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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ONE STEP BEYOND


     I started the evening Jogging down the side streets of Osaka, over the river up hill and back sometimes forgetting to look right instead of left while crossing a busy intersection. It's easy to forget cars drive on the left side NOT the right side here in Japan. I underscored my run listening to a mix of acoustic songs, the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, Donovan, and Nick Drake. Sometimes I want music to blast my socks off to keep me thrusting forward where running is more like a quick paced series of falling and catching oneself in rapid motion. But other times, like tonight, I needed soothing sounds to keep me moving, at peace with myself, at an evenly paced scenically aware zen-like speed. Of course this music makes me a bit more pensive, and when I took off the headphones the quiet of late night Osaka was hypnotic, causing me to reflect on my identity, now and then. I'm constantly in a dialogue with myself debating whether we change or not, whether identity is fluid, or static. I put the headphones back on and ended the run staring up at my U-Shaped Dorm called Kaigandori which stands tall over this part of the city. It's concrete facade lurks over a street by the same name. Here the Universal Studio's "talent" live in single apartments stacked ten floors high amongst factories and strobe light bedecked Pachinko Parlors.

      I underscored this final moment before going back to my room with a Screeching Weasel song, One Step Beyond, from the album Wiggle. It made me sad, the camaraderie I had with Ben was gone, long gone, but in moments like this, it feels still there with me, eerily present, but so obviously gone, the us then and the us now standing in such different places, in completely different time zones, and states of mind, but simultaneously so. We, everyone living now, are all simultaneously so, but at this moment it was about his and my simultaneity. And as I said, it was sad, nostalgic, yet always the pride, the confidence I always have no matter how dark my thoughts about that band, I'm always secure in my love for the band and the dedication we gave it beyond the restraints of our friendship. Fuck, we were good.

      This post was supposed to be about why I really like this song, One Step Beyond, a song with a simple verse and chorus, simple melodic lead and simple muting and strumming, and why I chose it to be played at our last show at the House Of Blues… But I don't think I can explain it well, or at least to a point where an outsider would say, "Yeah Man, that does seem important." And in many ways that correlates to how I feel my role in the band is ultimately difficult to interpret. I am too often for my own good struck with the need to explain my past role, but ultimately I feel incapable of expressing it in a way fitting to its complexity.  So it's always there in my head.

      So… the song was like all the other palm muted to open strum songs but for some reason during rehearsals I changed the setting on my guitar, (some weird tone button that my Westone guitar had that I never ever used) and it altered the sound of my muting. It made it attack a bit more than my lack of confidence in my steady rhythm playing would have normally allowed. But for some reason I committed to it and it worked! And yes, perhaps this slight change may seem so small and mildly insignificant in the face of all the other elements to the song, but I feel it changed everything, something so small, made this song special to me. Subtle, yet I can't conceive of that song recorded any other way.  Perhaps this helps to explain a small segment of my part in SW.

PS. This is the only version I could find of the song on Youtube.  It cuts out at the end, but you get the idea.

     

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the move to Japan. My friend is ambassador to Costa Rica in Japan. Screeching Weasel without you isn't SW. I know that a ton of fans would agree with me. Anyways; check it out, you're in Japan and there's a whole new ballgame ahead of you :D cheers to that, buddy!

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