Better Late

(Writing from September 22, 2011.)

So I do this thing where I discover new (to me) music in a weird way.

I played guitar and sang in rock bands for 12 years, and spent the last couple of years before I got knocked up playing in a band in Los Angeles with an amazingly talented filmmaker/guitarist/singer/songwriter who also happened to be a really cool, funny, smart human.

He always wanted us to learn new cover songs, and would give me a new CD he’d burned every week, loaded with potential cover songs, plus songs he’d written, songs we needed to learn for band practice, etc. When everybody in a band works 40+ hours a week, it’s hard to get together for practices as often as you need to in order to not suck at your live shows.

So he’d drop them by the grocery store at which I worked, and my managers would tell me, “Hey. Your band-mate brought this CD by for you.” And I would take the latest CD home and ignore it. Or give the songs we were going to play at practice a fast pre-practice skim. I’m a quick study with music, so I managed to get through practices and shows this way.

But of course now I wish I’d really listened to them and applied myself in the way that we all do later in life when we realize we were only doing ourselves a disservice by half-assing through the important things. I feel like a complete dipshit now for not giving the CDs and the band the attention I should have.

Cut to years later: I have a child, I’ve moved to the Midwest, and the only music time I get, aside from occasionally grabbing my guitar and locking myself in the bathroom to bash and sing, is during my exercise walks. So I have an iPod. And headphones, because I can barely say the word “earbuds,” let alone wear them. And I put every CD I have on my iPod, including the ones my band-mate once made for me.

Now, during my walks, I have the curious phenomenon of having these utterly fabulous songs constantly pop up as unknown artists, the songs my band-mate wanted us to potentially cover that I never really listened to, and I fucking love them. And I have no idea who they are because they were loaded onto my iPod from CDs burned by my band-mate. It’s really weird. It keeps happening.

When it happens, I come home and immediately Google some of the lyrics, trying to find the artist. Some of them are a bit obscure. Tonight I got only one hit on my search, and it was just the name of one of the band members. And the only reason it popped up was because the blogger had quoted the one line of the song I put in, even though it isn’t the title. I had to figure out the band (now defunct) and then the song name to find them.

I obsessively listened to this song over and over again for nearly 3 miles tonight, because when I discover a new song, I do that. I play it over and over again and pick it apart and try to hear all the different melody lines and instruments and parts and words and harmonies and try to figure out exactly what is making me love it.

I found the song on YouTube, so I’m sharing it below. Check it out if you feel like hearing a cool song.

“Calling on Columbia Pike” by Speedwell: