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Don’t Forget Your Roots

  • Aaron F.

     It was the legendary hardcore band H20 that wrote “Don’t Forget Your Roots”, a song I hadn’t thought about in probably 15 years but popped into my head last night as I spent my Saturday night catching up with an old friend from my youth.  I used to rock out.  I did.  I had my days of drunken debaucheries and living room gigs.  They were a blast.

Here I am over a decade ago, topless and disgusting.

His band, “The Narcs” were coming to town, playing in the basement of a run down house, which probably had a clueless, out of town landlord that had no idea his property now looked like a shelter in “Mad Max”.   I have to be honest, when I was informed that the show was at this house (which was about 4 blocks down from my house), I was far from excited, in fact I was dreading it.  Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to catch up with one of my two best friends from back in the day, but at 34 years old I was not looking forward to getting THIS old-school.  I still listen to the same music I listened to growing up, only now, instead of living it up punk rock style, I’m planning where to plant my arborvitaes next year.  Instead of blowing weed in a group of dudes, I’m selecting shades of paint at home depot for the next room we’re painting.  To sum it up, I’m in a different place these days.  Last night though, I had a good time.  The best part?  It was kind of like being allowed to go back in time, re-live a moment you at one time enjoyed (minus blowing weed with a group of dudes), and then getting to return to my current life.   It’s a bizarre feeling that I’m not sure everyone can relate to, but I’m trying to explain it the best I can.
     I was supposed to meet him down at that house at around 9pm but hadn’t heard from him until closer to 10.  At that time I was cuddled under a blanket with my dog watching a movie with Nicole.  When the text came in, the reality set in that I had to head down there.  I slapped on a hoodie and a winter hat and drove down.  I easily could have walked, but even though it was only a few blocks down, it was a few blocks down towards a sketchy area, so I preferred driving.  That way if I were to be attacked, I’d be in a car, and I could just run over them.
     When I got to the house, I walked up to the front of it, only because I had seen a group of dudes on the porch, all dressed in their finest bad ass clothing, smoking cigarettes and sipping awful beer.

“How’s it going dudes?” I said, feeling completely ridiculous.

I’m guessing I sounded as ridiculous as I thought only because they smiled and directed me to the back of the house when I had asked where the “doorman” was for the cover charge.  I’m sure all of that was completely ridiculous sounding, but I didn’t care.  At this point I was feeling so insanely stupid, that I was amused at my own discomfort and starting to enjoy myself.  It sounds crazy, but that’s kind of how I am.
     I went into the back yard, which was fenced in (accept for the areas where the fence was destroyed and tipped over).  There wasn’t a light back there but there were packs of dudes smoking in darkness, and the ground was kind of muddy and probably covered in dog shit, but who could tell with no light?  I made my way passed these dudes trying to look casual and avoiding any eye contact.  It’s a weird feeling when you just make your way into someone’s house like this.  Luckily as soon as I opened the door I had recognized another member of the band, a great kid who I had known from back home as well.  We were super excited to see each other after all these years.  All of the anxiety of being at this place was thrown out the window at that instant.  I was going to lighten up, and ride this time warp.
    The bands played in the basement of this old house.  You went down a few concrete steps into this dingy basement, dark, loaded with people, and stinking of B.O.  I was able to see three bands play to a full blown mosh pit in the basement of this old house.  It’s funny how when I was young, none of what I just mentioned sounded weird to me, yet now it seems totally insane while I watch and cringe at kids applauding bands by pounding loudly on the heating ducts. What I had forgotten was how cool everyone was.  Not cool like Fozi,  but more as in “nice”.  No fighting, no trouble really, just people having a great time.

This basement was pretty packed and stinky.  I was difficult to take pictures because there would only be a light on when the bands were not playing.  

    This night was truly the closest to stepping into a time machine as I will probably ever come.  It was a fun thing to see again, and to be honest, if they come to town again, I’ll probably go (mainly to some old friends).   The best part was that once it ended, I got to return home to my regular life.  I’m not sure if this is a post anyone will find at all interesting, or if I just wrote it to archive this experience, but that was my Friday night.  Now its time to take down the Christmas lights.