Back to this record again. It’s becoming a record of the summer for me. It’s got a clean lil arc that I appreciate: the first few songs are rockin popular hits (“Breakout” and “Learning To Fly” especially), then it takes a gentle turn in the opposite direction. Slowly but surely, til its goin directly inward with “Aurora” which I would wager is the best Foo Fighters song of their career. Then it jumps all over the place and starts doin whatever the heck it wants with its back half. I’ve posted “Headwires” here because it’s a cool as heck song that never became a single. This record just has that feel, you know? That summer’s gonna be dead soon feeling. I can feel it.
Last night I stayed up late and wrote a whole lot about a single memory from a summer many years ago. A WHOLE lot, like more than I expected to, and I think it was cuz I wasn’t writing it for Tumblr or for anybody else to read. Just some personal lil memory writing for myself. It was nice. I might do more of that. I’ve been feeling a little self-conscious about my memory-writing on Tumblr cuz I don’t want to come across as too nostalgic or navel-gazey, so if you end up seeing a lot less of my “memory writing” on here it’s cuz I’m writing little journals all for myself. Not that I’m gonna stop posting stuff here though!!
I’m visiting Connecticut for the next week, so that’s gonna be a challenge in and of itself cuz I always get alot lazier about writing when I’m at my parents’ place. There’s so many other things going on! I am not going to let that happen this week. I’ve been writing constantly over the past few months or so and I don’t intend to stop. Stopping would be very bad. Even if I can’t think of anything to write, I’m gonna write somethin, and I’m gonna keep drawing comics too. Write write draw draw make some stuff happen, I am going to keep doing that. Also expect a new Wrong Kid Died review pretty soon!
Good tidings to you
sit down and write about a memory. any memory. first one that comes to mind. it works real well as hell for me
I see the appeal of Damn The Torpedoes here: “Two cars parked on the overpass / Rocks hit the water like broken glass / I should have known right then it was too good to last / God, it’s such a drag when you’re livin in the past.” The feeling I know well: living in a good moment, and you know it’s good, but you know it’s all going to end soon and you can’t enjoy it. That bridge is the only moment of reflection and doubt in “Even The Losers” which is part of its charm - the rest of the song is teenage escapist late-70s heartland rock at its finest - but those bridge lyrics, those are summertime to me. How can you really enjoy summertime, when it’s going to end?
I think of this song and this record at summertime, because it reminds me of summertime 8 years ago when I first bought it, only weeks after I lost my house to a fire. This was the one summer when getting-away-from-it-all escapist heartland rock really appealed to me (I was listening to Night Moves and Born To Run alot at the time too), and Damn The Torpedoes hit me in just the right way. I didn’t know how to drive, and even if I had I didn’t have a car. I was stuck in this rented home with my parents, white walls everywhere, down the street from the town dump with nothing but hollow towers and seedy forests. I couldn’t walk or bike anywhere far, because the the condo complex we were staying in was right near this gigantic sloping hill you could only fight through with a car engine. The road was thin and there were no sidewalks, so walking was too dangerous. If I could bike or walk anywhere, I could either travel along down our little road, down the length of the complex past other little condominiums where wealthier middle aged folks lived, people who didn’t want anything to do with me or each other. I could bike down to the pool area, with a limited view of the Housatonic River. If my parents weren’t paying attention I would hop on my bike, ride down to the river and look out, trying to remember when summer was fun and made me feel good. It was tough to remember.
I look back on this time kind of fondly now, because that’s what you brain tends to do - accentuate the positive. I am fighting to remind myself that no, this was not a fun time and I was depressed, very depressed. Very sad and lost. My childhood house was gone, my family was squatting in some weird sterile rented house in the middle of nowhere and my next year of college was still months away and I felt like I was suffocating. The only time I felt good was when I was with my friends, driving around and dicking around and being young people. That’s the feeling Damn The Torpedoes brings out.
