Dear Miss Patti,

How much inspiration I have found in reading “Just Kids” to write about bittersweet love lost within a memoir. And not just romantic love, but about meaningful events and people who formed and shaped your life who didn’t remain permanent- as most things don’t. Reading about your feelings towards Robert, and the way you wrote about your story and unconditional love for him reminded me that though it is difficult to tread on and live your life knowing the lives you’ve lived before, there is purpose in documenting those parts of your life as a tribute. I have found that as a society there is a mantra to “leave the past in the past” and mosey on, always looking towards the future. This neglects us of recognizing the purpose of love lost when we abandon sentimentality. Thank you for writing your story earnestly and honestly. There is a purpose for the political detriments of the AIDS crisis being written about on a personal, private level that humanizes the victims of this failure of our country to protect those who were marginalized and neglected. The portrait you painted of Robert I could only hope would hold the genuineness that I would hope to have when writing about someone who so very shaped my world. 22 years of friendship with both frank, encompassing summarization, as well as the detail of the moments in time that shaped the connection the two of you had as soul mates, two individuals thriving on such an outsider spirit. Your story showed me your relationship was both complex but comforting and stable, which is what I value most in the relationships I hold closest to my heart, and one day intend to reflect on through writing. I can only hope to do half as successful as a job that you did.

 

Yours,

Dana

 

Musical MD,

I am feeling very apathetic lately. Almost everyday, I can’t seem to find the energy to get out of bed and go about my busy day. With the end of the semester approaching, my attitude needs to change. What should I listen to to inspire some sort of burst of energy, so I can regain some strength and get my $h!t together?

Hanna, Lethargic Listener

Miss Moody,

If you’re having a down & out time I cannot have you fueling that melancholy fire with depressing lyricists like Morrissey or Conor Oberst or just downright saddening tunage such as Sufjan Stevens. Ya gotta kick into gear, and I’ll present you songs to do just that.

1) I Don’t Care by Black Flag

I know it might seem like nihilistic punk music, but sometimes the best thing to do when you’re heavy hearted is to just stop taking everything so freakin’ seriously. Find some revolt through aggressive, fast punk and gain back your power through rebellion.

2) King Without a Crown by Matisyahu

Now, I cannot stand this song, but only because I have listened to it SO many times in need of a pick me up. I’ve grown sick of it because of the countless amount of times I’ve known I could rely on it to feel better.

3) Rejoice by Andrew Jackson Jihad

This upbeat folk punk song comes with a energetic mandolin riff throughout it all, so smiling becomes indefinite. The lyricism is a little bit similar to Black Flag, but rather than being apathetic towards the world this song encourages you to “Rejoice!” even while shit’s hitting the fan. Because you gotta remember: there is beauty in struggle and sometimes the hardest times of your life are the ones you’re most alive.

4) Tears Dry On My Own by Amy Winehouse

Even if you’re blue mood has nothing to do with a split from a significant other, let this song be your anthem for being a bold, independent individual who is marching through life to defeat all the odds against yourself.

That’s what I have for you as of now, Hanna. But I’ll be sure to add to this list as I come across uplifting songs that I feel will make you feel better.

Love,

Musical MD

 

The prompt I received this week- Choose a song that has gotten you through a really difficult time in your life– would likely remind most folks about specific songs with themes of loss or healing, or tunes with some motto of self love or promotion of living life to the fullest. And I suppose this song has much to do with both the former and latter. But mostly I coped with a difficult time by mocking this musician’s powerful song…

Telling this story isn’t real empowering or anything, and is mostly embarassing. But it is honest.

A song that got me through  a hard time in my life was a rap song by Atmosphere, titled “Body Pillow.” First, I would listen to this miserable song and connect it to my own hard time I was experiencing. My own misery I was experiencing was my very first break up. My first boyfriend, Brendon, and I had spent two years in puppy love, spending all our time together, holding hands in the hallway, texting nonstop, writing each other poetry.

Then, after 25 months 12 days and about 20 hours, he dumped me outta the blue in front of a drunken party full of people. Very unexpectedly, he claimed I was too nuts and he was far past done. In hindsight I realize the break up was well on it’s way- all we did was do drugs and fight- but in my eyes the world was crashing unexpectedly. How was the love of my life- me, 16, him, 18- gonna leave me? Didn’t he know we were made for each other? That our world’s were nothing unless we were together?

