One of the most moving musical performances I ever witnessed has been on my mind recently.
We have played more of Joey Kendall’s music on this show than anyone else. We’ve played his solo stuff, his stuff with Mount Righteous, his song “it’s cool” is our theme song, and his weird chip tune beats fills our transitions…
I’m a tremendously avid fan of his music, and I truly have no idea who I would be today if not for him. The impact he’s had on my life and the life of my friend is immeasurable. I’ve seen him play hundreds of times, and played in multiple bands with him, and still…this one performance stands out in my mind of the time Joey won the 2002 battle of the bands.
He was entered as a solo artist. They were supposed to play in front of the curtain while the next band set up behind the curtain, and weren’t even supposed to be considered to win…and still, he won.
He only played two songs. He started with a cover of somewhere over the rainbow, and then moves on to an original song.
The video of above is of the original song that I believe he played for the first time that night.
It was about a janitor who worked at our school who had recently committed suicide.
It was the first person in my immediate life to not only die but to take their own life.
The janitor’s name was Charles, and my group of friends who all played together in various bands befriended him. We would talk to him before and after school, and during passing periods. He was a younger guy whose hair was shaved short. I remember auditioning for battle of the bands the year before, and Charles happened to see it. We talked after about playing music. Charles was a bass player. He let me borrow a “skinny puppy” cassette because he was into them and he wanted me to check them out. I did, and they weren’t for me…
So the story goes, around the time Charles died he was depressed because the girl he liked didn’t want to (or couldn’t?) date him because “he wasn’t arabian”…
I found out the news in the worst way possible in what is likely one of the most terrible situations I’ve ever been in…Charles happened to have a twin brother who also worked as a janitor at the “rival” Grapevine High School. I happened to be over at their high school for something theater related, and I saw a person I thought was Charles but who turned out to actually be Charles’ twin brother.
“Charles! I haven’t seen you in a while!” I said to him loudly from down the hall as I approached. He looked at me and said something along the lines of “Charles is my brother. I’m his twin. Charles died.”
I didn’t know what to do. I don’t remember how I handled it. I probably apologized and tried to give my condolences and continue on to wherever I was headed feeling like an incredible asshole…
I found out later that Charles had committed suicide. I still wasn’t sure what to make of it, or how to react…I think I was mostly numb to the entire thing.
Then at the battle of the bands soon after Joey played a new song.
Although almost every other song of his I feel like I (voluntarily) heard over and over as he played them at show after show I went to…I really only remember hearing this song live this one time though. I’m sure he played it at parties or less formal “shows”, but this performance is the only one I really remember. And of the likely 100+ songs he has recorded and released, this one never was…
Hearing it that night made me feel so much better. I’m not sure what it was about the song, or the performance. I can’t tell you now exactly what the lyrics meant to me, but it was a song written entirely of the same small world I was in…
Also, the performance itself is so interesting. Joey somehow set himself up as the underdog vs himself. You can see from the video that he nearly quits after messing up the start of the song two times. He seems to contemplate walking off-stage…then he makes some self-deprecating remarks and goes on to play the song nearly perfectly, and ultimately win 1st place at the battle of the bands (the highest of high school musician honors).
I’d like to end saying what I learned from all this…what it taught me about commitment, or honesty, or dealing with the harsh realities of life…I guess I could probably make something up, but mostly I just wanted to share this amazing moment from my past that is emblazoned on my soul as part of who I am. I wanted to put it into context, and I hope that maybe it might bring someone else some joy as well. Which given last week, is something I think people could use more of.
Thanks for all the music, Joey.
Another friend of mine from high school that I grew up playing music with was Drew Erickson.
I remember one time we were both at the same party, and I saw him find some recorder/clarinet type of instrument. From the way he looked at it when he first picked it up it didn’t seem as though he knew how to play it. Within minutes though he was playing along with the music playing at the party.
I’ve always been envious of how much of a natural musician he is.
I’m excited by the recent stuff he’s been putting out with a new band he’s in, The Colors.
You can follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheColurs
or visit their website for more of their music: http://thecolurs.com
The first improv festival I ever attended was in New Orleans. I was there with Look Cookie, ColdTowne’s first student group.
The after party on the last night of the festival was held at a bar in the french quarter that had live music…Apparently, the band who was supposed to play though had not shown up that night, and this other band just happened to be playing on the street outside. So, the street musicians were invited to come inside to play instead.
This band was an incredible folky / bluegrass group whose lead singer was this younger lady whose voice was so marvelous and captivating and full of character. The performance was so honest and open and raucous and perfect.
I remember dancing to the music, having a wonderful time…eventually getting so sloppy and carried away that I neglected to find out what the band was called. I think the particular band on this night didn’t really have a name as they were just a collective of musicians jamming together on a Saturday night…but I kicked myself repeatedly for not at least finding out the singer’s name and what to search for to find her music.
I left the festival never knowing what they were called.
Roughly one year later I returned to New Orleans on a whim for a weekend trip with some friends. We had just arrived, back in the French Quarter. I was riding as a passenger in a car, and we were stuck in heavy traffic stopped momentarily when I looked out my window and just happened to see that same girl, the lead singer from the band. She was sitting in a restaurant near the window with some friends.
