Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
The other weekend, while in New York City, we happened to venture over to Shea Stadium. The taxi dropped us off where we thought we wanted him to drop us. It ended up being a bit of a walk to get to where we wanted to, or thought we wanted to be. We walked close to 10 city blocks, getting further and further from where we thought we were supposed to be heading. We were seeing no people and we were passing by all kinds of industrial buildings and warehouses, the big, smelly trucks shut off for the night and resting behind chain-link fences. There was a misplaced handball court and then suddenly we spotted a young man or woman here and there, seemingly heading in one particular direction. We followed them to a steep set of concrete stairs that took us up to what had to have been, officially, the third or fourth floor of the unspectacular building. We were immediately struck by confusion. What was this place and how in the shit could it exist. There were people smoking whatever they pleased and they were serving alcohol in the back, doubtfully legally, and the place looked like the place where high school kids go when they run away from home. There was a battered couch for anyone brave enough to sit on it and the paint job on the walls couldn't have been more imprecise. An homage to the New York Mets was, appropriately, on the wall in blue and orange. There was a balcony that offered nothing more than something of the outside, but certainly no view. It was a place where a band like Pat Jordache could be king. It's a place where these Canadians could bring about the loudest cheers and the most foaming at the mouth. It's music that lives not for the stumble home, through neighborhoods that you're not familiar with, through neighborhoods that may not want you, but they'll take you, but for the preface to those stumbles. These are big moon proclamations of big souls. They are anthems for those looking to feel more or feel differently. They are songs for those who know that they haven't found what they're looking for yet. They're not in the right place, but whatever this is, it will do for just now and there's nothing to be scared of. They'll sleep on that sketchy couch and they'll party until the sighs of the morning hit. They'll take the chances they want and they'll survive. The characters in these songs are trying to save their own souls and feel that they're the only ones capable of doing such a thing. They're right and that in itself is a form of salvation. It's a lot of heart using. It's what the thing's there for.