Sam Phillips died today. Or maybe yesterday. I can't remember which. Even if you don't know the name, you know his work.
So you want to be a rock and roll star?
Then listen now to what I say.
Just get an electric guitar
Then take some time
And learn how to play.
I'm dreaming about music again.
When I was a teenager, I used to dream about music. Rock stars. Being a star. I had dreams about Kurt Cobain. About Paul Westerberg. About Michael Stipe. About John Lennon. No, they weren't necessarily sexual. They were about music. Like a boy dreaming about baseball, I guess. But when I was thirteen, fourteen, I would dream about musicians, I would dream about music. I had just thrown myself headlong into that world, I had started to play the guitar, to play the saxophone.
Hey kids, rock and roll.
Nobody tells you where to go, baby.
Eventually the dreams were replaced by anxiety nightmares and sex. Still not sure which is which. But at any rate, I stopped dreaming about music, about rock and roll. I'm not sure why. Maybe I got caught up in other parts of life: school, work, sex, drinking. I don't know.
Keep you doped with religion, sex, and tv
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But suddenly, over the last couple of weeks, I've started dreaming about music again. Now, understand, sometimes music doesn't ever show up. I just start dreaming about things connected to music.
Times ain't tough--they're tedious.
I think it started with Radiohead. A couple of weeks back, I had a dream that I was back in England, visiting Oxford. For whatever reason, Johnny Greenwood borrowed a plate from me--yeah, a dinner plate. To put a cake on. (?) So I lent him the plate. I had to come back home, however, and didn't get my plate back. In the mail, though, it came back to me, still unwashed, with a note saying, "Thanks for the lending."
Not too long afterwards--maybe a night or two later--I had a dream that I was in a deserted mansion. Only it wasn't deserted. There was a party. I'm not sure what kind of party--maybe a Halloween party. It's hard to be sure. And so, in this semi-abandoned mansion, at a party, for whatever reason I spent the whole time talking in a bored, affected voice to John Flansburgh. (Do I think I'm Edith Head?) Like most dreams, I don't remember much, other than that this situation wasn't the slightest bit odd--not even the ridiculous accent I was speaking in (some sort of weird Anglo-French).
Last week, I had a dream that I can't quite remember, but I do know Peter Buck was in it at some point. I only wish I could remember what I was doing or saying. Then again, maybe not--even in my dreams, I'm pretty embarressed.
You're invisible now
You've got no secrets to conceal.
And then I think it stopped. Or at least I stopped remembering my dreams. But then last night, I had a dream. I was at my parents' house, doing laundry, bored on a Friday night. So I went out into the barn, hooked up a stereo, and started playing music and playing my guitar. And I suddenly remembered that I had to practice my own songs--my own songs--because I was going to perform the next day. I haven't performed in, well, years.
It was sweet, like lead paint is sweet
But the after effects left me paralyzed.
I haven't had these kinds of dreams in a long time. At first it bothered me--am I regressing? Why am I having dreams like a kid? What's wrong with me? But when I woke up and heard that Sam Phillips was dead, I think I realized what was going on.
My life has always been informed by music. From my mother in the church choir, to my dad who never had a lesson but played piano by ear, to my grandfather who played saxophone, to my days in the school band... I think I know what's going on, what I want. And I'm too tired to fight it, but I'm ready to fight for it. Cause life is very, very short.
I want to be in a band when I get to heaven,
anyone can play guitar and they won't be a nothing any more.