High-School

Story Behind The Setlist: Dashboard Confessional and Thrice @ Honda Civic Tour 2004 – San Jose, CA

There are three things I remember about the Dashboard Confessional, Thrice and The Get Up Kids concert in San Jose, California in 2004:

  • Chris Carrabba stopped the show mid-song and threatened to beat up my friend
  • We missed The Get Up Kids, the band I most wanted to see, due to a speeding ticket
  • A motel bathtub full of alcohol

All other details have been filled in by friend’s memories. It’s good to have friend’s memories corroborate an event like this, because, really, it makes for a very strange story.

Where do we start?

Highway 101 north of San Luis Obispo.

I sat in the back seat of a smelly car full of high school graduates. We were 18 year olds, idyllic in our fresh angst, speeding with the radio loud, bags of Doritos strewn, gas station fountain drinks in hand — all those cliche snacks from youth I’m still waiting to outgrow — we had what seemed a never ending supply.

Socially, I was a man of many cliques. Never a big partier, a little alcohol at a friend’s house, say, but never could I stomach drunkenness or drugs. What I was was morally malleable. This meant I could make a go at any social gathering with decent success. This particular 2004 outing was unique, socially speaking, for merging three disparate friend groups. I had my party friends, my church friends, and my actual friends. I remember sitting in that backseat with the sobering and unmasking feeling that comes with your friends meeting your other very different friends.

Punk, partier, and Christian — on our way in a caravan to San Jose. Ahead of us lay three rooms in a louche motel with alcohol, cigarettes and concert tickets to the 2004 Honda Civic Tour. (more…)

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Final Semester Eve: A Terrified Toast to the Known Unknown

I remember finishing high school PE. That final time ever, you know? A 10th grader at Arroyo Grande High School, CA—sitting on a bench in a quiet locker room, closing my locker for the last time, holding my gross (unwashed) blue and gold garments in a bunch, thinking, Wow, this is the last time I’ll ever change back into my regular clothes after a PE course in high school.

Sentimental, I know.

But it was a big deal to me, back then. To be honest, I don’t even know why. I hated PE.

It was gross and awful.

In high school, once you learn the guitar, exercising becomes pointless.

Anyway, there I was. Just sitting there. Staring at my clothes. “Momentous,” I mouthed.

I did the same thing when the last episode of LOST arrived. Before the episode even aired, I became melancholic. Like, “Wow, this is the last time I’ll ever be disappointed by LOST.”

You get the idea.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I start my final undergraduate semester at the University of Rochester. It should be one of those momentous moments, you know. But I don’t think it will be.

Something’s different.

Maybe I’m just getting older and wiser. Or colder. I’m still terrified, certainly. Terrified about everything that’s coming. But ephemeral moments of sadness about things coming to an end. I don’t know. Just not my thing anymore.

Finishing college, for instance, it won’t grab me like other finishing moments have. That’s my prediction, at least. School, to me, is and has been nothing more than an incredible inconvenience. I’ve appreciated the experience, sure, but it’s time to move on. I’m 28, I’m working already, I’m proving myself to the (real) world every single day. (more…)

Confessions of a Former Dashboard Confessional Fan

Many pop/rock bands from my youth are reemerging. Weezer, Brand New, Blink 182, mewithoutYou and Jimmy Eat World have all embarked on album reunion tours (Jimmy Eat World just announced one for FUTURES, which is pretty great). For me, this year marks the tenth anniversary of something even more nostalgic and silly, that is, my high school graduation.

I think about where I was ten years ago and who I was listening to. Oddly enough, it is a lot of the same music I listen to today. Adding to the list up top we have Death Cab for Cutie, Beck, Denison Witmer, Lovedrug, Ben Folds…

I’m okay with still liking all these bands. Their music is sustaining, and I’m proud to say that they helped shape my younger ears.

But there’s other bands from my past, that when they pop up, I’m not so okay with. What I’m getting at is that sometimes certain music reminds me how creepy I was in high school.

The Bands You Have Come to Fear the Most

Remember Dashboard Confessional? That emo acoustic-rock band lead by Chris Carrabba out of Further Seems Forever? I’m asking but, really, I know you do. Odds are if you are around my age and listened to indie/emo you probably owned two or three of his EPs; the MTV Unplugged DVD/CD combo; you wore the D/C pins on your denim jacket; and you shouted his lyrics like hell, in angst, when relationships broke (and really, even when you were happy).

Yeah. That Dashboard Confessional.

