Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No. 828 – Ted, Just Admit It

Performer: Jane’s Addiction
Songwriters: Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, Stephen Perkins
Original Release: Nothing’s Shocking
Year: 1988
Definitive Version: None

Here’s a perfect example of how my sister is way more ahead of the curve than I am. In 1991, on one of my visits to Chicago, she played Nothing’s Shocking while she was getting ready before we went out as an example of something she liked and thought that I’d like. I hated it. It was, to my sensitive ear, too abrasive.

It turns out the introduction was premature. The next summer I was listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and before long I had added Soundgarden and Tool to my repertoire. Along the way, I was exposed to Perry Farrell’s post-Jane’s breakup band, Porno for Pyros, who were OK. I was definitely ready to give Jane’s another go.

In the summer of 1996, the National was going to be in Anaheim, which gave me a great excuse to visit Jin in L.A. Jin had moved in November 1993, and for various reasons—mostly having to do with having no significant vacation time and a new girlfriend—I wasn’t able to visit her the first two years she was there. In 1995, Debbie and I went to Northern California, and Jin was ticked that I didn’t come down to L.A. or let her know so she could come up to visit. She hung that over my head for a year until I said I was going to come out and asked if her couch was available. She readily accepted.

I flew out solo on a Wednesday. (I still wasn’t ready to expose Debbie to the card-show element.) On Thursday, I got a rental car, so I could drive down to Anaheim while Jin worked. I would go to the show on Thursday and Friday and then we’d do some touristy stuff on Saturday and Sunday before I flew back on Monday.

After the show each day, we went to a baseball game. On Thursday, we went with her friend and roommate Derek to Dodger Stadium—my first trip to the legendary ballpark. I still keep a picture of me and Jin under the sign in the parking lot beyond the left-field bleachers that has the Dodgers’ logo on it. I don’t remember much about the game itself except that I came inches from getting a foul ball.

We were in the front row of the upper deck on the third base side, and I set my camera bag out on the overhang in front of us. Late in the game, a batter (don’t remember who) hit a foul pop that came right for us that dropped an inch at the last second and hit off the face of the upper deck and dropped down. One inch higher, and it would have cleared the edge of the facing and thumped into my camera bag. I am convinced that had it done so, it would have stuck into the pillow-like padding of the empty bag, and I would’ve been able to reach over and grab it. We’ll never know.

The next day, Jin drove down to Anaheim and met me after the show at the Big A for an Angels game—a first for both of us. Tickets were easy to come by, and we sat in the lower bowl. All I remember about that game was that the gift shop still had 1989 All-Star Game programs for sale (I grabbed one each for myself and Dave) and Jin lusting over Mark McGwire. This was memorable because Jin had never before shown any inclination for athletes—particularly muscleheads. She couldn’t explain it either, but she didn’t apologize for it. On that day, he was doing it for her. OK.

I’ll talk about the National itself another time, but at some point on the trip, and I seem to recall it was the day we went to Chinatown, but I told Jin to put on Jane’s Addiction. I explained that I probably was wrong about them and I wanted to give them another chance. She was shocked, which is ironic given the album title. But Nothing’s Shocking became the soundtrack of the first-run performance of Mr. Will Goes to Tinseltown.

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