When I first moved to Chicago, I took myself to Taste of Chicago. While I was there, trying foods alone and trying not to feel all creepy weird on my own in a big city, I bumped into this tiny group giving a free taste of music. It was weird punk-rock on an acoustic guitar, playing a song called “I Took You Driving.” I was caught by the hard lyrics and jamming, even though the guitarist fumbled a couple chords. Taking my last $20 (literally), I bought the album which I have to this day.
The band was Sarge, it was their very first year of existence, and the album was “The Glass Intact.”
I still have, and listen, to that album now and then. I think of it often when I try to define the me I was when I moved to Chicago, and I like to touch back to it and grove to the me I am today. The musical choices that surround the late 1990s were really indivative of me coming to terms with a lot of internal crap. I mean, here, let me list some bands I hooked into:
- Meredith Brooks
- Sixpence None The Richer
- Alanis Morrisette
- Lisa Loeb
- Natalie Imbruglia
- Sheryl Crow
I was in a world where the Internet was very much NOT what it was today, so I listened to WTMX and, since I had a pretty weirdly open kind of job, was able to skip work randomly and catch all sorts of flash mobby music. I met Meredith Brooks (no, Dad, I was not embarrassed to have had a crush on a woman twice my age, I was too shy to ask out the hot chick who had TOTALLY been hitting on me that whole concert and wrote her number on my hand). I met Sheryl Crow (she hugs). Both were really excited about how I spell my name.
I gate crashed concerts in the park because, dude, park. And I spent a lot of time figuring myself out.
So now, I can listen back on that music in a comfortable nostalgic kind of way. And I can look at myself and smile, seeing how much I’ve changed in good ways, how much more I accept about myself, and maybe, maybe, I cringe a little at having been a stupid 20 year old.
But hey. Weren’t we all?