What was it about this band that was so gripping? I mean sure, he sang about falling in love and break-ups and getting cheated on, which captured the essence of dating in high-school, but there was something else. Something that just connected.

Maybe it was the time. One of those rare things, you know? A perfect storm, fueled by emotion-hungry MTV rebels who were looking for a genuineness than rock radio couldn’t provide. And Chris Carrabba sang from the heart. He was always truthful on stage, and I think that’s what we loved. He was the genuine, earnest article. He was the folk-voice of my high school generation, and, to be honest, it’s totally embarrassing.

But before I get ahead of myself, here’s a quick recap for those who honestly don’t know about Dashboard Confessional.

Kevin’s Dashboard 3 Point Recap

1. Cheated on by his wife, he poured his heart out on some angsty acoutsic EPs

2. Those EPs made him super popular. Then he made more of the same

3. He eventually pulled a ’65 Dylan and went electric, earning a couple big MTV hits.

I was a REALLY big fan of Dashboard. The extent of my obsession was a bit much. You can tell I was a big fan because I drop the band’s last name when I refer to them. We were that close. Like Chris, I now need to confess. I need to brush embarrassing memories off my chest, so I can finally move forward, like an adult.

(To the tune of Buzzfeed)

Vindicated?

1. I had a questionably handsome poster on my bedroom wall of Chris on the cover of SPIN

$_35

2. I used my friend’s dad’s eBay account to consistently bid on Dashboard merch. mlRflFAMpCcNczhbPF_fKhg (more…)

27

I turned 27 today. Every so often I like to change my age—keep it fresh. I’m a creature of habit that way. What can you say about getting older? Nothing really. Sometimes life is swell, and you want time to stand still to be able to appreciate it. But then the moment passes and we’re on to life’s frustrations and complications and standing arounds.

I had to work on my birthday. That’s the worst. 6am to 1:30pm. It was okay though, better early than late. Right now, my wife is making me a vegetarian eggs benedict (veggie benny: my favorite) for dinner, and I’m comfortable in the new clothes I’ve purchased for myself. Later, we’re going to a local brewery and grabbing a drink and desert. And after that…. if I’m really lucky, I’ll— what? I was going to say watch Skyfall on Netflix.

I’m trying to find something witty to end this little soliloquy with. Life just keeps moving forward, don’t it? I’m 27. Good lord, wasn’t I just learning how to drive and smashing my red ’96 Chevy Blazer into a stranger’s car in my high-school parking lot?  (more…)

The Conundrum of Location Shenanigans (or, A Decade Under the Influence)

The Good News for me: I got a job! The Bad News for leisure: I got a job…

Good news indeed! Yes, very much so—especially when considering my recent exploits of turning down Mr. Ponytail without another viable option. The pay is decent enough, I get to learn something new, and the establishment is conveniently close to my living quarters. It’s a store, but I wont mention the name since my employment is still technically in process. The process, you see, has become a bit of a conundrum.

The wonderful people at my (supposed) new job require a full-background check upon employment. This is fine as I have nothing to hide (my secret-agent/ninja experience was wiped clean from official transcripts). The bummer part? They want ten years of addresses.

Ten years?

I don’t know even know where I live now! Is it Rochester?

My first thought was this: Okay. I can do this. Just track back, right? Rochester, Idaho, California, Idaho… That takes care of this year… Oh Lord. I can’t do this!

I’ve definitely moved around more than the average bear; unless, of course, we’re talking carnival bears. But nevertheless, it’s been a wild ride since high-school ended. My lovely wife pointed out that, stability speaking, I’m in probably the worst ten years of my life: the first ten-years after high-school.

NOTE TO SELF: Next year is my ten-year graduation reunion. Don’t go.

My Ninja Plan of Attack

I have two weeks to complete this background thingamajoo. ASAP would be best. So here’s my plan: Calling on all friends, relatives, and enemies, if you’ve seen me, at all, in the last ten years—any where—let me know where that place* was. *Please include the zip-code. Thank you.

“Kevin, that is not a good plan—at all.”

First of all, who named you Mr. Plandsome? Secondly, yes, I know. It’s a terrible plan. So, three cheers for a new plan! I’ve ordered a credit report, hoping my many addresses will be on it. I’m also open to other suggestions*.

*I accept credit for all good ideas.

Until then, I must keep racking my brain: where the hell have I been these last ten years?

Wish me luck as I go forward.

Thanks for your support, kind readers. You’re the best. Here’s a salute to my (and possibly your) decade under the influence: