Today I stopped into Gray Whale. It is a wonderful, wonderful place. I was just browsing around in the pop/rock section (with frequent jaunts over to the indie section when a band came to mind) when I heard a delicious guitar solo over the in-store speakers. I wanted to ask one of the three employees who it was, but I was nervous. They all seemed nice enough: asking me if I was looking for anything, re-shelving CDs, scratching their beards and pulling at their grunge-perfect skinny jeans. One of them was leaving and called out in a sincere voice, “I love you, man,” to which his co-worker replied, just as sincerely, “Hey, I love you too.” By the time I’d gotten enough nerve, a few songs had passed, but I asked anyway. The employee was popsicle-stick thin, with scraggly un-washed-looking blonde hair, blonde stubble all over his face, wearing a faded plaid shirt and a look of genuine concern.
Me: Um, do you know who that song was? Not this song, or the last one, but the one before that?
Him: Was it totally shredded? Forehead accordionned together, eyes half-closed in concentration.
Me: Ah. Mm. Ehh…
Him: Like, was it shred-tastic?
Me: Well… I can’t really remember it very well now... *This was mumbled because I do not know what “shred” means.
Him: Well, let’s check it out.
He walks over to his co-worker, who has a phone pressed to his ear and has a very orthodox-Jew looking beard (totally awesome) and asks him about it. The other guys turns to me:
Other Guy: Was it shreddy?
Me: Ah. Mm. Ehh… There weren’t any vocals, just a guitar solo.
Other Guy: Ah! It was probably Dead Meadow.
Me: Ah! Thanks.
Other Guy then gives me a run down on the “birth” of music like Dead Meadow. And how it was post-this, and pre-that and if I was interested in them, I should also check out Dear Hunter and Crocodiles (it’s the one with the midget on the cover). And did I know how Black Sabbath sounds? (I do, thanks to my brother, Daniel.) It’s kind of got the sound of Black Sabbath. He tried to offer me more suggestions, but whoever he was supposed to be on the phone with must’ve actually started talking back. At about this time, I wanted to ask them both to be my friends and if they had any job openings. I didn’t.
I fully intend to check out those three bands, and I’ll let you know what I think. But for now I leave you with something that isn’t exactly shred-tastic, but is definitely fantastic.
This song shoots right to my fif-six-seven-eight-nine-teen-year-old heart. In it is the boy I had a crush on in high school and then the boy I was half in love with my freshman year at college. We’d run into each other on campus, both nervous, and me not quite managing to breathe correctly. To me, everywhere was the park because of him.
THE PARK -cover by Bon Iver
There is one minor swearing incident during the interview, before the song begins. To avoid that, start listening at 0:51.