Me Vs. Music


On desperate ground, fight!

For a few months, I have been filled with a Herculean anger mixed with hurt of the kind associated with the betrayal of a wrongful job loss. Yes, it happens. I struggle to understand why. I know it might be a surprise that I’m not perfect. OK, I know it’s no surprise, but for the record, I did my job well. Despite the current ickiness, I am a fighter and will fight for what I feel is right until my last breath. Anger aside, I refuse to say more, to name the company or to disparage their image. Karma, when it comes, will take care of that. It always comes, and when it does, I hope karma affords them the same kindness they afforded me.

For me to hold myself solid while facing the next car payment and a shrinking bank account, I fix my mind on a biblical verse — Isaiah 54:17: No weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. I do this and repeat it many times. I am not particularly religious. Yet, I have roots in the church, and, like many who are raised with a religious background of some sort, I find solace in setting my pain aside and giving myself over to the will of the universe. Sometimes, it is all you have left.

Then again, there is Guided By Voices. I am convinced these fellows are in fact paid agents of drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, or superheroes of a kind that don’t need capes or tights, but, through the sheer magnificence of their instruments and songs, they render the soul helpless against the power of feeling better. “Sorry, Glaxo, I don’t need your pills. I have GBV.” At least until they really retire for good, I have them.

I have known the music of GBV for quite a few years and have many male friends who worship them. On the surface, it seemed they were kind of a guy’s drinking and bonding band. But since I’m female, love the band and have a new pain to bear, I understand that Guided By Voices transcends gender, cuts to the gut, cleans it out, and makes you feel good. This is part of their charm and is better than any antidepressant. (Not that I’d actually know, since I’ve managed to avoid them so far … barely.)

I don’t think any pill could be greater than the moment at a GBV show when their song “Watch Me Jumpstart” flips into the chorus and the audience screams out the verse, “Shoot me down and bring me down.” It is the type of release one needs after a long, crappy week spent with the drones of middle management and difficult coworkers.

Hell yes!

So needless to say, right now, I need a GBV show. Do you hear me, Bob Pollard? Nope, I don’t accept that it is over at the end of this tour.

Hearing the greatest hits album (Human Amusements at Hourly Rates) this week has helped me focus my rage into something productive: this article, for one, and the energy to get out of bed, scream and fight another day. Sometimes we all need a good scream. Furthermore, if the economy continues its spiral into the abyss, we won’t have anything left but our screams, and if there really is a God, Goddess or other cosmic power, we’ll have Guided By Voices.

People need somewhere to lay their troubles down. Some attend church and leave their pain in the pews. Some leave it at the gym, and others leave it with music. I’m one of those. There is no greater feeling for me than the release music brings, whether that be dancing all night to heavy House or jumping with The Boy in the abandon of a GBV show. It’s been too long since I have allowed myself the space to dance and throw out all of the negativity that’s been building, and I am ready to leave everything on the battlefield.

If I must die then I will die, figuratively, of course. Most adversaries don’t have the power to kill you. I know mine can’t. I’m not afraid to channel a little Sun Tzu or Queen Esther and fight to the death, as long as when I get in my armor, I have a little GBV on the iPod. Hey now, it’s a modern battle.

Erica Rucker is a freelance weirdo, writer and professional wedding/portrait photographer at eElaine Photography.