Episode 13 – “BOYS IN THE BAND”


Hey, gang! Welcome to EP 13 of my podcast, “Something That I Wrote.”

Now, before I get into the post for this episode, I think I have to make a slight announcement. I’ve got some bad news and some good news that I think I need to share with you.

First I’ll tell you the bad news, and I’ll tell it to you honestly and blunt. I won’t try to hide any medicine in the mashed potatoes. I’m not a preacher. The bad news is this: after EP 16, “Something That I Wrote” will be going on hiatus.

This fall I’ve gotta head out East, to go back to school, and I just won’t have the spare minutes to work on this, not the way it deserves. I’m not even gonna have time smoke cigarettes and watch the sun set, I don’t think. What a sad life it’ll be.

The good news, though, is that this is not the end of “Something That I Wrote” – it’s only the end of Season One. I’ll be back, next summer – or maybe even next spring, if the timing’s right – and I’ll have all sorts of new tricks up my sleeve. Who knows what nooks and crannies I might uncover in Season Two? Maybe I’ll even have learned how to hide the medicine in the mashed potatoes. It breaks my heart to go, but it is temporary, I promise. Luck be a lady, Frank Sinatra sang. Well, Ol’ Blue Eyes, I’ll let Luck be your lady. That’s fine. But I want this to be my lady. And if this be a lady, she is the kinda lady I want to take home, to meet my daddy and my ma and my third-cousin-in-law. She is the kinda lady I will hold onto desperately, in my heart if not my arms, on all those long, cold, East Coast winter nights. If she be a lady, she’s a lady like you, and I will not let her go. I will come back. I need to.

And the episodes aren’t going anywhere, either. They’ll stay here, always, for you to listen to over and over and over. You can even show them to your daddy and your ma and your third-cousin-in-law. That’s good news, isn’t it?

And there’s even more good news in the fact that there’s still four more episodes left of Season One. I’m just giving you fair warning, like last call at a bar, or a terminal diagnosis. I try to plan my stories in advance, and I think about my episodes in chunks of four – I’m playing chess here, folks, not checkers – and so I know what ones are to come, and I am proud of them all. Some of them I’ve been saving since I started this whole thing, knowing I wanted to put them out near the end. They’re good ones.

I wasn’t planning on putting out this one, though. Not because I was unhappy with it, but because it didn’t exist. It wasn’t even a twinkle in my creative eye. As I started unloading “Derby Day” onto you, I realized that, while I could see that Teddy Thompson was barreling down the stretch, I could not see what was coming behind him. I had no idea.

I didn’t for awhile, in fact. It started to frighten me a bit, because I wasn’t sure where I’d go, or what I’d do. I had EP 14, EP 15, and EP 16, but I did not have EP 13, and I didn’t know how to find it.

One day, I went out for a walk. I was listening to music, and a song called “Boys In The Band” came on. As all my favourite stories do, this one came to me, all at once, sparked somehow by the song, as a movie scene in my mind, and all I had to do was sit down and write out what I’d seen. So I did. It took a little while, but I got it, and I think I got it right. I am happy with it.

I am happy with what the story is about, too. See, before I started writing these types of things, I used to write a lotta rock n roll songs. That was where my energy went, and that was where all my thoughts, did, too. I even played in a band. I even made noise.

I’d hear drum fills and guitar licks and pretty melodies, always. In class, in conversation, and especially in church, my mind would wander to a far-off stage, and I’d hear songs, the way I hear stories now. My foot still taps, sometimes, even though I don’t realize it. I think it’s just keeping time with my heartbeat, on the two and four.

I loved playing guitar in a band. I loved writing songs, I loved putting on shows, and I loved making noise. I miss it a lot, sometimes. I’m happy with all this, and I know it’s the road down which I want to wander – I came to a crossroads, once upon a time, and after falling down on my knees to pray, I decided to head this direction – but still, I miss making noise. Anyone who says rock n roll won’t save your soul isn’t listening to the right kinds of bands, cause what a fucking force it is.

I’ve written about boys who were in bands before, but not quite like this. I have written about what it was like to have once been a boy in a band, but this is more about what it’s like being a boy in a band. And I think there was some stuff I needed to sort through that I hadn’t sorted through before. I didn’t even realize it needed to be done. I rarely do.

I listened to the same songs over and over while writing this. If you want, you can hear them here, and I hope you will. It’ll give you insight and context, and while it’s not exactly the Paperback Kerouacs, it’s close. It’s the kinda noise they made when they made noise together.

But after I’d finished writing this, I still kept listening to the songs. And I got real sad when I did, because it made me miss the boys in the band a lot. Especially Daniel. I really, really, really liked these guys, especially him, and I started to try understand why. I thought about the boys in the band, and who they might’ve been inspired by, and I suddenly realized that although I hadn’t meant it, I had put a little bit of every single person I’ve ever made noise with in them. I think something special gets established when you make noise with someone. You share something sacred with the boys in your band. I never realized how important that was to me until I wrote this. Now, I understand.

I have made noise with a few different people. I hold them all dear in my heart, and this story made me realize that I always will. We might never have been the Paperback Kerouacs, but it didn’t matter. We made our own kinda noise, the only noise we could. We made the only noise that could be made when we made noise together. Boy, what an honour it was.

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