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Maybe the aging process is starting to get to me. The gray hairs and
added bills aren't necessarily bothering me, but I find myself growing
more obsessed with time counting as the days pass.
Time, in this case, has been manifested in the number 10. 10, in itself, is a milestone number. Many get an extra
week of vacation time after 10 years on the job. 10 is the number that the Bruins' Alex Zhamnov wears. 10, or
Ten, was Pearl Jam's debut album, while X was the INXS record that featured "Suicide Blonde." X was also a
kick-ass punk band from L.A., but their "X" moniker was not "10" related, as far as I know.
As I write this, I'm sitting at my desk wearing headphones and listening to mp3s on repeat — so far, Led
Zeppelin, Gomez, the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Van Morrison have made cameoes in my eardrums.
|Do you remember these guys? I didn't.
10 years ago, I didn't have a computer, mp3 player, CD
player or record player. In fact, were I writing in January
1996, it would likely have been on my electric Sears
typewriter with my headphones attached to a Sony
walkman. I likely would've been listening to Oasis or
Pearl Jam, and I would have been sitting on my bed,
which I believe may or may not have had a Major
League Baseball comforter. Don't quote me on that.
It's that passage of time that's so mind-boggling. It's
2006, the second-half of the millenium's debut
decade. It just doesn't feel like 1996 was that long
ago; I'm still likely to listen to Pearl Jam, and even
Oasis occasionally, and I still love typewriters. The
world is a much different place, but that's only out of perception — it's probably just as safe now as it was then,
and you can decide for yourself how safe that really is.
Musically, it really is jarring to think about the landscape back then. For you Seattle-ites, Soundgarden,
Screaming Trees and Alice In Chains each released what became their farewell records that year. Bush, Tonic
and Live were some of the more popular bands in rock. Creed wasn't yet a thought for many music fans — that
horrible realization was still a year away.
Now? All three previously-mentioned Seattle bands are defunct. Gavin Rossdale and Bush are a punchline. I
had forgotten about Tonic until a late-night "Buzz Ballads" commercial recently. I think all the guys in Live are
indeed still living. And Creed is now a horrible memory, splintered into an overweight singer and a walking
punchline, Van Hagar wannabe.
However, the 1996/2006 comparison isn't that solid. So many things are different between the two years and
surprisingly un-related that it would just be tiring to keep drawing contrasts. What really makes it jarring is to
think of what's ahead. In 1996, Radiohead were on the cusp of completely redefining what a rock band could be,
while by 2005 they’ve given more than their share back to music. It all feels like a breath now, just an emotion
and moment that poured out naturally, the transition from post-grunge to boy bands to garage rock to …
whatever we’re in right now.
So, what's ahead in 2006? Not necessarily for Radiohead, but who will create the new, exciting sounds for the
rest of the decade and beyond?
It's all very deep, philosophical pondering on guitars, drums and noise — obviously, important subjects. And the
freeing thing about is that there really is no way to tell what will change or how it will happen.
Just sit back and try to enjoy the ride. And I’ll stop counting gray hairs, because that’ll just drive both of us nuts.