Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stupid Things

I've been listening to Quicksand a lot lately going to/from work. I spent a disproportionate amount of my late teens agonizing over them; one of the secret blessings of "Bottom Line" #2 never coming out is that my stupid lengthy heartbroken rant about their signing to Atlantic or whoever never saw the light of day. I'd say "sorry" to everyone who had to hear me whine about that sort of thing when I was 19, except that everyone else I knew then was also whining about it. It was a silly time.

My really, really staunch anti-major labels stance didn't prevent me from buying "Slip" the day it came out (at Zip's Records, and I suspect "Slip" was the only thing I ever bought at Zip's), and didn't prevent me from going to see Quicksand at the Downtown Performance Center on their subsequent tour. The DPC was pretty packed, perhaps one of its rare sellouts, and knowing what I was like back then, I'm sure I sneered at all the people who hadn't been into Quicksand when their Revelation 7" came out.

(With the hindsight afforded by 20 years, yeah, it's really stupid that I was getting so bent about a band that was very visibly going for the brass ring from the word go. But deep down I assumed everyone in the "hardcore scene" shared my half-formed ideals, or more accurately the ideals of Sam McPheeters and other people that I was unconsciously aping.)

I was off to the side of the stage. Don't really remember a ton about the show beyond that, except for a moment about halfway through. Between songs, Walter started talking about his guitar. He helpfully turned it around, so all of us could see it -- it was decorated with Keith Haring artwork.

Now, I despised Haring's work -- not exactly sure why. Found it cloying and irritating, the same reaction I had to inspirational religious posters. I don't know where I would have seen it that much beyond the covers of my parents' "Very Special Christmas" albums, but I knew it by sight, and I hated it.

So Walter's talking about his guitar, and how Keith Haring did the artwork, means a lot, and somehow, the unperceptive/socially retarded part of my brain takes control and assumes this all has to be a put-on. And I start laughing really loud. And I immediately comprehend three things:

1) he's very serious

2) no one else is laughing

3) no one is making a sound aside from Walter Schreifels and the dork who's laughing at him

I cut myself off, and no one called me out on it (I admit this would be a better story if Walter leaped off the stage and beat the shit out of me, but you tell the stories you have, not the stories you wish you had). I was pretty embarrassed and felt bad -- I'd just been laughing at a guy talking about something that meant a lot to him. I'd like to think that moment marked a break in my life, and from then on, I realized that things weren't just cleanly divided into black/white hardcore/non-hardcore cool/uncool sectors. Maybe that moment helped me grow as a person.

I still absolutely abhor Keith Haring's art, though.

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