Thursday, September 24, 2009

Michael Story

He half turned to get a decent view of the backseat of the family car, intimidating the hell out of the three of us in the back. To us, this was staring into the burning bush, but instead of giving us commandments he smiled and said, "So what bands do you listen to?"

I looked to both my brother's awestruck, not moving faces and tried to asset myself as the coolest.

"Green Day, The Offspring, Bush." The first three bands I could spout off that were tearing up the mid-90s radio. I sat in anticipation. Did I win god's favor or was I about to be struck down by this guy that was living the underground scene.

"We played a few shows with Green Day in California before they blew up. They've got some good songs."

I exhaled. I had passed the test.

We were escorted out of the car into a small brick building off of Delmar. Wandered the buildings hallways seeing records of bands I'd never heard of hanging on the wall. Then we entered where the magic happened. An expensive electronic time capsule plugged into dozens of microphones.

A man with pink hair introduced himself as Patrick and quickly handed over the drum sticks. None of us budged except for little Brett. He didn't know any better. He didn't know that he was asked to fill the incredibly large shoes of the rhythm section.

I wanted to stop him. I felt like a slow motion movie scene where I scream "No!" as the helpless victim falls stories to their death. Then he started beating the drums with the carefree energy of a five year old. I couldn't dare touch those sticks even when Patrick came back in the room and offered them up again. Leaving them on a surface as if they were mere pieces of wood. Saying "Now its just your dad in here. You have nothing to be embarrassed about."

The camera pans to our tattooed idol tuning his guitar. He makes a quip about why Patrick likes to play drums and flashes that smile that makes you believe everything is going to be alright.

Anthony, the Asian bassist gets the camera's attention with is Bruce Lee shirt. The scene cuts as more friends pour into the studio.

We're in the production room getting the basic rundown of tape decks, volume and treble knobs. We understood, but we couldn't acknowledge. All we could do was stare at the Windows 95 screen saver.

He moves into the booth and straps his guitar around his neck. Like a thousand space ships pushing full thrust into the sun he bursts into criminal. On queue, a reflection in the window confirms what I remembered, Danny B buts his hands over my ears and says I shouldn't hear this as Mike screams "f*ck" in the first verse.

I remembered this day. I was only twelve, but I remember every single detail. For thirteen years I couldn't remember if it was dream it or if it were real and then a DVD came in the mail confirming everything I thought.

I watch another hour and a half of performances as he breaks the skin on his knuckles in the same rocking position that just sort of came naturally to him. It was as if I could remember every show. Every beer soaked table. It was comforting.

Thanks for the DVD