This month marks the fifth anniversary of the genesis of this blog. It has also been five years since the writer has used opioids to escape the pain of existence. I have found that keeping track of time of being free from something does little for me in keeping free so there will be no pictures of me holding a sign going on social media anytime soon. The last thing that I desire is to receive accolades for not doing something that I should’ve never started. Some might think that it would be inspirational to others faced with facing reality without opioids flowing through their veins, but I think the inspiration should be coming from those that never start. I think it is imperative that an addict find their own inspiration from a well within that is a bottomless source. One has to find at least one meaning to this existence that overrides the desire to escape the whole of it and let that meaning pull one all the way out of it. That meaning for me was and is my family.
Speaking of family, Avantist is all family. This all-brother band from Chicago is as eclectic as this blog. The first song that I listened to from this band was Red Bible and towards the end of the song, I blurted out a Fuck and started laughing when Fernando Arias ended the track with his own version of the expletive. Therein, I was sucked into their eclectic tunnel of leg shaking creation. It wasn’t long before I found out that they were brothers and that their father is a musician as well, who by example seemed to inspire his sons to their own vocation in the musical arena.
One approach that catches my attention from this group is how they change speeds of the flow of their songs. One song can actually sound as two or three songs in one and I welcome this approach. There is a space between chaos and order that these young men take me to that is a sweet spot for me. I could list some influences like, System of the Down and Mars Volta, but there is so much more richness to the sounds they put out than to go listing a slew of artists that sound as influences. This shit gets my right leg popping like a sewing machine needle and gets my being energized.
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless.”
― Leo Tolstoy
This ole boy from Saskatchewan, Canada is a bullseye to a bow an arrow when it comes to telling a story in a few lines. Lines that flow through baritone chords that pull me back to the record player that my maw-ma gave me for Christmas back when a Ford was President and the radio was the prince to the music industry. When a penny could buy a dozen records from Columbia House with a sign up for mail order. My Dad got in on one of those deals once. So when I got that record player, I had a baker’s dozen of records to choose from. I reckon that one he had to buy at regular price was the last he bought from them. I loved those records. Two of them was Prison recordings from Johnny Cash that wore many needles out. It was not the best idea for letting a seven-year-old boy listen to Cocaine Blues over and over, but it did allow a young boy to fall in love with something that probably saved his life down the road. That something is music and Colter Wall has me missing my maw-ma and that old record player, and I’m as grateful as a Zen master for his cup of tea, for the memories and his music that’s a sparking them.
“We’re to blame because we let them steal,” she told him.
“Let them? We caused ‘em to steal?”
“Yes. We caused them to steal. Penny at a time. Nickel at a time. Dime. A quarter. A dollar. We were easy going. We were good-natured. We didn’t want money just for the sake of having money. We didn’t want other folks’ money If it meant they had to do without. We smiled across their counters a penny at a time. We smiled in through their cages a nickel at a time. We handed a quarter out our front door. We handing them money along the street. We signed our names to their old papers. We didn’t want money, so we didn’t steal money, and we spoiled them, we petted them, and we humored them. We let them steal from us. We knew that they were hooking us. We knew it. We knew when they jacked up their prices. We knew when they cut down on the price of our work. We knew that. We knew they were stealing. We taught them how to steal. We let them. We let them think they they could cheat us because we are just plain old common everyday people. They got the habit.”
“They really got the habit,” Tike said.
“Like dope. Like whiskey. Like tobacco. Like snuff. Like morphine or opium or old smoke of some kind. They got the regular habit of taking us for damned old silly fools.”
House of Earth Woody Guthrie”
― Woody Guthrie, House of Earth