Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cat's Cradle, Pt. 2: What a Superdrag

Years have gone by since I've been in Chapel Hill. My post-marriage life is beginning to blossom. Melody has transplanted from Chapel Hill to Williamsburg and we are in the throes of new love. Cashel has started kindergarten and amazes us all.

As I've alluded to earlier, the post describing my meeting with Melody probably deserves an entire blog unto itself. But that historic event happened at Cat's Cradle. We were going back to North Carolina to visit her family so we finally revisited our origin.

We had one night on the town. We knew we wanted to go back to Cat's Cradle but we didn't know who was playing. Turns out it was a band called Superdrag.

After some primping on both our parts, we headed out to dinner. I don't remember where we ate. My memories tend to be fuzzy when I'm around Melody...it's like being buzzed. We meandered into Cat's Cradle trying not to be overwhelmed by nostalgia. We each picked up a Pabst Blue Ribbon which we'd had that first fateful night in 1999.

To be honest, a group of monkeys could have played musical typewriter chairs and we wouldn't have cared. But happily, the musical Gods had other things in store for us.

I'd heard the name Superdrag before but often confused them with the Supersuckers, my friends Superbug from back in the day, and for some reason Teenage Fanclub. Don't ask me why. But I had never heard their music, or so I realized the instant they began their blare.

Their lineup was the old standard, two guitars, drum, bass. The rhythm guitar player served as the lead singer and the other string players sang harmonies. In most cases, harmony that accompanies loud punk music is not very memorable. But Superdrag doesn't fuck around. Even though they are really a Southern American rock band, their harmonies evoke both the British Invasion and The Beach Boys.

The guitars were perfectly complementary, hovering around each other and battering the melody. The rhythm section was fluid without being weak and powerful without being overbearing. And the songs! Melody and I kept looking at each other, mouths agape, trying to take in the artistry.

Now, to take an instant leap back into time...

After I got back to NYC from my first time spent in Chapel Hill, I wrote an album of songs in secret. I wrestled with trying to save my marriage while discovering a new love. I considered making the best of it in order to save everyone some pain, including my son. Almost a year into this untenable position, I finally accepted that I would have to break up my family.

Now, I had had very little contact with Melody throughout this terrible time. I needed to be sure that I was making the decision for the right reasons and I knew that my passion for her couldn't be the deciding factor. But that longing came out in song form.

I remember finishing a song called 'Myth Maker' and realizing that the album was done. I titled it Bull Cancer...meets the Brown Recluse of Hwy. 54. Melody is a Taurus, I'm a Cancer. She lived on Hwy. 54 in Chapel Hill. And we were plagued by spiders every time we hung out.

The song list is as follows:

1. Hymn to Her
2. Underestimated Melody
3. Mel & Jeff
4. Hellbent
5. Wise
6. Miseducation of a *Fucker
7. Miss St. Tropez
8. Myth Maker
9. Wonders Never Cease
10. Summer's Torture
11. Eulogy for a Death Wish
12. Go to L.A.

Cut back to Superdrag...

As I said, Melody and I were marveling at the songcraft and performance. And then they burst into a song called 'Hellbent'.

This coincidence was very much in keeping with the way the universe seemed to react to our relationship. Here it was, several years later, we revisit the club where we randomly met to see a random band we've never heard of, and they play a song with the same title as a song I'd written for her.

Like I said, what a Superdrag.

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