Right-Side Up Or Upside Down

A couple days ago Dave Matthews Band came into Buffalo, and a whole bunch of people I knew were excited to go. I wasn’t one of them, in fact I was one of the folks who gently chided the people who did. ‘Cause that’s what you do when you think a band isn’t worth that much after a certain point in your musical “growth”. I assume. Having no memories of having lived a life before this particular iteration (and as John Vanderslice reminds me in waking hours as well as in dreams), I haven’t been further in time, so I don’t know what or how these things are supposed to go.

The recent recycling of reunited, and/or reformed bands has caused me to reflect a bit on just how long its been since my halcyon days of the mid-Nineties to the mid-to-late 2000’s. Was it really that long ago? I keep asking myself. Yes, it was. Tastes change, and feelings grow and the adult world shrinks, I guess. At least that’s what it feels like as every step I’ve taken lately corresponds to a still lingering mystery of unknowing at some earlier age. Its sort of sad, but mostly its fun. Not in the kind of fun that a 23-year-old me would appreciate. In fact, the 23 (or 24-27 year-old me, if I’m being honest and deprecating) year-old would probably snark the hell out of me for still owning the three DMB CDs that I do, much less bringing them along on a drive to Central New York. And you know what? I think I did do that to myself as I left my apartment, when I said “Well, it  is a long drive” to no one.
I only brought two of them along–DMB albums Crash and Before These Crowded Streets. They’re my favorites. Well it turns out that the first 4 tracks of Crash are my favorites, and then most of BTCS is my favorite. Listening to them in the car I remembered a lot of the lyrics and twists and turns the melody and rhythm took in each song. “Crush” off of BTCS, however was what really got me thinking–and recalling. There are pieces of my past self locked into these lyrics and these notes arranged in a certain formation. There’s a happiness inherent that I’m not sure I fully grasped back in ’98 and the summer following. A comfortable easiness, but with a dark sharp edge just underneath all the jamming and silly stoner ephemera that comes with a certain type of band that DMB is known to be.

What this all comes down to is, I recognize that I was unfair to my past, and to a band that isn’t all that bad, and wasn’t and continues to not be all that awful. And I remember the ultimate reason I shouldn’t be so dismissive of certain bands–which goes deeper than growing up and appreciating songs for what they are, how people relate to them, and the different reasons and tastes that come along with that new information–my favorite band is Harvey Danger.


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