Take Pains, Be Perfect

Nine years ago I lost a close friend.  I cannot list the specifics of what I did on most days nearly a decade ago, but I can vividly remember the details of that day.  I was sitting on a porch in Shaler, PA getting ready to play a show at the now defunct Aspinwall Grille when I got the call.  Without saying a word my state of instant shock provided the necessary context clues to my band mates who instantly offered to cancel the show. Given Chase’s passion for performance I made the decision that the show must go on.

That night All About You played the best show of their existence.  While my band mates basked in the positive feedback I asked for a ride home where I spent the rest of the night staring straight forward.

For the better part of the past decade I was very upset that my friend was no longer with us.  However in recent years my mindset has changed and I now feel lucky to have spent the limited time that I did with Chase.

From day one I was in awe of his undeniable talent.  I had never met someone with such quick wit.  I am thankful for the creative projects I got to work on with Chase.  At a time when I was attempting to learn the basics of a craft he had nearly mastered them.  He was far ahead of his peers and his natural gift of performance SHINED through at all times.

The specific memory I have that portrays the true extent of Chase’s talent was when we made an incredible video sketch in nearly real-time.

At one point in our second year at Slippery Rock we were bored and got our hands on a video camera and started making sketches to pass the time.  The highlight of these sketches was an afterschool special about high school wrestlers who found themselves faced with the dangers of taking diet pills in order to make-weight.  To this day it is possibly the piece I am proudest of in my life.

In the role of “wrestling coach” Chase was amazing.  However the true extent of his talent SHINED through during the creative process.  We sat and prepared for what would become a 20 minute sketch in about 10 minutes.  We got started shooting in the bathroom of Sentinel Hall and Chase and I, but mostly Chase, proceeded to write the sketch in real-time.  His ability to take a given concept and immediately understand it, expand upon it, and streamline it into an amazing product is something I have never encountered in another individual that I have worked with.  His ability to steal the show in a supporting role while simultaneously making everyone around him better was a testament to the ridiculous amount of talent he was born with.

Yet, despite this natural talent, Chase was beyond humble.  He was truly dedicated to his craft.  He was a very legitimate artist.

Beyond his talent Chase was an incredible friend and one of the closest things I have ever had to a brother.  We both experienced the difficulties of adapting to college life together and without him there in those early days it is unlikely that I would have ever found my way.

Looking back at college, as fun as it was, I have very few moments where I wish I could go back because for me a big part of college was being broke in a small town in a weird part of Pennsylvania.  I am thankful for the parties and the nights out with friends, but the thing I miss most were weeknights watching movies with Chase getting our change together so we could each buy a beer.  There were times when we laughed so hard that we lost our breath.  As funny as our jokes were it was the small inside jokes that made us laugh the hardest, specifically because our connection on a deeper level allowed us insight into why the other thought those jokes were funny.  

Of all the great one liners that came out of my mouth in that period Chase thought the funniest thing in the world is that when I fell into a fit of laugh induced hysteria I would place both hands on top of my head.  When he asked me why I did it I told him that it was to keep myself from exploding.  He seriously thought it was the best thing I ever said.

chaz

One Halloween we decided to dress as our favorite 80’s WWF tag team The Rockers.  After a long debate over who would play who, which was interesting because we both wanted to be the second fiddle Marty Jannetty, we finally chose on my grounds that “I’m just you know Marty and you are just, like, Shawn.”

We made our costumes and stopped by Sheetz to grab some supplies before we left for the party we were going to.  Someone stopped us and asked if we were the Rockers and we said yes.  The random stranger informed us it was one of the best costumes he had ever seen.  I specifically remember the sense of accomplishment that Chase felt.

There were so many great nights and great memories and as much as I wish Chase could attend my life’s milestones and I could attend his what I wish for most is one more random night watching movies, making each other laugh, and enjoying each others company.

Very few times in life are we lucky enough to make the type of connection that I made with my friend Chase.  Throughout the grieving process that is still ongoing I have been thankful for it and have made it a point to acknowledge how special that type of connection is to the few people in life I have also had it with.  I feel very guilty for the part of the grieving process I spent upset at Chase, for wasting his talent, for making such a dumb mistake.  I feel really horrible that those thoughts ever crossed my mind.  I know it is a natural step that we all take in these situations, but if in some way he can see what is happening in life I truly want to apologize.  I’m sorry I felt that way and I am sorry I couldn’t have done more to prevent what happened.  It is unbearable to accept that it was simply an accident, brought forward by a bad decision.  However that is exactly what happened.

