Hearing NEW music from a band that I fell in love with during 6th grade is such a weird feeling.
I've started to realize that nearly every blahg post on this website is, in some way, a nostalgic call back to the days of my youth growing up a sheltered 'country' in Montana, shielded from all the cool things happening in big cities. I apologize to all seven readers in advance if you're sick of that, and invite you to stop reading now if seeing the same painting done over & over isn't exciting to watch. With that said, on we go!
I used to ride my bicycle with my sister's Sony portable CD player tucked in the back of my shorts (because it was too big for pockets) & steer around big bumps as to not skip the song playing through my giant headphones. I completely wore out three copies of Incubus' 'Make Yourself' album and had at least two stolen from my CD case by music-hungry friends. We only had one radio station in Libby (shout out to KLCB, 1230 AM), so it wasn't like you could just flip on your car stereo and hear the new sh*t whenever you felt like it, and having anything faster than 56k internet was a freakin' DREAM. So we got our music the old fashioned way: a BMG catalog & 12 CDs for a penny.
After ordering every R.E.M. album (because my parent's would let me have anything from Marilyn Manson because he was 'too weird & didn't believe in god,' more on that later) I was pretty fed up with Michael Stipe and needed something different. Just then, like every cliche in the book - the heavens opened up & Incubus was delivered to my ear holes.
I've listened to "The Warmth" more times than almost any other song on earth, but every time it plays -- no matter what I'm doing -- I'm instantly back in Libby, racing my bicycle down Park Street on my way to Libby Creek in the middle of summer. I'm not wearing a helmet but my blown-out sneakers & No Fear shirt were enough to protect me from anything. All I cared about was Ken Griffey, JR winning the Homerun Derby at the All-Star game, video-taping episodes of South Park, and eating the pickles from my friends' refrigerators. The skin on my hands was calloused harder than leather from spending every waking moment gripping handlebars and now I'm cruising to the bridge where I'll be pulling sweet backflips & impressing the ladies. Plus, with the new Incubus in my ears... I'm basically IN one of those BMX videos that I used to watch repeatedly. I'm totally a badass.
Then naturally; I clipped an edge of my pedal on a rock - totally throwing me & my Zephyr sideways with more than enough force to launch my sister's CD player, headphones, and shoes to the pavement. The 10 seconds of ESP was no match for the impact with pavement & the disc goes flying like a terrible prototype frisbee. We called those moments "Yard Sale," but it was only funny to call it that when it wasn't you.
I'm bleeding and this sucks. Why didn't you save me, Incubus??? I thought we were tight? I trusted you, and look what happened! I looked to blame anyone other than myself for the shredded knuckles, knees, and elbows, but then I remembered something: chicks totally dig a badass, and you know what's badass? Blood. You know what isn't badass? Tears. So knock that sh*t off ASAP and act cool. You're 12 now.
I gathered my shoes, CD player and disc, then limped around while I searched through the bushes for the AA batteries that were ejected from their home. Once my possessions were collected, I straightened out my handlebars and steadied my shaky feet on the pedals. Act cool. My super sweet No Fear shirt had fresh blood on it & there was a hole in the spot where my hip made impact with the ground, but that only made the message more clear: I had no fear.
I put on Track #3 ('Consequences'), and continued my trek to Libby Creek where I did exactly as I had promised a couple paragraphs ago.
I cleaned my wounds in the horribly-polluted creek that was only feet away from the even more polluted Mill Pond and had a great rest of the day with my buds. We had nothing to do except play baseball, swim, and get in trouble for being risk-taking kids. Life was good.
I probably listened to Track #6 ('Stellar') and Track #11 ('I Miss You') on my ride home because I was an overly emotional kid who didn't get enough tears out of my system from earlier in the day (and/or because I probably had a crush on a girl who didn't like me back), and I repeated this process for years until I started spending most of my time working to pay for dirt-bikes, trucks, and gas for both of them. Slowly but surely - and just like another cliche - the carefree days of youth started being replaced with bank payments and real girlfriends that inflicted more emotional pain than my silly bike accidents (ironically, still were both probably my fault). I could now afford to buy my own Marilyn Manson CDs and could make my own decisions about what 'weird' and believing in 'god' meant, but all I wanted was to rewind the last three years & replay them forever. My soundtrack was Incubus and I never thought I would have that much fun again.
I'm not sure yet how I feel about the new Incubus track that I finally heard earlier this week, but it'll grow on me. I felt the same way about Crow Left of the Murder and Light Grenades until the third or fourth time through and now I'd put them in my all-time Top 50.
At least they're not still painting the same pictures & stealing their sister's portable CD players.
I love you Incubus. Never stop.
P.S. sorry, Juli.