The Scene (#13): Discovering The Community Center Scene

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Shortly after our band The Spoiled Brat played our infamous “Battle of the Bands” show, Dave reconnected with the drummer from Those Naked Guys (Dan Castady) and exited our band to join one with Dan, Graham Jordan (who had left The Brockmeyers) and Chris Messer (the former singer from AYA); that band is Showoff.

We continued playing as The Spoiled Brat for the next few months with a new bass player, practicing in Guth’s garage and inviting friends over to hear us play, but it just wasn’t the same without Dave’s energy. After 6 months we officially broke up.

We all stayed in touch with each other, but me, Guth, and Dave stayed the closest. So, when the time came that Dave told us his new band Showoff was part of the lineup at the Friday night, all-ages show at the community center at a local suburban park district, Guth and I were both there to support our friend.

Armed with my Screeching Weasel My Brain Hurts cassette, we hopped into my old Chevy Cavalier and made the half hour drive out to the suburbs while trying to out scream each other as we sung along; “I put her on the guestlist at the show,” “Kamala’s too nice, I’m such a dick,” “Why don’t you beat it, why don’t you go away,” etc.  

We didn’t really know anything about what to do when we got to the park district. What building the show was in? Where were we supposed to park? But the pack of teens who were standing outside huddled up together in a small group told us that was probably the place to go; Not to mention, the purple and green colored hair they were sporting.

When Guth and I walked up, we didn’t even make it to the door before the kids from that group were striking up conversation with us about our Operation Ivy and Less Than Jake t-shirts, handing us stickers of their friend’s band who were also playing that night, asking us who we were there to see, and telling us we should stick around and hang out afterwards.

Once inside, it was more of the same. Small clicks of kids sat on the tile floors with their backs against the walls while the opening band set up their equipment. Others were playing the part of roadie and carrying in equipment for the other bands. A few girls sat behind folding tables selling merch (mostly cassettes of the bands playing and stickers, but no t-shirts). Each group of kids was more curious than the other to chat with us – the two kids that they hadn’t ever seen before in their neck of the woods!

What me and Guth quickly noticed was that there wasn’t any parents around – there was no real supervision at all – but rather just a spot where the kids who were most likely considered the awkward ones at their suburban schools, could come together on a Friday night and hangout for a common reason and step into the music and new friendships.

By the time that Dave and the guys in Showoff had even arrived, we had already met a dozen kids, talked with the opening bands 007 and The Grand Marquis, and had discovered a place where we could fit in just by being who we were; little did we know it then, but we were just introduced to a “scene.”

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