Drew McNeill said he and Mike McAllister were wondering about my profile, specifically my being a fan of RUSH, Primus and Van Halen. I like Van Halen because they rock. I like Primus because, well, they're like... RUSH.
I liked RUSH from the first time I heard them. That would have been spring of 84. Kevin Ellsberry let me borrow a tape of the Signals and 2112 albums. And Kevin Hope made a me a tape of Grace Under Pressure. I was blown away by the massive amount of sound three guys could make, and really intrigued by the songwriting.
There's a test for great poetry: do you like it? Does it touch you inside? That's it. Sure, we can talk about meter and things like concatenation, but at the end of the day, do you like it?
The second song on the Signals album, "The Analog Kid" got me. It hit me right where I was. It hits me still, right where I am, partly because it brings back a lot of memories, and partly because I find myself right now living in the song.
I take it as a song about growing up within the confines of moving away from home. You have to understand, leaving Germany was the hardest move I ever made. I have moved all the time. It's my second job, I think. You can't imagine a better place than that little village, Kuebelberg, in the hills of the Rhineland. I knew something really good happened to me there, something that would not be repeated.
I left Germany and spent the summer at my grandparents' place in small-town California, probably a good move to detox me for heading to San Antonio, TX.
The opening lines grabbed me, and to this day can take me back. I listened to that song constantly that summer:
"A hot and windy August afternoon
has the trees in constant motion
with a flash of silver leaves
as they're rocking in the breeze"
What else is Paso Robles, CA in August but hot and windy?
"The fawn-eyed girl with sun-browned legs
dances on the edge of his dreams
and her voice rings in his ears
Like the music of the spheres"
If that wasn't Martina Stuppi, who else? It's like this song knew everything I was thinking.
"The boy lies in the grass unmoving, staring at the sky
His mother starts to call him as a hawk goes soaring by
The boy throws down his baseball cap and covers up his eyes"
I still have the LA Dodgers cap I got that summer at Chavez Ravine. They played the Expos. It wasn't any time ago, but it was forever ago. Life felt like it wasn't going to be normal again. I had moved enough to know that you can never go back home, and that all my friends were going to be strangers.
"Too many hands on my time, too many feelings
Too many things on my mind.
When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find
And when I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind"
And what's left to say? How do you say goodbye to all the people? You can't. And you wouldn't know what to say, if you could.
It's ok, though, because the Analog Kid is the father of the Digital Man; but that, as they say, is another story.
If you want to rock, here it is: The Analog Kid