Soundtrack to Life – A Cautionary Tale

Well waddaya know, I’m late. It’s mostly my fault, though not entirely. I started at 5, got distracted watching Yu Yu Hakusho and Rurouni Kenshin, and left for my Jaycee’s meeting around 6. When I came home I was dead tired and the house was packed, so I wouldn’t have been able to touch the computer ’til past midnight anyways. Alright, so what can I say? These last two weeks, I haven’t exactly been “feeling it” as it were. I still have stories, plenty of stories. They just haven’t been clicking, ya know. I’m still holding onto a few of the bigger ones, and I’m sure I’ll write about them soon. But this week, I’m gonna stray from my usual style, and talk about how I got into a band in particular.

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A Cautionary Tale

“Dammit” by Blink 182

And so there it was. One year of highschool behind me. Suzan was still calling, but it wasn’t as bad as it had been in the previous months. My grades had suffered a little this year, putting me off honor role for a quarter or two. That bothered me, cuz that’s just the kinda guy I was. But it was cool. I was going into my sophomore year, which I’d been told was the easiest one to deal with. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but I really wasn’t stressing it.

I remember, heading into fall, MTV was going to air their first ever Sports and Music Festival. I still watched MTV all the time back then, so I was tuned in with whatever was going on. When commercials for SMF1 were on, there was one riff that opened the commercial and played throughout. It was a very catchy riff, so naturally, I wanted to know who did it. So, I watched a lot of MTV, not really trying to figure out who had the mystery riff, but it was always in the back of my mind. One day, as I sat there, I heard the riff again. This time when I looked up, there wasn’t a commercial, but rather three young men walking toward the movie theater. The info box in the lower left portion of the screen told me what I wanted to know.

Blink 182

Dammit

Dude Ranch

I got a good laugh from the video. Mark pining over his ex who had just happened to show up at the theater with another guy. Mark, Tom, and then drummer Scott Raynor screwing around, harassing the couple, all leading to a chase scene in the lobby. The song was just so catchy that I couldn’t avoid it. I went out and bought the CD just for that song. I also got Denis Leary’s “Lock and Load” that day, but that’s neither here nor there. And there I sat, with a brand new CD that I’d only bought for one song. This was stupid. Just retarded. So, rather than just listening to that song, I played through the whole CD. I loved the sound it had, loved the humor involved, and it quickly became a part of my usual line up.

The year moved on, and the sophomore year lived up to expectations. Classes were a breeze, Suzan wasn’t on my case as much, grades were back up. Things were lookin’ up. You’re probably expecting me to throw in mention of something going horribly wrong here, but nothing would go wrong. Not ’til ’99 anyways. I got more into the Blink CD, but I hadn’t even considered that they may have released other music already. That’s why I was a little surprised when Suzan gave me their Buddha CD for my birthday. This only increased my appreciation for the band, and I went in search of more material. Lo and behold, I managed to find a copy of Cheshire Cat at the record store not long afterward. To date, Cheshire Cat is my favorite Blink 182 CD. There’s something to be said about the emo sound to it.

Flash forward to summer of 1999. Early one May morning, while getting ready for school, I heard a familiar voice on the TV. I looked up to see three men running naked down the street. And then I looked at the TV. See, that’s a joke, you’re supposed to laugh you schmucks. But anyways, my belief was confirmed. It was indeed Blink 182 with their new single “What’s My Age Again?”. Immediately I began looking for info on when the new album would hit stores. June 6 is what the website said. I couldn’t wait. Imagine my surprise though, when I took a little bike ride on June 1 and found the album sitting in the CD rack at the local K-Mart. I don’t remember how many times I listened to Enema of the State that day, I just remember being happy with it.

I was happy for the memebers of Blink, I really was. A new album, airplay on MTV, and now their single was climbing the ranks on TRL. Wow, this is so cool! People are finally gonna know about these guys. More fans were coming out of the woodwork. It’s a good feeling seeing the guy you cheered for finally ascending the ranks and becoming well known. And then the band announced it’s second single to be……. “All the Small Things”? Why this song? Why would they do that? It’s the worst song on the album! They could have picked a far better single in my mind, namely “Adam’s Song” which came later, but I also would have liked to see “Going Away to College” or “Dumpweed”, even “Don’t Leave Me”. But no. It was “All the Small Things”. Okay, fine, no problem. At least they’re getting air play.

And then it happened. Something I’d always remember in regards to this band. I turned on TRL and got this….

“I voted for Blink 182’s ‘All the Small Things’ cuz Mark is hot! Woooooooo!”

What?! No! No no no! You little airheaded ninny! They’re a punk band, not a boy band! That’s not a reason for liking them! How dare you soil their name! But it was too late. The teenie boppers were digging their claws in and turning them from punk to pop. It was excrutiating watching little miss trendy walking down the halls of the school sporting a brand new Blink 182 T-shirt. I just wanted to grab these people and tell ’em “You don’t know this band! You never heard the old stuff!” It was just aggrivating to me.

I just so happeened to be in speech class before they released “Adam’s Song”. So I took it upon myself to inform my classmates about the band, and in doing so, show my Blink roots, that I knew who they were before Enema of the State and that they weren’t just the pop flavor of the month. I forget what I got on the speech, either an A or a B, but that was pretty much my final public plee, using the video for “Dammit” as a visual aid. I’d said my piece, nothing more I could do. From there, well, we know what’s become of them.

I guess I do have a reason for writing this. Lately, there has been a surge of bands appearing from obscurity and getting air play and more fans. Bands like Unwritten Law, and The Ataris. More noteably though, I heard “We’ve Had Enough” by Alkaline Trio on the radio just this past Saturday. Will all these bands walk the same path that Blink 182 did before them? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Got a story you’d like to tell about a song that’s in the Soundtrack of your life? Don’t post it on the board. Email it to me and I’ll put it in my column. Stories will be posted in the order that their received. I don’t play favorites. All I ask is that you make sure the spelling and grammar are in fine order.
Email your stories to: loki@baloolapalooza.com