Brand X at Westford Academy

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


We played in the middle of a snowstorm and we had enough power to turn on our keyboards but not enough power to play them. It is a common writer’s exercise to try and sum up a story with a single sentence and that’s how I would sum up the story of Brand X’s first show at Westford Academy in the winter of 1996.

The set-list went like this:

  1. Orange (Hicks)
  2. Never Forget (Clark/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy)
  3. Made Of Clay (Martin/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Mills, Clark)
  4. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (REM)

It was a good set, despite the problems. KenMills, JonMartin, and I had to learn quickly how to bang out the keyboard parts on the two pianos the stage had. Somebody was recording the show and Andy and I took a listen on a small tape-recorder later on and it was pretty good.

“Orange” was always good. Andy was always on with that song. This was the first or second time we’d played “Never Forget” and it worked pretty well. “Made of Clay” was a good song by Jon. “End of the World” was our standard closer.

The day had started when I’d driven home from Berklee and seeing Nydia. My fingers smelled of her the whole way and I had the window rolled down in the cold, about-to-snow weather to get rid of the scent. When I got to Ken and Adam’s apartment to meet up with Ken and Jon though, I might as well have kept my hand inside the nice warm car. They were so excited to hear that I had finally done something sexual that they probably would’ve taken whiffs of my fingers if I’d mentioned the lingering but minor scent. The three of them, (Ken, Jon, and Adam), pulled me into a room to talk about the whole thing in gory detail without spoiling the “virgin” ears of Adam’s girlfriend.

The band traveled to Westford Academy as the snow storm was beginning. By the time we went on and my parents were in the audience the emergency power was on. By the time we were loading out and Jon was bitching about the quality of the other bands, (which, it turns out, was apparently annoying Andy and Dubner even though they were making fun of them too) the snow had piled up. It took an hour and a half to two hours for me to drive Beth the Bassist and Jon home and then drive home myself. It normally would have taken about thirty minutes.

We had a show the next night at Bradford and we didn’t know if it would be canceled, but unless someone called us otherwise we would meet at Jon’s the next day for rehearsal.