These were some songs I listened to when I was driving back from dinner with a friend a few weeks ago. All good memories.
Before I went to Lake Forest College, I attended the Lake Forest College Writing and Thinking Workshop the summer before my senior year of high school. One of the counselors was Tiffany Martinez, a down to earth woman who treated us like equals instead of idiot teenagers, and was free to talk about anything and everything. I was too shy to say so, but I wanted to be her buddy.
Fast forward a few years and I’m a counselor at the LFC WTW, alongside Tiffany (and Erin…umbrella, ella, ella, ay, ay, ay). One evening I was with Tiffany and another counselor picking up some supplies in one of the LFC mini-vans. I was sitting in the back seat and Tiffany put on Down to Zero by Joan Armitrading. She wanted the other counselor to hear it – they both started singing along. I sat in my seat and watched and listened. “Down to the ground, down to the ground.”
The rest of that summer I painted a lot in my art room in the basement at my mom’s house. I often had Down to Zero playing, on repeat. “Down to the ground, down to the ground.”
I can’t remember how I came across Secret Machines, but I loved them from right away. I saw them in concert 2-3 times in Chicago. Unfortunately they’ve somewhat disbanded. One of the members died from cancer in 2013 – he was only 35. Since then not much has happened with the band.
My senior year of high school I admittedly didn’t have many friends. I didn’t always want to go out with the group I was hanging out with, and I also knew I was going to a college where no one from my high school was going – so I wasn’t concerned about keeping ties.
When my grandparents went out of town for the winter they left one of their cars in DeKalb, so I helped myself to my grandpa’s convertible while they were away. It was a speedy Audi and I had fun driving it. I’d pop a CD in the player and then drive around for a while. In retrospect this was probably dangerous. I was a 17 year old driving a car with a large engine on country roads at dusk. Not the smartest thing, but no accidents were had.
One of the albums I’d listen to was Now Here is Nowhere. Last Believer, Drop Dead is from a later album, but hearing Secret Machines reminds me of my drives. I love this song’s lyrics:
And look a little bit further down
Who’s that man there wearing that thorny crown?
Now look a little bit further now
I wonder what he’ll do
When the last believer has dropped dead
Most people probably don’t know that I performed in a drag show. My close friend participated each year in a drag show our college hosted – he makes a great Celine Dion. Our junior year he convinced me to perform Total Eclipse of the Heart with him. He was Bonnie Tyler and I was the love interest in the music video. I rocked a mullet and leather jacket like nobody’s business.
I also performed I’m On A Boat with a fellow Lake Forester, Emily. She dressed up as a general Lonely Island member and I was T-Pain. So this song for me is my junior year at LFC, performing on a stage, dressed as a man, being ridiculous.
It also has been played at many of our friend’s weddings, in which we all scream/sing along and likely disturb all of the other wedding guests.
My major man crush after Taylor Hanson…Brandon Boyd. I mean, come on. What a stud. Incubus is another band I loved right away – I discovered Make Yourself first, but quickly purchased Fungus Amongus and SCIENCE. Then patiently waited for Morning View, A Crow Left of the Murder…, Light Grenades, If Not Now, When? and now waiting for the next album. Meanwhile I’ve listened to Sons of the Sea, but I admit it isn’t the same for me as Incubus.
Either as a soloist or with Incubus, Brandon Boyd is an amazing lyricist:
You float into the room, a ruffled feather
A hint of your perfume is a comely tether
Give back my heart you stole
Chased down the rabbit hole
It’s undebatable…we come together.
Imagine your brain as a
Canister filled with ink
Yeah, now think of your body
As the pen where the ink resides
Light like a feather,
Bright like a dying star
Cut those together,
Girl that is what you are
Wild eyes forever,
Built to punish and persuade
I lied to get her
But all I got was a switchblade
Some people fall in love and touch the sky
Some people fall in love and find quicksand
I hover somewhere in between I swear
I can’t make up my mind
I hear you on the radio
You permeate my screen, its’ unkind but
If I met you in a scissor fight
I’d cut off both your wings on principle alone
Are You In? is from Morning View which came out in 2001, and when I hear this album it takes me back to 8th grade and high school. Reminds me of the Incubus concerts I attended throughout high school and how excited I was to purchase White Fluffy Clouds. With social media, especially Instagram, I’ve learned more about Boyd and I don’t know that if we met we’d be pals…he and his girlfriend may be a little too flower child, granola for me. But I’ll always buy an Incubus album – because it’s so much better when everyone is in, are you in? (Ya see what I did there?)