Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers—the ‘Breaking Bad’ of Live Music

Formal Opening: This esteemed, academic discussion will argue that The Avett Brothers are to live music as Breaking Bad is to television drama: elevating the craft and challenging the accepted paradigm through optimal songwriting and storytelling, employing a diverse range of genres, effectively executing dynamically positioned theatricality.

Relaxed Opening: I saw The Avett Brothers for the first time last night, and they were freakin’ awesome!

And It Spread

The Avett Brothers made a stop here in Rochester to promote their new album, Magpie and the Dandelion; however, brothers and co. primarily performed older material from Emotionalism and I and Love and You. (more…)

That One Time the Roof Caved in on Me

Memories from my past bubble to the surface every now and then. At times, they feel larger than life—tall-tale even, like in Big Fish. Since taking Psychology 101 last year, some memories have become suspect.

There’s this one memory I have; the one where the ceiling caves in on me. Until recently, I wasn’t sure it was real. I asked my older brother about it. In the memory, he’s the one who carries me to safety.

Quickly, here’s the memory: 

It’s an old white house in Paso Robles, California. Two stories, maybe, just one. I’m eight years old or so and scared to death of the Daddy Long Leg spiders that inhabit every corner of every room in the house. Everything is dirty and dusty. I hate it here.

“Kevin,” he yells. I wake up. The air is thick with dust and drywall; broken wood is everywhere. In fact, my bed is covered with it. I look over to my brother, standing beside the bed. He’s laughing. “You slept through it,” he says and laughs again.

Everything is confusing; I’m paralyzed with fear and can’t move. The next thing I know, my brother is carrying me out of our room and into the kitchen where everybody is listening to music and eating popsicles.

Party

My early years were quite… different than most. After the parents split up, my dad moved us around a lot. Life got weird. Shady, actually, is a better term.

We were those obnoxious, trashy neighbors. The ones with the loud, late night parties, or fights that ended with clothes on the lawn and the cops being called. That was us.

Sorry neighbors.

“They were partying in the next room,” my brother said. Last year, we reminisced about our childhood and I asked him about this event. “We came out of the room,” he continued, “covered from head to toe in drywall dust. No one knew it happened. I think it was the music that caused the ceiling to fall. The bass.”

“And I slept through it?”

“Yeah,” he laughed, “you slept right through it. I thought you were dead.”

Guardian Angles 

It seems a little self-absorbed to claim this event as a miracle of God. Honestly, I’m really not that important. It could’ve just been dumb luck.

Still though, I think back to the broken wood in and around my bed—some pieces large and quite dangerous. All I know is that the ceiling caved in, one ugly night in Paso Robles, California, and two young boys were spared.

In times like these, I’m reminded that I need to live my life in a worthy way. Not because I survived my childhood or because a ceiling caved in on me, but because I was born at all.

Life is an opportunity and everyday among it a unique gift. Don’t wait for tomorrow or you may just get crushed to death by your own ceiling.

“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.”

What are your thoughts? Do you have any good memories from your childhood you suspect are false? What is your response to living life as a gift? 

Consumer Zombies on Record Store Day

picstitchRecord Store Day. I participated this last weekend—April 20th, 2013; it was great. My fourth year partaking, this “holiday” has become quite the tradition for me.

I walked away with an Avett Brothers/Randy Travis single, and just barely got my hands on a Bowie 7-inch; that sounds dirty.

What’s that? You don’t know what Record Store Day is? (loser). Let me explain.

It’s a one-day celebration of local record stores. Artists release exclusive, limited vinyls and CDs that can only be sold at mom and pop-local shops. SUCK IT iTunes.

Kids like me eat this stuff up.

We get there early. We line around the block and talk to each other about music. We rush inside and spend way more money than we ever normally would. Our wives make fun of us…

You get the gist.

Record Sales

I didn’t get everything I wanted. In fact, I barely got anything I wanted. This year was insane. Since I’m in San Luis Obispo this year, I lined up at the famous Boo Boo Records. The last few years were in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; people there are just getting around to iPods so you couldn’t expect much from their shops.

Simply, RSD isn’t as big of a deal in Idaho. A few collectors maybe show up. Not many.

Down here, people care about this stuff. Boo Boos gets almost one of every release. That’s unheard of!

My wife dropped me off early so I could get a good spot in line. She left for a Breakfast Buzz Burrito, and I squatted. RSD is kind of more, my thing. Shortly after, the line inflated. People wrapped down the block and curved beyond my line of sight. Luckily, all behind me.

Good timing, I thought. That White Stripes LP rerelease is mine!

Record Hells

Oh what’s that? They’re letting everyone in at the same time? RUN!!!!!

Don’t worry, I thought, maybe they’ll spread the records throughout the store to keep people from swarming in one small area. This should be easy, in and out. 

Nope. Definitely not easy. Almost died.

There was one little bin of records for three hundred little hands. Standing in line was absolutely pointless. I could’ve arrived last and elbowed my way to the front. Before I knew it, I was completely surrounded in hipster hell.

photoHands, elbows, knees, eye-glasses, beards. People yelling. “Give me one of those, bro.” “HAND ME, ME, DUDE.” I looked  behind me to see my wife, white eyed, backing away slowly. I hope to see her again, I thought.

People pushed and pushed. The crowd became bigger and more intense. Worst yet, there was nothing in my hands. White Stripes was gone, duh. The LPs, the good ones, they go fast. What did I want? What was my back up? 

Get your hands in there, I thought. So I pushed back and reached in. The singles, I thought. Go for the singles. I pulled out two that were on my list. The crowd was getting worse. The pressure grew higher. The air tighter. The people. Pushing. Screaming. Fingers reaching. Are these people going to eat me? 

I have got to get out of here!

Good thing too, because I couldn’t. Boo Boo Records has one of the largest shops I’ve ever seen; yet, they placed all their exclusive albums in one small bin near a corner in the back. Thanks guys. There was no way out.

If I knew I was going to be trapped, I would’ve brought a snack. Also, a good thing, these people all were magically sweaty in a matter of minutes.  

The Walking Sales

Needless to say, I lived. Boo Boos could’ve planned the day a little better, but they did give donuts out to those who waiting in line. All is forgiven.

This day made me think a lot about consumerism. I remember being in the middle of that giant crowd and thinking, I don’t really need any of this. It’s not really fun when it gets cut-throat.

Am I just getting older and growing out of the whole “consumerism” thing?

Maybe I’m just a poor sport and need to bring snacks next year. And spike studded shoulder pads. roadwarriors_zps7fc9c0c4

Did anyone else partake in Record Store Day? I’d love to hear some other stories of crazed consumerism.