THE GUY who lives in the rehearsal space next to ours -- who therefore has 24/7 access to all of our equipment -- also has a key to my apartment. It turns out that even though he is technically homeless, he has a job finding homes for others as a real estate agent?! Therefore he has a master key to my building. At least that's what he said when he knocked on my apartment door this afternoon with his work buddy wanting to test his faulty master. Sounds fishy though. What if I didn't answer? I mean, I trust the kid as much as I'd trust anyone given that I have lowered expectations for most folks, but why does the guy who rents the rehearsal space next to mine also have to LIVE there AND be my real estate agent??? How does the guy who hears all the personal, late-night, drunken songwriting/non-songwriting get to be testing the key to my apartment on a Saturday afternoon? I'm just trying to recover from last night's band practice...(which he overheard). It's insane. He's a good kid who is wise for his age and I like him, but the whole circumstantial situation is bizarre, maybe even "ironic." We'll see.

So the nation has a kid gone missing whose last name is Smart. What's smart about it is the official establishment of the Family Press Conference. It's just protocol now. Prior to the information age people had kids to help them out on the farm, agriculturally. But thanks to the principle of Socio-Evolution (TM) -- I just made that up (TM) -- we now understand that the extended family can be bred for public relation selection. Aunts and uncles applying for the Family Spokeperson position just in case a child ever gets abducted--receiving mahogany podiums as Christmas presents. New market not yet tapped: FAMILY SPOKESPERSON DAY. A day each year to honor the brave relative who is still kind of psyched to be on television even though a family member has been mutilated beyond recognition.

Someone else you won't be able to recognize is the guy who plays all the guitar on our precious, po-dunk albums. No band photos for X. I'm against them, too...unless they can be anti-norm. Something other than the badder-than-God-against-a-brick-wall photo where everyone is holding-a-chain-link-fence-at-a-construction-site while leering at the camera as if the same six chords they play are scary, steely knives. It's pathetic. Ok...I'll admit it's spooky. Two or more men with long-hair standing that closely together in a desolate area always scares me. It makes me want to don that cover-your-balls, free-kick, soccer maneuver. "Awww, geez...hide your money...there's a band heading towards us." We're skipping the press-kit and biography, too. There'll be no pre-celebrity shenanigans here. Decelebritize (TM), baby. Just because you have a 3-song demo doesn't make you a rock-star. X doesn't want his likeness reproduced anywhere, anytime. No recognition for him. So I'm thinking about replacing his head with that of a cute, laughing kitten. It really doesn't get sillier than that. Big Pussy. 'Cept the guy plays guitar like two mobsters. X (not his real name but what everyone calls him, including his parents) has this way of playing his guitar as if he were two guitars instead of one and both of them are ganging up on you. You don't figure it out right away but it doesn't take too long before you become transfixed with the chaotic movement of his hands. It looks effortless and seems random until you hear him play it again the same way. It's as if everything he plays is dissonant and melodic simultaneously. The band is all about X. X would disagree emphatically and make me strike that from the record if he were to ever read this, but I can say whatever I want about him because there's little chance he'll be reading this. We're all a little anti-everything, but X is the anti-everything master. He would be just as happy playing his guitar every day for his own ears in his own room than to ever be playing for anyone else en masse. Classic, old-school, hating-people punk, from the nicest, funniest guy you'd ever meet.

Ahhh...remember the time when a punk band could hate people without biting the hand that fed them because there were no hands feeding them? Anger sells now. It's like a genre. "Oh, what kind of music do you play?" "Oh...we play 'Passion Rock.' We used to play 'Bored To Death' but we decided to switch to really-meaning-it." Punk rock will die because every punk in the world still wants to be famous which is all the recording industry has left to sell. It's never been about music. The allure has always been fickle, two-faced, celebrity. For the most part, humans are a social species who are constantly craving attention. The only thing punk rock ever successfully challenged was fashion. But unless kids start wearing phone books on their heads or other people's ears through their ears, I don't think anyone is going to be shocked anymore. I'll take ideology over a new haircut anytime, but that's a feather to ruffle another day.

Still, I don't want to speak for X. Heck, I do that enough when he records some of his riff-compositions and we get to add water. One such song is Packet Switch. For years, Lars and I have thought about having each of us write a song to one of X's instrumentals that would be totally independent of one another. Lars wrote about a "packet switch" which is apparently the geek-center of your computer that directs the pathways of electronic information to their desired locations, and I pretty much cited secret, back-route cab directions from Somerville, MA to Logan airport that I got from my evil, ex-girlfriend. Wow. A song about pathways in your computer juxtaposed with a song about pathways in your city set to the same music. And both of them are escape routes. Except for an odd right here, a poetic left there, and the stanza in parenthesis, those cab directions are verbatim. Somehow, Lars is singing "do a subtraction" during the placebo verse. That's just bizarre. This isn't the WWF here. The majority of what we do is a little, zen accident and somehow it pieces together. As for Lars' part of the song, I have no clue what he's talking about--which makes good poetry if you ask me. He had to explain to me what a "packet switch" was. Who knows what a "packet switch" is?? I don't. Who wants to listen to a band that might make you think? That's silly.


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