Life is short and we don’t get very many chances to prove ourselves.  The main thing that has come from my friend’s death is an overwhelming sense of responsibility to enjoy life’s great moments.

The day after what happened I sat with Spencer at his parents house and talked about what we would do next.  The three of us had gone through college doing everything together.  At the time I said the best way to honor Chase’s memory was to work hard to do something successful in life so that when I received accolades for it I could dedicate it to Chase and let the world know there was someone way more talented than I that had inspired what inspired them.  I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I honestly feel that I am on the right path and am closer than ever to achieving that goal.

In Chase’s friendship I found confidence.  If someone as talented as he thought I was talented also maybe there was a chance.  In his death I found determination to not waste my potential and to move forward for the both of us, so that he would be proud of me if we ever meet again.

Shakespeare wrote tens of thousands of words but Chase took specific intrigue in the line “Take pains, be perfect” from A midsummer Night’s Dream.  I have often wondered what it was about those words that touched him in the way it did.  It has been a cryptic puzzle I have wrestled with for a decade and I am still nowhere closer to the answer.

However my personal take on those words, written on the back of my guitar along with Chase’s initials, is that perhaps if we work hard enough we can have one or two moments of perfection in life.  A few fleeting moments where everyone can see what it means to work hard and respect your craft.  A few seconds in which we inspire others to be better by example.

On November 1st I will be getting married and Chase will not physically be there, but on a deeper more spiritual level he is with me everyday because he made my life better simply by being in it.  I will never forget that.

Part of our deeper connection was that we both sometimes felt entrapped by the potential that others saw in us.  We often times put undue pressure on ourselves to be perfect, all though we were painfully aware that it was an impossible task.  While for most people getting a solid job, paying the bills, and being nice to others would be an accomplishment it would have been a failure for us.  We had to rise above and do something bigger and better.  Simply because we knew others thought we could and we desperately wanted to prove them right.  Now I know we learn more from our failures.  However at that point in life I wasn’t aware of this fact.

As shallow as it seems potential can often be unbearable to those who have it if they are humble, because there is this part of your mind that wonders why anyone thinks you are good at anything at all. Even if the pressure is placed on you by only yourself it can become overwhelming.  It can get in the way of happiness.  It can make you think perfection is a legitimate option.

My biggest hope is that somewhere along the way of his cosmic journey Chase found peace.  I hope he realizes that the way we thought and the pressures we faced were actually positive and having unachieveable goals is a good thing, because even if you fail you will still achieve positive accomplishments.  Even if it is only showing others that having big dreams is worthwhile, no matter the trials and tribulations that come with holding yourself to a higher standard.

Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Draft 2014 Second Round Preview

robinsonAfter selecting Ryan Shazier with the 15th overall selection yesterday the Steelers will move forward with the task of bringing young talent to their aging team.  Tomlin and company went out of their way to point out that they will not be drafting according to need last night, but something tells me they will need to address their two biggest needs during day two of the draft.

Supposedly this year’s draft is “full of receivers capable of being starters in the 2nd round” and many believe the Steelers will look to fill this need with their 2nd round pick.  If this is the case many expect the Steelers to pick Allen Robinson out of Penn State.

The way I see it there is likely to be some trades in the first ten picks of the second round by teams looking to move up in order to secure the guy they really covet.  If this is the case the Steelers could luck out by having solid options at both receiver and cornerback, their two greatest areas of need.  This would allow them to have the best of both worlds, finding value at a position of need, filling the depth cart while not breaking from strategy.  Here are some players I feel the Steelers should target in the second round of today’s draft.

If the Steelers decide to go receiver:

Cody Latimer ~ Indiana

Latimer is likely to be gone by the time the Steelers pick but if a few teams trade up to get the remaining quarterback prospects he could be the one who falls.  As I detailed in the Day One preview, Latimer is a tough receiver with size and speed.  He would be a perfect complement to Antonio Brown and would improve the Steelers passing game immediately

Allen Robinson ~ Penn State

Robinson would be the big target Roethlisberger was supposedly promised and given his ties to Penn State and his popularity in the region his selection would go far to energize the base.  I’m not buying it.  I don’t believe the Steelers will use this pick on a receiver and if they do I don’t believe they will take Robinson with the value of the talent that is likely to be on the board when their turn to pick arrives.

