Saturday, April 17, 2010

The All Ages Show

I’ve had this project in my mind for many years. It’s been this nagging sensation burning right where my spine meets my skull. I’ve always talked about it, but never could force myself to actually do it. I always made up excuses about life getting in the way, being busy, the normal crap that we all say because we’re too lazy and enslaved to our televisions to get creative and do what we were meant to.

This is a memories project. Not just a project to remember, but a project to fill in gaps and build memories I never had. Mike Story was ripped from my… our lives too early. I guess you can say that about anyone that passes away, but for Mike, it’s sincere, not just something nice to say.

Its over ten years since he passed away riding his motorcycle along what I always imagined was a beautiful Californian mountain pass. Still after ten years, stories about Mike keep popping up from every obscure corner of the internet. I know because I scour it for keywords like New Speedway Kings and Mike Story all the time. It’s something I know my brothers do also. I think, in a way, we all feel the same, like we were ripped off. Something is incomplete. There are years and stories that never took place that were supposed to.

Mike made such an impression on people that websites like StlPunk had fan pages created for the New Speedway Kings. Or people recognize the last name and shoot an email asking if I knew Mike. It’s like we all collectively never got over it. We never had any sort of closure because deep down we knew it wasn’t supposed to close. Even now, I’m listening to his unfinished demo that was recorded in St. Louis, and I hear the potential, the growth from The All Ages Show. Things were just getting started.

Mike was supposed to teach us more about punk, music, and living life to the fullest. One of my only memories is that of Thanksgiving one year where he brought an acoustic guitar with him. I was maybe six or seven and could barely reach my short arm around the body of the guitar. Mike handed me a pick and told me to strum as three of his fingers danced on the neck. I was playing a power chord, or at least half of a power chord. My only exposure to “punk” at the time was a Violent Femmes album my dad had laying around and a Green Day “Dookie” cassette I blew my allowance on. This guitar was the missing puzzle piece. I loved singing along to the songs, but I didn’t know what else there was. He laid the basis for our education and then was gone before the mid-term. How unfair is that?

So this project is a selfish way for me to live vicariously through other people’s memories and try to piece together some sort of semblance of this idol I barely got to meet, but who made enough of an impact to get tattooed on my arm.