When I was a little kid I remember listening to the old records my mom and dad would play on lazy Sunday afternoons. I'd just lay there and drift away to the sounds coming out of that old record player while the rest of the family took a nap or read. It wasn't long until I knew every song by Elton John, Michael McDonald, The Beatles, James Taylor, and yes...Michael Jackson. I'd proudly sing along to every line like it was my own and pretend I was on stage in front of thousands of people, sweeping them off their feet with my powerful lyrics. I thought I was in fact "Bad."
I wanted to be those artists. I wanted to capture people's imagination with a melody or lyric...But I was also 10 and liked basketball, baseball cards, the girl who sat next to me in the 4th grade, and sporting a mullet(years later I would figure out the mullet was working against me getting the girl, thanks a lot mom).
Flash forward about 9 years... I'm a freshman at Chapman University trying to decide which elective class to take during the Spring Semester. I had just finished my first long and stressful season of college basketball and wanted to take a class that was fun and easy, something I could basically go to half the time and still get an A in. I scroll through the list of GE classes and finally just pick one without a whole lot of thought..."Screw it" I said, I'll just try this one:
Intro to Guitar 100
Maybe it was life's way of circling back. Maybe it was just dumb luck. Probably a little of both. But from the moment I first strummed my guitar in that class I wanted to write those songs again. There was something so fascinating in the sound of those chords. Something real I couldn't quite describe. I didn't care if I looked stupid in front of my basketball buddies for carrying a guitar around campus...I was hooked... and I NEVER missed a class(well maybe one or two but that's just not as dramatic).
Flash forward 5 about years... It's last Sunday afternoon. The band and I are jamming to our new song "Something Good" in the middle of Second Spin Records...life is good. Then after the show the store manager comes up to me and says, "We'll sell your record in the store if you'd like us to"?
I try to pretend like it's no big deal, try to act cool. I try not to act like the kid who used to rock out by himself to Michael Jackson with his mullet when no one was watching. Or the kid who would get a fake guitar from Chucky Cheese's and pretended he was in Aerosmith. Or the kid who would spend hours upon hours in his garage working on his voice so he could muster up enough courage to sing his own songs in front of people...
"Oh sure that'd be great", I say.(very cooly, I might add)
I give her some information. They make the little plastic divider with my name on it...MY NAME ON IT...and that's that. We shake hands and I'm gone.
I walk out of the store and try to hide my smile, but I just can't. It's a lazy Sunday afternoon and I'm dreaming again.
If you go down to Second Spin Records and browse the aisles you'll find all the classics... Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones...and yes, Michael Jackson.
And in the same section, if you look hard enough, somewhere between Damien Rice and Deathcab For Cutie, you can find "Oxford Street."
And that feels pretty cool... feels pretty,"Bad."