If there is a run on receivers and Robinson is available I say go ahead and select him.  He has the skills to be an NFL starting receiver.  The defense is a more pressing need for the Steelers though and that is why I’m not in on Robinson being the sure pick.

Marqise Lee ~ USC

Part of Lee’s slide down the draft board  comes from familiarity with his flaws given the nature of the USC program.  Throughout most of his Trojans career the program was in flux and eventually crumbled in public view.  Lee never really had that moment to stand out on a larger scale that may have been afforded him if he had attended another institution or had the probationary penalties facing the program had not been so severe.

While there are questions about his knee, Lee is a dynamic receiver who could excel in the right system in the NFL.  While Latimer is my favorite of these three he is likely to be off the board when the Steelers get to pick and if Lee is available I wouldn’t give a second thought to selecting him.

If the Steelers decide to pick a Cornerback:

Pierre Desir CB Lindenwood

The small school prospect has the athletic ability and unlimited potential to be viewed as the best cornerback that came out of this draft ten years down the line.  However there is just so much of an unknown when selecting a player like this.  It’s the Hail Mary option. Going for it all.

I would love the Steelers to take a chance here, but as I watched his highlight video I had to search good for the correct spelling of Ricardo Colclough and if Ricardo Colclough’s name comes up in a description of you then that should be all the red flag needed to pass.  50/50 shot at being either good or bad in the end, but he is likely to hit one of the extremes of that scale.

Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB Nebraska

This is the player I would select if I was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but I am not and they will likely pick someone not even mentioned in this article.  The Steelers have their own boards and own rankings that only apply to the Steelers.  They will inevitably select whoever they want to no matter the analytical suggestions that it may not be the best choice because they can and because they always do.

SJB reminds me of a young Ike Taylor in many ways, mostly because of his raw skill.  However unlike Taylor SJB played at one the largest and most tradition laden programs in the country and therefore is slightly more polished given the level of coaching that comes with attending such a football factory.  He will instantly upgrade the secondary giving it the type of weapon it has not had at cornerback in decades.  He fits in perfectly with the direction the NFL is heading in terms of gameplay, a direction the Steelers will inevitably have to assimilate to meet the demands of no matter their resistance to change. SJB is the future of the Steelers secondary if they are smart enough to draft him

Wild Card:

Louis Nix DT Notre Dame

Here is the one I would be interested in.  If the Steelers are using this draft to build a new defense and Nix happens to be available then I say you go get him.  DT is no longer the Steelers most pressing need, but it is in no way a strength.  If you selected Nix and factor in Shazier you have a pretty dynamic middle of your defense forming and I would love to see how the draft progressed from there.

Prediction: The Steelers select SJB with their 2nd round pick.

Stanley Jean - Baptiste

Stanley Jean – Baptiste CB Nebraska

 

Steelers Select Ohio State Linebacker Ryan Shazier with the 15th Overall Pick.

shazierWell, leave it to the Steelers to select someone I completely left off of my predictions list.  With the 15th overall selection of the 2014 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers selected inside linebacker Ryan “Icebox” Shazier of Ohio State.  The speedy Shazier has been described by Mike Tomlin as a “defensive playmaker” and will likely get a shot to compete for a starting inside linebacker shot to begin training camp.  While I personally would have rather seen the Steelers select CJ Mosley who went Two picks later to the Baltimore Ravens or cornerback Darqueze Dennard the team seems to be keen on Shazier and if he is part of a youth movement on the defensive side of the ball than I am all for the pick.

Much like the entire defense the Steelers linebackers corps is in need of repair.  While the secondary seems to be in more dire shape I am all but certain it is a position that will be addressed as the draft progresses.  During the post selection press conference Mike Tomlin praised Shazier saying:

“His production speaks for itself,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “His tape says he doesn’t need my endorsement. He plays with a lot of urgency. He was a significant contributor and really improved through his stay there.”

Tomlin added: “Quite frankly, the guy has no holes.”

Shazier will join Lawrence Timmons on the interior of the linebacker corps in the 3-4 defense.  Along with Jarvis Jones and likely Jason Worilds the corps will have the pleasure of matching up against Johnny Manziel for the foreseeable future as the Texas A&M quarterback was selected by Cleveland  after they traded up to the 22nd pick.  In what perhaps is an omen for the future of Jonny Football the Browns also used the 22nd overall pick to select eventual flops Brady Quinn and Brandon Weeden.