But he dumped me. And it wasn’t a “Hey, we’ve had our good times, but let us go our own ways” type of break up, more of a “He blocked my number and rumor has it he threw all my belongings into the dumpster and I heard he’s already holding hands with Willow but it’s been two days” type of breakup. Hormonal puppy love coming to a disastrous, terrible end.

It was a song called “Body Pillow” and it was a melancholy, slower rap song talking about a woman he loved who was now only his best friend. “Ex lover and a best friend, just like the rest of them.” He rapped about how wildly interesting she was “She’d scream about the ocean ‘Anyone wanna go with me?’ Never knew punk rock could be so pretty.” Overall, though she still was around, he couldn’t feel okay that she didn’t care for him or need him the way he so continued to feel about her.

I’d put on this song in my bedroom, lay in bed, wrap my arms around the terrible melancholy bomb in my gut, kick and spread my legs across the empty spaces of my mattress where he use to be. I’d plug my headphones on the city bus, and blare this song as I looked out the bus window, sadly reflecting our memories at all the familiar spots throughout town. In class, I’d doodle the most resonating lyrics into my journal.

Certain lyrics hit the core:

“Intentions are always nothing short of pure but there is a price to pay when you try to live a little.”

“Feeling inadequate, now let’s make me believe that I can handle this.”

 

So I wallowed for months, forgetting the world was turning, failing to cope, still romanticizing him and holding on to the slight hope he’d give me a call in the middle of the night wanting me back. All I wrote about was him, all I saw in other dudes was him, he continued as my topic of conversation with all my friends, which was beginning to make them go mad.

And then a turning point came- not only was I driving them mad, but I myself as well. How long was I going to be obsessively in love with a dude who obviously had moved on much before be actually dumped me, found a new chick immediately, and hadn’t talked to me in months? When was I going to stand up for my right to be happy, whether it involved this guy or not?

So I looked into myself and found my own medicine- my ability to find humor in most everything. And I applied it to the trouble I was having, and I was able to apply it to this song.

I listened to it then, for maybe the 300th time, and decided it was gonna be a huge fucking joke. What I choose: the bass line. On my crappy bedroom speakers cranked all the way up the distorted sound of the bassline sounded like poorly produced polka beats. I couldn’t focus on the lyrics anymore or take it seriously at all. The song just became a total nerdy embarrassing excuse for music.

I recognize it is a meaningful song, and I’m sorry Slug (rapper of Atmosphere) but I had to fuck with your work to survive. And that I did.

This world is so god damn heavy and difficult, and sometimes the funniest thing of it all are these inconsequential burdens we all carry. And besides, months later I found a new dude I fell in love with, and it was I who shattered his world, so if the antidote and lesson from this pain was not to get involved with people romantically, well I’m doing it all wrong. Fall in love, get hurt, and do it all over again. As mama would say: If you can’t handle the heat, stay outta the kitchen. And regardless if it’s painful, I can laugh at my sweat and burns.

An Evaluation of a Soundtrack

American Beauty was one of the most successful dramas of  the late 90’s, winning numerous Academy Awards in the year 1999.  The plot intimately follows the inner struggles of each of the film’s middle upper class characters, all of which on the outside appear typical and much less troubled then they truthfully are.

Carolyn is the mother and wife in the main family the plot follows. She is an uptight, controlling, frigid real estate agent who is over concerned with social and economic status and self righteously bullies her daughter for her appearance and interrogates her husband for being immature and unsuccessful. Her music taste represents her forced successful, high culture, ideal life facade: she forces her family to listen to classic jazz at the dinner table. For instance, Peggy Lee’s jazz song “Bali Ha’i'” plays as the trio family argues at the dinner table, the fight made more vicious with the gentle, pleasant music playing in the background.

Simply the question “How was your day?” to daughter Jane becomes a heated discussion of how both Lester and Carolyn are uninvolved, uncaring parents. As the fight escalates, Lester stabs his fork down onto the table and insists they listen to something different at dinner:

“From now on, we’re going to alternate our dinner music. Because frankly, and I don’t think I’m alone here, (Gestures to Jane) I’m really tired of this Lawrence Welk shit.”

