Through Sound And Time: 2002
I have, for much of my life, believed in the soul power of music and how it speaks to a person and how sharing those feelings, and that music, can be one of the best feelings in the world. I have not always been so good at getting other people to understand that listening to my music was a good idea. There was a time when I struggled against the powers of pop to bring people something they could truly enjoy. One such time was New Years 2002.
Paul (my aforementioned best friend and comrade in the pits) had decided that after last year’s debacle we would play it cool with local friends back in south Jersey at Brian Adamonis’ girlfriend’s sisters’ house. This was an era where I was reveling in the fact that a person could be a person without having to have a person. Whereas most if not all of my friends were dating or in one friend’s situation “not dating” people in relationships. My friend’s girlfriends had become the bane of my existence. I had become the dreaded fun friend. The loud-mouthed asshole who said whatever was on his mind. If you think I’m bad these days, you should have seen me in my prime.
Either way, the night was full of other people drinking and hooking up with their girlfriends while I was left to control the music situation. Kazaa was used heavily to procure something worth dealing with in my misery. And as eventful as the last new years had been this one was a flop. I definitely wish I went upto New Brunswick, instead I was switching turns playing music with Christine Choplin, who had a thing for Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band I still fervently disbelieve anyone can call their all-time favourite band. And yet there was Christine, defying the laws of space, time, rock and roll and Natural Selection in one devastating blow. HA! I still have a little bit of that asshole left after all.
Right, so county college swept on and I stepped up to the plate with 4 classes. Three Photo and another English lit class. I learned Photoshop and built a dark room inside my house. Come spring time I had decided I was moving to Rutgers and I was going to transfer to Mason Gross for Photography. It was a big step in the right direction.
This was the year I would drive around listening to Green Day’s Dookie album. I know that I was about ten years off on this one but I had picked it up and I couldn’t put it down. New Found Glory‘s self titled Album got a lot of playtime. The Ataris were a huge staple of my driving music. Iron Maiden had found it’s way into my music collection. My friend Dave DeJesus and I were taking trips up to NB a bunch so we had time to bounce music off each other. He showed me bands like Zao and Catch 22.
When I moved in June, Paul and I started working in the Freehold mall at a Ritz camera. We would spend our days on the beach and our weekends peddling cameras. After a few weeks I got my current roommate, Kevin, and another friend of ours, Gerry, a job losing people’s film. One of the great things about most of the jobs I’ve had is that there has always been room for friends. Kev, Gerry, Paul and I would turn up the charm and sell things to people that they didn’t need or want, half the time Paul was drunk while he was printing film. We spent a lot of time goofing off and taking pictures of the store. Gerry had a penchant for Dashboard Confessional so that became a thing for us.
I spent a lot of time reading because we didn’t have any cable television that summer. H.P. Lovercraft, Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors, Legend of the Five Rings.
That summer we played a lot of beer pong, well I played with Mountain Dew. Now don’t judge us we all did this in college. We thumped our chests and butted heads and gasp listened to Good Charlotte. I wish I could say I did it ironically or that I didn’t enjoy it a little bit. But they were good times and this happened to be the soundtrack to this summer. I’m sure you have some music that you wish you didn’t own. I’m talking to you, the guy who bought the Dog’s Eye View album. So hold your stones lest I pull out some holier than thou Jesus stuff, healing the meek and inheriting the earth turning water into fish and bread into wine.
The year wore on and we start hosting shows in our basement. Too many bands to mention them all but off the top of my head we had, Puck on Six, Tokyo Rose, My Chemical Romance, Armour for Sleep, Paulson… so many acts that went on to some amount of fame. This is when I started laying the ground work for Rocker Tycoon. Paul and I started writing a Zine called the Alternative. I covered the bands and Paul worked on the events. Zines were the thing to do back in 2002 you weren’t anyone if you didn’t have a Geocities page and fax /copy/ printer. This also started my journey into the realm of local music. I did shoots with bands like Shade and even shot a few bands from other countries that were staying in town. Music journalism was undergoing a huge upheavel with Digital SLRs taking over the photo market and I was still shooting with my Nikon F100 film camera and transferring the stills to CD via film scanner. It was archaic and an unsound method of creating a news source. There was so much over-head and waste we weren’t even selling these things, just handing them out at shows and interviewing bands.
December came and I remember that Paul and I had run out of oil to heat the house and without the $400 needed to fill the tank we just had to figure out ways of staying warm. I worked in the mall as often as I could. Then the unthinkable happened. It was December 14th I was driving to work and someone hit me dead in the side in their car. After the smoke cleared and everything legal was settled I lost my car to damage and my License for a year. I was driving without insurance. Freehold court threw the book at me. Things began to take a harsh spiral and my dad even asked me if I was gonna have to move back. I couldn’t do it. Not after all the hard work I’d put in and come spring semester I was applying for Mason Gross. I had to muscle it out and figure out a new way to live. I paid my rent with my next paycheck and started looking for a job in town. During this soul crushing blow my friends most of these people I’d only recently met really kicked my ass into gear. I was sinking into a depression and they were determined not to let me drown.
New years this year was a big turn around for me. I was still alive after two weeks of not working and I hadn’t burrowed any money from anyone. Rent was paid and About 9 days prior I had started drinking. This was a big deal to a lot of my friends. Many people were worried that this was going to become a serious problem because of the time I started. I was 22 and just didn’t have any reason not to drink anymore. I didn’t drive, so I couldn’t protect my friends by staying sober and getting them home. It was high time I took a break from being the responsible sober kid at the party. I remember little from that New Years aside from just running around hanging out with friends and singing along to A LOT of Alkaline Trio. 2002 you were a bum of a year, I miss the hell out of you.