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Predictions (Day One)

The overall goal for the Steelers in the 2014 draft needs to be to obtain as much young defensive talent as possible.  In the first round the Steelers will likely target a cornerback with the 15th overall pick to anchor the future secondary, a secondary very few of the current Steelers will be part of, aside from safety Shamarko Thomas.  The Steelers could also look to fill voids at WR, LB, and along the Offensive Line if the right player falls to them.  15 is a hard spot to leave given the level of talent that can be had and for a team with so many needs trading up makes little to no sense.  There are many possibilities and I will touch on a few.

So I will lay out some of the scenarios I see the Steelers facing in the first round tonight, but for those with no patience I will jump to the conclusion:

 

With the 15th overall pick the Pittsburgh Steelers select: C.J. Mosley LB Alabama

 

CJ_Mosley

CJ Mosley LB Alabama

In the end I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers went with a linebacker even though most mock drafts have them selecting a cornerback or wide receiver.  If either Dennard or Gilbert remain on the board I would select them ahead of Mosley in that order.  Given the nature of the NFL and it’s copycat mentality cornerbacks are likely to be a hot commodity this season and many teams may choose to trade up in order to get one of the top 2 at the position.  If this is the case the Steelers are likely to be left with a scenario of selecting Kyle Fuller, which may be a reach, or going with the best available player which at pick 15 may wind up being C.J. Mosley.

With other positions at more demand the Steelers could even face a scenario in which they move back a few picks and add a pick in the later round and are still able to get Mosley.  Mosley would fill a need for years to come and help the Steelers towards a trend of adding young depth to their aging defense.  Unless a top receiver or Ebron are available cornerback is the pick why not take the second best linebacker.

Other possibilities:

Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan

 

Dennard would be the best fit for the Steelers but as each day passes i become more certain he will be off the board by the 15th pick.  He is big, fast, and tough and would quickly become the anchor of the secondary.  I remember watching Dennard run his 40 during the combine and hearing the announcers speak about how much of a match he would be with the Steelers at 15.  However given the board the Giants may get to him first.

Kyle Fuller CB Virginia Tech

Kyle Fuller will be good but I will be disappointed if the Steelers select him at 15 given that there is likely to be a better value on the board.  To select Fuller would be to draft to fill needs as opposed to acquiring talent which must be the Steelers main  goal in this draft if they wish to avoid massive collapse in the upcoming years.

Taylor Lewan T Michigan

This could be the wild card.  If the draft turns into tradefest ‘99 the Steelers could happen themselves into a top-notch tackle.  The Steelers have used high picks on the offensive line for the past few years, but with little success.  Lewan will be a starting tackle in the NFL and if available the Steelers should take advantage of the possibility of gaining some permanent depth on the offensive line.
What if the top two cornerbacks are off the board?

If the 15th pick comes and both Dennard and Gilbert are off the board than I would look to the best overall player.  If Aaron Donald somehow remains on the board, which he won’t, I would be willing to select him and completely change the defense to a Tampa 2 or at the very least add more elements of it to the base defense to fit his skill set.  He is that good of player and given that he is a product of Penn Hills and Pitt he would be a player that would add maximum excitement among the fan base.  A more likely Scenario would be seeing tight end Eric Ebron or safety Ha Ha Clinton – Dix slide in which case I would select either of them giving the edge to Ebron.

 

Unfortunately given the recent black cloud hanging above the Steelers in terms of luck the selection may come to a pair of linebackers UCLA’s Anthony Barr and Alabama’s C.J. Mosley.  While Barr has been rated higher by many draft experts the opinions of draft experts are in many ways meaningless because very few people in the world actually have a mastery of scouting and the NFL draft.  This includes a majority of the people employed by NFL franchises to be such experts.  Barr will be good but C.J. Mosley is perfect for the Steelers.  He is a natural leader who leads by example.  If the Steelers are truly to have a youth movement on defense they will need a leader and I don’t see anyone besides Jarvis Jones being able to fill that role on the current roster.

 

Mosley would be a great fit but linebacker is not their most pressing need and there are other options later in the draft.  So there is also the possibility they trade the pick up or down to target another player.

 

2 Trade down scenarios:

Trade down with the Jets to get the 18th selection and select C.J. Mosley.

