Friday, July 13, 2007

Songs About Girls Mostly

My introduction into punk rock went thusly. Flashback to 1994. My sister Sarah took my friend Brock and I to Provo to see Stretsch Armstronng, the Aquabats, Skankin' Pickle , Dancehall Crashers and Let's Go Bowling. It was cooler than anything I had ever experienced up to that point. (Way cooler than Nine Inch Nails at the Delta Center, that's for sure.)

I was playing in a Nirvana cover band with Chris Wilson at the time - which later became the grunge-inspired Twelfth of Never - but that brief encounter with ska was one of two big turning points for the band and for my musical world.

The next was when we really discovered punk. Though Chris and I listened to punk-ish stuff like The Offspring and Green Day, we'd never really heard the real stuff. That changed the day we got invited to play at local show at a pavilion in Draper Park in the summer of 1997. After Chris and I chugged through our Local H-style two man-band-set we saw something that totally blew us away. Local bands - kids just like us - playing ska and punk. With horns and everything. They sounded lousy, but they were doing it. And then we saw Homesick.

Homesick looked and sounded like early Green Day. Snarly, poppy punk played really fast. It changed everything for us. We went back home and started playing all of songs in double time.

Even cooler than Homesick's music was that they had actually gone on tour. They had booked all the shows themselves and played such exotic locales as Reno and Evanston. These guys were freakin' rock stars! (Looking back, I bet they were only 18 or 19.) They were everything we wanted to be.

Needless to say, my copy of their 8 song cassette EP was one of my prized possessions. And now the point of this post. (Finally, I know.)

Somewhere around 1999 I lost the tape . I think I left it in my dad's truck or something. Every time I pack up my stuff and see all of my old cassettes, I see that empty Homesick case and feel really sad. Oh, but all was not lost.

A few months ago, I happened to be reading SLUG magazine. As part of its 18 year anniversary celebration, the magazine invited a bunch of local bands from years past to play a reunion show at the Urban Lounge. On the list was a band called The Corleones, featuring guitarist Paul Burke, formerly of Homesick. I had never heard The Corleones but considered going to the show just in case Paul happened to have some old Homesick tapes in his car. Realizing this was stupid, I stayed home.

I picked up the magazine a few months later and decided not to give up on the matter. The article said that Paul was living in Portland. I emailed the girl who wrote the article to see if she had an address for him. Surprisingly, she emailed me right back with a phone number. It took me a few days to get the courage, but I called him on the phone. I think the conversation went like this:

PAUL: Hello?
SPENCER: Uh, hi. My name is Spencer. I'm calling from Salt Lake. Did you used to play in Homesick?
PAUL: Yeah.
SPENCER: I know this sounds weird, but I like loved your band and I left the tape in my dad's truck and I really wanted to get it but I doubted you'd have one at Urban Lounge and do you haveonenowcuzI'dgiveyoumoneyandstuffandstuff.

I was sure this was the point where he'd hang up, but he was really cool and even seemed flattered. He said that the tapes were all long gone, except for his own copy, but he'd been looking for an excuse to get around to digitizing them. He said he would put something together and mail me out a CD. A few days later he sent me an email, gushing about his feelings toward the band and that time period. Very cool.

A month or so went by and no CD. I figured I wasn't really going to get it, but I was grateful for the interaction nevertheless. After about 6 weeks, Paul sent me another email saying that the CD really was forthcoming. Then more waiting. Last week I finally got a package from Portland. It was worth the wait.

He sent me both their EP as well as their full-length, Songs About Girls Mostly. The songs, which I think were all recorded in a basement, are not quite as revolutionary as I remembered, but are just as awesome. Even more awesome is Paul for going to the trouble.

So, kids, follow your dreams. Get people's phone numbers and call and ask them for ridiculous favorites. You too could be working in health insurance, sitting in your cubicle, listening to Homesick quietly.

Homesick - Grandma and death 'n stuff [MP3]

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