2004-07-07, 7:10 p.m.
I found out last Friday that the lead-singer/front-person/main-songwriter-for/founder-of my favorite band, Self, would be performing with another band on Saturday in a town less than a 45-minute drive from me. So, after I quelled my muffled squee-ing noises, I cancelled all my Saturday night plans and went. I ended up going alone -- two friends were invited if they could be in my car departing no later than 8:30 p.m. ("Tail-lights at 8:30!" I said) because I couldn't get any reliable information about the start time so I decided I had to work with the assumption that it was possible they may really start near the published start time of 9:00 p.m. and I think nobody else wanted to head all the way out there that early and, really, who can blame 'em, but I didn't want to chance missing it. So I was there like 2 hours too early (despite my stupid system for finding the venue which was: hop on the interstate with my Red Bull Sugarfree and assume I can remember how to feel my way to the town square and then just loop around the square till I spy the club -- which is in hindsight not the best modus operandi) - and I saw him standing at the bar and actually had some kind of starstruck anxiety thing and couldn't go up to him for a minute. Now, I'm actually acquainted with him so it's not like I was having stranger-shyness, and it's not like he's entirely unapproachable or anything, so I've been thinking about what my problem might have been and I think I was afraid I might have started saying something like oh-my-god-do-you-realize-your-band-is-my-favorite-band-seriously-hands-down-of-all-time-yes-and-has-been-since-the-mid-ninetees-and-still-is-and-i-can't-even-begin-to-tell-you... well, you can see how I may have wanted to put that all in check a little. I ended up buying him a Red Stripe and having a nice short chat with him where I said nothing of import. What are these "things of import" I might have said, you ask? Something like "Your band saved my life," you may wonder? Well, I've always thought that fan-to-artist declaration was a bit melodramatic sounding. Here's what I suspect fans who say that sort of thing really mean, at least it's what I would mean... in fact, consider this sort of an Open Letter to Matt Mahaffey & the guys in Self:
Sometimes when I am feeling very very low - y'know like everything is shit and that I'll never ever be happy or take any joy in anything again ever - your material is some of the only stuff that can coax me out of it, or, at least remind me that I *do* like something. In particular, I remember one holiday season where I sooo didn't want to go anywhere, not to visit family for the traditional gathering, or friends even, and all I wanted to do was mope about all on my own -- the only way I could talk myself into getting into the car and going was to remember: "I can listen to my Self CD's on the way." Also, I'm amazed that I pretty much adore almost everything you do and when I decided about 2 years ago to make myself a "Best of Self" mix CD for myself, I never did because I was having an extremely hard time narrowing down the four CD's I have into one, and then I found whole albums full of MP3's on your fansite and now you have your new B-sides streaming on your site, and now I can't even make a "Best Of" even if I allow myself 2 CD's for a double album. So when I introduce new people to Self, I'll just have to be Pyscho-DJ and have all my CD's scattered around me on the floor as I sit in front of the stereo and switch them out and excitedly explain how this-is-my-favorite-bit-from-this-album-which-they-made-entirely-with-toy-instruments-and-you-can't-even-tell-unless-they-want-you-to-like-here-in-this-other-song-listen-to-this-they-sample-a-See-And-Say-can-you-believe-it-they-are-brilliant. I can get pretty fervent. Hey, at least it's them and not you who has to listen to me. I love your walls of sound, your melodies, and especially your lyrics . So, anyway, thanks Matthew. Thanks, Self. Keep on rockin' in the free world, okay?