Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineering by Mike Gentry
The easiest thing to do would be to just to let things happen to us, to just let the jabs and the slaps, the kisses and the scoldings strike us and bounce off of us without so much as a blink, a grimace or a blushing. We could just get by, keeping our heads down and getting from one point to another with as little interaction or concern as possible. We could just get in and get out, feel the most sensational things in the simplest and most soulless ways, blinded by any of its importance or color. We could have planned out in our heads a very direct line, the shortest distance to the exit, just so we'd know which direction to turn if everything went awry. John Gleason and his gang of Roadside Graves mates are committed to being the exact opposite kinds of people and we're that much luckier for it. The New Jersey band cannot help but be a lightning rod for those personal moments that aren't just internally collected and filed away silently, invisibly right next to the tear storage and that big bag of courage, but they allow those sentiments to be all that they care about, all that they'd like to think about when the night calls for reflections. These are the kinds of people who don't bother themselves with the trifling and insignificant matters of the skin, or the surface, but only those kinds of things that they feel can work them over, things that if they were left to their own designs could actually alter one's molecular structure, changing them substantially, like a marauding ghost or an unspeakable presence.
The matters that Roadside Graves deal with are those that could be downright corrosive if they were unchecked or ignored. They are those strong emotions that we could get lost in if we wanted. Most people choose to just skate by them, barely acknowledging them because they believe there to be more substantial things to worry about, like how they're going to pay for groceries, those very basic things that - while important - are just matters of the pocketbook and nothing that could help the spirit. Gleason sings at the beginning of "Glory," "Talk about work like it was holy," and the sentiment seems to follow the band's new album, "We Can Take Care Of Ourselves," around like a good dog. It's the idea of putting in the effort to enhance everything, knowing that it's for a greater good. There's always something that needs to be done as the maintenance on a person is never-ending, a persistent concern. It means getting the emotional piss knocked out of us frequently, but when we sit down in our chair at night, to take the load off our battered legs and feet, we can feel the strength in our hands and our barrel chests. We feel the tiny arms wrapped around those tuckered out legs and we look down at the bright little eyes that we helped make and damn if we don't feel as if we're in the right place - feeling for these other people, feeling for ourselves and absorbing those pains when we have to. Gleason continues on "Glory,"Lately, there ain't been much time to drink/Do what I do then tuck it all in." When it's good, we just become preoccupied in the times and the things that happen to us while we're busy growing bald and frail. "We Can Take Care Of Ourselves," is one of these passages after another, where we feel the sunsets and the sunrises striking us like hammers and killer waves, us with those ending frames to spot and witness.