The Jets need for a cornerback may be more dire than the Steelers.  If the Steelers can move back a few spots while picking up a third round pick this could be the perfect opportunity for the Steelers to avoid reaching selecting a linebacker in the first round.

 

Packers 21st overall pick

 

Cody Latimer ~ WR Indiana

Cody Latimer ~ WR Indiana

Much like the Steelers the Packers have pressing needs on defense however theirs is to fill a hole while the Steelers is to achieve depth.  Moving back to the 21st pick the Steelers could select Indiana receiver Cody Latimer.  In many ways he is the perfect addition to the passing game given his combination of speed and size (6 foot 3, 215 pounds, 4.44 40 yard dash).  He also proved to be one of the strongest receivers at the combine impressing teams by finishing first in the bench press.  The Steelers are likely to stay where they are but this would be an opportunity to fill a pressing need without reaching while adding more picks to improve depth and take advantage of the deep draft.

Trade up Scenario

This is the less likely scenario concerning trades however I could see the Steelers trading up to the 9th spot with the Buffalo Bills in order to draft Eric Ebron .  This seems to progressive of a move for the regressive Steelers front office, but looking back at this draft five years into the future Ebron may be among the top 5 players.  While Roethlisberger would prefer a large receiving target an elite tight end could be a better long term asset.  The Steelers are in no position to give the aging Roethlisbergr a final approval over a draft pick especially given the fact that it is quite likely that Penn State’s Allen Robinson will be available in the second round.  This draft needs to be about acquiring as much young defensive talent as possible which means the receiving weapon they choose must be top notch.

 

The Long Haired Aging Man at the Robert Plant Show in Prospect Park had the Greatest Time of All.

At one point I had the ultimate experience.  I could just see it all and was like woah.”

That is what he said.

He said it to two other old guys who walked up to him hoping to see what he was seeing.

Through a small break in the fencing at the end of the line of the portajohns that made up the back perimeter of the Prospect Park Bandshell the long-haired man stared into his binoculars and watched Robert Plant.  He was the happiest man in the Park.

I noticed him halfway through the concert.  We too were on the outside looking in, enjoying the show for free.  However we were under a tree with pastel party cups filled with Rolling Rock and an array of fine meats and cheeses.  We were accompanied by a Beagle puppy.

Not my man.

He had an old Led Zeppelin T-shirt on, well-worn from years of following his childhood heroes, and a long mane of gray, white and formerly brown hair.  I would guess he had seen Led Zeppelin many times before.  He had experience.  He brought nothing with him  that would weigh him down.  He was armed with only binoculars.  There is a chance he got onto public transportation with them around his neck both before and after the show.

photo

I think I saw the point of the evening that he referred to as the “ultimate.”  It may have been right after I first noticed him.  He had made connection, he found his sweet spot.  I saw him adjusting the focus on his trusty binoculars.  I saw him bend his knees and find the perfect position.

Than he froze.

He was transfixed.  For that moment his dream of being front row for a Led Zeppelin show was a reality.  It was right there before his eyes.  It was as close as he would ever get. While at first I had worried about the man wondering if he was staring into a crack in the portajohns I soon realized he was not a pervert, he was a Led Zeppelin fan, and he was enjoying the night more than everyone else in the park that night could ever understand.

WPP Roundup 7/10 – 7/12

Here are links to the stories I had published by We Party Patriots between Wednesday July 10th and Friday July 12th.

Wednesday July 10th

 

boss cartoon

Massachusetts Becomes 6th State to Introduce Healthy Workplace Bill to Deal With Bullying Bosses — In hopes of protecting workers from abusive bosses, Massachusetts recently became the sixth state to introduce a Healthy Workplace Bill.  Sponsored by House Rep. Ellen Story and Sen. Katherine Clark, HB 1766 had its public hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development late last month.

Pair of Dutch Pension Managers Yank Funds from Walmart Because of Questionable Labor Practices — Dutch pension managers PGGM and Mn Services have pulled their investments in Walmart due to the McRetailer’s anti-union positions and questionable labor practices.  The pension funds join Netherlands’ largest pension fund, ABP, which divested from Walmart last year citing their inability to follow the United Nations’ Global Compact concerning labor rights.

Anti-Davis Bacon Bill, HR 448, Debunked by Economist in Committee Hearing — A bill labeled HR 448, currently before the House Education and the Workforce Committee, aims to systematically lower wages in the construction industry by changing the method by which prevailing wages are calculated.

