I rarely remember any of my dreams. When I do, they are usually just believable, ordinary occurrences. I buy an out-of-print Ornette Coleman record that I’ve been trying to track down for years, visit my parents for one reason or another, or I go to a strange flea market with my brother and find video games or sports collectibles I’ve never heard of, so I pretty much dream about my typical weekend. I’ve had several dreams about skipping a class in university I forgot that I was registered to all semester, forgetting my gym clothes at home even though high school is over a decade in the rear-view mirror, and living in a strange hybrid of a house combining elements of places I used to live plus a few hidden bonus rooms thrown in. That type of thing.
I’m a pretty simple guy when it comes down to it. That’s why my dreams really don’t reach grand places nowadays. They are more reminiscent of one of Billy Dreamer’s daydreams from the Kids In The Hall sketch than something more surreal or fantasy-based. My nights of being tormented by unmanned cars dead set on running me over are long gone, as are the sleepless nights I’ve had to avoid being stalked by a disturbing and determined Mr. Bean, though I may share such recurring dreams of my past in a future blog.
Every once in a while, I will have a dream that actually makes me wake up and want to remember it. I’ve grouped a few of them together since they all have a common root in music. They may only have relevance to me, but most dreams are personal since they are built around our own experiences and things we’ve observed. If I could have your dreams, I would take them in a heartbeat because one more pointless dream about getting ripped off when buying Blue Jays tickets is one too many. To this day I won’t buy from a scalper in fear I’m led to prime seats in the furnace room.
There are some bloggers who have done great work capturing their dreams and effectively presenting them visually through images and words. Mine are going to be filled with tons of holes and minimal dialogue, but due to their lack of frequency, certain elements of them remain locked into my memory. I’ll do my best to stay as faithful to the original dreams as I can, but I’ll most likely drift a bit off tangent.
The Great Eno Machine
I was over at my parent’s house with my brother and sisters helping our parents clean junk out of what used to be my old bedroom. Nothing out of the ordinary there because once a kid grows up and leaves the nest, their room is instantly taken over by one of mom or dad’s hobbies, be it antique radios, sewing accessories, or some interests long abandoned. We stumbled across an old pile of computer hobbyist magazines from the seventies and eighties. I thumbed through an issue, and landed on an ad for a very interesting computer.
I can’t remember the name of it, but the ad had the header “Sound Like Brian Eno!”. For those lacking in their rock history, Brian Eno is a musician known for his work with artists including Roxy Music, David Bowie, Robert Fripp, and David Byrne, as well as having an extensive solo catalog. He is also well known as a producer known for having his hand in such seminal albums as U2’s The Joshua Tree, Talking Heads’ Remain In Light, and Slowdive’s Souvlaki. This machine promised to act like some sort of home recording studio that you can use to make any song you record sound as if Mr. Eno had been twiddling the knobs himself. I guess it would be a bit like a primitive version of recording software Pro Tools or Cubase or one of those songwriting tools that have been released lately, such as Ghostwriter or Songsmith. I’m doubting that this could yield worse results than the latter.
The magazines belonged to my father, so I showed him the ad to see if he’d heard of the computer. Of course he happened to have one in the shop out behind the house. Growing up, it seemed like he had an infinite supply of electronics stored in back, some of which he purchased and some of which he built. He’d bring his homemade Jacob’s Ladder to our elementary school and give presentations to the kids. Many of my classmates thought my dad was a scientist when in reality, he worked at General Motors with many of their parents.
We brought it into the house, and were completely underwhelmed by what we saw. Here’s what I remember it looking like.
The first thing that came to mind when I awoke was that it was like a prehistoric Bop-It prototype. The machine had tons of peripherals, resulting in something Rube Goldberg would call needlessly complex. It was a complete eye-sore, yes, but at least it came out years before the whole Sega CD/32X mess, so I cut it some slack. The important part to me was whether or not it actually worked. Well it did, but not how I imagined it (but it’s my dream, so I sort of did). The ad should have read “Do you like the Talking Heads? Why not rip them off entirely?”. All it seemed to have were a couple of stock percussion samples and a few guitar loops. It basically sounded like “I Zimbra”, but you could add a bunch of bells, whistles, and fart noises over top of it. I should expect less from early 80’s technology, even in my dreams.
DLR Can Sure Throw A Party!
This is a portion of a much longer dream that I cannot remember. Being an unoriginal dreamer, this scene also takes place in the city I grew up in, Oshawa. More specifically, it was on the corner of Olive Avenue and Wilson Road, which at the time had two gas stations on the southern corners of the intersection. The gas stations have no relevance, unless he put out-of-work models from his music videos on car-washing duty. The streets had been blocked off because it was host to a special event starring David Lee Roth.
Diamond Dave had no backing band of any sort. It was just a man and his megaphone. I’m not sure what his purpose was. He may have been promoting a book, doing a martial arts demonstration, hosting a seminar about band conflict resolution. Anything really. I would guess that it was some sort of spoken word engagement like fellow rockers Henry Rollins or Jello Biafra have been known to perform. I think he has the personality to pull of such a thing, but not in this dream. All I mostly remember is a bunch of strutting around making a ton of Ric Flair “Woooo!” sounds and other nonsensical things to rile up the crowd.
I don’t remember exactly what he was wearing, but I’m sure it wasn’t age-appropriate, weather-appropriate, era-appropriate, or gender-appropriate. Not as if he ever did in the first place.
