Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something for Those Quiet Moments: Ruminations on Missionary Music

After the Utes gave up a 40 yard pass on 4th and 18 I needed some cheering up. I found some solace in downloading some new music - The Hippos' self-titled, The Rentals EP and two Get Up Kids albums. The irony being that I don't think there is any group that makes me feel more sad than the Get Up Kids.

As the stream of consciousness continues, I am thinking about the contraband music I listened to on my mission. There was a Virgin Records by our apartment in The Hague (I'd never seen a Virgin Records before) that had a big going out of business sale. Even though we weren't allowed to listen to music, I thought it a shame to pass up such great blowout prices. I picked up a copy of "Something to Write Home About" by the Get Up Kids, even though I'd never heard the band. The artwork, the name of the band, and the name of the album were so awesome that I couldn't pass it by. Like a good boy, I refrained from listening to it until I got back to America.

I would say, all things considered, I was pretty good at abiding by the no music rule. However, here were a few that slipped by the goalie:

Something for those Quiet Moments Mixtape

What a funny mission memory. I was at a zone conference in my first area. I'd only been in Holland a few weeks. I was happy to learn their was a fellow punk rocker in my zone, Elder Josh Ligairi. (Ligairi somehow managed to keep his tongue ring a secret his entire mission. He even created a new way of laughing that kept his tongue hidden. Huh, huh, huh, huh.)

I was in the church bathroom when Ligairi approached me. He slipped me a cassette tape and then disappeared. I shut the stall door and inspected the booty. It was a mixtape titled Something for Those Quiet Moments. Ligairi had included hits by all of the punk rock legends - NOFX, Bad Religion, Millencolin, MXPX. I put the tape into the pocket of my suit and went back to the conference. I felt like I was walking around with a dimebag of marijuana.

Many months later I finally listened to the tape. I think I only listened to it once or twice, but the memory of Ligairi sneaking it to me was priceless.

Ace of Base and the 5BX

Even though he's not a Mormon, my friend Rhett was super supportive of my mission. One day, a couple of months into my mission, I got a package from him. It was an Ace of Base cd. Because my friends always teased me about liking the Swedish dance quartet, I was always too embarassed to buy any of their music. Rhett included a note with the CD: "I saw this in the $1 bin and thought of you."

The CD made its appearance 18 months later when I was introduced to the 5BX workout program. My friend Jonny Wix discovered a photocopied workout program in his missionary apartment called the 5BX (a cool, hip way of saying 5 Basic Exercises). Since we had all grown fat from eating french fries with mayonnaise for every meal, I asked him to send a copy to me and my housemates down in Antwerp, Belgium. Every night we'd do our exercise routine, which included some move where you lay on the floor and pretend to be a fish or something. The best part was that we all agreed we could only work out properly if we had some great work out tunes. Enter Ace of Base. Beautiful Life, Lucky Love, Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry, man, those are awesome songs. The rest of the album sucks, but those tracks were perfect for the 5BX.
The list goes on, but time runs short. Many great songs trapped in the time warp of '99-'01, but I guess it I'll have to save that for the next time I'm depressed about sports. There's a story about Enya and other New Age hits, a bad run in with Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb" and many, many more. I'd really like to write a book about my mission, but Traci ensures me no one would want to read it.

The Kooks - All That She Wants [MP3]
Ace of Base - The Sign [MP3]


Allison and Noah Riley said...

I've found throwing Ace of Base in the ol' tape deck really helps those cross-country drives go down.

Glad to hear you have a soft spot in your heart for Scandinavian pop.

ribbij said...

funny stuff...

Joshua Ligairi said...

So, this post got me in trouble with my mother-in-law. I have no idea how in the world she stumbled across it, but it came up over gelato tonight. I had to explain the tongue ring and the punk rock music.

My mom and I actually got in a fight about the tongue ring on my way to the MTC. I told her that I wouldn't cause any trouble and that I'd take the tongue ring out if anyone ever asked me to. Nobody ever did. The young women in Dordrecht actually pooled their money together and got me a new tongue ring for my birthday. I'm still wearing it.

I have no recollection of the cassette tape in the bathroom incident, although it doesn't surprise me at all. There was an older elder when I got in the mission that wanted me to go see NOFX with him in Amsterdam. That one I passed on. I also discovered the Get Up Kids on my mission along with Saves the Day and Alkaline Trio. Those would be my favorite bands for the next few years.

So, I was not a good missionary when it came to music, or body piercings, or probably a lot of other things, but I did help a few people who I still keep in contact with, so I'm hoping God will let it slide.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
su-tang 3000 said...

Dear Josh,

Now I feel totally bad. I will never rat you on the internet again. (I've also heard God doesn't worry much about tongue rings.) If it wasn't for you, there'd likely be no Alkaline Trio in my life, so I owe you big time.

Joshua Ligairi said...

It's okay. Don't feel bad. It was actually a fun blast from the past to read. It was just weird when it came up over dinner. It's crazy what information people can get about you on the internet. I just hope I never run for president.