you may choose to leave.

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I met Dave in high school, and though I've known him for nearly a decade, I continue to be astounded by his ceaseless ambitions.

I had always been under the impression that the smarter you were, the farther away you'd go to undergrad.  While the brightest buds seemed to flee the Midwest for Stanford, Harvard, and the like, Dave enrolled in honors classes at the local community college; you see, so long as a "A" was achieved, tuition for honors classes was fully refunded.  Simple, I know, but it was one of the smartest things anyone I know has ever done.

In his free time, Dave became a certified paramedic & firefighter.  He spent his summers as a counselor at a camp in Maine aimed to afford unprivileged children an opportunity to swim, row canoes, and learn about Mother Nature.  Unsurprisingly, Dave had no problem transferring to Northwestern for his junior and senior years where he would become the most successful student in his major.

This is the guy who I once watched skewer and roast an entire pig, and ironically, the guy responsible for my choice to become a vegan.  This is the guy who once convinced me to walk from Chicago to Naperville (roughly 32 miles), the guy who told me he was going to backpack across Europe alone, and the guy who taught me to drive stick.  He is vastly knowledgeable in subjects ranging from auto mechanics to world politics.  I am always intrigued by his newest projects and passions.  I respect him as much as anyone I know and am tremendously excited to begin this blog with him.

-----

On a wall in Dave's apartment is a quote from Rumi that reads:

"Start a huge, foolish project
Like Noah."

Alright, Dave.  I'm in.

1 comment:

Ali Total Fitness said...

Adam, endings are always the most important part of writing and you nailed it. God, you're brilliant.