I don't hear people muse about the amazingness of the late 90s very often, which makes sense on a logical level... it wasn't an epic time period, really, except to the people who were the right age at the right time. I dropped out of high school in 1999 (I could say I graduated, but that isn't true. However, it would have been the year of my graduation had I desired to be there and/or put in any effort whatsoever), and I hold this time period near and dear to my heart. The colors I dyed my hair, the tweed slacks I thrifted, the horribly produced music videos, the friends I had... frozen in time and looked at through the rosy filter of nostalgia - it was wonderful.
The summer of 1997 stands out especially; I was in a band, a real bonafide band. We were only together for a couple of months and never actually played a gig, but we had a complete and utter BLAST. We kind of had a surf/ska thing going on, but without a horn section. You worked with what you had in a small town and my guess is that there were no trumpet players eager to join a crappy band that practiced in an empty rental house owned by the bass player's grandparents. It all started when I was taking drivers ed (I still cannot believe that this is not offered through the school anymore, atleast not in the PNW. You have to enroll in a privately owned driving school now and it costs like... money. This is just bizarre.) and I started hanging out with this kid named Kevin. I was in the school choir with his girlfriend and knew a lot of the same people, but didn't really get to know him until that summer. He had this band with 3 of his friends, but they were looking for a lead singer. Upon hearing this I cornered him and started singing Trapped in a Box by No Doubt... not my best moment. And certainly not the best song a vocalist can pick to showcase their talent, but I desperately wanted to be perceived as super cool and I could do a pretty good Gwen, so it got me in the band.
Practice was good times. Plain and simple. We came up with some of the most ridiculous songs - a surf-punk anthem about being a kid (complete with references to chicken mcnuggets, geoffrey the giraffe, and orange soda), a cover of Hey Mickey, but with the lyrics changed to "hey Stevie, you're a bitch. Hey Stevie. Hey Stevie." (all about a girl at our school who was hell-bent on making my life miserable. She was a real gem.), and some random riffs. The best thing about our silly little band, however, was our name. Sultans of the Latrine. SOL. I mean, c'mon... what the fuck does that even mean? I didn't nit-pick about it, since I was the last person to join the band and they came with the name, but man... if we'd ever actually played any gigs, that name would have been out of there. I'm not even sure how one comes up with such a name. Then again, Kevin's next band was at one point called Slave-Owner-Worm. Would you like to know why? Master-Bait. For real. And we thought these type of things were clever. But we were also smoking a bit of pot and were high on life and the fact that we were actually in a band. This will do things to your perception.
Lexi and I in Victoria, repping the end of an era. Blue sparkly eye shadow, bindis worn ironically, thrifting for t-shirts in the little boy's section, checking out guys in baggy jeans and wallet chains...
Sometimes I'll watch old videos or put on songs or pull out my old school notebooks (plastered with pictures of Billy Corgan, Bjork and Mike Ness, natch) and get all wistful about the good old days. I'm barely a decade out of those times, but they feel warm and fuzzy and smell of curly fries and maple bars... and musty racks of used clothes.