Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Sitting here tonight, listening to Seafarer, I'm thinking back to a few nights ago, watching "Hot Fuzz" for the first time. It's the scene when Danny Butterman is grilling Nicholas Angel about all of his exciting police work experience - the shooting, the high-speed chases, etc. - and he asks if Angel's ever seen "Point Break" - specifically, the part where Keanu Reeves is on his back, firing wildly into the air instead of shooting Patrick Swayze dead. Butterman asks if Angel's ever had or wanted to fire his weapon straight up into the air and shout, "Ahhhhh," before. The answer was no. The reference comes full circle at the end of the movie, with a reenactment of a similar scenario, with Butterman choosing to empty his clip into the sky rather than gun down his fleeing father. The question that Butterman lays out is one that I'd never considered before a few nights ago and after really listening to the Chicago band's new song "New Friend In An Old Hole," I can say that both Patrick Grzelewski (the group's lead singer) and I (through the music he and his band have written) have known what it's like to have this impulse, to want to unload on the sky and shout out all of the contents of our lungs. It must be something quite exhilarating, something that you really only need to do once to last you for a good long time. Grzelewski does this, as a personal exercise when he sings. It might just be his daily affirmation, or a sort of calming mechanism, or something like throwing some salt over a shoulder when a shaker's been spilt accidentally. He's always convincing in his ire, or his gritty, bookworm-y, poetic takes on the things afflicting him - however you'd like to see them - but he's most convincing on the aforementioned song, which gets to a point at its tail-end, where he's repeating multiple times, "It's the same fucking shit." It's no way to be happy, thinking such a thing, with the doubled up cuss words and a general spit to the face in expressing it, but it's not an agro display of emotion, just one of passion and one that comes from a man who thinks such wonderful future conclusions as this one, "That these lips have survived/A life and a war/But now they learn to believe once more/Hear them sing again." He sings of a sky of old souls, but does so in a way that makes those souls sound compromised or threatened, in some way, as if they won't be old souls for much longer. He sings of the north wind, with a steely-wooled chest and something like a resolve to persevere as long as he possibly can. There is never any certainty what kinds of snakes a man holds in his head or his bosom though. There are always lines that get crossed and heads get cracked open, and out those slithery rascals come.