The soft, romantic, mature music that Carolyn insists they listen to during dinner ironically contradicts the lack of love she brings to her marriage and motherhood, and her fake persona of being put together and wise. Later into the plot, after Lester quits his job to live for the day and live the way he wants, Carolyn begins having an affair with a successful but tacky fellow real estate agency owner. Her affair makes her resentment for her husband grow stronger, and she blairs Bobby Darin’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade” in her car, singing along aggressively rather than joyfully. It is this song that she is singing when she pulls into the driveway of her home to see Lester has bought an expensive sports car without asking her approval.

 

Boom! We’ll choose this segway into the plot surrounding Lester, who has quit his office job to spend money, get ripped, smoke weed and live each day like his last. He’s the main protagonist of the story, naturally making him easy to understand and relate with, all but one part of him. He is completely infatuated with his daughter Jane’s best friend Angela. Angela is an attractive, young high school student who is popular, flirtatious, vain and boasts about her sexual promiscuity with unknown older men in order to gain networking in the modeling business. Throughout the movie, sexual tension grows between Anegla and Lester- Angela teasing him, and Lester becoming absolutely fixated on her vixen, sex kitten like attitude.

This sexual tension is finally confronted near the end of the movie when Lester and Angela are alone together and Lester confesses his desire for her, and Angela confesses that she actually isn’t sexually experienced the way she acts, and that she is in all honestly is a virgin. This then makes Lester lose interest in her and feel fatherly, caring, and sympathetic towards her rather than attracted to her.

Annie Lennox’s cover of Neil Young “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” plays throughout this scene, from the transcendence of sexual tension, to romance, to Angela’s confession, to Lester’s disappointment, contemplation, and shame for being attracted to a woman who was not nearly as adult or experienced as she let on. This song is both bittersweet and melancholy, but upbeat, emotional and poetic.

 

“Blind man running through the light of the night, with an answer in his hand. Come on down to the river of sight and you can really understand.”

The lyrics of the chorus sing “Don’t let it bring you down, it’s only castles burning” which is an ironic statement, to not feel upset about the rapid destruction of something with importance and value.

(SPOILER ALERT) The film ends shortly after with Lester fatally shot in the head, and the few final moments of the film are his post death narratives of his experience of death. He explains that the moment where “your life flashes before your eyes” actually is a calm, contemplative experience that drags out across time forever. He remembers sweet, simple memories of his adolescence, thoughts of his adoration for his daughter Jane, and points in time when he and his wife Carolyn were madly in love.

“I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all- it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time….I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay angry when there is so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, and my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst…And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry…you will someday.”

The screen of the film goes black before Lester says these last few resound, introspective lines, and then a moment of intense and powerful silence occurs before Elton John’s cover of the Beatles’ “Because” begins playing during the credits. This cappella song fits perfectly with the last messages from the narrator, telling the audience that the little simple things in our lives we take for granted or don’t acknowledge at all will be the things we are grateful for in the afterlife. Simply to have had the experience of living- whether it was difficult or wondrous- is something to be grateful for. The concept is that even if we are suffering, we are living, and that alone is enough to feel blessed. The world, and our lives we live on it- as mundane as we might believe it to be- is overwhelmingly incredible.

Because the world is round, it turns me on. Because the wind is high, it blows my mind. Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry.

 

I was curious what Alison’s music soul looked like. Was it pretty? Did it sparkle in the sunlight? Could it kill you with simple eye contact? I asked a few questions to delve in and discover for myself…

 

What’s a song that has a great story behind it? Lezzz get nostalgic.

Well once I was at a disco biscuits show at red rocks, tripping so hard on acid that I couldn’t talk, super overwhelmed, and realized I hated the disco biscuits and I don’t even know why I was there. After we left, I stayed up all night drawing around all of these gross hippies that we’re annoying the shit out of me and fighting with each other (totally contradictory right) and when the sun started to rise I decided to go on a drive (?) and listened to the grateful dead and china cat sunflower came on and it brought me so much peace and reassurance, I wound up back at red rocks and climbed into the stands, found a perfect spot and just meditated kind of, and let the sun shine straight on me full force and just soaked up the beauty of my surroundings and thought about who I am and who I wanted to be and that song put me in the right mindset to do that, and it kind of changed the path I was on and it was awesome.

What’s the first album you ever bought?

I’m not entirely sure, but I want to say it was either fall out boy (out from under the cork tree) or maybe a Gwen Stefani LAMB.

