…For Nesters, Forever Ago.

It’s Sunday night and I think of you, members of The Nest, when I hear these songs.

Weezer – The Good Life – During my early days in Seattle, since I didn’t have a job or any particular goals, I tried to teach myself guitar.   This was a good 10 years after my classmates had learned guitar(“More Than Words” was very popular back then, around ’96) in South Dakota so it seemed fruitless to be trying at 26.  But I had so much time and once I started to get calluses, I thought maybe I could be a guy who was passed the guitar at parties.  Though I never became that good, I did learn a couple songs.  And I like to think that this song, along with that guitar, helped me become your friends.  So I thank my deficiencies as an artist and do not curse my unlearned hands.

Phil Collins – Another Day in Paradise – Of course this is the other song I learned.  It was always a joy to hear this requested when I was near the guitar during the early times on Garden St.  I don’t know how many of you actually wanted to hear it. But it did my heart good to hear you, Erik, Travis, Emily, Sara, Lindsey, Liz, even Kristina at times, singing along. It was certainly more than my clumsy plucking and off-tune singing deserved.

Cat Stevens – Moonshadow – When I hear this song, not only do I think about a very specific time(the kickball game in the park on Garden St) and the genesis of The Nest, but I also think of Mr. Moonshadow himself, Nick.  There is something magical about a person like Nick, streaming in, then back out of a group like ours.  Was there ever a time that we had a person who could play any Cat Stevens or Beatles song on request? Was there ever a guy who could actually defend Jimmy in a game of Frisbee?  Was there ever a guy who moved to Colorado and got married, then was gone?

Billy Joel – Moving Out(Anthony’s Song) – The screens that display the lyrics of karaoke songs at The Monkey Pub are not reliable.  We all know this now.

Clipse – Keys Open Doors – I remember inviting the Garden Street girls to come and watch Clipse with me at Chop Suey.  I even tried to be cute by claiming that Andrew Bird was opening and though no one believed me, it still seems like I was at the house on Garden Street the very same night that I went to the show.  I know that’s impossible, it’s just that that house is so connected to my first moments in Seattle.  And I’m glad. It was a good house.

Boyz II Men – Water Runs Dry – This song is placed along with Lindsey and Brian and Erik, in the times we went to the Beacon Pub and would met with Sean Sims, the UPS driver who serviced White Center, and Beruk Bayih who delivered in the Highland Park/Delridge area.  I always thought that was such a strange place for a bar, and I did learn later that both Beruk and Sean were at that very bar the night of this shooting.

Bon Iver – Flume – During the winter of 2008 we listened to this song and sipped on hot drinks and our young flesh, still elastic, needed no extra clothes in the basement of a house, heated by oil,  in Tangletown.   Our bodies made the room hot.  And rank as well, like the sweaty tinge of a room left unaired.   But it hardly mattered.  We listened to this song and played cards and let the warmth fill our pores.  I remember Doug’s dark beard and the white snow.  And I remember they way that Brian and Lindsey were. And I think I remember Emily and Jesse were first getting to know each other.  It was a good winter.

The songs of Andrew Bird – I don’t know any Andrew Bird Songs, but what kind of song list of  Nest affiliates would be complete without the guy?  The younger pups of the group may not know, but there was once a time when the girls who made up Garden Street house all had Andrew Bird lyrics on their Myspace accounts.  The mid 2000s were a different time.

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio – This song marks the end of my time in Seattle and it also makes me think of Ben and Ian, two young men I was very glad to get to know, if only a little bit.  They both knew this album well it seemed and it represented their heady youth to me, knowing about things before the “old man” did.  I didn’t mind and I enjoyed both them and their enthusiasm for things that I once thought about as passionately.

Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike – Duchess Mrs. Sara Collins Peters of Wallingfordshire comes to mind when I hear this song.  She always seemed to enjoy it most of all when it came on and I always liked to hear her sing it, if softly.  And I also like to imagine young Phil and Dan and Erik and Brian as junior high boys in the greater Seattle area, with rolled up pants and cool haircuts hearing this and other cool grungy songs. What would be like to go back and meet those young boys, dirty behind the ears?

Cornerstate – Like You Never Left(the “Poker Face” song) – We learned not longer after putting this matte black disc with the cursive writing into the old reliable CD player by the sink that it was the perfect marriage of Jason Mraz and Coldplay.  It was Taco Tuesday when someone put it in and usually by the time I did everyone was just settling in, “somewhere more comfortable,” eating Safeway chocolate chip cookies, and drinking beer.   Then there would be Doug and Kristina just walking out the door, going off to nest in their own way.  Soon Liz would be in her chair, looking restful, dozing off to sleep.

Nelly – Dilemma(the “my boo” song) – There nights when we were playing karaoke on Phil’s American Idol game.  We, Erik, Travis, Lindsey, Liz, Brian, and even sometimes Sara and Doug and Kristina and even Forks Jeff, would alternate between Rock Band and singing karaoke on the Playstation.  My personal favorite nights were the ones(besides the nights we played strip Rock Band or karaoke) in which Phil would take on Brian in 90s R&B songs. This one was my favorite.

Vampire Weekend – One(Blake’s Got a New Face) – The image of playing euchre, eating the vegan donuts Emily brought home, sitting at the “big table” upstairs of the Tangletown house and listening to this song is burned in my brain.

The Songs of Gogol Bordello -If there is one band that reminds me of Doug and Kristina, it is Gogol Bordello. I know that for the rest of my life I will think of Copley and Struve when I hear this band. Even now, I can see Doug arranging his cards, readying himself for the next hand and bobbing his head and I can see Kristina playfully punching him on the shoulder, then squeezing him on the thigh.

The Hold Steady – Southtown Girls(at 3:40 of video) – How much did Kristina and Liz love this song? Very little, it turned out, but discussing The Hold Steady is the one of the very early memories I have of talking with the young ladies from Garden Street, which would eventually morph into what we know as “The Nest.”  I learned that both Liz and Kristina were Minnesotans and I assumed, since they looked like savvy, organic, hipster looking girls(in other words, my kind of ladies) I thought that they would know a thing or two about The Current and The Hold Steady.  It turned out they hated Hold Steady and in a way that was helpful. It was a nice disagreement between young people and a good thing to have to discuss, a needling force which would encourage more conversation.   So I am happy for “Southtown Girls.” I suppose I live in their neighborhood now.

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