You wanna get weird? Then let’s get weird.
Let’s get real weird. Song 141.
In fact, let’s sit in it until our fingers get all pruney.*
And on that note, have you ever seen Reign of Fire?
A couple of years ago I went to South by Southwest. I was outside of a show smoking a cigarette, having already reached some kind of informational saturation point. There’s only so much you can hear or see or say. Sometimes you just need to be quiet and by yourself. I was at that point. I had been staying up late and drinking and running into people and after awhile just running out of things to say. Rare, I know.
So I am standing there, by myself, in some random broke down looking part of Austin, when I hear music from across the street. And although I felt so tired of sound at that point I found myself crossing the street and standing at a chain link fence watching yet another band play. But I couldn’t help it. A dude walked up and so I asked him “Who is that?” and he said the “That? That’s the Black Angels.”
I only talked to that dude for a second or two but in that time I uttered something random that I recently had to defend. I called it Reservation Rock. And, well, as it turns out, I meant it.
My Mother is 100% Polish. My Father, is mostly German, but also Scottish, Welsh and a couple of other things. Neither of them speak any language other than English and both of them were born in the United States. As a child we went to church but it was really more of a habit from my Mother’s side of the family. Eventually, we all stopped. I was born and raised in the State of Illinois and have never really lived anywhere else. So what does that make me?
Native American actually.
And I’m not talking Sioux, Dakota, Chickasaw, Shawnee or even Illini.
I am far removed from those things as well. But at least I am from the same part of the same country. And by “country” I mean the flatlands. With the same trees and the same lakes and the same birds and the same sunsets and whatever else you can add up that still remains.
So again, what does that make me?
I take my lessons where I find them man. I watch plants push their way through frozen ground and around concrete. I listen to people like I listen to drums like I listen to the El train like I listen to children. The sun shines on me and the rain falls on me and sometimes I even get snowed on. I live with a dog who still refuses to speak fucking English although I can usually tell what he’s thinking. I read things in books and I read things on the Internet. I like feeling connected to my friends and my family. Although sometimes I walk alone looking for stuff. But most of all I do my best to be nice to the people I meet on my way.
I like the term Reservation Rock because I like alliteration. I also understand the context of Reservations. But that is what Native American, and this time I do mean American Indian, settlements are called to this day. I understand the atrocities associated and I do not think they should be forgotten. But if I can undo anything it’s by learning about the people who live there instead. I like the sounds they make and I like hearing it in unexpected places. I know that I can be bossy and I don’t want to start a fight. However, if this is how it goes then while we’re at it someone should probably tell Joy Division about the Holocaust.
Sometimes I wonder what stories I would tell if everything ever had burned. It’s the moral that matters right?
*That is 100% a reference to French Kiss and it was for you Ms. Caroline Yohanan.