You can only listen to one musician for the rest of your life. Who’s it gonna be? (if your answer is the Beatles just fuck off)

Fuck. Maybe Frank Zappa or like daft punk, I hate this question honestly.

Least favorite genre?

Least favorite genre is techno or hardcore screamo emo.

What tune consistently gets stuck in your head?

That “our house, in the middle of the street” and I dont even know the words to it or like it very much so i dont know whyd you rather be Skrillex or a moth with only one wing, who can’t fly, but still makes do?

It’s prom night and your girlfriend just dumped your lame ass. What song are you sobbing to curled up in the fetal position in the bed of your father’s Ford?

“Next Girl” by the Black Keys.

Have you ever sent fan mail to a musician? If so, have you considered getting a life?

No I’ve never sent fan mail who do you think I am.

How far would you go sexually with Jim Morrison? (In his prime, not 1971)

I would probably let him do whatever he wanted to me

Who’s your favorite lyricist?

Aesop Rock.

Fuck/Marry/Kill: Les Claypool, Bob Marley, Mac Dre.

Marry Bob Marley, fuck Mac Dre, kill Les Claypool.

If you could master one instrument over night, which would you chose?

If I could get an incredible perfect earth shattering singing voice, then that, but maybe piano, because I hear if you’ve mastered piano its way easier to learn other instruments.

Okay I know you don’t work out, but if you did, what would you listen to while you do it?

Okay I totally work out, and I listen to 2000’s hip hop throwbacks, like 50 cent, Destiny’s Child, Missy Elliot, R.Kelly, Ludacris, you know.

Thoughts on:

Beyonce? Beyonce is cool, but as her image and following continues to increase and improve, her music seems to decline significantly, her lyrics are kinda lame now and her destinys child tunes and early beyonce (like halo and crazy in love) kicked major ass, but she’s still killin it i guess.

Phish? I really could go on and on about Phish and Phish fans and not in a good way so I won’t bore you. I’ll just say they’re individually very talented musicians but what they make together does not appeal to me or make up for the hype.

Tool? Tool is cool, I guess.

If you had no choice but to commit a gruesome murder, what would be your amp up song on the drive over?

Maybe “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails? Is that like creepy? no wait, “Calm like a Bomb” or “Killing in the Name Of” by Rage Against The Machine.

What song would you listen to while lying awake in bed, contemplating your crime later that night?

Everything In It’s Right Place- Radiohead

What song would you sing at their funeral service, falsely posing as a loyal friend to your victim?

Maybe “My Body is a Zombie For You” by Dead Man’s Bones. Is that dark?

Did Stacy’s mom have it going on, or what this a complex government ploy?

She definitely did have it going on, but was knowingly being used in a government ploy.

5 troublesome, emotionally problematic songs beneath the deceiving disguise of a love ballad

He Hit Me- Courtney Love

 

A brief, melancholy acoustic ballad about a woman who perceives the physical abuse of her man as a sign of affection. Leave it to the fabulous, twisted Courtney Love to romanticize violence. My parents were very concerned when they first heard me singing this song in my room in middle school.

 

 

 

I’ll go ahead and post all of the lyrics, which speak for themselves:

 

He hit me, and it felt like a kiss. He hit me, but it didn’t hurt me.

He couldn’t stand to hear me say that I had been with someone knew.

And when I told him, I had been untrue

He hit me, and it felt like a kiss. He hit me and I knew he loved me.

‘Cause if he didn’t care for me, I could have never made him mad.

He hit me, and I was glad.

He hit me, and it felt like a kiss. He hit me, and I knew I loved him.

‘Cause when he took me in his arms, with all the tenderness there is

He kissed me, and I was his.

 

I Will Never Be Untrue- The Doors

Disguised as a romantic, classic tune about his “devotion” to his lady, Jim Morrisson is actually just expressing his arrogance and indifference towards his lover. He brags that his world is larger than hers, and suggests she’s expendable and replaceable. He’s the provider and he knows it- he has the money, he has the cool lifestyle, and he has lived a life she can’t measure up to. He’s wiser than her, more important, and she better not complain about anything he does.

 

 

 

Backhanded, insulting “romantic” statements:

I will never treat you mean, won’t cause no kind of scene. Won’t talk about all the people, all the places I’ve been.

