“Can You Feel November Inside of My Soul?”

photoI had spent the better part of the previous month saying“December Tenth!” to everyone on Gordon’s campus. Jenny’s cousin Stacey can attest to this. Everyone knew there was some sort of thing going on that night at Lane, aka the student center in the Cafeteria/Hall. 

They hadn’t trusted us yet to rehearse in the chapel, never mind hold a full scale concert there. This made things next to impossible when it actually came to running tunes. We only had three at that point, and we were rehearsing them for this show. The one thing that made it relatively easy was that I had yet to be “permitted” to play a full drum kit. Joseph had a grand vision, and even at that early stage I knew meant tough times ahead. This vision included me playing congas on one tune, snare with brushes on another, and just hi-hats on the other.

This spare setup obviously had a limited future, but Jose was still holding on to the dream at that point. And after all, we had to be able to cart all the stuff in to a student lounge, totally take over the joint for an hour, and then pack up and haul it back away. It was working for the time being.

This, my first concert I ever promoted, had 6 bands on the bill rocking out in the cafeteria, and I believe I was playing with 4 of them. Yes, that happened even twenty years ago.

I much prefer to think of the absolute foolish innocence of this period of our lives over that of the foolish willfulness and disregard we demonstrated later and even after later. In commemorating the genesis of this thing, I can only seem to think about its departure.

People were generous with their compliments. These people who encouraged the next 7 year roller/trapeze/talent show/audition that we endured with each other were our friends we went to school with. Like any good divorce story, there are some I am still friends with, and some that I’ll not ever need be in touch with again.

I’ve spent the past 13+ years since the unfortunate demise of Scarlet Haven celebrating some vague sense of the passage of time every year on the Tenth of December. What I’ve not really experienced is the completion of grief; it hasn’t completely passed yet.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to really bathe in the kind of unfortunate circumstance that you know will stain you for a long time to come. The saying goodbye of the only true dreams your adult life had known up to that point is the stuff of novels.

These days, the memory is like a mostly-removed tattoo that is not at all ever visible to the public. Most times, you can’t even see it in private.

What I’ve recognized after the past few days of listening to our short entries in to the annals of “art rock,” as we all called it (or “art fag” as Court famously uttered on air with Shred on WBCN) is that now, twenty years on, I feel exactly the same about all of it as I did then, as I did upon our farewell, and all the years since. This was vital, and ultimately too precious, music that had an ability to stretch and reach people beyond what we ever had imagined. We were pleased and humbled to be vessels for it, but this ceased being enough for us later on.

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Of the members of the band that have chosen to stay in touch… I’ve forgiven Joseph for being stubborn and hotheaded. I’ve certainly forgiven Jenny for boycotting band meetings for the last 2 years of our career. They weren’t a pleasant place to be. I’ve even forgiven Aaron for being an incendiary jackass.

Everyone wants to entertain a “what if” scenario about a concert or some sort of thing. Whenever this date or any other such occasions come up, there’s always a small bit of chatter about “well, why not?” I’ll tell you: there’s too many questions about what went wrong and why and what has happened since then; too little meaningful discussion. This applies especially to the fate of the masters of our final recording sessions that we had been demoing for labels and have been just out of our grasp for the past 13 years for reasons no one knows.

For that reason, and for the hope of celebrating something that was to be, I wanted everyone to get a chance to hear those recordings, if you hadn’t already. Believe me, they are certainly demos. I hope you’ll hear the same sense of optimism we were clinging to at that point.

The fact that anyone has ever remembered our little mark we tried so hard to make more permanent is such a rare gift to have been given. The weather was a little little rougher than we had anticipated, and it continues to degrade what had been exposed to time. It might forgive, but I can’t quite figure out what it forgets.