In eighth grade, I was challenged by my English teacher, Mrs. Walters, to write something that exercised our class’s objective at the time, imagery. I was very naive but full of heart back then and wrote this cheesy piece describing the practice room of me and my friends’ first band, Tigerlake. It has a certain charm to it I think, but only the kind of charm you find in old terrible family photos.
It reminds me of how sure I used to be of me and my friends becoming something, doing something with our music. So yes it is cheesy, and it doesn’t really talk about anything I’ve been working on recently, but it talks about where I’ve come from, and sometimes that’s even more important.
Listen to the song while reading the text.
Down a rolling road there stands a squatting, whitewashed house, which inevitably should conceal at least two or more amplifiers strategically placed behind the faded screened porch so as not to be seen by any sketchy wanderers that may happen by. Let me take you, however, past the porch around the corner of this suburban masterpiece under the vines, which connect its and its neighbors, both fashionably overgrown gardens.
Walking over crushed leaves and pine straws, usually in bare feet, this is where we traveled whenever was necessary. Down the suburban alleyway between the neighbor’s light-brown fence and the wall of the shrunken house, through the creaky spring gate and into the backyard where each time, guitars in hand, we are presented with the two-story, similarly to the house, whitewashed, squatty garage.
The garage, the band room as we called it, always seemed just one fierce gust of wind away from losing its foundation. However, looking up at it we didn’t see those worn staircases going around the sides of the building as rotten wood with loose nails. No, they were strong, solid stone staircases winding up a medieval tower towards a hearth lit hall of knowledge and freedom.
Ascending the rotten wood and loose nails of our tower of knowledge was like walking out of a pool of chunky mud and through a power wash, till finally arriving at a warm fire and a steaming cup of liquid happy. It was a dimly lit room of maroon, our band room, however, someone unfamiliar, as you may be, may not have taken note of its maroon aesthetic, and instead noticed the unfathomable amount of posters and setlists pinned to its walls which consumed more than half of the overall area.
There was a faded green lounge chair in the corner stacked to its edge with instrument cases of various shapes and qualities. Behind the chair stood a slender black lamp with a shade which was clearly made for something with a little more girth, this was the single provider of more than eighty percent of the light that entered our small maroon cave.
The other twenty percent came from various desk lamps thoughtfully placed around the room, as well as the broken framed window along the far wall which always sat shaded. There was a ceiling light also, whose belly was so full of shriveled dead insects only single rays of light were able to vaguely penetrate through to our floors and walls.
Yes, this was our tower, the lamp in the corner our hearth, the sounds from the instruments our knowledge, and with those things and amongst each other we made our music. No bug infested spotlight was going to ruin that mirage.
In the corner next to our hearth the warped drum set stood under an overhead lamp, hung by its cord from a hook haphazardly drilled into the ceiling, which gave the impression of a warm orange spotlight. The floor of our room might as well have been made up of guitar cables and pedal plugs, they dominated every inch, except those areas consumed by amps which, just as the instruments, varied intensely from size and quality.
And so here amongst friends and brothers we stood on cables and shaky foundations trying so desperately to make any half decent tones float out our hands to stir the maroon waves we all felt sitting placid waiting to ripple.
Three years later and the bugs still sit listening in their coffin, the waves now in a crashing, tremulous race are sailing the five lords of a sunken house and whitewashed garage towards orange horizons and unsuspected storms. The anchor for their humble skif seems to have broken away long ago.
Looking up at and inside that garage now you can almost feel our spirits strangling and embracing each other all at once, you can occasionally hear our maroon tones in the creaking of some rotten wooden plank, the plucking of a string in some loose nails last cry for freedom.
Wallace Leopard, Category: Artist, Singles: When I Look at You, The Cartel’s Symphony, Pulchra, Top Tracks: Sarah Allens, And Me, Bessie, When I Look at Me, The Way It Was, Biography: Wallace Leopard makes music out of the spare room at his house where he flaunts a “studio” composed of two microphones, an audiobox, and a laptop., Monthly Listeners: 41, Where People Listen: Memphis, Cleveland, Little Rock, Cordova, Toronto