Rememberies 2015

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Holy smokes, that was an interesting year, am I right? Problem one that’s better off being sealed up in a concrete box, loaded onto a fishing boat and dumped overboard once we hit international waters, sinking sinking sunk all the way down in the muck and darkness and dankness of octopus dens.

But we can’t do that, “2015” is just a concept of our own creation and time marches on step by step with infinity.

So what happened in 2015? 211 shows in 6 bands in 1 year, not bad. What didn’t happen in 2015? No new Slushy music. Sorry about that, I got uninspired then I got busy!

Now let’s go remembering!

January

We’ll start the year off fine. Well, 2015 started off with me having NO idea what was to become of Slushy, but that changed very quickly when 3 days into the year we (Kenny, Justin, James, and I) played a (last-minute, I believe) set at the Auxiliary Arts Center. Were we good? No. Were we great? Probably. Did I fall off the stage? Definitely. We played last on a solid bill, so all the folks were riled up and they really went for our “let’s play these 2 chords back and forth for 3 minutes or til we get bored” approach, and us fellas said “sure, let’s keep doing this bullshit.” So it was settled. Meanwhile, The Lemons were finishing up some new tunes for a new tape, “Everybuddy’s A Lemon” on Bufu Records and booking a 3 week tour to take us out of Chicago and down to Florida to avoid spending so much time in the cold that our hearts froze. That was a smart move. At the end of the month, James, Kelly, Esther and I piled into the Lemvan with our spirits high, and picked up Dr. Paul in Lexington.

February

You’re my little Valentine. We hit Florida on the 1st of February and jumped in the ocean the moment we saw it. It was Super Bowl Sunday and there was a blizzard in Chicago. Played for no one in St. Augustine but served up 13 scoops. Stayed in a very likely haunted hotel!!! Salt life melted my heart then rolled into New Orleans, saw the Bulls win and hit the streets. Is there a better feeling to be in New Orleans during Mardi Gras with your heart full of love? If there is, I haven’t met it. Walk with your spine straight, friends. By the time we got home, we were sick of each other, and that was the beginning of the end. I enjoyed it. Hung around Chicago the rest of the month, trying to stay warm and sane.

March

I’m gonna march you down the aisle. Before we knew it, it was time to get back on the road. Mope Grooves came to town, they are a band I really dig, and we played with them at Cole’s the night or two before we left for SXSW. All 5 Lemons got in the van this time, although I think we picked Kelly up in Peoria where she was staying with her folks and where we played our first show. Yeah, that was it. Ask me about it in person some time. St. Louis, Tulsa, lots of driving I think?

Our shows in Austin were great. Look up “Lemons SXSW” if you don’t know what happened. I think there were 5 or 6 or 7 or 8, a lot of shows and really all of them top notch, even the one by the pool, where I played in jeans but nearly wore very tiny white-with-green-polka-dot trunks that I had gotten from Brent the last time I was at SX, in 2012, but Max talked me out of them (out of wearing them), so jeans it was. We dropped Max off at the airport after our San Antonio show (there’s something there I’m supposed to remember, it’s on the tip of my something), and that was it for the Lemons. So long, folks! We were in Bowling Green, KY, when my grandpa died.

April

You’re the easter bunny when you smile. Gerald James Steenson. I don’t know if that name will appear in any history book ever written (it would be a very “niche” one, no general studies here, but if you’re interested in, oh, the electrical engineering of mid-century Omaha, you might run across it some day), so I’m writing it here. If you’ve ever read the Beatitudes and thought “sure, nice in theory, but no one can actually live a life like that,” you friend would be wrong. If you haven’t read them, go check into a hotel, find the clock-radio on the bedstand, open the top draw, and pull out the book in there. If there are multiple books, pull out the good one. Flip it a little more than halfway through to Matthew 5:3 or Luke 6:20 (slightly different versions of the story but the nut is the same), or just go to the index and look up “Beatitudes” or “Sermon on the Mount”. Good stuff. Anywho, I was back in Omaha for much of April just being with my family; that’s what family does. What else? Oh, toured with Leggy! That was great, did the one-man sing-song thing in some basements and other dank spots. Also learned the importance of being gentle, another 2015 life lesson.

May

Maybe if I ask your dad and mom. I don’t remember much about the first half of May, because on the 18th I fell down a complete flight of concrete stairs, giving myself a concussion that lasted for …. five months? A while at least. Broke a tooth, too. Then it was my birthday the next day. But let’s think … Oh! James and I did a short tour along with Hollow Mountain, which was fun, a lot of rap battling over tracks (Gourmet Jerk vs Slushy vs Dr Paul vs Missing Hearts). Got back from that on the 17th, broke my face on the 18th, birthday on the 19th, then funk city, man. Don’t remember a lot, just going to shows and hitting myself in the head A LOT and being dizzy all night just for fun. Head trauma isn’t a joke, more 2015 life lessons there.

June

I’m gonna ask you to the junior prom. Boy, really seemed like it was going to be Today’s Hits year at this point. The 2 Guapo boys were rolling strong, gigging a lot, and recording a record with Brian Fox. I tried walking in the rain and that was a big mistake, and folks were generally starting to worry about me. I can’t blame them and I thank them for being considerate enough to notice a guy in a precarious situation. Y’all are life savers. Slushy played at La Cubierta, great spot, great tacos! The Lemons did a quick tour with the Gooch Palms around the Midwest, including a nice show in Fargo and one at the Pastime Gardens. Also Max and I finished recording the Lemons LP, “Hello, We’re The Lemons” at some point in June.

