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Happy Day Green Day

I went to the Green Day concert in DC on Thursday.  We bought the tickets a long time ago for a date in December, but the show was rescheduled for April.  And, of course, Cozy died the day before so I didn’t really feel like hauling myself an hour away through rush hour traffic.  But we did.  And I’m glad we went.

In order to find out when the concert would be rescheduled, I subscribed to the band’s news feed.  Sometimes I clicked over to read an article or two.  I liked to go into the comment section and see all the teenagers bemoaning that they couldn’t get tickets to the concert or their parents wouldn’t let them go.  I always had this overwhelming urge to write something like, “I’m an adult!  I’m an adult!  I get to go to the concert!  I bought tickets because I am an adult!!!”

But then I reminded myself that mature adults don’t taunt teenagers by pointing out that we have money and we can spend it on rock concerts.  We don’t have to ask permission.  Though… uh… we do have to ask for babysitting (thanks, mum and dad!).

There were obviously a lot of people there who were our age, but there were also roving bands of eleven-year-old boys trolling the hallway.  It made me feel very grey and very old.  They walked in packs, dressed in concert t-shirts or wearing all black.  I remembered being their age and going to rock concerts (though with my parents… where were their parents?), and I remembered being slightly older and going out to punk concerts (sorry, mum and dad, please don’t ground me, but I sometimes went downtown to shows without telling you).  Pushing and dancing in the mosh pit.  Crowd surfing and fearing that I’d be dropped.

A read a great quote once by Aaron Elliott that summed up the difference between a Green Day concert and the smaller punk shows I used to attend, and it was spot-on:

I’d been to Green Day’s big concerts and seen the look of pure joy on the faces of their fans.  I’d felt it myself.  It made questions about major labels and punk taboos seem academic… The audiences left the concerts happy and relieved.  At the DIY shows I championed, the showgoers often departed looking more lonely and forlorn than when they’d arrived.  The contrast was impossible to dismiss.

I went in that night feeling down about Cozy.  Feeling down about being so old.  And then the music started and we danced for 2 1/2 hours without stop.  We screamed out the lyrics with the band until our voices were hoarse.  Josh wrapped his arms around me from behind, and I closed my eyes as we swayed to “Brutal Love.”  I remembered going to punk concerts with whomever I was dating at the time and feeling — as Elliott said — sort of lonely and forlorn even in the togetherness.  But this time, I was swaying with someone who belonged to me, and I belonged to him, and we were listening to a love song.  Albeit a love song that explores the greyness of love, that even good relationships have those brutal moments.  But that — to me — is more fitting than pretending that love is always this gooey, happy feeling.  So I didn’t mind that I wasn’t crowd surfing anymore like those kids below on the floor, because I was pretty damn happy to be swaying with my husband, knowing exactly where I belonged.


I never really listened to Green Day in college.  I knew a few of their songs in the same way that I could tell you one or two Beyonce songs even though I don’t listen to Beyonce if I can help it.  But I didn’t own a Green Day album.  In college, I listened to Elvis Costello and They Might Be Giants exclusively.  I listened to one They Might Be Giants cassette every single day on my walk to and from campus for four years.  First day of freshman year, I popped Apollo 18 into the Walkman, and it remained there until I left college four years later.  I could judge how late I was running based on what verse was playing as I passed certain landmarks.  I listened to only Elvis Costello if I was at home.  I  had a little more variety there, rotating through a few different albums.

Sometimes, for nostalgia sake, I would return to my favourite high school music, which were mostly DC hardcore punk bands.  I listened to a variety of them because most bands tended to make one album and then break up and reform into a new band.  On Friday afternoons, we liked to lie on the sofa and close our eyes and have Ian Svenonius scream at us (mostly Nation of Ulysses, though sometimes Cupid Car Club).  Sometimes we branched out to Seattle bands like Bikini Kill or Nirvana (I kept this picture of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love under my bed — there was no room on my wall — and I still carry a digital version on my iPhone because I like being reminded of that time).

But there was no room for Green Day.

Green Day continued to be popular while I was in graduate school, but in graduate school, I listened to a single cassette for all four years.  It was one cassette of Bob Dylan’s Biograph.  There are almost 215 minutes of music in the collection.  I owned 90 minutes of it.  45 minutes per side of the tape.  It went in a continual loop in the car.  People called my car the Bob Dylan car.  It was the only thing you listened to if you drove with me.

So no room for Green Day there.

You may have picked up that I pretty much only listen to one band at a time.  Or, more accurately, there is a dominant band that is usually the music playing, and then every once in a while, I will listened to another disc for a small amount of time.  For instance, I always listen to the Violent Femmes while I bake for Purim.  Or I’ll throw on the Chess soundtrack so I can continue the twins’ musical theater education.  But for the most part, I like to listen to one band, every day, for many years.

Back in January of 2011, while researching the band in order to create a character for a book that is still unfinished, I decided that we would switch to Green Day.  We have a bunch of discs, so we tend to rotate through various albums.  I like the familiarity of hearing the same voice, of hearing the same lyrics, of hearing the same guitar riffs.  We have a current pop music disc the kids play if other children are in the car, but the second they step out, we switch back to Green Day.  All day.  Every day.

