Tuesday, 25 February 2014


I briefly spoke to Aaron Cometbus after the LA Vivian Girls show, and for some reason something about him stuck with me. I immediately went home and pulled all of Eloy's Cometbus books and zines off our bookshelves and asked Eloy where to start. He suggested I start with Double Duce, and with that I went under.

I have a habit of obsessing over bands, actors, albums, movies, musicians, etc. exclusively for days or months until I come up for air. I spend weeks engrossed in one thing at a time until the obsession passes, and then I integrate them into my daily interests and get on with my life. I've done this for as long as I can remember, and I'm not about to dissect the reasoning. I just know it keeps life interesting, anticipating that next crushing obsession.

I can't put my finger on what makes Cometbus so exciting. Since reading his work I feel like my passion for music and community has been restored. I'm excited about DIY and creating and sharing and having real, lengthy conversations about more than just surface bullshit. I'm excited about friendship and scenes and strangers. I feel inspired. Inspired to write songs, book shows, and find new bands to fall in love with. 
I'm even excited to drive 1400 fucking miles to Austin, TX next week.

I think Aaron's words are steeped in that excitement and it rubs off on his readers. He reminds me of all the reasons I got into this music mess in the first place. I didn't sit in my bedroom learning how to play Against Me! songs so I can get a good "score" or make it onto year-end lists. I started doing this because I needed to. Because if I didn't release the valve in some way I would've imploded. Music is about affecting people and connecting and sharing and feeling a little less alone. Scores are for jocks. 

It's refreshing to see someone who can sustain the lifestyle that means so much more to me than any typical adult milestone ever will. When I was fired from Best Coast, I was almost relieved and thought I wanted to go back to school. I thought I was content to make a regular, adult life. I was going to get a degree and a career and buy a house. I quickly learned music isn't simply my hobby. I need music and community and to keep creating and growing or I'll be dead.

Since this infatuation began on Valentine's Day, a few excerpts have really hit me hard, and I wanted to share.

"We must write the story of our own life and play the soundtrack to it too! Our culture will die, nay, it is already on its deathbed, because we do not invest our own life in it! We do not include ourselves in the history! We do not take responsibility to make it into something we can truly call our own! Stand up and make your heroes proud! I need a rallying cry! A flag to unite us in our desparate struggle to stay true and stay together! Give me a slogan!"

I am so fortunate to have so many proactive, engaged friends. They do way more than I care to do in order to curate safe environments and spaces for cool shit to happen. It's refreshing to feel like a part of something, even if sometimes my only contribution is letting touring bands crash at my house.

"For my part, I made life-sized posters for the kitchen. Individuals whose writing, art, or music had been inspirational. More than that, they were people who knew how to look both brilliant and dangerous when posing for a photo. I put them up as reminders. What point was there in living if you didn't at least try to be as cool as your heroes?"

I love this. I feel like so many of my peers are hesitant to admit to idolizing others. People want to seem as authentically cool as possible. This excerpt feels, to me, like a glimpse behind the wizard's curtain. Yes, we all have idols. Yes, we try to be cool. I still aspire to be as cool as everyone I ever admired. Thank God someone said it. And that someone was Aaron Cometbus, and I definitely aspire to be half as cool as he is.

And on that note...

"He had tracked me down, asking everyone if they had seen the shy American fanzine editor. Finally one couple said they had. Evidently I passed by the licorice shop where they worked - not once, but over and over, everyday in my endless trudge through old town. My ears rang, I was so happy. To be seen by strangers, noticed by people without even knowing it, looked for and remembered. Suddenly, I felt much less alone. It's good to remember that now. How just passing by, we touch lives that we don't even know, and become part of stories told by people we don't even know exist."

This. God damnit this is perfect.
When I was in high school, Saves the Day were characters in my everyday life as much as my parents and best friends, and they don't even know me. I hope some day to have that effect on someone else. That they connect so completely to something I make, that I become part of their narrative without ever meeting them. And then maybe one day they will start a band for the same reasons I did, and one day I'll go see one of their shows as a fan, and the cycle will just perpetuate.

You guys, fandom is so cool.

- Ali


  1. This is a really beautiful post and speaks deeply to me. I have a passion for music, but as a fan. However, my love in life is storytelling and movies. Much of what you've written here applies to me, but just trade film for music.

    As I get older, there is definitely more a pressure to lead a more "adult" life. There's feel a sense of failure if you haven't turned your passion into some specific bank account number. It's sad, but reminding myself that I'm doing this because there's something in me that needs to removes that unnecessary doubt and encourages me to keep pushing forward.

    And about that cycle, you're already a part of it! The music of Vivian Girls has been a vital soundtrack to my life the past few years. I've gone through heartbreak, leaving the country, coming back and writing draft after draft after draft of screenplay with your music in my ears. I couldn't imagine what my creative work, or my life, would be without it. Thank you and keep on creating!