There were two things that annoyed me as a teenager: disaffected, cynical teenagers; and just about everything else. The irony of this may have been lost on me at the time, but without emotional contradiction, adolescence is just one long series of trips to the shoe store. Other annoyed teens in my midst drowned out their own screaming brains and gasping hearts with slacked expressions and screamo punk that to them was the only real music, or else radio rap so over-produced, under-thought, and distant from anything that could be defined in good conscience as music that it would form a glaze of apathy over them, hardening with time.
I couldn’t stand a cliché. At least, not once I’d noticed it. The frustration for me came from lack of recourse. Every type of emotional reaction felt cliché to me. I couldn’t stand the scripted timbre of a person’s voice when they’d say things like, “Apparent-LY!” Or worse, the lines peers would lift verbatim from TV and movies and apply to their own banal lives. “You don’t understand me!” or “You’ve ruined my life!” Fuck off, your life is fast food and field hockey. Some little kid somewhere just lost his arm and now he’s got to find a way to work the fields without it.
Continue reading “My Very Favorite Album – Hammering Heart”
It was with utmost sarcasm that I wrote “Atomic Girl,” but underneath its layer of drunken belligerence beat a genuine heart. The song is at once a scathing indictment of the manipulative, self-destructive S and an admission of my own part in creating the terrible situation from which I’d been forced to escape. It’s a step-by-step dissection of a habit I’d developed in my life of being enticed by half-heartedly suicidal girls, allowing them to pull me into their terrible worlds instead of pulling them out. I was protesting the atomic bomb with my finger on the button, and it took a situation as exaggerated as this one to finally allow me to see the caricature I’d become.
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Epilogue: Too-Ra-Loo-Ra Loo-ra Loo-ra)”
I refrained from replying to S’s inexplicably light-hearted text message. But the next day, I received a follow-up message: “You’re not mad, by any chance, are you?”
I decided I should refrain from speaking to her ever again, reasoning that her safety was at stake but actually more concerned for my own. As evening fell, I received a direct call to my cellular. I glanced reluctantly at the screen. It displayed a giant Japanese equivalent of an S, the rest of her name following like the proverbial stalker following the proverbial me.
“Uggh,” I shuddered, hurling the phone into the garbage bin. I stared at the bin until the ringing stopped.
I immediately second-guessed my rash action on account of the phone not being burnable waste. You have to understand that the town of Tajimi, Japan had very stringent waste disposal regulations, as dictated by the iron-fisted town mascot, the Unagappa, in a massive, forty-four-page PDF document.
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 7: I Swear This is Almost Over)”
S sat rigid at the well-lit bar, surrounded by young men and women enjoying the placidity of each other’s company. All seemed subtly aware of her smoldering, deathly presence, allowing her an exclusion zone two-and-a-half meters in radius. But precautions be damned for the man with a penchant for pain. Radiation suit off, I approached her.
“Hi,” she said, not breaking her rigidity.
“Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong?”
“I want to kill myself.”
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 6: Projection)”
At roughly midnight, we arrived back at my apartment. My Kiwi friend decided to stay the night at my place to avoid a cumbersome walk home. Just before he went to take a shower, I received a phone call. It was S.
“Did you really. . . believe my story?” She spoke in Japanese. Her voice wavered.
“Well yeah, why wouldn’t I?”
On the other end of the phone, S let out a terrible wail. She wasn’t just crying–she was bawling.
“Where are you?” I asked.
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 5: My Beating Heart)”
A wise or more occupied man would have stopped frequenting the BL at this point. But roughly two weeks later, I went back, for lack of a better idea. I’m proud to say that it was not in forbidden anticipation of once again encountering S, but rather in spite of the possibility of. I’m pretty sure.
The day was the vernal equinox, I believe, which in Japan is a national holiday. My Kiwi friend and I were out drinking “bears,” as he called them, at a gaudy but hidden burger joint called Honey’s Diner. It was one of the few places open on the holiday, but two drinks in, they were closing shop.
“Could sure go for another round,” my friend said. “Any places around here gonna be open?”
“Eh, I guess there is this one place, but. . . if we run into any familiar faces, I’m counting on you to bail me out of a situation.”
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 4: Timing)”
The next time I went to BL, she was there. She perked up as I entered and explained that she’d been waiting for me to show up. She was alone again. Again it was mango juice. I’ll admit that I’d half expected all this. I’ll also admit that I was struck by a faint flashback to about five different late-’80s and early-’90s Hollywood thrillers that I never saw. Was S to be my own personal Glenn Close? Surely she wasn’t far off. Dahaha. A little Glenn Close humor for you.
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 3: Lackluster Love)”
Last April, I participated in the Hotel Utah Open Mic Night and unleashed this smash hit upon the world to great fanfare. “R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-ai! Ai! ! Ai! Ai!” one person yelped.
I’ve always enjoyed playing this song and feel that it’s probably my most competent one, even though it’s also the most maniacal. Dahahahahahahahahahahahaha. If you were to sink my music into the trappings of a genre, perhaps “Manic Competence” would be the most flattering one I could hope for, if not “Melodic Scolding,” which is what I’ve been calling it up until now.
I feel that the formula for good songwriting lies in the aligning of two or more disparate sources of inspiration. Like, maybe you’ll take a visit to the desert one week, then kill a guy in a fit of passion the next. Boom, you’ve got a personal event to write about and an impressive setting from which to draw creative energy and poetic parallel connections and such.
Continue reading “Atomic Girl – A Full Explanation (Part 1: The Thing About Hiroshima)”