It has lined up from time to time that I get to go see the band du jour during the time period when it is the band du jour. (Though I gave up a chance to see Bob Dylan in graduate school because it was raining.  Yes, I still regret this.)  And that’s what happened this time.  In a sea of listening to Green Day music, I went to the show and got to listen to more Green Day music.  They put on an amazing concert, always moving, jumping, screaming.  It was exactly what I needed in that moment.

Do you listen to a variety of music, or do you tend to rotate through the same bands over and over again in a single time period?


1 Tiara { 04.07.13 at 8:26 am }

I listen to a variety of music but there always seems to be one or two songs that mark a certain period & hearing them will take me right back to that time & place & those emotions because I would have listened to those one or two songs on repeat…over & over again. Some songs are easy to hear, others still rip my heart out remembering to pain & angst at the time.

2 LC { 04.07.13 at 9:40 am }

With the advent of Pandora, I tend to listen to a genre not a band. And then I “like” certain songs on Pandora and get to hear them over and over… just the way I like it. 🙂 Big band music while grading, classical (orchestral or piano) while planning lectures, music theater in the car… It tends to correlate to an activity or location. My husband tends to have eclectic music taste, so if he’s choosing, we may listen to bluegrass covers of… well, anything.

3 Lori Lavender Luz { 04.07.13 at 12:41 pm }

I enjoy reading about your musical proclivities.

When I first got my iPod and didn’t have much on it, I listened to 10cc’s Dreadlock Holiday and Things We Do For Love about a gazillion times on endless loop.

I have a retro-music post up today too, with a little Easter egg in it. Not sure if anyone has found it yet (and it’s not that well hidden).

4 Kimberly { 04.07.13 at 1:41 pm }

I listen to a large variety of music in comparison. I listen to everything and what I listen to at the time is completely dependent on my mood. For instance, I love Incubus but if I’m not in the mood to listen to them, I would avoid their music til I was in a mood to listen. Hubby gets mad at me because I’m constantly flipping through my own playlists to find a song to suit my mood and when I find a new song, I like to play it on repeat til I’m sick of it.

And the variety is unending. I grew up listening to stuff like The Tragically Hip, Korn and Incubus. That was my high school years. But since then my taste in music has exploded. I seem to favor Canadian artists but overall I can go from pop to metal in the blink of an eye and still hit every genre in between on the way.

I have a large iTunes playlist filled with everything, fleetwood Mac and the classic rock my father loved. The Beatles and a variety of local indie rock bands that my brother got me hooked on. Fiddle and Celtic music that my mom taught me to love and then my own discoveries in between mixed up with anything that has a nice beat that I find along the way. I’m constantly flipping through songs until I find one that suits my mood and when I find a new song, I’ve been known to play it to death. I have Songza and soundhound on my phone and iPad just to find new music.

So I think we are complete opposites when it comes to music.

5 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 04.07.13 at 4:09 pm }

On my iPod Nano (which I still have but haven’t used since I was in the hospital with my twins) I have the full catalogs of about 10 bands. I’d mostly listen to it when I was doing pottery. I absolutely switched it up among those 10 bands but it was a big deal for me to add someone new (in large part because it felt like a hassle to physically add new songs to the iPod).

I don’t listen to individual songs, only albums. I would never, ever own a single song from an artist and not the whole album. I think that makes me seem very old.

Currently on my iPhone I have only 2 bands, Radiohead and Paul Simon. I rarely use my iPhone for music but if I do, there they are for me. I am fully aware that I could fit hundreds of artists and thousands of songs on my phone, for example some of the 500 CDs that are collecting dust in my house, but that does not interest me at all. In fact, it sounds awful to me to have so many available at all times. That’s what the radio is for: I like the decision for variety to be made up to someone else, so that when a song comes on that I particularly like, it’s exciting.

So I’m not quite as single-minded as you, but on that track. Metaphorically, I’d put it this way: in high school, college, and beyond until it became pointless due to iPods, I owned a 5-CD changer. You are a single CD machine kind of girl. I am usually a 5-CD changer kind of girl, once literally and now metaphorically, except for that time when I started college and UPS destroyed my CD player shipping it and so until the claim came through for them to buy me a new one I used the CD-ROM drive on my computer. And therefore the first 2 months of college I played one CD, over and over and over and over. Strangeways, Here We Come by the Smiths.

