Monday, June 25, 2007

Strawflower's Waltz, No. 2

I grew up in Kentwood, a typical suburb about 15 minutes south of Grand Rapids. My best friend Tim and I started getting into music, specifically punk and ska, in the 8th grade. Grand Rapids is not really a "tour" city...ya know, like a city that bands plan on going to while they're on tour. So we had to either drive a while to see national acts, or settle for local stuff. Settling for local stuff meant you couldn't be too we went to metal shows, punk shows, ska shows, and shows where bands played a weird mixture of all these styles. This was in the late 90's. One of the best places to see shows in GR around that time was in the basement of Vinyl Solution. Vinyl Solution was an independent record store. Herm Baker worked there, he now owns Vertigo and he's a stand up guy. But I didn't know him then. Anyway, they had shows in the basement. It was usually the same people at all the shows and you got to know people. You had the people you disliked because they danced like assholes. You had the girls that you never talked to, but always kinda looked for. It was a pretty tight community.

I have a lot of fond memories of that place. This one in particular was a Bounty Hunters show. they played really heavy ska, it was pretty weird. There were probably 25-30 kids in this little basement, almost everyone in the mosh pit (it was the 90's and mosh pits were considered totally bad ass). Someone got the idea that I should crowd surf (also considered cool at the time), so I did. But crowd surfing wasn't allowed and they were pretty strict about it. So when the guy doing security saw me, he pulled me down by my neck. It kind of hurt, but what i was really upset about was that when he pulled me down, he grabbed the neck of the shirt I was wearing that night...which just so happened to be a Crass shirt I stole from my brother's room without asking him. So there I was, in a sweaty (mostly other people's sweat) ruined shirt that wasn't mine. I was a little worried that my brother would be pissed about it. There was this dirty punk kid sitting outside wearing an Operation Ivy t-shirt and he offered to trade shirts. Since mine was all wet and stretched out I took him up on the offer. My brother never found out about the shirt and I still have the Operation Ivy shirt, but it's pretty beat up.

But I guess my favorite memories from Michigan shows, or involving Michigan music really revolve more around the people. They were people from a certain place and time. I still see some of them, and we don't really talk, but we recognize each other. Tim and I usually hung out with kids we met at shows, we dated girls we met a shows, we got drunk for the first time with kids we met at shows, we smoked our first cigarettes with kids we met at shows, we didn't really hang out with kids from our high school. It was a pretty cool time and place to grow up.



Anonymous Jes said...

Herm actually owned Vinyl solutions, I think.

11:45 AM  
Blogger zr said...

I played bass with The Bounty Hunters.
Funny coming across this. I just listened to all our stuff. Wow!

Great memories.
Before Vinyl Solutions was the Lexicon Club downtown GR. We really played all over.

I have not kept in touch with the other guys... Yann, you out there somewhere?? Anyone? Hello. It would be neat to see where everyone is at now!


8:10 PM  

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