This is what happens when you love music that brings you back to a place in time - every time you hear it, it pumps up those good memories and diminishes the bad. Every single time, til the good memories are all that’s left and the bad are fucking dust. That summer was really rough for me so I’m OK with this. Fuck bad memories. Fuck em all, I hope they’re gone forever, those bottomed out shit feelings. Thank you Damn The Torpedoes, I’m gonna keep listening to you til those shit bad feelings are nothin but nasty-ass dirt in my shoe soles. Tom you’re so handsome. Let’s hop in that car and see where the road takes us..
I talk about listening to John Mayer alot, and friends of mine always assume I’m joking. I understand why! There is something about John Mayer that is funny, and I will freely admit this. He’s a heartthrobby guitarman with a strong chin, he plays guitar just to get laid and doesn’t hide it. I understand. Nevertheless, I like John Mayer all the same and I like his music and no, it’s not a joke. I like most of his songs and most of his albums. I could end it there and that would be fine but if you don’t mind I’d like to think out loud about sweet boy John Mayer for a little while, I’ve got a free afternoon, won’t this be fun?
It is funny that people won’t bat an eye at me loving the Backstreet Boys or One Direction or any of that glossy teenager stuff, but John Mayer always inspires a “oh ha ha, funny joke” reaction. Here are some caveats: part of my love is rooted in nostalgia, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and I won’t apologize for it. John had a hit for every year of my high school experience, so I do get some immediate warm mushy feelings when I hear his half-cocked mushyman singing. How could I not? In fact I would say that John Mayer’s music takes me back to high school in a way no other music could, so that’s something. When I hear Room For Squares it’s like I’m walking down the hallway to my old tiny locker, popping it open and feeling the smell hit me, that sweet olfactory twinge of memory. It’s stronger than smell memory, John Mayer music. It feels like I’m there. This is why most people like most music. I remember Nick Hornby saying that people who associate songs with memories too strong probably don’t like music that much, and gosh, he’s wrong and he’s an old man. Did you know that?
The problem is that John Mayer is kind of a jerk, or at least he sounds like one. This is his image, one that he has done little to diminish over the years. I think he kinda embraces it. He’s got that whiff of privilege, of smugness, of misogyny, and I can’t confirm or deny any of these things (well ok I can confirm the misogyny without too much trouble - we will get to that a little bit later). The John record I gravitate to the most is 2003’s Heavier Things, and what I would like to do is hear these songs as odes to embracing your worth as a person, to self-determination, to confidence and optimism in the future (see: “Bigger Than My Body”). I don’t think any of these things are bad, and are qualities that envy and want, want for myself. Confidence is good as hell and a quality people should have.
But this is John Mayer we’re talking about, and y’know - these songs are coming from a young man who is already one of the most famous and handsome guitar players in popular music. Self-importance oozes from this fucking thing, without a trace of vulnerability or weakness or relatable qualities. The closest we get to that comes from “Something’s Missing,” where John muses about it feels like there’s something missing from his life and he doesn’t know what it is. So, just to check, he goes over a laundry list of the rad shit he already has in his life (“Friends? Check! Money? Check! Well slept? Check! Opposite sex? Check!”) It’s humble bragging in song form. John Mayer has all of the financial security and human love any one man could need, the kind of stuff millions and millions of common non-celeb people would die for, and it’s just not enough for him. We can all relate to that, right?
John is a dominating force. John is in control. He commands women to join him in bed when they won’t play by his jerkoff rules (“Come Back To Bed”), assures his audience that he is amazing and is destined to be an even bigger star (“Bigger Than My Body”), gives himself a self-pep talk (“New Deep”) and, in the very end, assures himself that “I believe / that my life’s gonna see / the love I give / return to me” (“Wheel”). John sees himself as a beautiful force who, despite his flaws, gives love to everyone he meets and can’t wait for it to come right back to him. This is a singer-songwriter who shows little to no vulnerabilities, does not feel pain or hurt, and who shows no willingness to change himself and doesn’t see a reason why he should. He is male privilege embodied, basically, a very modern definition of masculinity.
