The ever so famous Greg Young.
As he is the one that will guide you
through this convoluted mess.
I hooked the microphone to the computer and opened up the generic sound recorder. Once I clicked it to record, I jumped on my drums and played a simple beat that was stuck in my head. On top of that, I mixed myself thumping on the ground trying to imitate a bass noise. By this time it was pretty cacophonic, but I didn’t think of that when I was making it. I mixed in another sound of myself imitating a guitar noise, and well as the lyrics to the ‘song’ that I was making. Only four words were featured, and I repeated them over and over again: “Freedom, or your life.” It was weird, because at that time, I really didn’t know why I had that stuck in my head or where it came from, other than that I knew it sounded like a Rage Against the Machine lyric. As I was mixing all four of the sounds together, I thought to myself that if I ever wanted to make music, I could just keep making things like this to demonstrate the sounds I wanted to come out of the complimentary guitars and bass to my drum set. Little did I know that the ‘song’ I made was stupid and embarrassing. I ripped the sound into an mp3 and titled it “vox-total mix” and sent it to a few of my friends.
One of the friends I showed it to had a guitar lying around his room all the time. He did not play guitar; it was just like a family heirloom lurking around his house. I told him that one day, he should bring over his guitar and the two of us should make a song. He answered with an affirmative and soon enough, him and his Gibson were over and ready to make noise.
The Gibson freak was Adam, the same Jewish child that came with me to the Rage concert. I had known him since we were five years of age, and I was great friends with his family. And because of that, his mother never was bothered to bring him over to my house when we decided to make music. She always wanted to hear the new stuff that we would record on tape from the most ghetto tape player that I owned.
It was as simple as this: because Adam’s guitar was acoustic, the sound would not be loud enough against my drums, so he stuck the microphone in his guitar. He screamed words that he made up in hopes that it would be caught by the computer. At that time, we thought we were making such awesome sounds, but it was horrible. Adam was screaming and he didn’t know how to play the guitar. I was playing any drum beat I could because I could not hear anything anyways. When it was all together, it was just one big mess with stupid lyrics. In fact, one song talked about how Bill Clinton was pimping and then all of a sudden started talking about how America was bombing Kosovo and killing innocent civilians. Another song featured lyrics about how the world revolved around some omnipresent “you” and how world peace was to comfort him/her. And the most famous of songs made by the two of us, asked the general audience what the name to some political view was. The moral of our story was that we should not play again until we have a real guitar, real lyrics, a bass, and some guitar talent.
And so with those four things in mind, Adam set off to work. He convinced his mom that he needed guitar lessons and an electric guitar. Soon enough, he had both, and he was getting better every day on his new bottom-of-the-line electric. At school, he tried to find someone that had a bass or someone who could play one. He talked to this once school reject named Brian Poe, and he brought him over one day so I could get to know him. At the first meeting, I could tell he was a reject and why no one really wanted to talk to him. He did not talk much himself, but he just practically repeated everything else that was done by others. After Adam and I showed him the music we could make with our instruments, he told us that he would try and buy a bass and play with us. We had a full band now, but the problem was that Adam barely even knew how to play the guitar and Poe didn’t even know what a bass was until he decided to buy one.
In about early March of 2000, Poe and Adam came over with their respective instruments. We set up all of the instruments in my computer room with my drums. Adam tried to teach Poe how to play the one and only song Adam and I could play together, a song by Rage Against the Machine titled Bombtrack. The problem was that Poe could not play anything on the bass no matter how hard he tried to. As the night went on, one of my other friends, Vinay, an Indian with a very sick mind asked if he could come over and see what we were up to. I allowed him to join our very unproductive session.
Vinay told me that he really liked the bass and he kept taking it from Poe and just looking at it. When Poe couldn’t play Bombtrack, Adam told Vinay that he should play it and we could record. The Indian learned quickly and we recorded our full version of the song. Now we had someone that could play the bass, but the funny thing was that that was the first time he ever touched one. And now that we did not need Poe, we never saw the reject again.
In the year 2000, my brother was to turn twenty-one on March 31. My parents were holding a surprise birthday party and they asked for my band to play for him. Adam and I agreed right away, but it was a little tougher to get Vinay to accept the offer. He kept saying how he had only picked up a bass once and he didn’t even know if he could do that again in front of people. We had to pester him for quite a while before he finally agreed. He did not have a bass of his own, so Adam asked his little brother if he could borrow his bass, and he told Adam that it would cost a few bucks. I told Adam that I would pay it and not to worry.
As the last day of March rolled by, I invited all of my close friends to the party: AJ, Robby, Adam, and Vinay. Most of my brother’s friends were there, and they were all ready to drink the night away. Of course, my friends and I all wanted to try some liquor, so they snuck some vodka in cups for all of us. We mixed the alcohol with Coke.
The last paragraph would confirm the fact that we played under the influence. The three of us were practically without talent, and we were even more impaired. We stepped out and played like we had never played together before. To our amazement, the audience loved us and asked us for an encore. The funny thing was that we didn’t have an encore, and so Adam just played some totally random riff, and I followed with an irrelevant drum beat. Because Vinay didn’t know how to play the bass, he just made a monkey face and some other stupid faces to humor the crowd. The fun was only just about to start though, because all of my friends slept over and we decided to cause some trouble.
