When I was around 20, I left my smallish eastern Kentucky university and came back to Louisville. I hadn’t liked my high school, and upon my return did not try to reconnect with my classmates. I bummed around my city for a summer, did a lot of silkscreening and reread my old text books before acquiescing to my mom’s urging to join a sorority. My enrollment didn’t last, but I think I did manage to keep my sorority’s Rush pictures out of the university’s newspaper with my Resting Bitch Face.
Anyway, I found a guy in my Creative Writing class who had a band and I jumped in on the action. I don’t play any instruments, sing, read music or subscribe to The Wire but they took me anyway. They played long, meandering versions of folk songs I assumed they wrote, and I gathered the cheapest possible means to make noise.
I got a little better, my hands worked together most days and I learned the words to the songs. We went on tour and our first stop was in Boston where we played for MIT’s radio station. There wasn’t enough room in the van for my stuff and a stand-up bass so I rolled out of the van with my musical partner, Alan the Mighty and Wise (honorific bestowed by myself) and ventured into Boston looking for anything that sounded good to bang on, yell through or throw at people. We found a construction site and slipped through the fence, jumping in a dumpster filled with tubing. It wasn’t noon yet, but a band mate had donated some imbibables to the cause and I thought it all sounded good, so we dragged many feet of wide tubes back across town and into the recording room. We set up our tubes, arranging them for accessibility and resonance, lifting them up off the floor with our feet and pieces of wood, measuring the volume from across the room. The students outside, good engineering students with scholarships and respectable skill sets looked annoyed, but they could have done no better.
I’ve never heard what came of it, or all the good noise we made.