Yeah that’s hard to ignore and something I can’t defend, other than I think his songs are enjoyable, and he really is good at twanging his dang guitar, and that I like pretty much every song on Heavier Things. I think “Bigger Than My Body” is as solid as millennial pop gets, I like the horns that creep in during “Clarity” and “Come Back To Bed” especially, I think there’s a mesmerizing feel to his songs that lulls me into a plesant complacency. He’s a self-important jerk but at least it doesn’t feel like he’s trying to trick you with fake sensitivity - it’s all there, in his lyrics. You can listen to them and say “oh no! Douche alert!” and jump off the horse right then and there. He makes the “fuck this guy” decision very easy for you, and you have to appreciate that. I admit that I don’t feel entirely comfortable endorsing his music, knowing that his attitude is not excusable and not one I agree with, but the heart knows what it wants. I like it enough that I am willing to grapple with this, because isn’t that what makes loving music interesting? When you’re not entirely comfortable and you have some problems? Oh yes, I’ve got lots of problems with John. So I’ll probably be listening to him for a long time.
He got lost in kind of an electric blues haze but his last couple records were rootsier folk records and they work for him. Modest pleasures. Katy Perry and Frank Ocean make appearences. He wrote a not-very-nice song about Taylor Swift that doesn’t sound mean so I don’t know what the deal is with that. Jesus, John, what are we going to do with you my man
ive been thinking about and playing mother 3 a lot recently
I redrew a Rockin Rick comic I sketched out a few years ago but never really finished. This one still makes me laugh so it was fun to draw it again. Rockin Rick is an old character of mine from when I used to make comics in college and I love him and miss him very much, so I might be makin more of these
final fantasy viii comic i made a few years ago, i dont remember the context but it made me giggle
David “Lefty” Foster wasn’t yet 20 when he and his business partners opened the Shaboo Inn in Willimantic in 1971, which raised certain legal issues.“For the first year-and-a-half, I was too…
I’ve been fascinated by this place for a few years now and I’ve been trying to dig up as much information as I can, which is kind of scarce. The Shaboo Inn was a club in Willimantic, CT, a very short drive from where I went to college. It was only open from 1971-82, so it had been closed 5 years before I was even born. It’s strange that we had never heard of it before - the only reason we found out about it was ‘cause my friend Bob found a bootleg Tom Waits album at a nearby record store called “Live at the Shaboo Inn.” We did a little research, and it turns out Shaboo was the cool place for bands to stop off between Boston and NYC. Just click on that link and read those stories! Miles Davis! The Police! B.B. King! AC/DC! Cheap Trick! Bruce Springsteen!
It’s amazing hearing about this place, growing up in a Connecticut where it never existed and nobody even talked about it. A state with little or no musical heritage. The only “cool” place I could go to see bands was Toad’s Place in New Haven, and even that was pretty dubious. I wish that Shaboo had been there when I actually went to school in that area, even though I’m sure they would have only booked middle of the road indie bands by then. It would be a neat piece of history!
About a year ago we actually drove by the area Shaboo used to reside, and it’s… well, there’s not much to it. It’s just an empty tiny grassy hill and a lot of woods. From what I’ve heard bands liked going there because they could trip on acid and go running into the woods without the police hassling them. It’s also where Aerosmith debuted “Dream On,” at least according to this Wikipedia article with zero citations. I wonder, I do. Shaboo mysteriously burned down in 1982, in what I assume was an act of insurance fraud but I can’t be sure. There’s no official information about this place, no Wikipedia entry, no articles of interest about it written outside of Connecticut. It’s cherished music history in a state which has little to none of it. Outside of Connecticut, it’s forgotten. There is some mystery here.
I’m going back to Connecticut in a couple of weeks, and I will likely be visiting UConn again, so maybe another Shaboo visit is in the works. Maybe I’ll head over there and walk around and take some pictures, see if there’s anything left. I’m sure there’s nothing, but it would be neat to check it out. It’s my heritage, really, so that alone is worth it. Right?