my music and my family

The Grammys must have sucked this year. I didn’t see them, but the day afterward there was a message on my answering machine from my mother. It said something to the effect of, “Mark, I hope nothing I said to you year ago kept you from pursuing your music. When I see the kinds of bands that they’re giving Grammys to now, I think that maybe your stuff wasn’t that horrible.” How’s that for a compliment?

It reminds me of my college graduation (after seven years in and out of school). My grandmother drove up to Michigan from Kentucky with my parents. After the ceremony, we all went back to the house I lived at with my friends Matt, Dan and Dave, and someone decided to pop in a video of live performance by my band, Prehensile Monkey-tailed Skink. After a few awkward moments of stunned silence (from the family, not the tape), I took it out. Shortly after that, my grandmother, who is a really sweet woman, asked me, “How does it feel to be up there acting like an asshole in front of all those people?” She really was not happy with me. She didn’t see the humor of it… (Looking at that tape now, I’m not sure that I see it either.)

I don’t know what she was expecting from me though. Surely she didn’t think that her misfit of a grandson would pop in a tape showing him fronting a big band, playing the hits of Benny Goodman.

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