Loud Metal

The other day, specifically when Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell” played through my iPod to my speakers, I had to turn the speakers up.  Loud.   It’s June, the end of it, and summer would have officially started years ago after finals were done.  At that time, driving my parents’ Ford Tempo was a privilege (they let me drive it practically anywhere around the Syracuse area, extending out to Skaneateles and Cazenovia, to the west and east, Baldwinsville expanding to Cicero, covering the north, but never south.  There was no reason to go south.  I was the first one of my friends to obtain a driver’s license, so they were “dependent” on me to get around whenever we wanted our time.

I remember the day when I heard Dimebag Darrell was shot.  In 2004, I was at SUNY Oneonta; it was my senior year, and the first semester was ending.  In the shower, I had the radio on when the news was relayed.  I howled a loud and exended nooooooo, and my roommates probably thought I tripped and/or injured myself (again).  He is still missed.

Gas was less than two dollars, which was great.  It’s not so great now, pushing the four-dollar mark, but we had covered a lot of territory.  We’d purposely get lost and find our way.  This greatly helped with finding our way around the area.  We couldn’t, for shit, tell you how to get places, but we could figure out–for ourselves–how to get back to where we wanted to be.  We could drive you there, but we could not determine street names or direction.  There was that one time after a party that Matt and I took a wrong turn; we were in Baldwinsville and ended up in Cato.  Never had we once crossed into Cayuga County.  We never went back again, or found a reason to.

Our reason now?  Support the New York state wineries.

However, we were too interested in buying cheap beer at one of the markets in a shady part of Syracuse.  They sold to anyone.  I, being the neurotic person that I was (and still a bit am), did not buy any.

I had a few circles of friends that I hung out with in high school, and a couple of the groups extended beyond the West Genesee School District.  However, we–Matt, Brian, John, and sometimes Justin–were practically inseparable.  Justin always thought I played my music way too loud.

Still do.

We listened to metal usually, hence my taste for metal, and occasionally jammed out.  I was terrible on guitar, because of my lack of familiarity with the riffs and speed at which these songs were played.  We had come up with, Brian’s doing, Death Metal Polka.  The fuck-around improvisational song had nothing to do with polka or its rhythm.  The instrumental song consisted of the same riff for the chorus, a clean-toned fun progression up and down the fretboard.  The chorus would be one mess of shit, randomness in the same key.  Since there was no bass player with us, Brian would tune down and I would play in standard or (sometimes) tune up for distinction.

My guitar teacher at the time, Joe Precourt, who now plays with Chief Big Way, a local cover band, focused–when not on the basics of notes and chords–on blues and rock.  As a side note, Chief Big Way is fronted by its drummer, Joey Belladonna, who is from the New York (up-and-downstate-representated) band Anthrax.  Chief Big Way does plenty of covers, but they are absolutely fantastic to watch and listen to.

So, we would drive around and kill time after finals and before having to study.

The recollection comes to me now and again.  While driving from Skaneateles yesterday, taking the back roads and putting my foot upon the petal a little heavy at times, I was cranking Chiamaira and Every Time I Die loud and proud (although, we did not listen to Every Time I Die in high school–I didn’t hear about the band until college).

Yes, so I listen to metal and hardcore.  I know I talk about jazz and blues, bluegrass (from time to time), ska, and folk amongst many other genres.  I love my music.  I will listen to Andrea Bocelli loud and proud and will nod my head to A Tribe Called Quest.  My parents have an eight-to-ten-disc (I cannot remember the total) collection of songs from the 1950’s called Malt Shop Memories; all the discs are on my iPod.  Life is too short to disrespect a plethora of music.

We’d be mallrats at Camillus Mall and Carousel Center, before it installed the age restrictions and morphed into Destiny USA.  I don’t venture into Destiny as much anymore.  I hop in for H & M, but that’s about it.  Borders isn’t in the mall anymore, which is a shame (I spent so many hours in that bookstore).  At Borders, I found excellent deals.  You had to look and be a scavenger, but you could find awesome deals.  I came across a $27 book, which is a Phillip K. Dick anthology (YES!), for $5.

You cannot beat great science fiction for that significant of a discount.

The girl at the cash register expressed her jealousy, and said she would have bought that if she would have known about it.  She asked me for it, but I could not pass that by.

People watching was clutch as well.  Due to my refusal to date anyone I went to high school with me (no offence), my main goal was to pick someone up at the bookstore.  At the time, it was a reasonable idea, and I firmly believe that it still is.  I would like to date a reader, an intellectual, so there was no harm in that.  Kids would terrorize their parents by picking out the books and movies with the most vibrant colors, if they made noise.  While going up the escalator, you could peer down at the magazines and the guys looking at the Penthouse and Playboy magazines, wondering why they couldn’t wait until they got home, or to their car at least.  At least you could have some privacy in your car; it’s important not to drive off the road, people.

Practice safe driving:  let someone else do the dirty work for you.

What?  Don’t look at me like that.


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