Joshua posted a comment on Eyes Like Static that compels me to create a whole topic for it here. Here talks about RAGE, a local access program that was on late (late) on channel 38 (not sure if it was UPN back then; this may pre-date UPN altogether).

Just like Joshua I can remember certain videos that were shown. He said that they were "burned into our conciousnesses" and that's truly an apt description. I can recall
Blur's "Country Sad Ballad Man," Metallica's "Until it Sleeps," and others. There was one video that stood out above the rest on the "Burned Into Your Consciousnesses Video" scale: Sparklehorse's "Someday I Will Treat You Good" off Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot.

The video is all low-fi, people in animal costumes riding little motorbikes and whatnot. Its compelling stuff; extremely random, yet coherent.

Here is a song that I saw on RAGE, heard on the radio about 3 times, and just couldn't get out of my head. I purchased the album about 2 years later because
Newbury Comics had it on sale for only $7.99 or some such nonsense. I gave it a listen, hated it, threw it to the bottom of the stack.

Then Good Morning Spider came out and I sampled some tracks on
CDNow (do you remember the sweet old days when there actually were online stores that specialized in something, like when Amazon actually sold books?). To this day I'm not sure what possessed me to listen to these samples from a band that I had decided that I hated. But I did it nonetheless. The album opener, "Pig," knocked me to the floor. Beautiful!

That one song was enough to possess me to go buy the album. This time around would be different, though, because this Sparklehorse album was given a chance. I recall that I was visiting with Joshua in
Arizona at the time and we had to track it down at the local Zia Records. Joshua was not on vacation so I spent the next few days while he was at work surfing the Web, creating or updating the Michael Crichton Collector's Site, and other such nonsensical things. All the while I had GMS spinning in the disc player, volume low, just enough to provide my background music.

At first "Pig" was the only thing that I liked on the album. It seemed like Vivadixie... all over again. One good song and a bunch of filler. First impressions of music are always fragile. As this "background" music slipped into my subconscious I began to realize the beauty of what I was listening to. Literally, all alone on a hot February day in a Phoenix studio apartment I began to form my first opinions of music as art, as opposed to merely something fun to listen to. I was transformed in that moment.

Songs like "Happy Man," "Sick of Goodbyes," "Maria's Little Elbows," "Ghost of His Smile," and especially "Hundreds of Sparrows," all made sense to me. The lyrics and the sounds all coming together to create not a song, but a mood, a feeling. Music could move you; it could make you smile or angry or cry.

Of course, this led to me reevaluating Vivadixie... with this newfound enlightenment. And of course, I was wrong to have judged so harshly. It too was jam packed with little 3-4 minute gems. Thusly,
Sparklehorse became one of my favorite bands of all time, a member of the elite four bands that surpass all others (Sparklehorse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pedro the Lion, and, for the ladies, Cat Power. Don't ask why there's so many animals; I don't have the answer). As much as I enjoy the work of those outside the quad no one can ever seem to displace them (though Kind of Like Spitting tries mightily, especially for someone with a touch of the DS). One day I will write something about all of these bands.

Here's how we wrap this story up and give credit where credit is due. Its amazing to think of how many things relate back to RAGE. Let's follow the path, shall we? If I had never seen that video for "Someday I Will Treat You Good" then I never would have gotten into Sparklehorse. If I hadn't gotten into Sparklehorse then I never would have been musically enlightened and then moved on to Pedro, Neutral and Cat. Instead I'd probably be stuck listening to that new
BS (pears) song about Justine Timberlake (sic). But wait! There's more. If I hadn't been influenced by many of the great bands that I've mentioned then I certainly never would have formed The Moon Is No More with Joshua. The world never would have had the pleasure of hearing such lines as ...

Flaming red Ferrari without an engine.

Its difficult to say whether the world would have been better off. I certainly would have saved myself a lot of time and effort that could have been dedicated to more productive things. But what fun would that have been?

I guess what I'm trying to say is:

Thank you, RAGE. You changed my life.


Joshua Provost said...

I remember listening to Vivadixie... on a Best Buy listening station back in 96 or 97, at your behest, if I do remember correctly. I don't think it really caught my attention. It wasn't so dead serious as The Smashing Pumpkins, and, as such, was insignificant to me. Sparklehorse is serious, but it's serious in the country sense, which is different than serious in the nihilistic angst sense.

