New Year’s With Jon & Missy

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

I spent New Year’s Eve 1996 with JonMartin and Missy, who I’m pretty sure were still dating at the time. I don’t recall what we did besides sit in Jon’s room at his house in Lowell, but I do recall that I was responsible for picking up the Chinese food before I came over and the restaurant Jon had ordered from was in the opposite direction of his house. I’m sure we had a pretty good time but out of all the New Year’s Eves of the 90s, this is the one I have the faintest memories of.

That’s probably not true, I guess. There are probably New Year’s Eves from early on in the 90s that I won’t remember when I get to thinking about them. Oh well.

It was the third year in a row I’d spent New Year’s at JonMartin’s place though. That’s worthy of note. It was also most probably the most pleasant of those three years because the first year I was with Tracy and Jon and I weren’t getting along and the second year the band played a show and I had a massive headache.

Jon and I made some New Year’s resolutions about the band. That’s about the only other thing I remember. We spent a lot of time in his room just talking and hanging out and I don’t think we really did anything.

Hmm… I shall have to try and remember more about this one later.

We Still Brake For Christmas

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

The Ronzios came up for Christmas and it was probably this year that we got a copy of Independence Day for the holiday and every time I came back from anywhere for the next week while they were still there, it seemed Christle or Billy were watching that flick. Of course, that might have been the next year, but I can’t remember. You’re probably sick of hearing all the things I can’t remember by now. I’m sorry.

I do know that among the gifts I got were a copy of Mr. Holland’s Opus and a copy of the first two Stabbing Westward CDs. I do know that Billy, Christle, John, and I recreated our famous “We Brake For Nobody” picture from when we were kids. This picture involved the four of us sitting on a couch holding a piece of wood on which we’d written the words, “We Brake For Nobody.” The 96 version of the picture features all of us full-grown and trying to cram onto one couch and we are holding a sign that says, “We Still Brake For Nobody.”

Other than that, I don’t remember much, except that Dad seemed a little aggravated by all the people in the house all the time.

I should probably stop saying “I don’t remember much” and just type the shit I do remember.

It was a good Christmas. Let’s just leave it at that.


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

In the week after school broke for vacation I went to see Scream with KenMills, Adam, and Adam’s girlfriend at the time. The movie, which I’d expected to be kind of shitty, was actually pretty good. Ken was disappointed that Drew Barrymore died in the first ten minutes. She was the entire reason he’d wanted to see the flick. We got there late because of the snow as well and by the point we got there we basically got to see Drew die and that was it.

After the flick, when KenMills was driving back to his and Adam’s apartment, where I’d parked my car, we got into a minor fender-bender because of the slippery conditions. We ended up having to pull Ken’s hot-pink car into a parking lot while everything was sorted out. It occurs to me that it wasn’t actually our fault, that we had stopped in time but the guy in back of us hadn’t and he’d pushed us into the guy in front of us.

It didn’t take too long to sort out, but while it was sorted out we talked about whether Nydia was my girlfriend and how much we each liked the movie.

After that it was off to my house for me and looking forward to Christmas, when my relatives would be coming up from North Carolina to celebrate with us.

The Lost Nydia Visit

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

My journal indicates that Nydia visited me at Bradford the week after we first met up at Berklee. I have no recollection of this whatsoever. I thought there might have been another visit in between our first meeting and the fateful meeting we would have at the end of January 1997, but I couldn’t recall any details about it. The journal verified my suspicions though and now I feel obligated to say something about it here.

According to my journal, Nydia and I went “even further” this visit than we had the first visit. It’s kind of hard for me to buy that because I thought we went just about as far as you could go that first visit without going all the way. Perhaps it was just a bit of my flowery writing. I needed to make the sentence better for some reason and I just added the “even further” to make it flow.

We did sexual things. Let’s just leave it at that.

I don’t recall Rachael or Russel being there. I don’t think they met her in person till the January visit. I don’t know where they would have been though, so maybe its just my faulty memory kicking my ass again.

