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.