The only coherent words I can remember him saying was this:
“Hey remember when we all played here back in the day?”
The crowd went absolutely nuts!! Quite the reaction, I thought, but it didn’t sit right with me. A drunk rock crowd will cheer at just about anything.
I woke up wanting to know if David Lee Roth or Van Halen had ever played in Oshawa. A quick Google search brought up nothing of relevance, so I assume I’m right.
The Nuge vs Wall Street
This dream occurred around five years ago, so the exact location in Dream Land I cannot quite remember. I was either in the main living space in the old family trailer (Trophy-brand trailer, for all you mobile home enthusiasts) or in the old family van. I’m leaning towards the van because I can recall my vantage point being from the front passenger seat.
My brother and I were messing around in the front seat of the car, filing through the middle compartment where the cassette tapes were stored. We came across one by Ted Nugent. In reality, there was one Ted Nugent tape in the family collection, his If You Can’t Lick’em… Lick’em album. To date, I still haven’t heard the album. It couldn’t make it’s way into the road trip rotation with Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, Genesis’ We Can’t Dance, and The Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge. I wonder if it’s better than Love Grenade.
I’m pretty sure that we were listening to this on the radio or tape deck, but I swear I could see him. It might have been viewing some form of holographic projection or virtual reality, sort of like that of Diahann Carroll from the Star Wars Holiday Special. The Nuge can sure entertain, but believe me that I wasn’t nearly as excited as Itchy was for his viewing.
It sounded like a live album as we jumped into it as ol’ Teddy was introducing a song to the crowd.
“You guys know about all those fat cats on Wall Street, right? Well this song’s called JEEEEEEEEEW STREEEET!!!”
I’m not sure what possessed me to think up Ted Nugent writing such an anti-semetic song. His forte, like many 70’s rockers, is using heavily sexualized lyrics which may or may not involve girls south of 18. He is also an avid hunting enthusiast, and his political preferences lean towards the right. However, none of these factors would make me draw the conclusion that he is an anti-semite.
You know what? I’m not going to apologize for this one, nor would I apologize for any dream I have. I’ve had people recall dreams to me involving some sort of war/survival premise where I am the first to be killed. I’d take umbrage over this and argue how the situation would really play out until I was red in the face and needlessly embarrassed, so I could understand why someone could get offended by a dream I would have. I’m too lazy to due the research to back this up, but I think we have little control over what we dream. If I could control what I dream, do you think I’d want to waste another one on a non-eventful trip to grandma’s house? I love you grandma, but if I can’t even taste your home-made mint squares, what’s the point?
This dream I’ve had within the past month unlike the others, so this one is fresh in my mind.
I’m at my parent’s place hanging out around the front yard, and I see a man riding his bike down their street. I guess I was supposed to still be living with my parents in this dream. Anyway, to my surprise, he pulls up their driveway.
He knocks on their door, and my mother answers. I can hear him request me by name. I am puzzled because I had never seen him before. He’s around my age, fairly overweight, and at around 5’8” or 5’9”, a couple inches taller than me. He had really short buzzed hair, glasses, and maybe a week’s worth of facial hair growth.
“I have this metal band, (name not remembered, but it was a pretty generic death metal name like Obliteration, Impalement or something lifted from a Carcass lyric), and we are from Ajax. We want you to mix our album for us.”
I was thrown off by this request for a few reasons. He had a really notable eastern European accent, possibly Russian, but it sounded like he was faking it. I also wondered why in the hell he wanted me to mix his album. I have little to no experience with music recording. I bought some recording software when I was 19, but I could never dive in and figure it out well enough to do anything decent. I also was in a garage band for about a year. We only recorded a few songs, and I wasn’t the one who did the mixing. I was just the lowly bass player.
I addressed some of my concerns to the man, but he insisted. “It won’t take much of your time. Only twenty minutes.”
20 minutes? Plenty of hardcore punk bands have albums around that length, but many of them keep it raw and do little post-production. In any case, a twenty minute mix job is going well below half-assing it. I don’t even think there’s a term for it because, if you ask me, any level of assing it has a one cheek minimum.
I didn’t have my car with me, so I would have to ride with him on his bikes. Naturally, the complex logistics regarding transportation made me rule out the possibility for good. This man seemed like he wanted my ears on his project immediately. Days from now, his band could lose relevancy, costing them all eight of their fans in the process.
I really felt bad for the guy on many levels. I should have joined him. It’s a dream, so I could have figured something out. I could ask my neighbour Marty McFly if I could borrow his hoverboard and tagged behind, or just catch the next bus driven by Ray Charles. Or I could have just mixed the album no questions asked. I probably had nothing better to do. If I was still living at home with my parents, I was most likely unemployed anyway. Dipping your feet into the underground metal community can do wonders for padding a resume.
Now To Plug Something Cool (or Plug Your Ears??)
In a slightly related note, I’d like to promote something else that I’m looking forward to. No, it isn’t my planned dream involving me, Christian Serratos, and a well-secured zombie apocalypse bunker. It is a dream of sorts, which will soon become a reality. A filmmaker from Toronto is preparing a documentary chronicling a story about a subgenre of heavy metal called grindcore, which to simplify is like if hardcore punk and heavy metal had a rebellious child. As you can hear from some of the leading bands of the genre, this is not a form of music designed for mainstream consumption, which is why this documentary needs some support. Exceeding their initial fundraising goals would mean more interviews can be set up with musicians that were key to the development of the genre, making for a more in-depth documentary.