The five of us embarked to doorbell ditch a bunch of houses in the neighborhood. Not too far into the adventure, Adam told us he was scared and he went back into my house. Now it was just four of us, and everyone but Vinay would get scared whenever we doorbell ditched a house and ran off. We started to play a game in which we started with one ring on a house, and someone had to match and exceed the number of rings of the previous person on another house. We played for so long that the number of rings had reached over fifteen. By that time, we found ourselves in front of a house on a street one block from mine.
The house that we were about to doorbell ditch was a two-story house with a pretty front yard. AJ and I stood behind a van parked in a driveway of a house three houses east of the house that Robby and Vinay were about to mess with. The two guys rang the doorbell many, many times and Vinay walked over to the house next to it on the west. Robby hid behind a car across the street from the house just targeted. Vinay pressed the doorbell at the house he was at a few times and he hid against the wall of the same house. After a while, he heard people in that house start to turn on lights and make noise, so he yelled at Robby to run away. Vinay ran towards AJ and I, so he ran right past the first house that was targeted. Robby moved away from the car that he was hiding from and started to ran away from AJ and I, so he too ran right past the first house that was targeted. At almost perfect timing, the person from the first house bolted open the door with a bat in hand and shouted expletives at us.
At this instant, Vinay turned around and ran away from AJ and I, and Robby turned around and ran towards us. Robby, AJ, and I ran all the way to my house, and we totally lost sight of Vinay. The three of us hid behind my outside gate and waited for Vinay, but before we saw him, we saw an SUV driving slowly searching for children wandering the streets. We thought that he found Vinay and that he was in serious trouble. Regardless, we chilled in my backyard for a while hoping that we’d see Vinay soon. After around fifteen minutes passed, we opened my gate and looked around for Vinay. To our amazement, we saw him limping toward my house, about five houses away. Once he was at my house, we took him to safety, and he told us his story.
As he ran the other opposite way from us, he realized that he did not know how to get to my house from the way he was going. He followed the street he took around until he saw a wash. He hid under the bride that went over the wash, and he noticed that a car drove over him a few times. The whole time that he was under there, he was terrified, and he did not know when he should get out, because he felt that when he came out from hiding, the guy would be right there waiting for him. He hung out under the wash for fifteen minutes before taking a risk and trying to make it to my house.
The four of us told ourselves that we needed to get that guy again when my next birthday party or sleepover comes. It became a recurring theme whenever I had a sleepover, but to our amazement, we never really had the guts to do it again.
Anyway, a week later, my mother set us up to perform the next weekend for the Indian New Year’s festival. Because it was a big event, we were all excited to perform. The three of us gathered at my house until Vinay’s dad picked up our stuff. Some other person carted us over there. Once we arrived there, I had to assemble my drums backstage before I could be let free. Our band was to play right after intermission, so we could have time to set up. But for the time we weren’t playing, Vinay and I showed Adam how an Indian festival worked. It was easy, it didn’t work.
As intermission came, I hurried backstage to haul my drum set on stage. Adam brought his guitar equipment on stage while Vinay brought his rented equipment. We planned our set so we had a solo for all three of us. Vinay was to announce our band in the native language, and Adam was to play the introduction of Bombtrack on the stage by himself. I was going to have a drum solo right after the song.
Vinay told the audience that we were going to play a song Bombtrack for them, and then he hopped off stage. Adam walked up and grabbed his guitar and played the intro. He did not move his feet after that; he stayed still the whole performance. After two beats of four, I started the walk to my drum set, and Vinay walked to grab his bass. And just unlike the performance before, we played and played like we had played only once before. Once the song was over, I did my drum solo, but the other two didn’t leave the stage. I was following plan, so once I finished my solo, I left the stage. The other two were still on stage, and it made me look like an idiot. Just like the concert before, once we were done with it, we were to do something mischievous.
The school we were at was in the middle of the ghetto in Mesa. There was a Jack in the Box about a mile away past the ghetto area that we were in. We were all hungry, but we knew that cutting through the run-down area might not be one of the best ideas. We also didn’t want everyone to come with us, because then our parents might be suspicious. That is why Vinay and this other Indian child Sharat accompanied me to Jack in the Box. We didn’t tell anyone else that we were leaving so that they wouldn’t follow us. By the time we got our food and came back, all of the other guys were mad at us and that our parents were worried. I had to tell my mother what we did, but she just told me that if I wanted to do something like that, I should just tell her so she knows where I am. That concluded the night at the ghetto school, and all of the Indian children including Adam returned to Vinay’s new house. Once his parents were able to, they took us to Sharat’s house so we could spend the night there. The details of that night have been lost, but in general, it was an Indian sleepover, so the only things that were present were perverted aspects: porn, qwering, and insane horniness.
And so ended the beginning of a new hobby. From that day, the three of us decided to play music much more often. We even tried to write our own music, even though that did not turn out the greatest in the first few weeks. More was to come from these two experiments, and not even the Mona Lisa knew the extent that we were to take our music needs to (but for the record, it didn’t exceed a few hundred dollars).