level anything back

The Way Back to Bushwick

March 7, 2014

Written by: Jasen Ribadenera

The Way Back to Bushwick

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by Jasen Ribadenera

Not this past January but the one before, I went to Home Depot to buy a replacement closet door for the one I had put my fist through in a drunken rage. I had to do the job quick because I was moving the next day and didn’t want my security deposit being molested by an angry roommate who hadn’t signed up for the terror that was now covering his tracks prior to move out day. I took the bus there and had set up a ride back from my friend and drummer Gregg who was driving a cute little Honda CRV at the time. He loved this car. Loved it. For a couple months around that time it was even his profile picture on Facebook and OKcupid. He had two names for it, “Glenn” (with two n’s) and “Original Sin” (for when he was on the highway).

I had called to make sure he was en route. I was in the spackle aisle when he answered. In a hushed tone he assured me he was just finishing his bath and would be leaving in 10 minutes. I thanked him and quickly finished picking up the last few cosmetics needed to repair the many dings and fist sized holes that acne’d the walls of my room. After paying for my goods I dragged the door outside where I was confronted by a dude who asked me where I was going. “Home,” I said plainly. “Yeah, but where? I can drive you. Cheaper than a car.” I waved him off, confident that Gregg was going to be there in a couple. I leaned the door up against a picnic table and moped over to a Caucasian colored food truck that sat lonely in the corner of the parking lot. I bought a “Brooklyn” sized coffee and asked the guy what was up with substituting the sizes small, medium, and large for Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. “Owner,” he said with a shrug. I nodded in a way that conveyed the mutual feeling that we all work for assholes and I feel his pain. When he went to hand me my change I waved him off too. “Keep it,” I said.

I kept looking at my watch as my Brooklyn coffee became colder and colder, wondering where Gregg was. After a full half-hour passed I called him again. “I’m almost there. I’m so sorry, really, I am. Original Sin was making a weird noise again. Something with the engine…” I cut him off. “Original Sin!? Yr on the highway? You said you were getting out of the bath. What’s up?” There was total silence for a good 7 seconds before he replied, “Yeah, but I didn’t say whose tub though, did I?” I took a deep breath and answered, “No. No, you didn’t. You didn’t say whose tub. I’m sorry, it’s just been a really tough day.” As I finished those words I heard a two horn beep and looked over to see ol’ Glenn pulling up to the picnic table area. I had never been so happy to see that bastard in all my life. Fucking Glenn.

“Hey!” said a smiling Gregg from a half down window. “Need a lift?” As we positioned the closet door through the hatchback and over the front passenger seat I noticed some good sounding music wafting out of Original Sin but couldn’t pay it the proper respect while trying to make everything fit inside. Finally, after getting everything situated we fired out of the parking lot and headed towards my neighborhood at a safe speed of 35 mph. We talked about our favorite seasons (Gregg’s is a tie between Spring and Summer) and the status of his foot corns when the conversation shifted to what was playing on the car stereo. “I like this,” I said. “This is The War On Drugs,” Gregg chimed while I soaked it all in.

Hearing this music was like a revelation to me. “It’s perfect,” I kept thinking and after every song ended the next one floored me even more and I fell in love right there in Glenn on the way back to Bushwick. I can still remember “I Was There” playing and getting that feeling that you get when you realize you’ve just been turned on to something that’s going to play a huge part of yr life from here on in. It was like the imperfect storm. Instead of it being shoved in my ears by Pitchfork or annoyingly hyped up by a Bon Iver-obsessed coworker, I had been nudged gently to them by a close friend and his treasured automobile. Now I have a memory from that heavy, tumultuous stretch of my life to go along with such an amazing album like Slave Ambient by The War On Drugs.

Unfortunately, only a month later, Gregg’s sweet grey CRV was viciously rear ended while parked in front of his Bed-Stuy bachelor pad while he was inside exercising. We had played a gig in Williamsburg that night and sweet Glenn had our instruments in his trunk when some maniac plowed right into him. By some miracle our instruments weren’t damaged too badly. Original Sin on the other hand… To hear Gregg tell the story it seems like it was done intentionally but I don’t know. He’s been very paranoid since the incident so… Anyways, listen to The War On Drugs because they are the most important thing happening in rock n’ roll right now.

P.S. New album “Lost In The Dream” is out March 18th on Secretly Canadian records!

G’night!

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