Summer of 93'
It all started at an 8th grade lock-in. A kind of sleepover at Doe Creek middle school, New Palestine IN, with my entire class of 8th-graders. There I stood on the stage of our multi-purpose room, a short, skinny, insecure, class-clown holding a metallic-blue guitar. The curtains opened. The large room ahead of me was dark except for the red exit sign lights that barely illuminated the crowd in front of me. I turned and gave a cue to my friend, Joe Smith (that’s his real name, not a lazy invention) to be ready with the lights. It was just me, my guitar, and my incredibly talented drummer, Jim Slone, who was actually a drum teacher at age 13.
I started hammering out the D chords that open Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69’ and sang the first verse, still in the dark. Then, in a millisecond, Jim hit a symbol and a snare, and Joe threw on the stage lights. We were basked in red, blue, green, and yellow, and I suddenly noticed everyone in the world was staring at me. Everyone who mattered anyway. Every pretty girl I’d ever tried in vain to impress by talking in a dog voice, sticking out my belly, or twisting my arms over my head to show my double-jointed shoulders. Note to middle-school boys: try something else, try literally anything else.
Every cool kid that had bullied me or stood up for me to bullies was watching, even my teachers were watching, and it hit… A rush of adrenaline that caused my legs to chatter. Not shake, but actually chatter like teeth on a freezing day, uncontrollable high-frequency shaking I’ve never felt before or since. It was fun, but probably more scary than fun. Still it gave me the bug that kept me in bands into my 30s. At Purdue, my band Pitch Riddle got to play an hour-long set for a crowd of 3,000 and that was the peak of my musical career. After a couple of short-lived projects in California, I’d had enough of the compromises that come with being in a band. I could write music, play guitar, bass, and sing. I really wanted to make an album by myself to see what just me sounds like. In 2007 I learned to play the drums (well enough I guess) and produced 7 original songs.