free-geek

because cool kids are boring

Where I’m coming from

with one comment

Truth be told, I’m working on an idea. I’ve talked to a few folks about it and people seem to like it. I expect to have something up next week and I’ll go into it then. And yes, this one will happen. I’ve asked both Z and Church to give me a ration of shit if I don’t have something up soon.

That isn’t the point of this message, not directly at least. Tonight I was trying to express what my inspiration for this idea was and I just couldn’t come up with the right words. Later, I remembered something that I wrote over 10 years ago. I just scrounged a copy from an old email list where I had posted it and read it over. I think this gives a glimpse into where I’m coming from and I think it is important in understanding why I’m about to start this new project.

The piece was written shortly after I got home from seeing the H.O.R.D.E. tour outside Washington, DC.

For those not familiar with the tour, H.O.R.D.E. was a group of like minded bands, who had reached a point in their careers where they were getting to big to play the venues that they were already playing, but couldn’t land gigs at larger venues. This was largely to do with the fact that the bands received little radio attention. They, instead, had built their careers on endless touring. Their PR machine, as it were, was largely fans turning on friends and strangers when ever given the chance.

Groups that came out of this tour included phish, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, and the Dave Matthews Band, among a plethora of smaller bands that you’ve probably never heard of.

The show in question occurred on August 25th, 1995. This was a tumultuous year for what would eventually turn into the jamband scene. The year had started off with the meteoric rise of the Dave Matthews Band, a group that had always been a lightening rod in the scene (you either loved them or hated them, much like now). Followed shortly afterwards by a surge in mainstream interest in Blues Traveler, the driving force behind H.O.R.D.E., which culminated in the success of the singles Hook and Runaround.

There were a lot of questions about how the new interest in this nebulous young scene would effect the scene over all. The scene had gotten a taste of this a few years earlier when the Spin Doctors (who were on the first H.O.R.D.E. tour) had their time in the spot light. The Spins ended up bowing to label pressure; shortened their shows, limited their on stage experimentation, and focused their live shows on singles. There was a very real, and somewhat justified, fear that more bands would follow the Spins lead when faced with fame.

Because of the situation I’ve just outlined there was a certain animosity with in the scene towards new comers. People who were seen as ruining the little paradise we had created. Or were seen as being there for all the wrong reasons. The attacks seem juvenile now, but we were not the first scene to act this way and we weren’t the last.

The following are thoughts that I felt compelled to write after seeing this show, which directly address this tendency with in the scene. I’ve cleaned up misspellings, but that is all. I’ll be honest, parts of this piece make me cringe a little at my word choices and general inexperience as a writer. Interestingly enough though, this piece has probably generated more response then anything else I’ve written since. A lot of people agreed with what I wrote that night. And looking back, I realize that the ideas expressed here have shaped who I am and how I see the world around me, more then I had realized.

So, just read the below (or don’t), and file it away. Things will be a little clearer sometime next week.

Just got back from HORDE at the Nissian Pavilion. I realized something tonight as I danced to the music. Something I wanted to share cause it affects us all.
I’m usually like a lot of you at shows. I try to have a good time but with out flaw some idiot gets in my way or does something dumb and I get mad. Tonight was different though.
As I was dancing and I saw all the looks that basically said “what the hell are you doing?” I could only smile. Later I sort of realized why. See at all these shows are people who might piss you off. But also at all these shows are people who will leave the venue with jaw slack and mind reeling. Why? Cause they’ve just experienced the groove. That common bound that makes us travel long distances and spend tons of money. Their little worlds have been opened.
I remember when I first learned of the groove. It was over two shows actually phish 7/17/93 at Wolf Trap the first time i danced my ass off. and 7/25/93 my first HORDE where I realized Blues Traveler and phish weren’t the only bands that did this. Do you remember yours? Remember the feeling you got when they entered that first jam and you didn’t know what was happening? Remember the feeling you got the first time you fell totally in-sync with it all? When it all fit into place? At every show you go to. Someone out there is feeling those same feelings. They are going through the same thing.
So the next time that drunk pisses you off forget him/her and think of that person somewhere in that venue who’s just mesmerized by what is going on. And when you see new comers into the scene don’t bash them and say they bring problems. Some might, but some of them are going [through] what you were going through when you first got here. Let’s invite them in with open arms and teach them the ways. Tell them what it was like. Keep the stories alive. This is the next generation. I saw a lot of kids at this HORDE. Instead of thinking about little teeny boppers think of them as young minds. Think how much more fun your life would have been if you had found the groove earlier. I know I would have been a lot happier. We are the misfits of society let’s not separate ourselves with fighting but instead embrace ourselves and let each other know that we are not alone.
The spirit of the Dead did not die with Jerry. Nor is it being taken on by one band. It is being taken on by all the bands and the fans. The trip has not ended. The bus broke down and we had to get a new one. This trip will never end. Because it’s not a band but a music. And the music is in us. We are all on the bus. And were are all taking A long strange trip. So when someone gets on show them their seats and share your rations. They belong just as much as we do. Even if you’ve been on since the beginning.

Sorry for the length here. I came close to tears of Joy when I was driving home thinking of this and i couldn’t keep it to myself. Feel free to cross post this more. And I’m only on two of the lists that get this so if you wanna reply do it personally. Goodnight. And God Speed.

Matt

p.s.. I wonder if there is any connection between what i realized tonight and the fact that dancing to the tunes has never been easier or more fluid.

p.p.s.. And don’t think I didn’t realize my first HORDE happened 2 year and one month from tonight ;)

p.p.p.s.. To those who object to being called a Misfit. If given the chance would you tour with one band forever? (or a group of bands) Never work and just go to show after show? If you answer yes society thinks your a Misfit cause that just isn’t right. It’s not a bad thing it means you think for yourself and realize things they don’t.

Written by Matt

September 5th, 2007 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Thoughts