Thursday, November 12, 2009


My 8 month old daughter is quite a little menace. We put her to bed and she gets up repeatedly. Nothing seems to work. I fed her a bottle tonight and got her to fall asleep on my arm but as soon as I put her in the crib she was crying again. I decided to try a different tactic. I took her downstairs, where I keep my lazy boy. I let her crawl around the floor as I picked the perfect cassette. I should probably explain that I have a music nook in my basement where I can relax and listen to albums and tapes. It's where all my outdated but still awesome music collection resides. The tape I picked tonight was Establishment, the first band I was ever in. Good music from 1989.

I held my little girl and listened to the music her father made 20 years ago. It was a pretty low-fi affair, made on a 4-track recorder, but there is something about it that I still love. My most recent CD was released less than a month ago. It was recorded in a professional studio, yet I could still see the connection from where I was as an artist then, and where I am now. Basically I am, and have always been, a pretty pretentious and morose musician. Establishment had songs about sadness and suicide. There were definite influences from Joy Division and the Cure, and the drummer was a machine. Mercurial Rage is really the grown up version of Establishment in many ways.

In 1989 I spent about 2 months reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It took that long to read because it is a big book, and well, It takes me awhile to read things. I still read pretty slow. I think I read it slowly because I was trying to impress the chick who lent it to me, and also because it was blowing my mind. The book left an impression on me. I can remember being in study hall quickly doing my analytic geometry homework so I could get back into the world of Howard Roark. I would imagine myself as a detached genius whose true soul comes out only in his creations. It was really a lot of bullshit, but it influenced the content of my music at the time. Establishment is not a good name for a rock band, but to me it spoke of the importance of creation, creativity, and the foundations of art as a necessary function of mankind. One of our songs was called Abysmal Altruist which was basically and homage to Rand's notion of individual freedom being a greater good than social equality. My biggest problem today is I still find myself more akin to Rand's thinking than I do with the prevailing logic prevalent in Obama's America. I often feel like an outsider in politics. I'm not a republican, but I certainly am not a democrat either.

I held my little girl and patted her back. I was happy, at peace, listening to me from 2 decades past, express myself through song. Of course there were other members of Establishment. Guitar god Paul Erickson, and singer Joe Allper from Seattle. I really can't rightly speak of them in this simple bloggity post. They each deserve their own. All I can say is, 20 years later, Establishment is still catchy as fuck pop music. I am proud to have been a part of it.

The little girl started to cry again, so I gave her to her mother. I think I need to go downstairs and finish listening to that wonderful Establishment record.

1 comment:

belsum said...

Establishment rule! I loved the reunion of sorts at our wedding. I get Trumpeteer stuck in my head quite frequently.