Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
This letter - proudly open for all to see - was going to start and end with three dozen exclamations of, "DON'T DO IT!! Don't Do It! don't do it…don't…do it…" It was going to start with fierce anger and all capital letters and gradually mellow into a slow absorption of the reality and a conclusion that little said here can change what you went through that led to you breaking up two weeks ago, blindsiding all of us.
These days of mourning were never supposed to bear down on us. These April showers that have been flooding basements and inducing sluggishness in the blue, white and no-collared workers all over this great nation of ours are not precisely for the forthcoming May flowers boys. No sirs. They say when it thunders, it means that God's bowling, but we'd concur. These days if you hear the invisibility around you bellowing with an impending downpour, it's God throwing a goddamn tantrum, a hissy fit, because The Teeth (you guys) were not just the people's band - four guys to share their sweaty stink, all of the goodies from their fanny packs, their smokes, their beer-clicking cheers, their youth and their riveting songs about stupid ass girls and the boys who still long for them - you were the big man's band. It's no religious connotation, just a flagrant fact that some higher creation put you four men together to comprise the wiliest, most inventive and shakingest live rock and roll band that this green earth has ever had the privilege of claiming. It's a huge statement to make, but anyone who witnessed one or more of your shows on your endless tour will vouch for the undeniable star-powered presence and the punch to the guts that you delivered in a barreling, no-holds-barred fit of entertaining devilishness should you have been running on fumes or should you have been gassed up on cheap ale and slightly less cheap hard liquor. You - Peter, Aaron, Brian and Jonas - brought the black cats, the bottle rockets, the flares, the Roman candles and the fiery fountains every time you plugged in, no matter the crap hole that you were visiting that night. You made me - and it's safe to say that I speak for all of us - want to get drunk and yet, sadly, we never did get drunk together. And now it will never happen, gone as you are inexplicably from our lives for the time being. We'll get to see you "remarried" to other fellas with instruments, under new names, but you can never have a second first time.
Peter, you've always impressed us with your mustachios and your daft way with that tuneful ear of yours. Jonas, you were the quiet straight man to the three land mines that were constantly being set off right in front of you following and most often setting the tone for this band that could easily be charged with thinking about pop songs in a more abstract way than the vast majority of its peers. You wrote into existence five-course meals with every song. You gave us salad, soup, surf and turf with fancy spuds and asparagus sprigs, and then two over-sized dishes of dessert, standing behind us and with every other bite, you'd change course with a hairpin turn and make the forkful jump into our lap, almost reaching our mouths. You were always surprising and always action-packed. Aaron, the obscure tales ("So don't worry what the alcoholics said/If it were up to them/We'd all be dead.") that you told about these fictitious (or real) people were as if they were lost scraps of Woody Allen screenplays, Salinger ramblings of phonies or the same kind of Wes Anderson nuggets that invented Chaz's Dalmatian mice. And Brian, the way that you created the greatest conflict for the ears and eyes (only two of each and yet three main events to keep tabs on) as well as keeping that mustache so curled with grit on its two ends was always a treat. When you played at Big Orange in Austin not even a month ago, sampling the Ice Cream Man's wares in the hot sun, Aaron blew up that red balloon mid-song. He tried once and it failed, sizzling to the ground - the knot unsuccessful. He picked it up amid the rest of your stoic faces (all in on the bit) and blew into it again. When he threw it and it slowly descended to the peed upon (long story) gravel ground, we all knew that when it hit the rocks that the song was going to kick back in. We'd go back there right now - to when you were still together, still making music - with that red balloon suspended for all time.
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