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Notes From The Flip Side: 03.26.2000

I never feel as connected to life as I do when I'm in front of the stage at a show, singing back at the band. When I'm dancing and sweating and shouting along, I feel alive again. I feel like I did when I first heard the Ramones, 7 Seconds, Hüsker Dü.

About two years ago, I saw The Dragons. It was the first time I had seen them in almost a year - hell, it was the first SHOW I had seen in almost a year. As I watched them tune up, I said, "I feel like I'm home." Jarrod looked up from his drum kit and said, "You are home, buddy."

It occurred to me then, and again today as I talked to a dear friend of mine, that we - that is, you and I - share something profound between us. My friend is originally from Long Beach, CA, and I met her at a Pegboy show in 1998. Since then, she moved on to grad school in Georgia and as she told me today, nothing is going on. I mentioned to her that she seemed separated from the community that we both grew up in, that nurtured and sheltered both of us.

Neither of us ever really fit into the bar scene. I'm lousy at small talk; I take a book to shows because I don't know how to talk about bullshit. But there have been shows that I couldn't help but talk to people at - the Pegboy show, any Down By Law show I've ever been to, every tiltWheel show. Perhaps it's just something about these bands, but their music seems to foster an intimacy or understanding between their fans, something that exists beyond words. I only know that my friend and I share it and as a result, a glance between us suffices as communication.

I came to punk as a last resort. Nothing else made sense to me then and I would argue that punk rock is the only music that ever has. The music was welcoming and inclusive when I walked through high school's hallowed halls of trendy cliques and popular ostracism. I'm more than a decade on and people still act the same and punk's answer hasn't changed - two middle fingers, straight up.

As I write this, I realize that in any way that means anything, punk has become my home. I don't know when it happened. It might have been that night when Larry Damore grabbed me by the neck and pulled me forward so we were forehead to forehead, singing the same words into the same microphone. It might have been any night, but I know it was at a show when the lights were down and the band was playing like it was their last fucking chance.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008