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Extinguishing a Wildfire

“Rory” came into my life like a wildfire. It was at a time when I was really craving someone who didn’t have walls, and that boy dropped in and not only was unbound, but even tore down some of my walls. Rory is a boy from home who I have had a crush on since I saw him break out into serious dance moves while snapping his fingers and singing a Jay Z song in the middle of a public restaurant. Tonight wasn’t like that though. Tonight he held my hand, looked me in the eye and bashfully shook his head, “yes.”

I knew what this meant. He prefaced it with, “I need to talk to you about something,” and with just that, there was enough clues to guess what he was about to tell me due to process of elimination.

I haven’t seen this boy in a few months because I have been on the road with work. We got pretty close pretty fast last time I was home, but it was one of those situations which I often discuss, where we had to take a deep breath, pretend to be okay, and accept the fact that this was only going to be temporary because I was leaving soon. I have gotten really good at doing that, but I’m not going to lie… it really sucked having to do that with Rory. He had somehow found his way into my bloodstream.

I am fascinated with the notion of finding a word for everyone. A single word that best sums up a person. When and if you can figure out someone’s word, everything about them kind of falls into place and makes more sense. The thing that I most admire about Rory, and what I think that his word may be, is that he is unafraid. I’m sure that he has his fears, but he is truly comfortable with himself, and I think that is very rare. In a generation that is utterly controlled by the fear of ourselves and or inability to come out from behind the curtain and fucking live, Rory is not one of those people. He is not scared of the world. Rory laughs and dances when he wants and makes a fool out of himself and admits when he farts and admits when he’s sad and admits when he doesn’t know the capital of Texas and fucking looks at you when he wants you and runs and sweats and bleeds and tries. He is one of the few people who I wish the whole world could know.

It wold be easier if I could call the night a date, but it wasn’t a date because that’s not really our style. So I guess the simplest way to put it is that Rory came over to hang out one night several months ago and it turned into one of the greatest “hang out’s” I’ve had as an adult. One that all others will forever be compared to.

We started playing music really loud. We were taking turns listening to each others selection, and I’m use to most people just taking over in those situations, and you end up only listening to their choices. Not with Rory. He was equally as enthusiastic about the music I was sharing as he was about his. By the way, he’s a musician. Of fucking course.

We went onto the porch and he opened up about his home life and his hopes and his shady past and it turned into the type of conversation I had been craving for a long time.  It was completely unguarded. The boys in my life at that point seemed to all be the type that purposely don’t talk about anything real. They had walls.  For example, one guy I had been seeing sort of off and on for a year and a half, I would say that we were just as close after a year and a half as we were in the first month of meeting. We never progressed. I’m all for discussing existentialism and politics and watching documentaries and going to comedy shows, but sometimes you have to throw in some true grit for a relationship of any type to progress. In a way, I felt closer to Rory in one week than I did the guy I had been seeing for over a year because Rory’s not scared, and told me things that were real.

We then made up a secret handshake, played a card game and threw jellybeans into each others mouth. After that, it was really late, but I wanted to show him something, so I said, “Are you tired or….?” and he looked at me and said, “I’m down to do anything with you.”

We were having such a perfect time so neither of us wanted it to end. I was barefoot, and we walked to the pier, collecting rocks along the way. We were like two little kids, trying to find the best rock. It was the time of year when you can see the bioluminescence in the water if you create a wake and I wanted to show him. I figured he would appreciate it but that’s an understatement, you should have seen his face when we threw the first rock in. He got so excited, that raw enthusiasm that you only see in children. There’s that line from Knocked Up, when Paul Rudd is looking at his kids playing with the bubbles and he says, “I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles.” Well, I wish that I got as excited about anything the way that Rory got excited about those damn bioluminescence. It was so refreshing to see.

Of course, just to add the perfection, it was a big, orange, low hanging moon that night. So Rory and I threw rocks into the sparkling water under the glow of the moonlight until there were no more rocks to throw. On the walk back, I was a few paces in front of him, and he grabbed my hand and pulled me into him. At first I thought he was going to kiss me, but that’s too predictable for Rory. Instead, he started dancing with me in the middle of the road.

