There is a band that has changed my life. And I know you are probably thinking “Oh no! Not another one of these psycho fans who can’t shut the heck up!” Ha ha! But I felt the need to write about them.
I had written to them when I was fifteen before anyone honestly knew who they were. I wish I saved a copy of the letter but it is literally in the hands of the band in exchange for their autographs. The autographs still hang upon my wall as if they just came in the mail yesterday. I missed meeting them because I was already at Coachella. My mother called and informed me of a box from “some kind of band hunny” coming in the mail. I was thinking to myself, it was probably just some merchandise I purchased online but I am in for quite the surprise. Anyways, they took the time to respond to a girl from bumf**k NY and be one of my inspirations for the rest of my life. Their words influenced my writing at times, my attitude, my outlook on life. Their music influenced my taste at the time, leading to animal collective, eventually Sparta, Mars Volta, Fugazi, Minutemen, etc.. They made me want to find out what influenced their sound and also what they would influence in bands to come.
The first time I heard them it was like hearing my own thoughts on paper. The spastic, irrational, sometimes unintelligible lyrics infused into my brain until there was nothing but emotion. Pure emotions. Sadness, anger, fear, and bliss. Everything made sense at the time especially. I was a teenager, going through a lot at the time, on an emotional roller-coaster like most teens with hormonal imbalances. Ha ha! I was bullied a lot in school. Quite the skinny, athletic, band, gamer geek. I didn’t really fit in with anyone but at the same time I was too busy to care. I was not alone in this though. Even though at the drive-in was across the country, older than me, I still felt like they knew what it was like to be an outsider. Perhaps, they felt like outsiders in the music industry I suppose. Probably socially at times as well for being a quite eccentric. .
Their beliefs. The way they stood up for the workers disappearing in Mexico in one of their videos was beyond admirable. Repeating the words “on my way nails broke and fell into the wishing well” in one of their songs. The words were not always grammatically flattering but they carried a heaviness that was real. They showed the audience fragments of lives that were once lived through objects like sneakers, clothes, and whatever remnants were left after a struggle. The heaviness was relate able as well to the audience. Even if someone had an ideal life, some of the songs, could bring you to tears emotionally. And it wasn’t just me, I knew in time they would become something special to other people. Other people would feel and see what I had seen in them a long time ago.
The way they lived and their friendships, inspired me to live as I wanted and disregard those nagging social norms which usually leave people isolated and angry in the end. They helped me understand it was okay to feel anger or fear or sadness or bliss all at once or in a sequence. It was life. Everyone feels one way and different the next. There is no need to pop a pill for it, jump off a cliff, or drink a glass of wine out of the guilt of being human. They taught me to try to maintain who I am and be strong even if it feels the world does not like who you are. They showed me society will judge you no matter what you are feeling, so all that truly matter is to be true to the moment, embrace what is real and embrace your own strengths. And if listening to your favorite band reminds you of that; then listen until your ears bleed. Someday there could be nothing but a kind of boring sequence of silenced ideas in mainstream music even more than there already is. A limitation of artistic expression because of the greed in the music industry., but there will always be certain bands with a distinct sound. Thank you At the Drive-In for showing me I am not alone in how I feel and taking the time to acknowledge someone that wasn’t famous, wasn’t rich, and just loved your music. I still listen to you weekly and still enjoy it as much as I did when I was a teenager.