Queens of the Stone Age – “Go With The Flow”

When: July 2003
Where: Parking Lot, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Cal State LA
Who: My mother
Weather: Hot, dry

In 2003, I took guitar lessons in the hope of having my own band. I also happened to have the same guitar instructor as Miranda Cosgrove, but thought nothing of that. In retrospect, I wish I’d made the connection, but what I really wanted was to have some kind of impact on the wider world.

Southern California may seem exciting and glamorous, but it’s still out west. It’s the edge of the universe, and as a kid you get the message from movies and TV: if you aren’t from the northeast, you might as well be on another planet.

Not everyone took that idea in a bad way, for example Josh Homme. People get enormous freedom and creative energy out of being remote, but I wasn’t one of them. When I heard this song, all I could think was I wish this was my song. But it wasn’t. As time would tell, my relationship with music would come from being part of the audience. For me, that is much more satisfying.

Next: Absorbing an album for the first time.

Garbage – “Stupid Girl”

When: After dark, January 1996
Where: Cal State LA Ceramics
Who: My mother and her ceramics class
Weather: Unknown (likely raining)

’90s nostalgia is at a crossroads. On the one hand, we as a culture are drawing from a time period that people at the time considered a noncohesive polyglot. They turned out to be wrong, but there’s a lot of old stuff worth getting into. On the other hand, the well being drawn from is almost entirely based in children’s cartoons. Even though I was a child at the time, children’s cartoons are a tiny element of that greater world. The band Garbage is also a tiny element, but it’s indicative of more.

What was I doing at my mother’s ceramics class? I don’t know. I’d been a few other times, and it was my window into the world of adults. I saw a side of an era to which others of my age are completely oblivious.

Next: A dance craze so pernicious, they make first-graders dance to it every morning.