Now back at the house and blasting my test song. I call it my test song because it’s the song that I use to test speakers with. I know exactly what “Comfortable Liar” by Chevelle should sound like, and it has fairly dynamic tones and this kind of hidden thunderous quality  making it good for sound checking. It also makes it perfect for laying on the floor in the middle of the music room with a beautiful boy next to you and pounding your fists onto the hard wood floor to the beat of the song. Rory and I just wailed our fists onto the ground for the entire song.  It may not sound like much, but if you try to imagine laying on your stomach, next to a person you have a crush on, and allowing the music to fully take you over while you bang on the floor with all of your might to the beat… you really do need to be unafraid to be able to do that.  Rory brings out the spark in everyone.

We had another really great night a few days after that, which included dive bar pool, Budweiser, Eminem on the jukebox and a big black woman named Sweet Melissa.  Then I left town. It has been about five months since then, and I have done three tours in that time, putting me on the road for almost all of those five months. And so it goes. Now I’m sitting at the corner of a bar as Rory tells me that he needs to talk to me about something. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew that he was about to tell me that he got a girl pregnant. He grabbed my hand, and I could see that he was having a hard time saying it, so I just smiled and told him that I was pretty sure that I knew what he was going to say, to which he just looked me in the eye, smiled back and bashfully shook his head yes.  And now I guess it’s time to put out this wildfire.

So here we are, and here’s to change, and here is a playlist for the boy who is unafraid.

http://8tracks.com/goldenlullaby/for-the-boy-who-is-not-afraid

 

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Holden: Some Songs and a Story

Holden. A fake name for a very real boy. The first time I remember seeing him was at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California. I must have seen him the day before, because Sacramento was the second date of the tour, but my earliest recollection of Holden is watching him watch, in the dark corner of the black and red venue.

A few days ago I got done with a tour where I met a lot of wonderful people. People who I really didn’t want to say goodbye to, people who made me feel at home on the road and people who truly excited me. There is a lot to be said about last month, but this is not the time for that. While on the roof of some apartment in Los Angeles, I was discussing with one of the guy’s that I have become really good at letting people go, to which he responded, “that’s kind of fucked up.”

Maybe he’s right, but like I discuss in A Temporary Home, it comes with the lifestyle, and it’s necessary otherwise you’ll break your own heart. I’ve learned to recognize when someone is special, and just enjoy the little time that I do have with the person and when that time is up, you let them go. Sometimes though, I meet someone who makes that pretty fucking difficult. I did meet someone like that on this past tour, but like I said, it is not the time to tell that story. However, it did get me thinking about other people I have said goodbye to along the way, so in honor of retrospect, I am going to tell you about Holden, a boy I met on tour in the spring of 2014, and I haven’t seen or spoken to him since.

I’m not sure what my very first thought was when I saw him, but I had a few.

One, he’s drinking alone, which I liked. Well, kind of alone. As alone as you can be when you’re inside of the venue that you’re playing at that night. He would entertain some passing females for a few minutes here and there, and I could tell that he was smooth. I watched him do that thing where you casually place your hand on someone’s arm or side as you lean in to put your ear closer to them in an attempt at conversation in a loud venue. That can be repulsive if a guy does it wrong, but I could tell he had that shit down. Even with his good moves though, he stayed leaning at this bar counter, and continue watching the show by himself and let the girls walk away.

Two, he looked like a douche.

Three, but an incredibly good looking douche. Now that I know him, I think that Holden is one of the most beautiful boys that I’ve ever met, but at first glance, I was sure that I was NOT going to like this guy despite his James Dean appearance. He had a piercing on his face, and just this look that kind of screamed, I’m trying. I was very wrong.