I had no alternative than to pay attention to Good Morning Spider. The studio apartment was small indeed. It's a thing of beauty, and Vivadixie... is as well. Pretty girl, milking a cow, that's all you need to know.

My path of musical exploration is very similar. Bands get you into other bands. And our paths of exploration even intersect at numerous points. For instance, I started listening to Vic Chessnut because Billy Corgan was on a Vic Chessnut benefit album. I saw Vic, I met Vic, I got his autograph. I would not have done so if not for The Pumpkins. And you found Vic, and I'm not sure if that was related to how I found Vic or not.

The Pumpkins led me down a lot of paths. I first saw Jimmy Eat World as a "trade" to get a rare Pumpkins master tape. I taped JEW, I got TSP in return. That led to Reubens Accomplice, Chula, Half Visconte, Modified, Kind of Like Spitting, and Godspeed You Black Emporer (still more intersections).

Thank you RAGE, thank you The Smashing Pumpkins.

Joshua Provost said...

Lest we forget the Half Visconte, Slint, June of 44 connections, and all that came from that. If I charted this out, it would take some time. I don't have that kind of time. I have too many projects.

Jeremy said...

Funny thing about Vic Chesnutt. We both got into Vic from that Sweet Relief CD (it might have been number 2) where all the famous bands covered Vic songs. You got into it because The Smashing Pumpkins were on that CD; I got into it because Sparklehorse covered a Vic song on that CD.

You could almost do a family tree of interconnections. For instance, I got into Cat Power because someone on a Sparklehorse site said that if you like Sparklehorse you'll like Cat Power. Etc., etc., and so on.

Gabe said...

Indeed. If you didn't have RAGE, something or someone else would've lead you down the path. For me it was someone else's negelected Dinosaur Jr. album (Where You Been).

The connecting tree is amazing. In fact, Eyes Like Static and Try Avoidance are connected because of it. Josh was going to my hall for quite a while before we learned of our similar interests. He and Angie came over for the Raider/Bucs Super Bowl and paroused my CD collection. He saw my larger than your average Pumpkins collection and my Hum CDs. Things were never the same after that.

Joshua Provost said...

You can tell a lot about a person from their CD collection. There are certain CD's, if present, that will lead me to conclude that I will instantly be friends with someone. True, HUM's "You'd Prefer An Astronaut" is a good indicator. "Downward Is Heavenward" is a better one. "Aphids/Puppets" indicates we may need to start a band together.

Jeremy is going to want to see Sparklehore's "London" 7", and even then he's not getting too excited. This may also be due to the fact that he's a stoic iceman bast.

Gabe said...

Why haven't we started a band then? I have Aphids/Puppets. Wait, I know why...I stink. But I'm seriously looking into getting a drum set. Maybe I'll try my hand at that.

Joshua Provost said...

Hey, you had a drum set for a while. You were getting pretty good!

We jammed a few times. I don't know that I have ever felt creative in a jam environment, though. More or less intimidated, actually.

I think we could have a band, and, based on our influences, it would have to be pretty good. However, there has to be a driving creative force. You can't just jam. If one of us was to bring in a few ideas for songs, I'm sure we could constructively contribute to make something great.

If you ever want to share some of the songs you write, I'm all ears. Right now I'm heads down in finishing The Moon Is No More album.

Jeremy said...

I own the Sparklehorse London 7". Why, does Gabe own it, too? I'm confused.

Joshua said:

I think we could have a band, and, based on our influences, it would have to be pretty good. However, there has to be a driving creative force. You can't just jam. If one of us was to bring in a few ideas for songs, I'm sure we could constructively contribute to make something great.See, Joshua is all about having a purpose within the band. That's the first sign of a control freak. Run for your life! He can't just get together and make good music; there always has to be a concept. What a loser! :)

What ever happened to the good old days when you'd hear things like this coming from Joshua:

What will become of my sentimental heart when he passing day seems to tear it apart? What will become of my melancholy way? Unable to wake up and face another day.I would love to join a band with you guys, but I'm so busy with this writing project that I've started. Heads down.

Joshua Provost said...

Honestly I would cherish the opportunity to be in a band and not have to think about it. I would to be told what to do. I love to be given a song and be able to focus simply on writing a bassline or playing a rythym part.

My point is only to ensure that someone assumes the control freak role. There must be one control freak, if not two, but it doesn't have to be me.