Moments In Song #4 – Urge Overkill ‘Sister Havana’
The sun eventually, mercifully, went down. I still can’t remember where we ate dinner. All I can remember is driving all over the hot desert asphalt singing Urge Overkill songs. Could we have really done that for seven hours? I guess it’s possible. Finally, we pulled up to The Mason Jar and headed to the door. As usual, I figured I’d let Bobby do the talking.
“Hi, we’re here to see Urge Overkill. They told us we were going to put us on the list.”
“What’s the name?”
Bobby gave them our names.
“Sorry, I don’t have anything under those names.”
“Really? Because we met them at a gas station last night in, uh,” he turned to me, “What was the name of that town?”
“Fort Stockton,” I replied.
“Yeah, Fort Stockton,” continued Bobby. “They said they were going to put us on the list.”
“Right. Well you’re not on here.”
“Yeah, but see, the thing is, I’m not 21 yet, so they were going to put me on the list so I could get in. I don’t drink alcohol, but my friend and I would really, really like to see Urge Overkill. We’ve driven all the way from Georgia, and we just spent all day driving around Phoenix listening to — “
“Look kid. If you aren’t 21, you aren’t coming in. Whether your name’s on this list or not.”
“But — “
I grabbed Bobby’s shoulder. “Come on, dude. Let’s just go.”
“But — “
“They didn’t put us on the list,” I said. “They probably forgot as soon as we walked off. Or they laughed their asses off at us for thinking we going to be on the guest list.”
For a second, I thought Bobby was going to cry. That was part of his charm as well — unlike most kids from El Cajon, he wasn’t afraid to display his more vulnerable emotions in public. But instead he just shook his head and started walking back to the car. The next day’s drive back to his parent’s house in El Cajon was uneventful. We were sitting around looking at the paper when we saw who was playing The Casbah that night in San Diego.
“Fucking Urge Overkill,” I said.
“Yeah. We should go.”
“But Casbah’s 21 and up too.”
“I know. I don’t want to see them play. I want to go and give them shit. We should get a bunch of people to go and fuck up their van.”
Bobby sighed. His heart just wasn’t in it. And to be honest, neither was mine. We tried listening to Urge Overkill over the next month, but I don’t think either of us made it all the way through the album. It just seemed to mock us.
Actually, I have no idea if Bobby stopped listening to it or not. Come to think of it, maybe he didn’t. Maybe I’m just thinking about myself. Because I damn sure couldn’t listen to the thing. The home I came back to didn’t exist in any recognizable form. It seemed like everyone’s life, including my mom’s, was nothing but chaos and shambles. I had no place to live, and I was still no closer to figuring out what I was going to do with myself. Bobby and I started playing songs in his parent’s basement, me on guitar and him on drums, but we had trouble finding a bass player. And though Bobby suggested we should just start playing shows anyway, just the two of us, my consumption of music hadn’t yet led me to Olympia, Washington and K records, and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to play without a bass player (which, if I’m being totally honest, my insecurities were the real issue).
The next few years of my life would be a mess of psychic fragmentation, of shadows and trembling spiders. There was no room in this world for the tongue-in-cheek frivolity of Urge Overkill. And this last song, Saturation’s lone moment of heartfelt sincerity, a sucker-punch tearjerker about being young and lost and adrift, was too close to home for someone who had recently started working at Dairy Queen.
Or maybe it was just that, surrounded on the rest of the album by irony and goofball posturing, it just hurt too much. It was impossible to trust. It felt like I was just being set up for the next cruel joke that life was about to play on me. Urge Overkill had already fooled me once. I wasn’t about to give them a second chance.
Jesus, it sucks to be young.