When I was eighteen, I plowed part of a Chick-fil-A paycheck into two pairs of All-Stars. I put one pair on a closet shelf, the other pair I wrote on. Names and dates. Musicians’ names, specifically, and their years of birth and death. If you’d asked me why I bought Chucks – and I’m positive no one did – I would’ve said something about paying tribute to bygone basketball players. Really, I bought them because that’s what so many first-wave hardcore acts wore. My brother started bands; I copped canvas shoes on sale. (And, obviously, they were ass for hoops. It’s a wonder my ankles weren’t permaswollen.)
The first name was Joey Ramone. He was followed by John Lee Hooker, George Harrison, Chuck Schuldiner, Waylon Jennings, Layne Staley, Dee Dee Ramone, John Entwistle, Jam Master Jay, Joe Strummer, and Maurice Gibb. To a guy reliant on used-CDs and the Rolling Stone Album Guide, it felt like a well-rounded assemblage. (It didn’t occur to me that Aaliyah should be “honored”.) The shoes lasted into college; they were gone before Elliott Smith was.
Sweet Jesus. Brad took this places I didn’t expect and wouldn’t have ever asked about and back again through brambles and rambles over paths and through the brush and fuckin’ A what a great piece of writing.