I will always treat you kind, give you peace of mind. Only if you tell me that you love me one more time. 

Andrew Jackson Jihad- I Am So Mad At You

I am so mad at you
for making me such a bastard
giving me such high standards
I’m mad at you

 

 

This acoustic folk track isn’t as terrible in nature as these other songs, but regardless focuses on not being able to feel good about yourself  after you’ve loved and lost. It talks about the fear that you’re not good enough on your own, and you’re going to fail to find another lover.

 

But I’ll find you
inside of someone else
even if finding you in someone else is hard to do

This never ending pursuit
of happiness
is getting harder and harder to accomplish…

and I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ll be alone forever
please tell me that’s not the case

Attachment issues, insecurity complexes-we all got ’em, were just not singing about it.

Amy Winehouse- Wake Up Alone 

My god if there is a good way to make myself miserable it’s spinning this track. Off of the late Amy Winehouses’ studio album Back To Black, the general theme was just terrible, addictive, abusive unhealthy love. She really wears her heart on her sleep. But damn, this song is about losing love, being lonely, having profound dreams, and then as the title suggests, waking up alone. Poor Amy.

 

 

 

Dresden Dolls- Missed Me

A strange story about a young girl who falls for an older man, who then dismisses her interests in him. In revenge, she uses their previous physical relationship to imprison him as a pedophile rapist. She has him arrested, yet tortuously visits him in jail,  confessing her continuous love, ruining his life.

 

 

Missed me, missed me, now you’ve got to kiss me
If you miss me, mister why do you keep leaving?
If you trick me, mister, i will make you suffer
And they’ll get you, mister

Put you in the slammer and forget  you, Mister.

Then i think you’ll miss me, won’t you?

 Miss me, Won’t you miss me?

Shauna and I were undoubtedly the most awkward middle school duo you coulda found. When our friends would visit the counselor’s office at school and mention their friendship with the two of us, the counselor would mutter that “we weren’t the types of girls to spend time around” or they’d “be better off distancing themselves from our company”. It wasn’t necessarily that we were these no good trouble maker degenerates, but rather it must have just been real apparent we didn’t have our heads on real straight. Each afternoon after seventh grade we’d walk a few miles across the low income suburban neighborhoods of Longmont to her mother’s lower class suburban home.

 

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Shauna, 13 (blonde), and myself, 12 (pink hair) in May of 2007. At some shitty punk show in Colorado Springs.

 

We’d go sit on high school boys porches and see if they’d sell us weed for an overpriced $25 gram, exploiting our naïve, unaware wallets and weird adolescent heads eager to appear cool. Stoned at home, we’d eat pre sliced ham with fake diced cheese from the dollar store sandwiched between the ends of bread loafs. After a few hours Shauna’s mother, Tina, would stumble into the home drunk, and a fight between the two inevitably would go down between my eyes. It was then I’d use the home phone to call one of my older siblings to come pick me up, them always ticked off, I having had promised to take the bus home from school. As I left each day, Tina would try to hug me as I left our the door, squeezing me, trying to get me “on her side”, repeating pathetically “Thank you for being Shauna’s friend”. It was her mother’s routine mantra that pissed Shauna off the most. While Shauna dealt with her impoverished home and alcoholic, sobbing wet mother, I awkwardly circled the boundaries of my uncomfortable, voiceless existence. I was scared to have a voice between my braces were well known to send spit straight between the eyes of whoever I was talking to. I was had trouble making friends because the girls on my soccer team told kids at school I was a creepy lesbian. But I didn’t wanna deny I liked girls and I didn’t necessarily wanna think I was fucked up or lame that I had shitty braces. The urge to in turn belong, or be straight, or be cute wasn’t there.

 

dabz

Rather be dead than cool. Class photo of yours truly, 8th grade September 2007.

