Thanks to the Internet and some folks who put their CD collections up on Amazon, I’m listening to a beloved album I haven’t heard in twenty years. It’s bringing up Some Stuff.
I’m listening to Broomtree by Downy Mildew. It came out in 1986 on the Texas Hotel label, long since gone. The band recorded a few albums for the Windham Hill imprint High Street, and those disks are out of print as well. Downy Mildew’s entire recorded output, 56 songs, takes up less than four hours of listening.
For me, though, their entire recorded output… especially Broomtree and their debut self-titled EP… those songs take up years.
I remember 1989 or so, sitting in the twilight in the apartment I shared with Anne Bray in San Clemente, the room lit only by strings of clear Christmas lights and the glow of the stereo. Sitting in front of the speakers, turning the record over again and again. The deep, jangling reverb, the harmonies of Charlie Baldonado and Jenny Homer, the… purity of this record… it soothed what was at that time a very turbulent soul.
Apparently, there’s a good part of me that is still that way. Listening to it now makes me ache.
I miss the people who were in my life then. I miss the smell of the ocean on the night. I hate this desert where I live, I really do. I’m drying up.
Observation: you only miss the past this strongly when there are things missing from the present. Noted. I miss my friends, then and now. I miss the magic of making music with people, spontaneously, joyously. Taking risks. I miss those people.
I don’t want to go back to that time in a literal, yearning sense — I should be clear. I was in my earliest twenties in those years, a confused, sad, desperate young guy surrounded by drama and sustained by blind passion. It was a painful time, and I’ve learned a thing or two since then. Not everything, but… some things, for sure.
But damn, I miss those people. As I get older, I’m facing the fact that I don’t think I ever fall out of love. I want to give everyone from those days — those hazy days and cloudy nights — a hug that crosses decades.
Of all those people from that time, I’m only in touch with a very small handful, and we’re barely in contact because of life and schedules and maybe the laziness that email encourages. So many others are out there, somewhere… and it disturbs me, not knowing if these loved ones are dead or alive.
Here’s to Theresa Copell (found!) Pat Copell. Tony Vick (found!) Willie Asher. Steve Smith (found!). Gina Bloxham (found, and sadly, lost.) Donovan Spencely (found!) Sean Truitt. Steve Harvey. Holly. Tony Lekas. J.D. Christie (found!) Phil Clevenger (found!) Craig Clevenger (found!) J.J. Minue. Paula Stromberg (found!). Jill and Dave Stewart. Matt Brown (found!). Russell Scott (found!) Ron Russell (found!) Gus Contreras (found!) Andrea Lucas. To name a few. I miss you all, and I hope you’re well.
I’m gonna put this out there, because the Interwebs have innumerable strands and connections can surprise us sometimes: Let’s make this a meme, those names. I want to say hello to those people, and if you have a blog, you can help facilitate that. Write a little post… let the world know Matt Selznick wants to check in on some people from the old San Clemente days, and link back to here so that if… just if… anything comes of it, the thread leads back to me. Thanks for doing that. We’ll see what comes of it.
And thanks for reading. Writing through this, I feel better. We’re on the last song of “Broomtree” now, and the music makes me feel peaceful as opposed to down. That’s good. I think I can go to bed now.