While I live in Los Angeles, I'm an East Coaster through and through. I've adjusted to the the change in atmosphere, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. That being said, if I stay in this city for 10 years... it'll be for one reason, Amoeba Records. This record shop is the holy grail for record collectors. Take a look at this photograph of their USED section:
For someone who is making just enough money to pay bills and buy food, living a 15 minute walk from Amoeba is a terrible thing for me. Since digging through their $1 section looking for something vintage-y I found two particular masterpieces of my middle school days.
Better than Ezra: How Does Your Garden Grow?
The Verve Pipe: Villains
I purchased them just out of curiosity without expecting much more than enjoying the one or two hit singles. I should have foreseen the nostalgic time machine I was about to be put into. As I sat in my car listening to At the Stars (the second best song Better than Ezra ever wrote... number 1 being Desperately Waiting) and The Freshmen (tied with Brick by Ben Folds Five for depressing Abortion songs that were radio hits) I couldn't not think of the summer of 1996-1998.
When I was in Elementary School (roughly 3rd grade) my cousin gave up on Grunge and turned to gangsta rap. Because of that I was given some of the most important albums in my life. Amongst the 10-15 CDs he gave me included masterpieces like Nirvana: Nevermind, The Offspring: Smash, Green Day: Dookie and Soundgarden: Superunknown. It drew me into the wonderful world of MTV and alternative radio. At the time, my station of choice was 103.9 WDRE. I remember hearing songs like Bullet With Butterfly Wings for the first time on the radio. I remember summers hanging out with friends in my backyard in the summer, listening to the radio, playing kick the can and watching music videos on MTV.
In 1997 WDRE turned into a rap/R&B station and I went to the only other Alternative radio station in our town; Y100. I spend many nights sitting in my room with my tape deck, waiting for my favorite songs to come on so I could record them. I still have this cassette tapes, it's funny how little I appreciated this moments as a kid. Then again how could I know in 1998 that in a few years, mixtapes would be done. My friend's band Start Select said it best 'The Playlist Killed the Mixtape'.
Regardless when I hear the songs At the Stars, The Freshemen, My Own Worst Enemy and other singles of summer's past, I wish I was back in the backyard, splashing in the pool and playing Ghosts in the Graveyard with my neighbors. It seems like those summer days are long gone now.