Garage Days ‘92

Jamming was always secondary to just hanging out

“Dave! What the hell are you playing, boy?”

“It’s sort of supposed to be ‘Jump in the Fire’, but I tried transposing it to ‘G’ so it’s be easier on my fingers.”

“Well quit it, dammit! First of all, you’re tuned down and second of all, if you’re gonna play Metallica, play the way it’s supposed to be played.”

This was reminiscent of most of our Saturday afternoon conversations out in his garage. We’d go to his place ’cause he had and acre and a half worth of land with a park on one side and the local military base on the other. It didn’t matter how loud we played and we took full advantage of that liberty.

“OK, Dave, let’s try ‘Searching’ from the top. Are you warmed up enough for he solo.”

“Yeah, I can play it, but I don’t know if I want to, I want to talk about part of it first — coming out of the solo, you shift keys to ‘D’. Why not stay in ‘C’?”

“It’s easier to pick up the bar chords for the next bridge if your hand is already on the eighth fret. I didn’t do that out of any sense of musical adventure, I did it ’cause it was convenient.”

“Oh. I just think it’s easier to keep the whole thing in one key. Let’s try it your way, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll tinker with it.”

“Two, three, four…”

As we wailed away some rather ugly electric folk music, revved up until it was indistinguishable from the thrash and hard rock we normally played, I thought about Julie. She was the reason Dave wrote the song in the first place. It’s full title was Searching For a Lost Hope. He wasn’t, but he thought he was. Last week Dave found out Julie had been committed to rehab for the fourth time since the school year started. He didn’t talk about her now, and I’m sure that his unwillingness to play “Searching” had more than a little to do with that.

“OK, cut it. Dave, that was sloppy…”

“It supposed to be”

“… but it sounded cool and that’s what it’s supposed to do. Coming out of the solo, right before we switch keys, play that same lead break you opened the song with.”

“Let’s play something else, man. I don’t know if I want to play that again. I’ve been playing that one every day since you brought me the music to it. It’s getting kind of old.”

“Dave, what’s really wrong, boy. If you don’t want to play today, say so, I’ll leave.”

“I’m fine, really. I know what you’re thinking, and I talked to Julie last night, and she’ll be out next week sometime. I’m gonna go see her sometime next Thursday.”

“OK, then let’s get back to jamming.”

“‘Rocket Queen’, pick it up at the ‘E’ riff.”


Dave finally admitted what I’d been thinking, but never quite had confirmed. He was still in love with Julie — his choice of tunes proved that. “Rocket Queen” was the song he always played when he was thinking about her and he even called her his own “rocket queen” until her parents found a letter he’d written to her addressed as such. Of course parents don’t understand us anyway, and you compound it with the fact that her parents are straitlaced Baptists and that G’N’R has a pretty bad rep in the eyes of the parental types, and you’ve got the makings of a major falling out.

“Dave, do Julie’s parents know she’s been in rehab this many times?”

“No, she told them she was going to stay with her sister for a few days. As far as they’re concerned, she’s still going to school. Rachel calls in to the office saying she’s sick so that she doesn’t get nailed with ‘Un-ex’s, and Rachel and their mom sound exactly alike.”

“What does her sister think of her being in rehab?”

“Rachel’s the one that sent her in the first place. Could you honestly see Julie’s parents being real sympathetic about the fact that their daughter is hooked on cocaine? They’d spend the rest of their lives locked up in a church sobbing for forgiveness wondering how they could have screwed up that bad.”

“Dave, don’t they spend their lives in church anyway?” Straitlaced Oklahoma Baptists are not like most Baptists. I’m not knocking them — it’s their life, they can do what they want, but I think if I were God, I’d get sick of that much groveling and I’d “accidentally” drop a lightning bolt on the entire state. I don’t think anyone but Nebraska would miss it, and they’d only miss it for about two days over Thanksgiving weekend. Anyway…

“I don’t know if they do or not, nor do I particularly care. OK, ‘Love Song’. Two, three four…”

Right on cue. Dave you’re so damn predictable. Now that you know something about Dave and Julie, let me just quote a few lines from the song and let you figure out for yourself why we’re playing it:

Love is all around you — Love is knocking outside your door

Waiting for you — Is this love made just for two

Keep an open heart and you’ll find love again I know

Can I read him, or what?

“Dave, cut! That’s a ‘D’ right there, not a D minor.”

“Oops. OK, from the top.”

This time Dave started to sing. I tried to find somewhere to hide, but no such luck. Finally, I cut it again.

“Dave, if you want to sing, let’s do ‘Master’.”

“Dude, that’s a poor choice of tunes in these times.”

“I know how you feel, but you can’t sing anyone but Hetfield and maybe Lynott, and since you know about three chords worth of Thin Lizzy, that severely limits our options.” Dave had yet to discover the virtues of Irish rock and roll. He thought U2 was OK, but he really could care less about any of the other bands. I think he needs his head examined. Thin Lizzy was an awesome band, and that’s all there is to it.

“I don’t want to play ‘Master’. And please forgive my culturally lacking musical background, but I don’t like Thin Lizzy.”

“Ok, then, stop singing.”

“What if I want to sing?”

“What if I don’t want to die?”

“What if we did ‘Jump in the Fire’ instead?”

Here we go again. “OK, in ‘E’.”

“No in ‘G’.”

“Dave, it sounds horrid in ‘G’.”

“It’s easy to play in ‘G’.”



You could see where our afternoon was headed.

This was written in the early ’90s, takes place in the late ’80s, and has been buried on hard drive archives since the mid-’00s. Not my best, but not my worst, and I just wanted to share one of a variety of scenes I’d captured over the years.

If you enjoyed this, please let others know, so they get a chance to see it, too, since that doesn’t seem to happen nearly enough. And please feel free to share your feedback — Lord knows I need whatever I can get… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Dad, husband, game commando, veteran, Army brat, writer, teacher

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