Tag Archives: rip

Why I Hate Journey (the band)

I get asked this question all the time, so I think it’s important for me to finally come clean and set the record straight: why do I hate the band Journey so much?

‘Cause they fuckin’ suck, dude.

Okay no but seriously, there’s actually a number of legitimate reasons for this. And it’s not their entire catalog (that lick from “Anyway You Want It” is pretty good, even if the song goes on too long), so I don’t hate the band themselves per se. It’s mostly “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And it’s not just because I’m trying to be contrary or anything — there are plenty of other equally popular pop songs that I do enjoy with no shame at all. In my mind, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the most hackneyed, cliched, and derivative anthemic pop/rock song of all time, like someone mashed the parts of every other rock anthem into a calculator, stripped out the emotions, found the mathematical mean, and then put it on the radio. It doesn’t help that people ascribe way too much personal meaning (in my humble opinion) to the song when they’re shitfaced at last call and screaming out nonsense about “Streetlight People,” whatever the hell that means. The lyrics are generic meaningless drivel disguised (very poorly, I might add) as poetry, when in fact, they say nothing at all. Nothing but, “Don’t Stop Believin'” which sure, okay, fine, that’s a good message. I guess. But does it actually mean anything?

My good friend Layne was also a huge Journey fan, and this served as a major point of contention throughout the entire tenure of our friendship. Still, as a friend, I was always willing to overlook her shortcomings. We all have flaws, we all make mistakes. Hers was Journey (to say nothing of her N*SYNC obsession, which I was totally okay with).

Layne passed away a few days after her birthday in April, 2011. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday and I had just finished speaking at an event at Emerson College, our alma mater, so I slipped into Sweetwater Tavern for a beer with a few other alumni friends. I received a phone call from our friend Eric, who was always particularly close to Layne. I stepped outside so I could hear him better, and that’s when he delivered the news.

I went back into the bar and sat at the table with my other friends, the color drained from my face. They asked what was wrong and I told them, insisting that we keep drinking and not really talk about it right now, because I was still processing it. I slammed back the rest of my beer, and I realized that “Don’t Stop Believin'” was playing over the speakers in the bar. For a brief moment, I swear I could have seen Layne’s ghostly visage sticking her tongue out at me and waving her fingers, teasing and taunting as if to say “Gotcha, motherfucker! I win!” (which, to be fair, is something she would totally do, especially in a posthumous state).

So that’s why I don’t like Journey. Plus, you know, they suck.

Scotty, or, That Time I Wasn’t 21

My favorite memory of Scotty was in 2005, the summer after my freshman year of college. I was 19 years old then, and there was a band I wanted to see that was playing at Rudy’s that night (I think it was the Plus Ones, but I’m not entirely sure). I was walking around downtown New Haven with a friend, and we decided to see if we could get into the bar to watch the show, even though neither one of us was of legal drinking age. We over-rationalized a complicated scheme, as you tend to do when you’re not yet 21 and trying to get into a bar: “I heard Rudy’s doesn’t really card anyway” “Plus it’s a week day, they definitely won’t be carding” “I bet they card at the bar, so let’s not buy any drinks and just watch the band instead” etc.

As we approach the patio in front of the bar, who else but Scotty Lucca bursts through the door, drunk as drunk can be and fumbling with a cigarette and lighter in his hand. Of course he sees me immediately. “Thom Dunn! Holy shit!” he shouts as he runs over to give me one of those great big Scotty bearhugs. I introduce him to my friend, whom he embraces with just as much enthusiasm. In turn, he introduces us to the doorman at the bar — because it’s New Haven, and Scotty may as well be the mayor of this town with all the people that he knows. The doorman lets us follow us follow Scotty back onto the patio, no questions asked.

We stand there chatting for a bit, catching up while Scotty has a smoke. He finishes the cigarette, stomps it out, then turns to me and says (at a delightfully drunken volume), “So what are you up to tonight, man? You’re not 21!”
…at which point my friend and I look at one another and try mumble an excuse about, oh, well, we’re just hangin’ out, just kinda walking around…
And almost immediately, Scotty realizes what he’d done. “Oh. Fuck. I just totally blew your cover didn’t I?” My other friend and I (I don’t even remember who I was with) look back to the bouncer, with that awkward-nervous smile and wave that never covers anything up, and abruptly leave the bar.

Thanks for that, man.

A year and a half later, it’s my first night home in New Haven since turning 21, and I end up hanging out at Rudy’s with some friends. I start to tell them this very same story, when sure enough, Scotty shows up. He brings me a beer and apologizes profusely for that night, but we just laugh it off and catch up on each others’ lives. I think pretty much every time I saw him after that, he’d apologize for that night as well. We never saw each other all the often, but it become our kind of running joke whenever we did.

Rest In Peace, Scott Lucca
11/10/78 – 10/18/12

Shit For Brains

She drops memories like tiny
shits behind her where she
walks, a trail of small,
hard excess condensed into
pellets and buried beneath
her bedding at dusk. And
when she wakes, aroused
by tunes, or the crinkled
sound of sunburnt prunes,
the rest of her remembers
in its actions — thumbless
hands supporting chins,
the precious cuddling of
dust upon her pelt, the
endless fights for sustenance
against her sibling rival.
But still there’s something
missing in her muscles
when she sleeps, the only
thing remembering the warmth
her mind won’t keep.