Friday July 12th

leslie-moonves-1040cs052512-1024x710

Local Stations, Viewers are Big Losers in TV’s Political Ad Money Grab — Last year at an entertainment law conference, Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS Corporation, said “Super-PAC’s may be bad for America, but they’re very good for CBS.” After the 2012 Presidential election during which Romney and Obama spent a combined $7 billion, CBS saw their profits soar by $180 million.  The winners and losers of the modern political media complex are beginning to emerge.

PLA for Meriden, CT School Construction Hangs in the Balance — The path to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for renovations at Platt and Maloney high schools in Meriden, Connecticut has not been a clear one. At last check, non-union contractors were abstaining from bidding on the project to undermine the PLA which Meriden’s mayor had cast the deciding vote in favor of. The anti-PLA pressure eventually took its toll, though, and a special meeting of the city council this month resulted in the PLA being rescinded due to higher-than-expected bids.

 

Anti-Worker Lobby Hurls PLA Falsehoods in Op-Ed, Boston Herald Edits Out Facts From Union Rep Rebuttal — An early July op-ed in the Boston Herald by Greg Beeman, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Massachusetts sought to distort the truth about Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).  The piece, titled, “Gov’s union-only project deals co$t”, comes right out of the ABC handbook of how to portray unions in a poor light by misinforming.  Aside from the Ke$ha-like spelling of the word “cost” — which must have been added to the playbook at a recent meeting — Mr. Beeman’s relies on the same old ABC line: refer to PLA’s as “union only” although they are not; say PLAs ‘exponentially’ drive up costs even though they don’t; and paint the agreements as a crony capitalism when, in fact, they seek to bolster communities.

 

“Is Weezer’s Pinkerton the Best Emo Album of All Time?” Two Years Later

Two years ago today I published an article titled “Is Weezer’s Pinkerton the Best Emo Album of All TIme?” in the early weeks of trying to create a website called the Secret Party Room.  The website wasn’t successful, the article was.  In those two years everything has changed yet one constant has been that people contact me about the article wanting to talk about how Pinkerton made them feel.  It’s weird.

It’s been found residing in the deepest darkest crevices of the internet.  It’s been posted on Weezer message boards which has brought about international inquiries.  The whole reason I unlocked SPR (which is actually this site right now) is because I was getting so many requests to read the article.

Two years have passed and it hasn’t gone away and because of that I would consider it the most successful thing i’ve written.  Other pieces have been read by many more people, but no one reacted to them, especially in the prolonged manner as they did to the Weezer piece.

Part of that seems to be because of the nostalgia that comes with Weezer from a generation who has seen music go to shit or at least some type of fecal matter that doesn’t interest them.  If you liked Weezer in 1998 what do you like now?  Why do you like it?  Do you like anything?

For me the article is drenched in nostalgia for a time in which I had just moved to New York and wanted to become a writer.  Since then it has happened and it isn’t really the glorious trade I believed it to be when blessed with the good fortune of ignorance towards the situation.  It’s still pretty great though.  If your still reading I’ve already accomplished something.  In an age of instant gratification and attention spans measured in nanoseconds I’ve coerced you to read  five paragraphs.  The average news article read by the average reader would end right here.

pinkertonOh you’re still here? Well than, lets talk about Weezer.  After rereading the original article I still believe that Pinkerton is the greatest Emo album of all time.  For the exact same reasons.  However I realize that the main point I was trying to make two years ago was buried in the deepest levels of subtext. Weezer disappointed many of their fans and for a large percent of that demographic it was the first time they had to break up with a band.  It was too much and we were too young.  Sellouts had to be rejected.  Little did we know what was on the horizon.  The end of the music industry as it had been for decades came about because of the Internet and music lovers ability to download music illegally much easier than buying it traditionally.

In the age of mp3 players and Winamp it was much easier to get an album P2P than it was to find it at the lone record store left in your town and pay $15 for a clunky product that you needed to take various steps to put in a format that allowed you to listen at your convenience.  The music industry moved slower than technology, hung over from their decade of cocaine excess and long nights partying with Lit predicting that their success had no expiration.  Wrong.  Only rap music got it right and they did that by realizing kids buy their music and that you had to find a way to get it directly to them.

There were no rock and roll mix tapes or compilations.  The entire Internet was a compilation and more choices meant more bands which meant more crap which meant a mediocre final product.

