Day 161: A song that reminds you of your best friend. (Volume III)
“Red Sector A” – Rush
My friend Kris and I spent a lot of time together in high school, during summers in college, and even after college once we both returned home and got jobs. A lot of time. So much time, in fact, that I think I owe his parents somewhere in the area of $42,000 for chips and soda consumed at their house.
I met Kris the very first day of high school. He sat behind me in Sister Diane Tetreault’s European History class. (“That would be good. That would be fine. Et cetera.”)
Not familiar with a song I’ve mentioned?
Click above to hear samples
and purchase songs.
Now, the only things I remember from that class are
- Java Man (but don’t ask me what was important about it)
- The Battle of Hastings was in 1066
- The Magna Carta was signed in 1215
- There’s also something floating around in my brain about Oliver Cromwell, but I’m not sure what.
But it was an easy enough class that it gave Kris and I a lot of time to goof around and get to know each other. The rest is… well, history.
We ran in the same circles at school, being in many of the same classes together. But it wasn’t until that circle started getting our licenses that I really started to hang out with him outside of school. As it turned out, our musical tastes were pretty compatible. (So were our writing styles: we managed to write and produce two really low-budget films together, but that’s a topic for another post.) And that’s what made picking a song for this post pretty tough. We’ve listened to so much music together over the years, it was really difficult to pick just one. For example (this list is woefully incomplete and in no particular order):
- “Driving At Night”—Joe Satriani. Kris introduced me to this master guitarist, and while I’m not a huge fan of his overall catalog, this one song has stayed with me over the years. Just don’t put it on in the car.
- “Run Like Hell”—Pink Floyd. “Hey, let’s write a song where we say ‘Run, run, run’ over and over…” (We listened to a lot of other Pink Floyd, too.)
- “Shiny Happy People”—R.E.M. “Hey, let’s write a song where we say ‘Doot, doot, doot, doot’ over and over…”
- “Belong”—R.E.M. We spent an afternoon analyzing the lyrics to this one. Essentially we came up with a story where a mother goes crazy, and tells her baby “Belong” before she drops him out a window. Perhaps we need help. (We listened to a lot of R.E.M., too.)
- “Zombie Zoo”—Tom Petty. Full Moon Fever and Into The Great Wide Open got heavy rotation. For more on that, go here.
- “Hitch A Ride”—Boston. Anything from that album, really. Or Don’t Look Back. Or Third Stage. (Although Kris could never figure out why I liked “Cool The Engines” so much. The answer: I just do.
Kris was also responsible for me getting me hooked on They Might Be Giants. And, because of him, I’m probably a much bigger Rush fan than I would be. I, in turn, introduced him to The Cars’ catalog (forced it on him, really).
I was going to go with “Subdivisions” here, because that was the start of a lot of “hang out” sessions (and accompanied many, many, many games of pool and ping-pong). But I ultimately chose “Red Sector A” for one reason.
I can actually see Kris when I listen to it.
“Red Sector A” has an unsymmetrical hi-hat pattern. By that, I mean that Neil Peart varies the beat on which he throws in a certain hit of the high hat. It takes many listens to actually be able to air drum along with it correctly. I remember one day where Kris did just that. And he nailed it. It was impressive. So, for all the hours of music we’ve listened to together, that’s the moment I chose to spotlight.
We remain good friends to this day, although we always lament how infrequently we get to see each other now. (It sucks getting old and having responsibilities!)
But we’ll always have the music…