Looking back Shauna and I were just those odd dweebs that unfortunate things occurred to, and we just sorta laid back and watched it fly by without a voice. Kids even teasedus for the whistles Tina used to make us wear when we walked anywhere throughout town, because of an incident that had occurred in a previous July. Walking home from the local pool in July, wrapped in towels, a red Subarru stalked us down the neighborhood streets for numerous blocks, shouting for our attention, then opening his drivers seat door, fully naked, exposing himself masturbating. So when Tina got the call that we needed to be picked up way across town she flipped the hell out. But we weren’t in the semi dangerous streets of Longmont where Shauna and I were accident prone. We were in the town of Niwot, which size was dainty but the houses were enormous. Upon walking home we had gotten into the car with a kid from school, Cody Heiman, who’s older sister was driving him home, the two of them sharing a joint. You shoulda seen our eagerness the way we marched into the back seat like brain hungry zombies. Cody was your standard popular and athletic dude, and my god the amount of money his parent’s had. Instead our our usual repulsive ham-cheese-loaf end sandwiches, we drank apple cider beer and little pre made club sandwiches his mother had prepared earlier in the day. Though I had never witnessed this kind of upper class luxury, my families’ home was far from the underprivileged household Shauna was raised in.

I recall watching Shauna’s eyes roll around in her head, legitimately falling in love with Cody and all his life was that her’s was not. Upstairs us two sat on his bed with our hands nervously squeezed between our thighs and knees, our conversation dull and confused, our brains awkward and much too stoned. Cody showed off all his fancy musical gadgets he had received for Christmas and we stared in awe, pretending to be familiar with the brand names he was boasting and bragging about. When your children go through stages, parents buy gifts around that theme, right? Well for folks with this type of money, the gifts to accommodate Cody’s “punk rocker” stage went as far as purchasing a guitar, a bass guitar, several amps, a drum set, a microphone, all the gadgets needed for recording, and a closet and room full of musical merch and paraphernalia to match. Posters covered his walls with aggressive images of angry musicians with fists cleaned and outfits that were raw but effortless.

It looked rebellious, but not in this tacky, forced way kids my age looked when they attended these lame Warped Tour concerts. It was dark, but far from the cliché goth metal scene that in my eyes was just a nerd parade drenched in black nail polish. Posters of these artists- Minor Threat, Circle Jerks, Black Flag- looked authentic, untouchable in the past. Henry Rollins furrowed eyebrows looked like the general annoyance and petulance I felt too unpleasantly coy to express. Ian Curtis looked like a bull terrier, fretful sitting in a resistant cage.

Their music sounded even better. True DIY magic created in the grime of a home just like Shauna’s- a place I didn’t think art or music could or should be produced. It was this unexpected, afternoon scenario that made Shauna absolutely infatuated and unhealthily obsessed with Cody for years to come. A dense two years went by when every album or outfit she’d buy or every painting she’d do was to impress Cody. He was a total prick and loved to string her along, baiting her with drunk kisses in his bedroom and then ignoring her at school, didn’t want her killing his cool. By the year 2009, Cody outgrew his punk stage, decided he’d just stick along with the general mainstream music interest of kids our age. Went to Red Rock shows, listened to Kid Cudi, all that shit. When Shauna’s older brother ended his life in 2009, and she dropped outta school to party with his old group of friends who wanted to take her under his wing, who ate shrooms and listened to Mac Dre and other Bay rap.

 

I myself became much too attached to the genre. That afternoon scenario introduced me to what felt like freedom. Lesser mainstream hardcore punk and grunge-The Germs, Bad Brains, Rite Of Spring. The heavy, crashing, careless, fast, angry sounds that struck a cord in my queer little heart. There was the more satirical lyrics and bouncier, lighter sounds of bands like Operation Ivy and Dead Milken, but still held that bite. People go through phases- I go through ’em everyday. But punk was gum under my shoe, too sticky to get unstuck. I had discovered the many ballads of unconventional chick justice.

 

dabzzzzz

 

Shauna & I, on the left. September 2008.

sweet han

I met Hanna Maddera in autumn of 2012, her and I had both begun our freshman year here in Durango. Our first conversation occurred on the second day we had moved into the dorms, on some kid’s bed who had every generic college dorm room decoration hanging on the wall- a poster of Bob Marley hitting a blunt, the famous Led Zeppelin logo, a Broncos flag, etc. Our first conversation was about her adorable little black Betty Page bangs, which I confessed I always wanted but didn’t have the guts. The next was that she was next door neighbors with school shooter Eric Harris as a child, and she’d let me borrow her book on Columbine. Weird mutual interests like that bond folks.

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As we became good friends, her effortless-delicate-artsy-girlish-yet-edgy charm had me paranoid she could swoop my then boyfriend at a moments notice, but mainly I just wanted to take her home to my parents. Hank’s the type of chick your mama wants you to spend time with- intelligent, creative, thoughtful. Just a peach.

