I was up late last night doing some reminiscing. This reminiscing was the result of some sadness I was feeling…and still feel. This move to Phoenix has been tough on me. I’m in a city that has a complete lack of familiarity to me. It seems foreign. The tall, lush green trees and green grass that I’m used to are gone. Replaced by cacti, rocky soil and palm trees. I feel out of place. Julie is completely at home, because this is her home. Where she grew up, where her family is. While she is enjoying the desert sun and seeing sights that she grew up with, it’s all completely new to me. And I have problems feeling connected to it.
Anyone who knows me, knows how monumentally important music has always been to me. It’s that one thing that has always been with me. There are certain songs, albums and artists that I turn to when I need that extra boost and help me through troubling times. I really started noticing it after my friend Jim introduced me to a band called Mortal. He played their 2nd album, “Fathom”, and I was hooked.
It was in the midst of this sadness and reminiscing that I turned to an old friend, Starflyer 59’s “Gold” album, to help me process my emotions. I picked it because Jason Martin, the vocalist/main songwriter/guitarist/brainchild of Starflyer 59, essentially recorded the album alone for a 1 month period after some friends didn’t show up to help him record it. So it has those elements of loneliness and sadness that I’ve been feeling.
“Gold” is playing, and the songs remind me of high school and college. Going to shows in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit. The countless hours I’ve spent with friends debating the various nuances of different bands, as well as their artistic merit. Arguing over if a band is actually worth listening to, in our music-snobby manner. The excitement I would feel before going to certain shows. Seeing The Prayer Chain perform in Chicago during one of their final shows before they broke up (that still makes me sad) and seeing Jimmy Eat World play a one-off at Exit/In in Nashville are 2 particular bright memories.
The song “Duel Overhead Cam” plays off “Gold”, and it gets to that part toward the end, where there’s that drum breakdown/solo. A smile comes to my face. I’ve always loved that part. A few songs later it’s the last 90 seconds of “Messed Up Over You” that make me hit the rewind button, just to hear it again. Even though I’ve heard it a million times before. And I thank God, for the infinity-eth time, for the gift of music. I truly in my heart of hearts, do not know where I would be if it weren’t for the many ways music has helped me connect with people, help me think, and inspired me. I thank God also that I have a wife who understands that and encourages it.
Six weeks into our move to the Valley of the Sun, I’m finding this transition to be tougher than I thought. Six weeks ago, I thought I could roll with the punches and adjust quite nicely. I thought that since I have the relationships with Julie’s family and her friends, I would find this to be an easier transition than when I moved to Mt. Pleasant to go to CMU and when I moved to Nashville. In both of those situations, I knew absolutely no one in the places I was moving to. This move hasn’t been easier. It takes time to build up those memories that make a place feel like home, and to develop those friendships that aid in making those memories.