What the hell is this?

I Can't Stand [Meeting] You is a collection of all the ridiculous things I've written to and about drummer and composer Stewart Copeland.

I actually did meet him for about five crazy seconds in 2007, again for a few exciting moments in August 2009, and my most recent (and most thrilling!) encounter took place in October 2009, where I proved myself capable of being, yet again, a total dork in the man's presence.

I can't believe what I get up to. And neither should you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bridge Burning - brainpan burning

[Note: I heard the word "brainpan" someplace and now I can't remember where. It's a funny word; I like it.]

Music videos are funny. How many years ago has it been since they (temporarily) revolutionized the music world? And now it seems like they're totally superfluous. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong... I watched VH1 the other day and caught a few videos in a row that struck me as nauseating. Do people really enjoy music videos anymore? Making them, watching them?

Then again, the artists I saw videos for (Rhianna, J.Lo, Chris Brown, and Foo Fighters) are mostly people who just don't interest me.

Notice that I said "mostly."

Anyway, Patrick saw the J.Lo video with me, and we made what we thought were very funny and probably very mean observations about her, but this is not the place to relate them to the world. Suffice to say that we think Ms. Lopez works very hard to be mediocre. She succeeds at mediocrity like nobody else. I'm really glad she's a zillionaire: I'm sure that takes the sting off of anything I might have to say about her, right?

The last video was for a Foo Fighters song. I can't remember which song the video was for. It wasn't a live video, and I'm not sure, but I don't think it was even from the latest album. It was exactly what you would expect from a Foo Fighters video. Somebody was dressed as a woman. Dave Grohl got tased. It had a cute, winking, goofball silliness that I think of when I think of a Foo Fighters video (and I don't mean that in a good way). It wasn't a very original idea (regular dude sitting in traffic gets pissed off and goes on a rampage; wasn't that a movie with Michael Douglas in the 90s?), and it was a little unnecessarily violent, and it dealt with stereotypes in a not-very enlightening or even funny way. Then again, I don't look to the Foo Fighters for original ideas. Cute does not equal funny, and they do cute very, very well.

Hey! What can I say? I love to criticize them... but I also buy all their records. It's just the way I am. Then again (again), I love to look at Dave Grohl. There's something about that guy that draws (and keeps) my eyes and ears. 

I've been making up Foo Fighters videos since I heard "X-Static" from the first album. Maybe I'm just not that original either ("maybe"), because though the music always gets my little brain moving around, it's in a very literal way that relates to me. Maybe because Dave Grohl is a drummer, and maybe because he has a really young, strangely handsome face, and maybe because one of my early serious crushes on a boy involved a drummer, and maybe because a lot of the things I think about when I listen to music like theirs involves the high school years... but I have a theme, and I'm about to tell you what it is.

I mean, I'm a girl with a theme, okay? Shoot me.

When I first heard "Everlong" a hundred years ago*, back when I was closer to being a girl myself, in my mind, I created a female character. She was the only girl drummer ("Girl Drummer") in a marching band where the boy drummers got all the glory. (Just a reminder: I was a flutist and piccolo player in high school. I had no interest in playing the drums. Then again, I also had no interest in glory. So in this respect, it's not exactly that literal. Phew! On the other hand, she might be a skinny Latina with long dark hair. So, yeah, she looks like me, back when I was skinny. And nobody wants to watch a story about a piccolo player. Even I know this.) Girl Drummer was relegated to playing the triangle, the tambourine, the cymbals - sometimes even just holding the cymbals while someone else played them!; but what our girl really wanted to do (and could do, just nobody knew about it) was rock the drums. Instead she hid her awesome drummer light (oh, they all have one) under a big blue furry marching band hat and went home every day after school where she holed up in her room (which looked a lot like Patrick's little house on his parents' property in Venice), dominated by a big set of drums and an answering machine. Yeah, I first heard this song in the 90s. Everybody still had answering machines. She played her drums (along with the song, of course), and daydreamed about our boy, David Fucking Grohl. She wanted him, in that longing (everlonging?) way that only teenage girls want some beautiful boy who doesn't (they think) know they exist.

(I think, now, that those boys always knew we existed. Wish I'd known this back then.)

When I first heard "Everlong," Dave was closer to being a girl too, and I pictured him as the actual drummer dude she loved in her marching band, but since time waits for no drummer (catchy?), another dark haired, lanky goofball would probably  have to play the part of David Grohl, teen heartthrob, if this video were being made now, retroactively. I mean, the guy is older than I am. He doesn't get a pass to play a teenager just because I think he's dreamy. Plus, that beard he's sporting some of the time would just look crazy on a high school kid.

I liked the idea of showing Girl Drummer waking up late for school, riding her bike to her school, where she shows up for band practice on the football field, and has to jump in, marching backward in front of Dave with the cymbals, and she trips and falls and is embarrassed, hides under her hair, and runs off. I liked the idea of showing her walking down the hall with a couple of her friends, timing a pass-by of Dave's locker so that she would accidentally bump into him, only to hide her face behind her hair (theme-y!) or check out her watch, which kids wore in the late 80s, 'cause none of us had cell phones, which didn't exist yet. She has the balls to stalk him in the hallway but lacks the confidence to say hello. It's fun to combine some of my own memories of being an awkward girl in love with strange boys along with this girl, who may be shy and awkward like I was/am, but then as Girl Drummer, can also do something I associate with strong, creative people. And fine, maybe that's not always how I think of myself.

