Because The Music Matters
“Time is slippin’ away, just passin’ us by, we’re wondering why but it’s gone, gone forever my friend and it won’t come again so don’t try to pretend you feel fine … killing time.” –Triumph
Happy Belated Leap Day!
by Andrew C. Schlett
Just last week was February 29th. Leap day. This is an event primarily celebrated by those who were actually born on that date in a leap year, or people who, for whatever reason, chose that day to be their wedding anniversary. To the rest of us, it’s really nothing more than a slight throw-off from the usual, average day; only set apart as special because of its numeric peculiarity. I have known people born on leap day who, although they usually celebrated on Feb 28th or March 1st, would on the occasion of leap year claim to be that many leap years old; i.e., someone turning 32 would say, “Hey, I am eight years old today!” Then they would slam eight shots, much like any other little kid having his eighth birthday. (Ha. I bet you weren’t at my second-grade party!) But no, the larger point here is that leap day is fairly insignificant to the majority of the population. Most people would probably not be affected nor have their lives altered in the least bit if those ancient calendar-makers would have gotten it right the first time around and spared us all the quad-annual ritual that we have come to know as February 29th. Leap day is a corrective adjustment, nothing more.
So that got me to thinking, how was the measurement and tracking of time first determined? By whom were the very first clocks and calendars invented? It seems likely that the first clock ever was a stick stuck in the middle of a circle drawn in the dirt, so our earliest predecessors could watch the movement of the sun’s shadow around it. This was likely precipitated by early man’s noticing the morning and evening feeding habits of the wild game around them upon which they subsisted – food, clothing, and shelter from the flora and fauna they found – and realizing the sensibility of having a predictable and readable means to determine the most opportune period of the day to hit the hunting fields. With the awakening awareness of cognizance, they eventually started to mark the days by scratching notches on their cave walls, annotating those days of great hunting success, severe weather, births, deaths, great fires, and the like. The inevitability of progress turned these inscribed notches, which must resemble those commonly found today in jail cells around the world, into our first calendars and from there sprung the first accrued records of the activities of mankind; that which we call ‘history’.
All I know is that time is a valuable thing, watch it fly by as the pendulum swings, watch it count down to the end of the day, the clock ticks life away… oh wait, that’s Linkin Park. But really, what is the point of any of this? Why do we bother to do anything at all? And if we do go out and do something, why should anybody else care? Let’s face it, a hundred years from now none of this is going to matter. As it was once so eloquently put to me by my brother from another mother, unless you end up being somebody like George Washington, Elvis, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Jesus, then what you do with your life really won’t make two craps of difference to the future of the overall world as a whole. So you might as well live it however the hell you want to, and have the best time you can along the way. Life is a one-time thing, very limited, all too easily ended, and ultimately inconsequential.
By extending this logic, one might wonder why we bother to go through any of this at all. It’s been my experience that the only two things in life that make it worth livin’ are guitars tuned good and firm-feelin’ women… oh wait, that’s Waylon Jennings. I don’t actually play guitar myself, which is one of the things I credit most for my continued survival. Had I been a rock star back in the 80s I never would have seen the end of that decade. I would have turned out like the Hanoi Rocks guy who died in Vince Neil’s car crash. All those years ago when I wrote for Rivethead the first time around, I would occasionally be asked why I bothered to write for a paper that didn’t even pay. These days I am asked why I devote so much time, energy, and resource into trying to run a webzine that doesn’t even pay. The short answer to that is simple; because the music matters. The long answer, though, is much more complex and deep. Who decided that life itself is a commercial venture? Is the millionaire businessman who dies from a stress-related heart attack in his luxury box at the Texans game any better or worse off than the homeless guy under the bridge who dies from alcoholism, neglect, and decay? I really don’t think so. We’re all equal in the eyes of the Reaper. Death does not discriminate, nor does it award any bonus points for achievement. It seems unlikely that there will be any racial, socio-economic, or class segregation in the afterlife. The pursuit of wealth is a sham. What we want, and what we need, are two totally disparate things.
This being said, there are several key supporting sub-points which must be made clear. First is that the millionaire businessman has as much right to his lifestyle as I do mine, as long as he’s legitimate and true. Second is that I have never been in a position of wealth and have no real idea how I would react if I were thrust into one. But would I go out and bust my ass, hustle the masses, and put all my time and energy solely into the acquisition of cash and pricey stuff? No way in hell. But that’s just me. I’m much more interested in pursuits of intellectual leisure than big-screen TVs. Lastly, and perhaps most significant of all, the choices I have made and the path I have walked to get here have mostly been made and walked alone. If I had married way back when many others of my same age were doing so, and had children, my views on life and indeed my very life itself would be vastly different than they currently are. Life has put me, like it puts us all, in the position I’m supposed to be in, for whatever reason I’m supposed to be there. That’s why I manage an online webzine that doesn’t even pay. We all have our roles to play in this complex, insane drama that is the world in which we live, but we all get to exactly the same place in the end. We make our choices and we live with them, might as well have some fun along the way. Rivethead, once an interesting sideline, has become a very compelling and enjoyable hobby through which I can hopefully be helpful to local music. More than once I have been accused of living twenty years younger than I actually am. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. Leave me alone don’t want your promises no more ‘cause rock and roll is my religion and my law… oh wait, that’s Ozzy Osbourne. But it’s still pretty cool.
We seem to have strayed pretty far from leap day and ancient calendars. That’s the beauty of being editor, I can write anything I wish. I try to keep most of it within the boundaries of music, but sometimes these inspired whims hit me and I must step with aimless and listless meandering into social commentary, or philosophical digression. I would say it’s because “I do what I want!” but then I’d be quoting Eric Cartman and I just can’t let myself go that low….
Live well, y’all!
The Editor's Desk