6 Stinky { 04.07.13 at 4:27 pm }

Lots of different. ITunes revolutionised the way I listen to music, although on my ipod, or every so often with ITunes, I take shuffle off and listen to albums as they were meant to be listened to. Depends on the band – I can go through NIN, Orbital and Placebo constantly, but some bands I can only listen to a few songs before I’m itching to change to shuffle again (Hendrix, REM, lately noticed that with). Used to listen to bands over and over in the car – remember having 2nd and 3rd Foo Fighters on constant rotate in the car – I think that was part of the limitation of a cassette player. I guess what I’m trying to say is the playbank medium can heavily influence how I listen to music.
Green day I liked about 10-15 years ago – had an ex who was massively into them around the Kerplunk/Dookie era and I loved those albums, kinda lost interest when they got massive (too much overkill on the radio) although I think they do what they do quite well – used to joke that they were 3 chord wonders, but I think thats just their ‘sound’. It tickles me that my 12 year old nephew is a big GD fan, along with his 80’s New Romantic geek mum. Makes me feel old too!

7 Queenie { 04.07.13 at 6:33 pm }

It must be something in the air, because you and Lori both blogged about music today, and before I read either of your blogs, I ALSO blogged about music, although my post won’t go up until tomorrow.

I rarely listen to music, unless I have a project going on, in which case I need a theme song (or, a disc of them), which is what I blogged about . I usually find I need quiet more than I need music.

8 a { 04.07.13 at 11:03 pm }

I listen to the radio most of the time, so I can get a variety of music. I used to want to listen to one CD over and over for a period of time, but I really prefer the radio. I don’t listen to music as much as I used to, but I did put a bunch of songs on my phone, in the event that I need to drown other people out in the most polite way.

9 chhandita { 04.08.13 at 2:58 am }

I listen to all kind of music too! and in a variety of languages (the joy of being multilingual) music is my soul food. Bands don’t really matter to me. music does.

10 Chickenpig { 04.08.13 at 8:53 am }

I still listen to CDs primarily, so I tend to listen to one band for long stretches of time out of sheer laziness. Right now I have an old Killbilly CD (Strangers in This Place) in the minivan and it has been their for weeks. Before that it was Layla by Derek and the Dominoes. My problem is also that I want to hear something specific and I often can’t find the CD I’m looking for (where oh where has my Ukelele Songs by Eddie Vedder gotten off too?) which puts me in a funk. I guess I need to join the 21st century and buy myself an Ipod. 🙂

11 Gail { 04.08.13 at 9:52 am }

I listen to a variety of music. I got an XM satellite radio for my birthday and it has opened up new music avenues for me. The local radio stations suck, so I had mostly listened to my ipod. But, with the XM channels, I have so many options and love it! Plus, it tells me what I am listening to and who it is by so that I can go out and buy it, if I want.

I guess this leads me to a question for you. If you are only listening to one or two bands on constant repeat, how do you ever hear about new music and new bands? Because, eventually, you’ll change your music (as your history has shown), but I wondered how you decide what to change to if you don’t listen to anything else but the band du jour.

12 Mina { 04.08.13 at 10:39 am }

I certainly go through phases when I listen obsessively a certain band, or singer, or even compilation or cd. But I listen to everything, from Glen Gould to Eminem, Rammstein to Rod Stewart, U2 to Muse, Pink Martini to Phil Colins. I have a fantastic memory for lyrics, which compensates for my perfectly inexistent memory for poems. I still know all the lyrics from Patricia Kaas’ Mademoiselle Chante album, and this came 25 years ago. Oh, shoot, saying ’25 years ago’ makes me feel so old…

13 Gradualchanges { 04.08.13 at 6:01 pm }

So interesting, you musical habits… I sometimes listen to certain artists on repeat but I love so much music that I’m usually listening to a shuffle/mix that way I get a little bit of everything.

14 TasIVFer { 04.08.13 at 9:00 pm }

Al Yankovic. But he *is* a variety of music.

15 missohkay { 04.09.13 at 1:00 pm }

I rotate through bands too. And I’m enjoying a new resurgence of They Might Be Giants in my life as I’m trying to get my daughter hooked. She screams when Particle Man comes on; I don’t understand what the problem is. Green Day was one of my first concerts in high school, but I’ve never seen them since. Now with my ipod, I get more obsessive about certain songs than certain bands – my daughter definitely is picking up that habit!

16 Cherish { 04.09.13 at 9:26 pm }

How funny! I sort of get it, because when I get a new CD/mp3 album, I OD on it. I listen to it over and over with almost no other options, until I’m sick of it. And then I go back to a wide selection of music. Glad you were able to enjoy a fun concert.

17 loribeth { 04.10.13 at 8:53 am }

I listen to a variety of music/bands, but within certain parameters. I can’t say I listen to very many new artists, although I will buy new music or collections from artists I like — which mostly tend to be the same artists I listened to growing up & in school. ; ) I think Green Day came out about 10 years after I was in college (erk) but I do really like their stuff, because it reminds me of the new wave/punk stuff I listened to in my day. ; ) I will sometimes put on American Idiot when I am housecleaning — it energizes me. I like some country, but I detest most rap & hiphop. :p

@Chickenpig — I still listen to CDs as well (& we were probably the last people we knew to get a CD player). The idea of having to master yet more new technology and rebuild my music collection in yet another format tires me out. ; ) Someday I expect I will have certain albums on vinyl, cassette, CD & digital. I guess the record companies have to make their money somehow. :p

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