So, okay, teenage Dave Grohl is in a band (I know, what are the chances?), playing a party down the street from the girl's house, when he, I don't know, gets hit in the face and can't play. Maybe he falls off his skateboard [insert funny, non-fatal or face scarring childhood injury here]. Maybe he pretends to be injured so that he can get our girl over. Or, and this will be key later, maybe he hurts his hands so he can't play drums anymore (but he can play guitar; not sure what specific injury that could be). So he starts calling other drummers, all of whom are conveniently out of town, wasted, whatever, and finally on the little list of drummers he keeps in his back pocket, is our girl. He calls her, she's rocking out at home (there's a part in the song that's all muffle-y and sounds like an answering machine being obscured by a band playing, what are the chances? I used to know the bar number but it's been a long time since I thought about this little scenario). She finally picks up the phone, grabs her sticks, hops on her bike (or whatever), scoots over to the Venice party, sits down behind the kit, and joins in with the song (still playing, of course; there will be timing issues that somebody [me?] would have to figure out), where she kicks the shit out of the song and "Dave Grohl" falls in love with her.


Anyway, so that sat in my brainpan for years (obviously, as I am no longer 25 and neither is David Grohl; sorry, am I rubbing that in a little?), and I would tweak it every time I heard the song.

There have been other Foo Fighters albums over the years, and I've had brainpan ideas about other songs, but I hadn't really followed up with Girl Drummer until I heard "Bridge Burning." It didn't really bother me that she was a perpetual teenager: I saw her (my?) face every time I heard that song. Then I read a letter in the Dear Prudence column about a woman who had had a relationship with a kid who grew up to be a rockstar, and now the kid wants all their old photos. I thought the story was pretty interesting, and it works with a storyline about Girl Drummer, all grown up now, and her high school crush, "Dave Grohl."

I pictured her growing up to be a kind of straight-laced music teacher, and a professional drummer. I thought it would be interesting to superimpose that idea of Dave wanting her to cease and desist something, but I wasn't sure what... I kicked around the photo idea, too; that maybe they got together for awhile after the "Everlong" party and dated and fell in love and had a nice, pretty relationship until, like the dude in the letter, he dumped her to go on the road with his band, leaving her alone with just a handful of "racy" photos. I thought about the idea of her having a "Can't Stand [Meeting] You" type blog, maybe where she writes fan fiction about him or gossip or something. Maybe she has a website where she claims to have written all the Foo Fighters songs herself, and that Dave Grohl stole 'em from her. I like this idea best. She could be all, "I was the inspiration for 'Aurora!'" [Not possible, because I think that song is about his grandma]. Or she posts bullshit articles like, "The secret behind Dave Grohl's Writing Process!" Crap like that that someone like Dave Grohl would want to squash like a bug... or maybe it would intrigue him as an excuse to get in touch with her again. The website stuff would have to be anonymous (nobody can know!) but because of the information she's peddling, Dave would know it's her. Oh, yeah: she's got to be making money off it somehow. There has to be something a little out there about her that would make him contact her again after all those years. She has her buttoned up life as a drum teacher where she lays down the beat and the law for kids, and then this other side to her, a little wild, still young herself, trying to be a part of something that tossed her aside so many years ago. She's bitter because she knows she could've been great, but this guy kind of walked away with her dreams.

I saw the video starting by showing the legal paperwork in her empty kitchen; she could have it all pinned up on a bulletin board, and then next to it, is her computer showing the work she's doing on her website, or maybe there's a webcam that is pointing at her in her studio, sitting behind her kit and rocking out to "Bridge Burning." Maybe she's wearing a mask, and the website is all, "Learn from the drummer who taught Dave Grohl everything he knows!" She gets caught by one of her own high school aged students, who hasn't seen her play like that before (you know? She wears glasses, she's a disciplinarian, but they rarely get to see her play), and she stops and straightens her cleavage and her sweater and puts her shoes on and settles him down to play his rudiments or whatever... but now that kid has a gleam in his eye, because he knows what she really is. And then the fun part would be, he begs her to drive him to the Hollywood Bowl, where he has heard that they're having a soundcheck, and the first 10 people there get to meet Dave, Taylor and the gang (bands like the Foo Fighters do shit like this, right?), so she throws him in her car (I'm picturing either a brand-new or totally perfect vintage black VW Beetle, no?) and flies down there, where they sneak in. Taylor sees her backstage and recognizes her and lets her on (Taylor knows who she is; also, she grew up pretty and doesn't he look like a sucker for pretty?), and while Dave's back is turned, she sits down behind his kit and when the band takes it from that really exciting point toward the end of the song, it looks like she's playing with the band.

I think that's the theme, actually - that people are not always the quiet weirdos we see or think we know. That underneath everybody's costume is somebody a little different, more romantic, more audacious, more ready and willing to fuckin' live than you might think. Sure, this isn't any more original than the "Mentos" inspired-type videos that the Foos seem to enjoy... but for me, it's a lot more fun to think about this chick and her VW and her drum studio and her kitchen table where she works on her website. And the band would be well-represented, in shots of them performing the actual song during their soundcheck.

Anyway, I knew when I started writing this that somebody would be thinking, wow, you put a lot of thought into something that would never exist outside of your head, but hey, maybe I'm not just a mousy weirdo, either. Even if this is the only place this thing lives, that's cool. I had fun writing it and not just thinking about it anymore.

I hope you enjoyed it too. If no, that's cool too... though you stuck around to the end, so I guess that's a win for me, sorta, too.

*"The Color and the Shape" came out in 1997. I was 25.

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