Tuesday, April 20, 2010
the rain is gone/the pain is gone
I have an uneasy memory of getting in a fistfight with this kid at the soccer fields behind the middle school. We were both young so there weren't too many punches, but a lot of grappling and flailing. I remember knocking the kid's head against the nearby playground equipment, which seems really scary now. He pulled out a lot of my hair, a thing I didn't find out until the silent car ride home when it starting falling out in clumps, which I gathered together in awe of how much had come out.
The thing that taints the memory the most was that my dad witnessed the fight. It happened during my sister's soccer game, my opponent was an older brother of one of the other girls on her team (or the opposing team, I guess). My dad was the coach of my sister's team, so he couldn't break away from the game to stop us or express his dissatisfaction. But he was not proud of me, and that car ride home with the growing pile of hair was really a bad trip.
The next time I went to one of my sister's games I sat in the car for the duration. I'm not sure if I was in trouble, and not allowed to attend, or if I just was being petulant and wanted to sit in the car. Earlier that week I had seen the video for "Take it Personal" on BET and had managed to get the cassingle for the song, I think from my friend Wayne. I sat in the car for the hour or so of the game and just rewound the tape over and over listening to the song. I remember being really struck at the emotion in the song, I felt like Guru made himself really vulnerable. It felt very close in spirit to most of what I was listening to at that time--Rollins Band, Nine Inch Nails, Green Day--but had a much different effect. In a lot of ways, this relatability was what pulled me out of this first stage of abject, tortured angst, and got me listening to a lot less guitar-based heartsick laments.
Guru was sick for the last few months, and his coma got me talking to a few friends about how much or how little we've listened to Gang Starr in the past few years. The answer was mostly not much. But there's no denying how important Gang Starr was to my adolescent life, and wether or not I even hear his voice on a song like "Mass Appeal" I have to say it was his attitude that brought me to their music in the first place. Rest in Peace....
Posted by Ethan Swan