This is what I wanted to touch on in 2011 and perhaps I just wasn’t ready.  Pinkerton was my great young love and The Green Album was the breakup that inevitably followed.  Part of me has never gotten over the Green album and how much I didn’t like it.  How foolish I felt for loving Pinkerton so much and how I had to admit that maybe I had over hyped the whole thing.  It was the Kelly Bray of albums.  It was that first love that was so perfect that upon competition you had to think maybe it wasn’t perfect at all, and maybe you don’t know what perfect is, and maybe nothing will ever be perfect.

However just like that first love as an adult you realize you weren’t wrong at all for giving your heart to a band that moved you andJordan-Catalano-My-So-called-Life-adnks101-niks95-24747769-500-351 maybe how you felt at the time was dead on.  It’s all about the moment and in that moment Weezer’s Pinkerton was the best shit I had ever heard.  It is still really good, but perhaps because of the nostalgia surrounding it.  Perhaps because when I hear it I can picture myself sitting in my parent’s basement listening to it on headphones not knowing that life wasn’t going to stay that simple and joyous forever.

Breaking up with a band is perhaps worse than breaking up with a girl when you are young because young love doesn’t know the temporary nature of itself.  Young lovers know love through the lens of Romeo and Juliet and My So Called Life,  young music fans aren’t aware that bands sell out.  Or more specifically they beleive it won’t happen to them and their band.  Like the neighbor on local news who after the teenage girl next door is busted selling Oxycontin to her gym teacher says “I would never believe this could happen here!”  It happens everywhere and it happens with every band and it happens with every relationship.  True love is eternal, but general love has an expiration date.

Weezer was different.  Weezer wasn’t very dark, but they were,  just in a completely different way.  While Soundgarden was singing “Alive in the superunknown. First it steals your mind And then it steals your soul”  Weezer was singing “I want a girl who laughs for no one else, When I’m away she puts her makeup on the shelf.” (Soundgarden superunknown and Weezer’s Blue album came out months apart)  Both are different shades of dark.  Soundgarden is a very literal blackness, their words are what they mean.  Chris Cornell literally wants you to know that the superunknown will steal your mind before it steals your soul.  Both will be stolen in that order and that is it there is no explanation why.  However with Weezer there is a lingering question of “Why do you want the girl you like to pretend she doesn’t exist unless you are in her presence?”  “Why do you have an inability to trust women when they are out of sight?”In 1998 Soundgarden was passing their expiration date, yet who would have thought Weezer wouldn’t stay fresh forever?

Pinkerton exists in a sea of why.  “Why is this so dark, you just made a really successful album?”  Pinkerton is an album that perfectly describes the college experience and rightfully so as Cuomo wrote it while attending Harvard.  College for the modern white male is a time of exploration, dissatisfaction, acceptance, comfort, and then rejection, in that order.  So is Pinkerton.  Now in 2013 at the age of 30 I can view Cuomo’s career as a success, simply because he made those first two albums.  Even if I think everything he made after was poo, now I know it doesn’t matter because those first two albums where just so impressive.  Artists don’t do that anymore, at least not with me, they don’t captivate people, they don’t make people think I want to sound like this guy when I play.  Maybe they do, but I am one who learns from heartache and The green album is a perfect example of musical heartache.

Pinkerton was the last moment of me being a music fan and the Green album was the beginning of me liking music.  I was never going to put as much heart into a band again, I couldn’t handle the let down, just as no one sits by the land line at the age of 30 hoping their girlfriend will call.  It took me until the age of 30 to see why Pinkerton meant so much to me.  Here I am with a back that feels like it is made of particle board and runny dog shit, a knee that pops when I stand up, and grey hairs popping up at an alarming rate, but I really can’t complain.  I did a few things so far in my life and that is impressive because some people never accomplish a thing.  Some musicians never write a song that anyone wants to hear.  Some musicians never get to even play a show.

 Weezer made two great albums and we should all be thankful.  They made a multitude of crap and everyone should let them be. Like young love it wasn’t going to last forever and they were getting older themselves.

So here I am two years later and I am still making my case for Pinkerton being the greatest emo album of all time, only this time I’m doing so to fight for the young man who wanted to be a writer who had something to say.  He doesn’t really come out very much anymore, he’s tired after a long series of long days work, but when he does he is ready to go fight for what is audibly right.  Even if he has never gotten over that first time a band let him down in a way only girls had before.

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