Brand X at Bradford

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

The Brand X show at Bradford on the 16th anniversary of John Lennon’s death was supposed to be a grand homecoming but it ended up being one of the more uneven shows of the Andy Hicks era. We had horrible acoustics, equipment that wasn’t big enough for the space, and a tendency to wander about the huge stage which made the whole thing look more chaotic than it sounded — and that was quite a feat.

The setlist went like this:

  1. Orange (Hicks)
  2. At The Movies (Clark/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Martin, Mills)
  3. Dominated Love Slave (Green Day)
  4. Spun By You (Martin/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Mills, Clark)
  5. Never Forget (Clark/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy)
  6. —-BREAK—-
  7. Labels (Clark/Clark, Johnson, Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Martin, Mills)
  8. (Keep On Rockin’) In The Free World (Neil Young)
  9. Anymore (Clark/Dubner)
  10. Made of Clay (Martin/Hicks, Dubner, Murphy, Mills, Clark)
  11. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (REM)
  12. —-ENCORE—-
  13. Country Feedback (REM)
  14. Wonderwall (Oasis)
  15. Mentos Jingle
  16. Love Song #469 (Clark/Mills)

That being said, let’s get right to the problems with the show.

First, we’d been rehearsing all day to prepare and we’d just played a show the night before. We were tired and we’d gotten angry with each other when we couldn’t get a slew of songs (including the oft-worked on and never-played Coconut Grove). Second, we were trying to do a full-length fucking show and we should’ve just been playing four or five songs. Third, the crowd was barely into it and that made the rest of the band barely get into it. I was oblivious though. I was going to have a good time in front of my home crowd regardless.

We opened with “Orange” and it was good and KenMills started it and ended it with this melodramatic soundscape that actually worked where it hadn’t in practice. “Movies” was never a good song lyrically and it was only barely tolerable musically. We shouldn’t have been playing it out yet. “Love Slave” was a Brand X classic and the rendition that night wasn’t too bad. I think Ken or JonMartin threw in some James Brown soundbytes on the keyboard.

“Spun By You” was catchy musically, except for my horrifically off keyboard part, but it was a little out of Jon’s range sometimes. It could have been a great song and it was getting there. “Never Forget” was new. Andy, Dubner, Beth the Bassist, and I had written during one practice where neither Ken nor Jon showed up until halfway through. It was simple but pretty catchy. It finished our first set on a half-way decent note.

People got up and read poetry and stories during the break. It was supposed to be half an open-mic night for the Bradford ReView (of which I was co-chair) anyway.

We came back and started with another song of mine, “Labels,” and it was okay. I don’t like listening to “Labels” today except for the drum intro, which was kind of like a march. It was the only part of the song that came out the way I really wanted it to. Ken, for some reason, always asks me to get together with him and redo the song nowadays.

“Free World” was a halfway decent Neil Young cover but I remember that nobody seemed to want to sing it and when that happened I eventually took over. “Anymore” was Jeff on piano and me basically talking my lyrics. “Made of Clay” was Jon at his angriest and it was probably my favorite Jon-written song. “End of the World” was another Brand X staple. We liked to show how fast we could sing it.

This is where we should have stopped. In truth, we should have stopped much earlier. We did alright though up to that point. The real point where the show went haywire was when we started our encore. “Country Feedback” was never really on target. Jon always had the emotion for it but the song always just barely clicked together. That night was no exception. “Wonderwall” was like Brand X karaoke with Andy on guitar. We all sang and it was fun but probably not fun for the audience. Then Andy broke out with Mento’s Jingle and we absolutely should have stopped. We’d played almost everything we knew.

But, despite protests from the band, Ken and I got up and did one more. We played the song the rest of the band loathed to be associated with, a little ditty Ken and I had written called “Love Song #469” which was just awful.

We finally packed up after that. I think, looking back on it, that we just wanted to let loose after being confined to short sets for so long. We should’ve stuck with the short sets though. They suited us better.