Four, there’s something else though. Something else must have ran through my mind because I still decided to say something to him. Maybe I figured that I was going to be on the road with this dude for four months, so I might as well get the first introductory conversation out of the way. He was not in the band that I was working for, so we were not on the same bus, but his band was the direct support, so we were still going to be traveling together (it was a four band tour package) for many months.

I had been watching this… couple(?) all night. I hesitate to say couple because I’m 90% sure that they were on a second date, or something close to that. I don’t know how to describe what this chick was doing, but it was one of the most embarrassing things that I have ever seen. Basically, she was trying to dance on this guy and be sexy, but just failing at it so hard. It looked like she was attempting to give a lap dance despite the fact that the guy was standing up. She kept trying to jump on him, and then dry hump him I guess…? It was such a catastrophe. I was literally laughing out loud at this brilliant sight, but there was no one else who seemed to be witnessing it.

Like I’ve said many times, I hate small talk, so I figured I’d use this moment to speak to Holden so we could skip the formalities and dive straight into making fun of people together. Holden was about 15 feet away from my merch table, so I motioned to him to come over. The very first thing I said to him was something like, “Have you seen this couple over here?”

Holden: “The dancing chick?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Holden: “Oh I’ve been watching them all night,” he said with a lot of enthusiasm.

I fucking liked him immediately. I was so unprepared for him to have the same sense of humor as me, and to be on the exact same page as I was in that moment that I was kind of taken aback. As much as I hate talking, I am generally pretty good at conversation IF I decide to make an effort, but in those first moments with Holden, I did stumble a bit.

During the course of the tour, we went on to become fairly close. I don’t know that I have ever been so attracted to someone who I didn’t need to kiss. It was weird, I felt like I had a crush on him, but it was a very platonic type of crush. If that can even be a thing. I didn’t want to be with him and didn’t think about holding his hand or kissing him or fucking him or any of those things that you think about when you are into someone. But, he did kind of make me nervous, and I loved being around him. So I don’t know what the fuck to call how I felt about Holden. A “platonic crush” is the only thing I can come up with.

In a way, I think everyone kind of had a crush on him. I even heard the English Hooligan describe him as a “sweetheart” once, which I have never heard him call anyone else before or since. My fondness for him was no secret. I would regularly announce, “I’m in love with Holden,” to everyone (including him a couple of times I think) when I would see him by himself playing an arcade game, or sitting on the ground smoking a cigarette with a strand of hair falling into his face River Phoenix style, and those times when he said, “one second,” and then would walk a few feet away from us, vomit, and then turn right back around and join the circle again laughing, and take another shot of whiskey. Holden turned liquor into his bitch. It was outstanding. With that being said, that boy had some demons.

When you yourself are haunted, I think it’s pretty easy to spot another soul who is drowning in their own poison. On an afternoon in Philly, we ducked into a bar for a couple of beers, and he told me some of his tale which I won’t repeat here because it felt private, but I could feel that part of his past was eating him alive. But my God, he was such a beautiful disaster.

Holden is the type that somehow makes self-destruction look glamorous. I know that is terrible to say, but unfortunately, often times most interesting characters are the ones that are at constant war with themselves. I don’t want to make it sound like he was some depressive basket-case. He was always in a good mood and was always a good time, but I have a sixth sense about these things, and I could just tell that there was a lot going on underneath the surface. I used to love watching Holden on stage. Him and one of the guitar players would always smile at each other, and I’d often see them laughing about something, and it just looked like they were having so much fun. He belongs on stage.

I have this random memory of him, and it’s so seemingly insignificant that I don’t know why it stuck with me. We had a day off, so a few of us took a boat and jet ski out. We were out in the middle of the water and someone would take the jet ski for a few minutes, come back to the boat, and switch riders. EVERY TIME the new rider would drive away, they would unintentionally splash those of us on the boat with the fountain of water that jet skis create out the back. Even though everyone knew that this happened, and despite that they all tried to get far enough away so that the splash wouldn’t hit anyone, it did every time. Except when Holden got on. He was the only one who got the jet ski far enough away so that he didn’t splash anyone before taking off. That might seem minor, but for some reason it stuck with me.

