Wednesday, December 26, 2012

No. 526 – Keep Talking

Performer: Pink Floyd
Songwriters: David Gilmour, Polly Samson
Original Release: single, The Division Bell
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: Pulse, 1995

In March 1994, in the span of five days, I saw Rush twice and Pearl Jam once. I saw Rush at the Palace of Auburn Hills on a Tuesday, drove down to Louisville on Thursday for Pearl Jam and then saw Rush again in Indianapolis on Saturday—three shows, three states, five days.

So why then am I talking about a Pink Floyd song? Allow me to explain.

After the Pearl Jam show, I stayed with Scott at his house at Ball State. I’ve described the house before: He had been living there for a couple of years, and he let me stay in his room. He stayed with Shani. That Friday night—a night off—we did our usual Friday night hangout at Ball State. John and his friend Chris drove down from Marion, and Scott and I got QL’s Bar-B-Que.

QL’s was a glorious ribs place that Scott found early on in his college career. He introduced me to it after he moved out of the dorms his junior year, and it became a routine stop every time I visited thereafter.

Actually to call it a ribs place is euphemistic. QL’s, at least back then, was nothing more than a drive-up window at a house in a bad part of town. It might have looked even scarier than it was, but because we always went when it was dark, you never really could tell.

You pulled up to the radio speaker out by the street to give your order, then pull ahead in the driveway to the window for pickup. As I recall, it was like $15 for a full slab, maybe less. The ribs would come slathered in sauce in a big plastic bag and had a couple slices of untoasted white bread on top for sopping up the sauce. You then circled out away from the house back to the street.

On the drive home, Scott and I would do what we called QL hits at every stoplight. We’d open the bag and stick our faces inside to get a deep inhale of the barbecue sauce. It was just that glorious.

And the ribs were as good as you might think they would be from a home-based business on the black side of town—smoky and outstanding. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but in general, I’ve found that if you want the best cheap ethnic food, you have to go where the ethnics who make it live. That’s been true of Mexican food in Chicago, Chinese food in San Francisco, and it certainly was true when it came to barbecue in Muncie, Ind.

After we got home, we all built up a solid base of ribs and beer before the four of us went out. (I seem to recall that Shani was hanging out with her friends that particular night.) John and Chris provided the dinner music.

Because Scott and I still were on our Pearl Jam high, Chris brought some Soundgarden—Superunknown, the new album, and I liked the little I heard. But the big presentation was a tape of David Gilmour on Rockline. Pink Floyd was putting out a new album in the next week or so, and he played this song, which was a prerelease single.

The song sounded a lot like the stuff from Momentary Lapse of Reason, and I loved it on first listen. If this was an indication of the music to come, I couldn’t have been more excited for the new album.

Unfortunately, I found out later that Keep Talking was the only song that sounded like that—in fact it was the only song from The Division Bell that I liked. The rest of the album left me feeling cold. Maybe the problem was I needed to do a couple of QL hits before listening to it.

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