A Heartfelt Farewell

A friend of mine sent me a link to The Chariot’s farewell video. I was on my crutches by my stove in the middle of frying an unreasonable amount of bacon, and I just looked down at my iPhone and smiled. I put my phone back in my pocket and flipped a couple of the pieces of bacon-y goodness before muttering what (I feel) is the most appropriate response to such news.

“Good for them.”

Now is the beginning of the most important part of a long musical journey: The Legacy. They’ve jumped off stages and rooftops, hung from rafters, labored through long nights in recording studios, slept on countless floors, sniffed each others van farts, traveled the world, thrown guitars, toppled tube amps, and made people chug milk until they barfed. It wasn’t posh hotel rooms, private jets, and caviar. It was passion, hard work, freedom, and expression. That comes at quite the toll, and I am forever grateful that The Chariot was able to exist for a decade.

Their mark has been left, and it will never disappear as long as we carry it with us. They lifted us up so much, but now it’s our turn to do it for them. Don’t be bitter. Don’t be crestfallen. Those of us who’ve loved bands that existed before our time… we know how special music’s impact can be when art can pass the test of time. Music can travel through generations, but it doesn’t happen automatically. It’s passed on by people who dig into their record collections while they hang out with their friends… needles touch vinyl and people’s lives are touched. And maybe 15 years from now it will be those people whowill start a band and find a new way to say what they need to express to the world.

That’s why I love music. This is why I love punk rock and hardcore. It’s not about lasting the longest. It’s not about 70-year-old skeletons strutting their wrinkled asses around on stage because they want to build an extension on their house. It’s about having a feeling that is so overwhelmingly strong that you have to get out there and express it to every goddamn person you can aim a speaker at. And if you’re lucky, maybe people will listen. And if you’re luckier, maybe you’ll change people’s lives for the better. But you have to be amongst the luckiest to enjoy such a ride for anything more than a few years.

So if you’re going to feel anything, let it be thankful. Yeah, you can miss the people who gave you the art that helped you live, but they’re human beings with full lives and other passions of their own. A time comes when you have to take what they’ve given you and let them move on to whatever it is that they need. Maybe they need to start completely different bands. Maybe they need to raise a family. Maybe they need to create art in an entirely different medium. Maybe they need to climb the Himalayas and meet the Dalai Llama. Fuck if I know what it is that they need on a personal level, but they certainly don’t owe me a goddamn thing.

All I need to know is that my life changed in 2004 when I saw Josh Scogin do a handstand on a Marshall halfstack towards the end of “And Then, Came Then”… and I feel like it’s my god-given duty to try and offer that same impact to anyone else who I think might be seeking it. We’re no longer admirers of their evolving art. We are the curators of their overall masterpiece.

And so I bid a fond farewell to The Chariot. Thank you for reaching out to a committed Atheist and helping me realize that we’re all a lot more similar than I could’ve ever imagined. Thank you for leaving it all (and then some) on the stage every night. Thank you for being regular, approachable, friendly human beings. Thank you for helping me, and so many others, live and grow. Thank you for playing your goddamn instruments so that I didn’t have to listen to drum machines and cheesy plugins. Thanks for the double drum kits. Thanks for the cool samples. Every time I record funky percussion on a heavy song is a tip of my hat to y’all (and Matt Goldman).

Go out with a bang and walk away proud of your creations. We’ll take it from here.

Everything is alive,

Everything is breathing,

Nothing is dead,

And Nothing is bleeding.

I realize that it’s sort of like fondling yourself in public, but I feel the need to post this again after sniffing some negative vibes about the subject (even after Josh’s AP interview). If it’s all I can do to help somebody find a more positive perspective, then it’s worth it.