If you’ve spent an amazing portion of your life listening deeply to the music that has carried you through the highs and lows of your life like I have, you should remember the very first time when you heard or saw that one song or band has punched you so fucking hard in the heart and danced with your soul. Some of the music I’ve discovered skipped right over the dancing with your soul aspect and went right to fucking your soul in a bubblebath with candles, roses, champagne, and punk rock blazing out of the speakers.
I’ve certainly had my share of one night stands with punk rock, but I’ve always called them the next morning, adding them to my playlist and mastering the art of musical polygamy.
This is what I feel every time I put on a bouncing souls record, or rancid, or bad religion, descendents, no use for a name, pennywise, h20, the specials, lagwagon, social d, beach slang, against me, less than Jake, and so on… and so on… and so on…
Last night while I was driving around my current town, the beautiful and magnificent city of San Diego, I began to reflect on the night that I discovered a new sound that I’ve never heard before.
On this night, my girlfriend who eventually went on to become my fiancée, and then my wife of 11 years had told me that her and my best friend Darren were going to a show at the Court Tavern in the STD infested college town of New Brunswick, NJ. At first, I wasn’t going to go. I know I know, that is way out of character for me to say no to a show in a tiny little club “where the air is hot and the music is loud”. But I went, and the music was loud, and the air was extremely hot, probably the hottest show I’ve ever gone to. They said that I should go with them, they told me that I do not want to miss this band. They sound a like Bruce Springsteen with a punk rock twist. I thought that sounded awesome being that I am a huge Springsteen fan. So there we were, in line waiting to pay for admission. The band took the stage and as soon as Brian Fallon opened his mouth to spit out the first line from the first song “I took a drive today, I thought about you, I thought about a friend who passed, and how much we just went through” I started to feel my eyes fill up with water and I had peaceful smile on my face. This was the night that made me realize that I’ve been taking living in New Jersey for granted. It was the night that I fell in love with the place where I got my name from. It was the night that I KNEW not only was the next 45 minutes going to be absolutely fucking magical, but also the night that my wife and I would begin our journey together. This was the night that I discovered The Gaslight Anthem.
I remember driving home from the show that night on the pitch black Rt. 18 listening to the only record they had out at the time, “sink or swim”. I just couldn’t believe what I was listening to. I couldn’t fathom how I have never even heard the name before tonight. The show was sold out, and when they were playing EVERYONE was dancing and singing along to the songs. I was definitely living under a rock, there was no way I haven’t even heard their name before. But I hadn’t. That didn’t matter though because I was so fucking in and there was no way I was going to try and get out.
My friends had surprised me by throwing a bachelor party at a Gaslight show held at the Asbury Lanes, the greatest venue that god ever created. The thing was though, my soon to be wife and her girls also surprised her by bring her to the same show. So you can look at this either way:
1: It ended up being a dual bachelor/bachelorette party
2: Fuck the bachelor/bachelorette party and lets just go to the show all together and have an amazing time.
Girls think its cute to walk around town during a bachelorette party with straws that look like dicks. And so they walk in the lanes with a bunch of cocks and it was really funny. Bonnie had a penis sports bottle with a straw coming out of the tip of it. Now I don’t remember if it was her idea or not, of if I hijacked it. But either way, we had the entire band autograph it along with Pete and Bryan from the souls who were there spinning records and getting drunk off cheap tequila. This was almost 12 years ago, and guess what, we still have that punk rock cock somewhere hidden in the closet so our kids don’t find it.
Those really were some amazing times we had. Some good memories. I really do miss nights like that. I’m not saying for a second that I wish we could go back and remain in those years. We aren’t kids anymore and I know that. But what I really do miss with all of my heart are our personalities from that time. I lost myself after the first couple of years in North Carolina. I forgot who I was. I dressed like a dork, I had a dorky haircut, and I lost my personality and developed a lame new one. And now that we’re in San Diego, I’m starting to come back down to earth and continue where I left off before I left Jersey forever. I’m not acting like a 20 something year old, I’m trying to get my responsibilities in order because I want to be able to move forward while still keeping my authentic heart. Unfortunately, I think Bonnie has forgotten where we came from and just isn’t into the things she was into all those years ago. While on the brink of divorce, I attempted to help her remember the things that we used to love together by bringing her to a bouncing souls show a few months ago. The souls gave us a shout out just like they did the night we got engaged. But her expression just wasn’t the same. She just doesn’t have the same flame in her heart that I do. It’s selfish of me to try and reach her in the way that I won her over all those many many years ago. It’s selfish of me to try and “change her”, which I’m not trying to do. I just don’t want her to forget all those moments we’ve experienced together. From falling in love, to picking out her engagement ring, to losing a friend who lost his battle with mental illness, to the music that brought us together, literally. She stalked me at a bouncing show the night before we actually started talking. We got engaged at a bouncing souls show. And if you believe in fate, the bouncing souls played in San Diego the night that she came home after living in an airbnb for a week because she had to get away from me. When I was sliding her engagement ring on for the first time in the middle of a mosh pit at a bouncing shows show on December 10th 2007, not for a second did I think that we would eventually move 3,000 miles away to San Diego and mention the word “divorce” more times that I can count. This being the most depressing time (for me) in our 14 year relationship just doesn’t seem real. It’s more like a fucked up nightmare. My only mission right now is to hold on as long and as hard as I can before my heart inevitably deflates and I lose myself. Right now all I am is a lost soul, emotionally alone in an amazing city where I know absolutely nobody. San Diego is full of amazing and beautiful people who share common interests with me, but nobody will ever know me here the way people from the other side of the country ever will.
Before I turn this into a pity party, I’d like to point out that we still do have fun together. I can’t read her mind, so I don’t know everything she is thinking about, but I have to believe that she still gets that spark in her eye whenever I walk into a room like before. Just like I still do today whenever she walks into a room.
Hey wake it up! Hey shake it out!
Does anything still move you since you’re educated now?
And all grown up and travelled well
Do you still hear the sound of thunder while you lie up by yourself?
Like you waited on this call and made your plans for great escapes
And there used to be a movement in the way your dress would wave
From your hips on down like electric through the ground
Now do you blow it out come Friday night?
See if you wanna, you can find me on the hood under the moonlight
Radio, oh radio, do you believe there’s still some magic left
somewhere inside our souls?
Like I waited on your call and made my plans to share my name
And I love the country movement in the way your dress would wave
From your hips on down like electric through the
Sound of the cars rushing the rain on the boulevard
In this city by the sea that has always haunted me
And belonged to me somehow
Bless your waters and your doubts
Bless your waters
Bless your doubts
❤️⚡️ The Gaslight Anthem ⚡️❤️
☠️ NJ ☠️