July

Like a firecracker you’re aglow. Busy doing nothing, just taking it all in, no direction, no plans, no clue. Had a barbeque and walked along the sulfur-smoked-out 606. Went to the beach a lot and felt a lot of love. Man was that a drag. James and I did a pointless weekender, which really plumbed the depths of “what the hell am I doing with my life” for each of us, I believe, or at least myself (don’t want to put words in your mouth, James, just grapes!). Anyway, decided to pull my head out of my ass, and actually focus on having a better understanding of myself, which is harder than it sounds and so I went down down down the rabbit hole.

August

On the beach you really steal the show. Somewhere around this time, I was hanging out at Bric-A-Brac Records talking to Nick about this and that, and he asked me what I thought about the possibility of him, Sammy Meyer and me trying out as the new backing band for Nobunny. Now, this is not a question that you pretend has real-life, real-world consequences, that if you tell one guy that “yeah, that sounds like a good idea” it will actually happen. But one must prepare for success, so the three of us found a rehearsal space and basically started a Nobunny cover band hoping that we might have the mustard on the dog to get the gig. Fingers crossed!! Also went to the Casino once or twice I think.

September

Light the candles on your sweet 16. Thanks for crossing those fingers, turns out we got the gig! We actually practiced with Nobunny, and then next thing you know we were all Nobunny. Really a magical feeling. But rewind a little, the month started with the Hits Boys heading to Michigan with the Luzers for a trio of real stellar shows, plus some coffee and hoops all over. Fun times. Anywho then the bunny boys were getting ready to go and before you new it we were in Madison with The Hussy and Real Numbers and Pookie and Chev and Shelby! 5 shows culminating at GonerFest and then I saw Quintron and danced for 6 days straight. Nick ate a black-bunned hamburger too.

October

Romeo and Juliet on Halloween. At this point, I was frantically spray painting guitars, ripping sleeves off of shirts, stepping in dog shit, aka trying to get ready for tour. Pookie came back on the 10th or so and we began our best-friendship. Jen was hired as our driver/mercher/MVP, and that meant Nick had to stay in Chicago to run Bric-A-Brac, and that meant Pookie!!! Hi Pookie! We left for tour on the 13th (I really have no recollection of October before then, but probably just being a nice boy) and the first tour went through the 31st. This is Nobunny I’m talking about here. It was kinda nerve wracking at first, we had up to two but probably zero practices before we left. But by the time we got to Salt Lake City we were fire (sorry St. Louis, Lawrence and Denver, we just weren’t quite ready for ya but we gave it our best!). We went to Canada, another good face-to-face story. Actually this all is. Halloween was in Dallas, I was an army bunny and it was awesome. Hi Steph!

November

I give thanks you belong to me. Woke up on the first day of November in a baller hotel room in Dallas with a nice view and a nice hangover. We were all exhausted (even Nick, who flew down for 1 show and the drive home) but we weren’t even an hour out of town when we saw the first Shenanigans (make that Shenaniganz) of tour, so we had no choice but to stop. But it was like an arcade, with lots of games and tickets to win crap, so we played games and won a bunch of crap! After we got back to Chicago, we had a week before we left for the rest of tour, so Pookie stayed with me and we started a bad punk band and recorded some bad punk songs, and drank lots of coffee and daydreamed. Then we left again for tour and went all over the other side of North America and sang songs and made people happy and made ourselves happy and it was great. Ask me for specifics, every day was an adventure. We got home on the 29th and Today’s Hits and Slushy both played at the Whistler that night and it was great.

December

You’re the angel on my Christmas tree. Pookie flew home and I had a lot of time to think about everything, past present and future, kind sifting through everything sitting around inside me collecting dust, all the goodness that I saw in the world, all the rest of it that I know is out there too. Hung with Mentz a lot cuz he’s a good kid and really one of the best. Talked to Max a lot because he’s up there too. See, I’m very lucky, and even though I knew this, I maybe didn’t appreciate it as much as I could have, and I needed a rollercoaster of emotions kind of year to make me appreciate that. Experience and perception are two different things that, to the individual, are hard to separate. Eh, you know what I’m getting at here. It’s like my friend August said, “I just feel all alone because I don’t have any friends,” and I says to August, I says “Hi, I’m Chris, I’m your friend.” Simple as that. Once I realized I didn’t require the constant validation of other people in order to be happy, I quickly realized that being happy on one’s own is no good, happiness is a communal feeling that is the frequency made when two or more souls harmonize. Also, I went to Nebraska for Christmas.

The End.

Hey! What about 2016?

Well, my track record for vague predictions is pretty lousy. Last year I made 7 predictions: 2 get a yes, 1 gets a not really, and 4 get a nah. Oops!! Oh well, let’s shoot for 7 more:

  • Tour tour tour, 3 or 4 continents. Right now just plans to tour one.
  • Make lemonade. Life gives you lemons and you think you’re just gonna have lemons forever? No way, give those pups a squeeze and throw out the rinds.
  • Eugenuis-level ambition. Ever hear Eugenius? It’s Eugene Kelly’s band after the Vaselines broke up, but it was called Captain America for a little bit till he got sued. Folks called me the All-American Boy on the first Lemons tour, which was nice, but I’m not really a boy, I’m a man, and you call a man Mr. America.
  • Gonna let the smile shine like a candle. My mom is really sad about my chipped tooth, which I totally get, that smile was a one way ticket to everywhere and now I just look like a chump. Working on it, ma!
  • Compassion. Meeting people is easy, and so is not being a stupid stuck up dick if you pull your head out of your ass. Good advice, self!
  • Stand up comedy. I mean, I doubt it, but maybe.
  • Vote for Bernie. And if for some insane reason he’s not an option, Jill Stein. For all things that you hold dear, vote progressive politics. Maybe you feel the same way.