another old friend appears

This was a week for rekindling old friendships. First there was tea with Don Cupery, an old housemate from a decade ago. He had, over the last year or so, made repeated overtures of friendship, but Id kept up my anti-social behavior, always making excuses as to why I couldnt go out. Like a hermit crab, I finally, after much coaxing, poked my eye-stalks out from under the lip of my shell though. We went out and I had a good time. It was, as if by doing that, I opened up a long-closed door. All of a sudden, stuff started coming my way and I started taking advantage of it.

I had a beer a few nights ago with Andy Claydon. Andy, I think he might go by Andrew now, used to play in bands around Ann Arbor back in the day, back when I used to do that too. His band, The Monarchs, shared many a bill with my band, Prehensile Monkey-tailed Skink. He worked at a copy shop back then, years before I took up that same vocation. In that sense, and in others, he was, and continues to be, a pioneer.

Id only seen him once in the past ten years. I was at the local community college, getting ready to walk into a calculus class, when I saw him scurry past, on the floor below the one that I was on. I wasnt sure it was him, but I took a chance and said, Monarchs suck, Skink rules. He didnt hear me.

A year or so later, I got an email from him suggesting that we meet to discuss old times. (I mentioned his email, which came to me under a subject line reading, longer, thicker penis, a week or so ago.) Thursday night was our blind date. We met at the Sidetrack in Ypsi at 10:00 to take advantage of the cheap beer.

Andy did most of the talking. There wasnt much of anything about me that he didnt already know. Hed apparently been keeping track over the years, reading Crimewave USA and looking at this website. He knew about the song my current band, The Monkey Power Trio, had sold to Fox Sports a few years ago. He knew about the house that Linette and I had bought. He knew about our marriage. He knew that wed launched the CrimewaveUSA website. He even knows that I like the smell of my own feet, I realized as I was sitting there, sipping my second 20oz Black and Tan. All I could really contribute to the conversation was the occasional paranoid political rant, the type that I censor myself from posting here for fear of being carted off by Ashcrofts secret police.

The conversation was great though. Andy, and Id forgotten this, is an absolutely brilliant genius. We talked music and art theory, two things that I know next to nothing about. He told me about his most recent musical project, MHz, and his label, FlyingBomb. He told me about the many times that hed been screwed by major labels once they descended on the Detroit scene in the wake of the White Stripes. He didnt seem terribly bitter about it, at least not as bitter as I would have been.

We talked about the music business and huge industry it had become. We discussed the fact that Clear Channel communications had come into Detroit and started buying up venues and closing down others. We talked about the business of running a small label, something that I havent given much thought to even though my band essentially does that. We talked about the economics of pressing vinyl and playing shows. We talked about music as art, and then about art itself. He and I share an affinity for the idea of the artist as architect, someone who draws the plans and calls the shots, but doesnt necessarily put paint on canvas him or her-self. I could write a lot more, but well stop here for now. I have a lot more to say.

mm.com photo exclusive
Here, is Andy as he looked last night, while manning the sales booth at the Bulb Records ten year anniversary show. (Andy and I were both with bands that released stuff on Bulb when it just started, ten years ago.)

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