Much of our friendship has to do with music. We bonded quickly over our mutual love-hate feelings towards Morrissey, our middle school emo obsession with My Chemical Romance (we are veterans of extreme amounts of eyeliner), and we high fived maybe 30 times when we first expressed our mutual love for South African rap group Die Antwoord.

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One Saturday morning in 2013 we saw online that Modest Mouse was playing a show in California the following night. Within an hour we hit the road, driving 23 hours straight through the night to catch the show. That day I got so messed up on cheap shitty whiskey Hanna had to follow me into the bathroom stalls to help me take off and on my pants to pee. A few months later, on a surprisingly warm day in November, we dropped acid and went on a hike. We sat along the edge of a cliff- a terrifying thought in hindsight to a sober individual-and screamed the final lyrics of the “This Is the End” by the Doors.

“Father?”

“Yes, son.”

“I want to kill you. Mother! I want to fuck you.”

I got so messed up on dose that Hanna had to follow me behind concealing trees and bushes and help me take off and on my pants to pee…again. Hanna’s a good friend. She’s also my colleague, coworker, and fellow member of anarcho-feminst girl gang, The Black Out Gurlz.

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The original members of the B.O.G. club. You’ve never seen intersectional feminism lookin’ so posh.

Hanna takes care of my pet rats when I’m out of town and together we work on fundraising projects together for Feminist Voice, like making female anatomy pussy cookies and pins that say phrases such as “All I want for Christmas is the abolition of imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy” or “Fuck macho bull shit forever”. We both have a show on KDUR radio, and have every intention of getting matching tattoos that read “Salad Days”.

“My salad days, When I was green in judgment: cold in blood, To say as I said then!” -William Shakespeare

“Always feeling tired, smiling when required, write another year off and kindly resign, salad days are gone.” -Mac Demarco

“Think of salad days, they were folly and fun, they were good, they were young” -Young Marble Giants

I interviewed Hanna on five songs that really changed her world, or simply remain her favorites, although I could have probably guessed.

 

DABZ: Hanita, Hank, Han: Give me five songs that really blew your mind when you first heard them, that had a serious impact on you.

HANK: Okay, well…Oh jeez. I’d start with “Asleep” by The Smiths. I read The Perks Of Being A Wall Flower early in my high school years, and I saw a lot of myself in the main character, Charlie. I liked him, he was shy and quiet, but also had a lot to say, but only at the right moments. He luckily got swooped up by these eccentric, fun friends and it was a story of him going through high school with lots of built up messed up feelings. I related to that. There is a part in the book where Charlie’s older sister gives him a mix tape that a previous boyfriend had given to her. The first song on the tape is “Asleep”, and he listens to it over and over. He talks about thinking the song is the most beautiful thing he has ever heard. I remember putting the book down, immediately going to my computer,  and illegally downloading it. I laid down in bed and listened to it on repeat the way Charlie had in the book, and just let it all sink in. Morrissey’s voice is so sweet and sad, I connected with it a lot. Ever since I’ve really, really liked the Smiths.

DABZ: I knew for sure that song was going to be one on your list, we’ve had this conversation before. I remember doing the exact same thing on the computer when I read that book. But I didn’t illegally download it- I bought it on iTunes like a law abiding, dignified citizen. I’m telling your parents.

HANK: (laughs) Oh no! Not my Dad!

DABZ: Okay I won’t, but your confession will be getting published on a public forum. Maybe don’t leave home for a bit, there might be a rampage on campus. Consequences, Hank. Anyways, next song.

HANK: It’s called “Maria, Maria” by Santana. Alright, so I really hate this song. A lot. But it’s so nostalgic, ’cause my father and I were in this Daddy-Daughter bonding group when I was a little poquita, and we used to go to these meetings with girls and father’s from all around the area. We spent lot of time driving to these meetings in my dad’s beat up old white jeep. The radio would always go out in the mountain passes- so we’d have to switch and listen to the only CD he had in his car, some sorta “Best of Santana” album. I have this specific memory of my dad serenading the words to me- saying “This is our song whether you like it or not”. I’d bury my head in hands and say “No! Stop! I don’t wanna hear it!” but it did grow on me, and always reminds me of times we spent together.