Holden had good taste in music too. One of the very first conversations we had, one of the things that got brought up was the local music scene in the town where he is from. I asked him to make me a recommendation of a local, and he almost immediately said, “John Moreland.” I liked that he answered me so quickly. Often when you ask someone to give you a music recommendation on the spot, they shy away from the question.

So, I listened to John Moreland that night, and I fell in love with him, which made me fall in love with Holden. “Break My Heart Sweetly” is possibly the saddest song I have ever heard, and it seems oddly appropriate that I heard it due to Holden. It’s always sexy when the very first thing that someone tells you to listen to really hits home. It feels like you’ve found a kindred spirit. He went on to consistently give me good music recommendations, which brings me to the conclusion of this vignette. My retrospection of Holden inspired me to make a playlist. So this one is for Holden, the boy who broke my heart sweetly during the spring of 2014, and I’m so fucking glad that he did.

http://8tracks.com/goldenlullaby/raise-your-glass-to-retrospection

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Bitch Be Cool

Here was my weekend:

Was witness to a big black man naked, and crying in the women’s restroom.  I’m one of the manager’s at a popular pub in Hollywood (not as cool as it sounds) and this dude walks in and is TOTALLY NORMAL.  An hour later,  this giant black man is now fully naked, sitting on the toilet in the women’s bathroom with his knees to his chest, rocking back and forth and crying.  What. the. fuck.  Turns out he was on bath salts.

Already drunk in Silverlake, so of course my friend and I decide to get another drink somewhere.  Duh.  We walk up the road to Thirsty Crow.  Line.  Lame.  Keep walking, and go into the next bar we see.  Mexican drag queen show inside.  Yes please!  It happened, and it was brilliant.  Top three sketchiest bars I’ve ever been to.  You know when you mix mexican mafia, drag, alcohol, karaoke and cowboys, that something fantastic is going to go down.

Made-out with a hot Serbian on top of a mountain.

Turned drunk-driving into a sport.  I do not condone this at all!  But with that being said… me and my new favorite girl friend bared our souls to one another over cheap, pink champagne and daiquiris at my place, then decided to drive down Vermont Avenue, in the heart of Koreatown at 1:00am and “see what happens.”  We ended up at a hilarious Korean BBQ place that had no English menu and Korean punk rockers inside.  Fuck yes.  I have no idea what we ordered, we basically said, “bring it on,” to the server who spoke broken English.  I’m a vegetarian, but cheat every three months or so and eat meat, and this was definitely worth the cheat.  I have no idea what animals were on the plates, all I know is that Spam was definitely included.  If I’m going to cheat, I might as well embrace it and go 100% disgusting.

Flat tire.

Waiting in line for the one person restroom at a hookah lounge, and the female of the couple who were obviously on a first or second date sitting next to us, comes up with her hand over her mouth.  Uh oh.  She looks helplessly in my direction when she realizes that she won’t make it into the bathroom.  I give her a helpless look back, and BARF.  All over her hands and arms… got a little on my shoes, but you know, I couldn’t even be mad.  I just went with it.  Poor thing was wearing a white dress too.  Of course, the person in the bathroom was her date, so I just gave him a pat on the back (literally) and said, “Sorry man, but you got to take your girl home.”  I wonder if they’ll ever see each other again.

So, in honor of drunk bitches (including myself), I leave you with a playlist.  This is what you put on when a group of you are at that perfect fun drunk, but there’s that one girl who is just too drunk and being an obnoxious buzz kill.  I know you know the type.  So you raise your glass to her, put this playlist on, and quietly say to her, “bitch be cool.”

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The Nights Here Will Eat You Alive

A playlist from me to you.  Perfect for falling in love to… or out of love to.  Or good for just sitting on a windowsill, smoking cigarettes and breathing in the winter air while the night-time hours set your soul aflame.

A Playlist: Never Date a Writer

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