I couldn’t believe it! I knew this was a crazy thing to do, but I quickly explained to whomever was driving (probably Steph Cook) that I needed to get out and go ask this person what their band was called. Stephanie obliged, and pulled over.
I ran into the restaurant and without thinking about how it might go, or how I might be disturbing these strangers, I walked right up to the table where the singer was eating with friends. I interrupted their conversation as politely as possible. Everyone looked at me and seemed to be thinking “hmm, is this interaction about to be normal or crazy?”…I quickly (and likely awkwardly) explained that I thought I recognized her as someone I had seen in New Orleans playing music in a bar last year, but never found out what her band was called. She politely told me, her name was Alynda Lee Segarra and her band was called Hurray for the riff raff.
I said thank you, and apologized for interrupting their meal.
I returned to the car and wrote the name down so I wouldn’t forget. Ever since then I’ve been a tremendous fan, and I can’t recommend her music enough.
Here’s the official music video for another song by last week’s featured musical guest, Anamanaguchi.
Enjoy this song by recent musical guest, friend of the show, and fellow pizza enthusiast, FISHBOY.
The band is mostly the brain child of guitar player/singer, Eric Mischner.
Eric and I (Cody) went to “rival” high schools…We both played in bands at our respective schools though, and our bands would play shows together. So, though he and I weren’t friends (we might chat on AIM sometimes), we were at the least friendly acquaintances.
One summer Eric and I both happened to be working at the same AMC theaters at the Grapevine Mills mall…it was the summer that Pootie Tang came out for reference.
I recall this one week where we were told that the employee who sold the most of a particular concession item (probably the biggest size tub of popcorn) would win a gift card. I wish I could remember the specifics of what the gift card was for, and how minuscule the amount because I’m sure the details were delightful…It was likely something like $20 to chili’s.
Upon hearing about the contest I immediately figured it to be something I probably wouldn’t win. I likely would sell a few of the popcorn tubs to people who wanted them, but I’ve always hated upselling, and it was unlikely that I would sell the most.
So, I suggested to Eric that perhaps we could combine our efforts, and he could claim all of the tubs I sold. For some reason our manager agreed, and by the end of the day I remember Eric got off of work before I did…and as he was walking out he was holding the gift card above his head like a trophy.
I’ve always been a fan of his music, and I hope that whatever nacho shooters or cheddar slammers he ordered with that gift card brought him happiness.
Sorry for pulling your leg in the previous episode…neither host is going anywhere for the time being B-)
Enjoy this additional song by Hard Times (featuring this podcast’s host, Cody Dearing on Guitar).
This song “Hey Mom, I hate you (Hey Dad, I love you)” was somewhat callously written by myself (Cody) while dealing with the stress of living with my parents again after being forced to leave Chicago and return home to Grapevine. Two or so years later my parents ended up divorcing one another…but I don’t think this song had anything to do with it.
The only lyrics I can remember from the first verse are “then I can get my own place with my dad”, and from the second verse there was a part that went “Won’t let me watch Terminator, want to tell her that I hate her, never gives me any fucking milk”.
I was in a weird place…
I grew up in Grapevine, TX where this song became an anthem among my group of friends.
I’ve sung along to so many times at shows, campfire jams, or in my case when I was alone in my car or shower…or if I couldn’t listen to the song I might play it myself on guitar because its basically two chords (G and C) the whole way through until it goes crazy and tosses in a D at the end.
I love how simple it is.
This song is three chords that you can learn to play within minutes of holding a guitar for the first time…and yet, it has become this timeless piece for me. A reminder that complex isn’t always best or necessary.
This song used to make me pretty happy. Again, it was an anthem for the kids who grew up in my area of the suburbs between Dallas and Ft.Worth. It is full of small references to things that happened to us growing up…the time the drummer for our band couldn’t play for several weeks because he got severe chemical burn on his hands in an attempt to get freon out of an air conditioner so he could huff it…mentioning “fucking shit up at the club house” in reference to the time Paul used lipstick to draw a pentagram on his chest at the Elvis Nixon reunion show that was held in the neighborhoods shared “club house”, and then he threw the lipstick on the floor and danced all over it, smashing it into the carpet, and ending our chances to do any further “club house” shows.
It resonated with me in the same way that I was fired up by hearing Fugazi talking about “no longer waiting for the moments to come to them. [They] were out there going to the moments”…even though we were living in a city that was in a lot of ways like a lot of other places, we had these special specific memories that were all our own…and experiences that we would carry with us, whether we wanted or not, regardless of where we went…
It brought us together then, and we would put our arms around each other and sing-a-long.
While looking for a video of this song to post I stumbled across another recording of it. This time, the video isn’t at a club, its just a bunch of my friends sitting around a campfire. They start singing the song again, and people are singing along, but this is probably 6 or 7 years after the song was first written…and though people are joining in, most of them lack enthusiasm. The people who are singing like they mean it are actually sort of overselling it, and the whole scene becomes cartoonish. The guitar is out of tune, they sing some of the words out of order, and eventually the song crumbles to a stop…
This song used to make me happy…for different reasons. I suppose it still does. But it also makes me a lot more sad now than it used to. At the moment though, watching this campfire video, I’m reminded that I should keep pushing myself to take risks so that I don’t get too complacent.
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