DABZ: That’s really, really adorable. I feel like our dads would like each other. They should get a beer. Didn’t we figure out that since we are born 3 days apart, and 9 months after October, we were totally our dad’s birthday sex?

HANK: Yup, late June babies mean early October sex. (laughs) That’s so funny. And disgusting.

 

DABZ: Next song, little dudette.

HANK: The third I’ll do “Brothers On a Hotel Bed” by Death Cab For Cutie. I love to tell this story. I had a crush on a boy in high school- and it was the first time anyone liked me back. We had a class together and the first day we had to get up in front of everyone, say our name and a little bit about ourselves. One question was “What’s your favorite song at the moment?” I went up and said my name and that that was my favorite song, and everyone in class started laughing. It was traumatizing and embarrassing- I’m terrified of public speaking. Maybe they were thinking of incest or something like that because of the title and that’s what made them laugh. Anyways, later I started dating that boy, and he ended up giving me a mix cd- and that was the first song. It was just really sweet to realize that some people actually do listen, and aren’t against you. It’s the first time it was apparent someone was actually listening to me, and reflected and reacted to the things I said.

DABZ: Was that Sean?

HANK: (laughs) Yep. My first love.

DABZ: Oh, brother. Those teenage loves, they just don’t last. Gimme your fourth song brotato chip.

HANK: “Not In Love” by Crystal Castles featuring Robert Smith. This one is simply a power song for me. When i went through my first breakup i listened to this all the time, driving in my car during the winter. I’d roll the windows down, crank up the heat, and listen to it so loud, just blast it and sing it like crazy. I got to see Crystal Castles two different times in Denver. The second time i went with a group of friends. You were there, Dana.

DABZ: I know, Hank.

HANK: I was actually with both my current boyfriend and my ex boyfriend- he had met us there. There was some jealousy issues going on, but I remember not caring about anyone else at all accept for myself and (lead singer) Alice Glass.

DABZ: Do you ever get told you kinda look like her?

HANK: Yes (laughs) Quin told me the other night! And I was just like No, you’re just trying to be nice.

DABZ: I’ll have to post a pic for reference for readers.
tumblrmfuppvX2kP1qaaytso1500Alice Glass, former lead vocalist of Crystal Castles

1506482_10201946865432515_2470859405767577263_nHanna Maddera, boss ass bitch of the Black Out Gurlz

HANK: I just remember jumping up and down at the show and using people’s shoulders in front of me to lunge myself in the air, and screaming the lyrics in people’s ears, which I guess was really inconsiderate. But, i didn’t care. I was having the time of my life.

DABZ: That was a good show. I remember it was weird that people were moshing really hard even though I figured that wouldn’t occur ’cause a great deal of their music is pretty ambient. Also it was an all ages show, lots of little kids. Whatever though, the venue was cool and grungy.

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HANK: My fifth and last song is “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” by Radiohead. This song is so good. Radiohead is so good. So good, so so good. I didn’t realize it until I started dating my current boyfriend, Nate, who pressured me into downloading all their albums.

DABZ: That’s a lot of music. Their discography is pretty frictkin’ fat.

HANK: A lot of gigabytes, my friend. There was one night back in the dorms Nate and I talked a bunch about difficult things from his past, and he was describing how Radiohead had shaped him as a person and got him through pain earlier his life. I just remember listening to this song with him and watching him sing along and just how powerful it all was. Later, our whole friend group got very obsessed with the song. We’d all get real drunk and dance around and sing it at the top of our lungs and just groove around. So much fun. To me, that song is really a benchmark of being in my early twenties, and finding a great group of friends that I love and appreciate, and never forget.

DABZ: Oh, my heart. I remember I bought that Nirvana puzzle that you helped me work on, and when we finally put the final pieces together we spun that record in your living room to be ironic assholes.

HANK: I know! (laughs) I remember that. It’s really hard to pick out just five songs, because there is so much different music I associate with situations that I was in when I first heard it, or people it reminds me of, or the feelings that emerge when I listen to it. To put it plain, music is a cool thing, it can be so personal. The combining features of these five songs is the way they evoke emotion and nostalgia in me. Lots of memories.

DABZ: It’s marvelous the way you can almost put a timeline to your life events by the music you were listening to at the time or the meanings certain songs have to something specific in your world.