Friday, September 18, 2009

Prayers Come True

Though the music I've presented here may not reflect it, I'm not mired in the musical past. I started this blog to try share some of the live music I've collected over the years by the artists that strongly affected me in my youth. And overall, it's been fairly successful, for me at least. Fun too.

But I don't live in the past. I keep my mystical ears wired as much as possible. During the 90s this was terribly frustrating because My Smart Wife and I were physically and culturally isolated, living in Kirksville, Missouri for the middle chunk of that decade.

Kirksville ain't a bad town, but our circumstances limited our appreciation of and enjoyment of it and Missouri considerably. Basically, we was broke. Poor almost. We sometimes used milk crates for furniture and prayed that when a relative visited there might be an old chair or used TV tucked in the back of their vehicle for us. That and cheese and beer - we always prayed for cheese and beer. Couldn't buy the former (not good cheese) in Kirksville and couldn't afford the latter. I remember how wicked and conspicuously consumptive we felt once buying an 8-pack (yes, EIGHT PACK!) of Rhinelander at $1.98. *

So, in those heady Pre-Internet-Is-Every-Goddamn-Where Days it was hard to find out about new music. I felt starved, wasted! That started to change after we added The Boy to our household and one of my brothers gave me his old Mac in exchange for a refurbished Kirby vacuum cleaner (oh, Kirby - what can't you do!) and we got our first dial-in connection to the college My Smart Wife worked at.

My kaleidoscope eyes were opened wide! It really didn't take me long at all to find out that there were many other freaks like me out there - you know who you are!!! - and after suffering in isolation across the country, across the world, for so long we now had found a tool to reach out to our freaky brethren.

One of the first online discussion groups I joined was Drone On, devoted to new music, to "drone" - whatever that is; still trying to figure it out - and weirdness in general. I freakin' ate it up! I read every post, every thread - though I hadn't a clue what the bands they were talking about really sounded like. Kirksville had a used CD/book/magazine/porn/head shop but even if a used CD by one of these weirdly named bands (Bardo Pond? WTF?) had shown up, I didn't have the 7 bucks to buy it. I had a baby to feed, dammit!

I began to create fantasy symphonies in my head, based on the band names and the album titles and the ecstatic descriptions of the music by the different posters. I ached to hear the real thing, though I feared I'd be sorely disappointed when I did. Finally, I started to connect with some listers and they pitied me and sent me compilation tapes (tapes!!!).

Wow - there was some mighty cool shit being laid down and my imaginary tunes weren't half as weird and fun as the real thing.

And then one lucky day we found ourselves on a rare outing to Columbia, home of the University of Missouri and a couple of decent record stores. It was a splurge day. Pizza out, new work clothes for My Smart Wife and something for me. I'd been scrimping and hoarding for months and had almost 20 bucks to blow! Big spender, big spender.

I was freakin' out though, because all I saw was the same old crap, nothing new, nothing weird or droney enough to satisfy my new compulsions. I had a list with me of all the bands that got talked about on the Drone On list and couldn't find any of them at the little weird record stores. Finally, just before we left town, I went to a chain CD store, my expectations lower than my arches.

It was my saving grace. First CD I saw, I bought - Amanita by Bardo Pond. That was all I bought because it took all my monies. Loved the cover, loved the "feel" of it, the vibe it gave off. Though godless, I was praying - praying it wouldn't be total crap, praying I hadn't just wasted my cash.

My prayers came true. First note, first rumbling scree and first emerging roar, first thud and first whomp - everything I suspected might be true about a band that gave itself such a cool name was really true. I almost cried. Beautiful, so beautiful.

That was the start of my delirious affair with Bardo Pond, the late psychedelic love of my life. If you haven't, go now to visit them, to bathe in the sacred wine and traipse through the holy groves with John, Michael, Isobel, Clint and Ed. Order some tunes and some cool t-shirts. Tell Michael that gomonkeygo sent ya.

* I do not endorse the drinking of Rhinelander beer nor its use for medicinal or cleaning purposes of any kind, regardless of its incredibly abrasive qualities and assumed industrial uses.

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