Thursday, March 01, 2007

Three Years Later

I've told bits of this story before, but I thought I'd lay the whole story out today.

On March 1st, 2004, I woke up to the sound of roofers working on my building. I knew all of the buildings in my apartment complex would be worked on because of a notice posted a few weeks prior. They were finally working on my building and were working at a brisk pace that morning.

Being the first day of the month, I had to turn in my rent check. I planned to stop by the leasing office before I went to my afternoon gig at KLUV. As I'm walking down the steps, I see pile after pile of torn up shingles and old nails. New piles were falling fast and all over the place. I decided I should walk slowly and watch my steps.

When I reached a point where I thought all was clear, BAM! A small pile of shingles hit me on the right side of my head and bounced off my right hand. The hit didn't feel like a punch, but it felt like a hard slap. I dropped my keys and looked up to see if any of the roofers noticed me. I saw about five guys just staring at me, not saying a word. It was as if I was the Elephant Man revealed in From Hell. I dusted myself off and went into the leasing office.

Handing my check over, my friendly landlord Tom asked how I was doing. Because I needed to get going to work and didn't want to be held up by a long conversation about the shingles, I said all was well. I wasn't looking at my watch and walked on over to my car. I didn't notice the small cut on my head either.

To get to work from where I lived at the time, the Dallas North Tollway was the best route. It was a cloudy day and my head was quite foggy because of the hit. I don't know about you, but whenever I'm sick or healing from something, I look forward to when things are back to normal. For some reason, I started thinking about how people were negatively responding to Andy Greenwald's Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers and Emo. I had yet to read the book, but a number of people on the Blackball Records message board and a few Amazon user reviews exposed it for what it really is. The book is not for the people that saw the Promise Ring play in a basement in '95 or bought a Christie Front Drive 7" from the band after the show.

As I approached my exit, I thought about when the story of mid-Nineties post-hardcore/emo was going to get back to normal. Slowing down to go through the Wycliff toll plaza, I thought, "Why don't I write a book about this in the vein of Our Band Could Be Your Life?" It sounded like a great idea and I knew a few people to interview for it.

I pulled into the parking garage and realized that I was thirty minutes early. Getting into the office, I went straight into the newsroom and sent a quick e-mail off to Nick. I told him I had a crazy idea for a book and wanted his feedback. His response: "you're not crazy and I'll help you put it out." Mission Label was kicking into gear and this would be a great project.

With that encouragement, I sent off a few e-mails. I e-mailed Adam Pfahler from Jawbreaker, who I'd never talked to before, and he said he was up for it. Had Adam said no, I'm not so sure I would have gone so fast with it. By the end of the afternoon, I had a few Jawbreaker questions answered and had sent an e-mail to Kim Coletta from DeSoto Records. The next three years would be something like that almost every day/week.

After numerous e-mail interviews, phone interviews and in-person interviews, I lost count of how many people I've talked to specifically for this project. I think the number is between fifty or sixty now. I never thought I would interview so many people, especially the ones I have looked up to for years. Not to make light of them, but I found how human these extraordinary people are. Be it a band member, label owner or a writer, they all eat, sleep and have feelings just like everybody else. That definitely translated onto the page with telling this story.

So where am I at three years later? Awaiting word on my manuscript, whether it needs a lot more work or not. Stay tuned!

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