My Mute Button Is Stuck in the On Position -By: Johnny Mystery
Written by Staff on March 4, 2023
It’s the Summer of 1995, July I believe. I’m spending three glorious weeks at the lake. It’s probably the first or second day. I’m away from work, away from the city, away from the heat. Well, it only feels cooler out there in the sticks. There are no phones, no TV, no obnoxious garbage blaring from an over modulated sound system crammed into some sweaty car, careening down an overpopulated boulevard. It’s the closest you can get to Heaven here on Earth. All I wanna do is stay up late, sleep till whenever and teach my kids how to fish.
At this point in my life, I had pretty much given up on the music biz. I’d become a soccer dad. I had a straight job, a house and was intent on becoming a productive member of society, whatever that meant. There was no point in me picking up a guitar as far as I was concerned. The musical landscape had become a vapid wasteland. The promise of grunge never came to fruition. It ended the day Kurt checked out. Those Seattle bands never had much soul anyway. Hell, I can’t even name a drummer from out there who could play a shuffle to save his ass. The radio was playing The Spice Girls and Green Day so I listened to talk in the car. I’m outta the loop and any new music I got was from glancing at MTV, which was rare.
I gave up checking out the locals. Stale wares on the menu of every place I looked. You like eighties cover bands? How about a little jam and toast? How about the acoustic alternative? Crab races? Mud wrestling? Karaoke? Whatever happened to my rock n roll??? Between you and me, it turns out I should have spent more time in Troy but that’s for another episode of this continuing adventure.
Never mind all that. I just didn’t care. I’m out in the country heading to the local general store to pick up grilling supplies. But on the porch as we walk in, there’s a box of tapes sitting on a table. I just walk by really quick, cause like I said, I don’t care. I have ground beef and hot dogs on my mind. On the way out, I attempt to avert my gaze from the table of cassettes. But they call to me, like the song of the sirens at sea, who lure unsuspecting sailors to their watery doom. My ‘89 Sentra has a tape deck so what’s the harm. How’s the picking? “The Temptations Greatest Hits” looks good, a couple country artists, plus “Night Ranger” and “Oasis.” Wait a minute, I’ve heard of “Oasis” but never really paid attention. Remember, I’m outta the loop. Weird looking, artsy fartsy kind of cover, obviously British. Boy, I’ve been burned by this before, but I buy it anyway.
Back in the car I pop in “What’s The Story Morning Glory” and by what I read on the case; this album had just recently been released. Am I going to like this new music? I turn up the volume and on comes “Hello, Hello.” This is promising but I didn’t hold out much hope for the rest of it. I spent the ride back to camp mesmerized and I’ve only heard the first two or three songs. I played the rest of the tape in a boom box as I fired up the grill. What was I listening to? Somebody was making something good again. I recognized “Wonderwall” from somewhere and as the album continued, the strains of “Don’t Look Back in Anger” sent chills down my spine. They were so obviously influenced by The Beatles, Lennon in particular. “Hey Now” spoke to me for some reason. The rest of the album was a swirling haze of guitar riffs, melody and harmony that I never expected to hear from a new band, EVER! They were crude yet somewhat sophisticated without being pretentious!
I spent the rest of those three weeks listening to “Morning Glory” intensely. Studying the lyrics and memorizing the melodies. I was inspired for the first time in years. I couldn’t wait to start playing my guitar again. Hard to believe somebody was making music like this, let alone it was getting aired and people were actually going to see it performed. This was the next big thing in my opinion, but it really wasn’t. We’re all waiting for that magical band, back then and today. Oasis never got as big in the U.S. as they should have. We want a band that’s going to bust out like technicolor. We want an artist that’s going to speak to us and make an impact on culture. It’s too much to hope for now. Things have changed. Things like that usually sneak up on us when we don’t expect. But there certainly are some weird things going on these days. We are all supposedly smarter now. At least that’s what I’m getting. We don’t need a band or idol to point the way. Can you honestly create your own inspiration out of thin air?
Is there really a next big thing in an increasingly muted world? Greta Van Fleet? Mmmmm…. “Oh, I dunno Davey.” It’s like pouring honey on an ant hill. What’s the story morning glory? It’s a question for greater minds than mine.
Switching gears here, I’m going to keep making an effort to expose some new and seasoned talent I happen to run across in our area.
On the horizon I’d like to introduce you to a local group named, No Such Things As Ghosts who play in the “punk” genre and you can sing, shout and scream to their original tunes. We need some fun like this. They’ll be at The Crossroads in Pittsfield Mass. on March 4th and The Fuzebox in Albany on June 10th.
Now get out there and support rock n roll….