I was probably born about a decade too late. By the time I was a teenager in the year 2000, having finally decided to take a head first plunge into becoming a musician, all my musical tastes were just a bit out of style.
Although there were new albums by musical groups that excited me around that time, such as Oysterhead and Incubus, I felt a disconnect from what was more in vogue at the time. There weren’t a ton of musicians in my high school, and the few times I would happen to meet one, I’d find out that they were more interested in playing Blink 182 than they were the Smashing Pumpkins.
As you may have already guessed, I really connect to early 90s rock music, especially as a teenager. The early 90s had something really special going on. With the rise of Kurt Cobain and the like, rock and roll seemed to shift directions into a more genuine place. A place where artists sang more about their feelings than strip clubs. A place where music groups seemed to meld a wide array of genres from blues, progressive rock, metal, funk, and most notably Nirvana bringing the underground genre of punk into the mainstream.
As a young musician this melding of aggressive riffs, with a dash of sophistication from progressive rock influences, was the perfect blend for my tastes. Not to knock any of the groups that were coming up in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but it always felt to me like the edginess, sophistication, and genuine nature of music was starting to become a little watered down around that time. Rock seemed to be getting more bland, and punk seemed to be getting more commercial.
As time went on, I felt more alone. It’s hard to connect with friends that don’t share your same interests, and for me the music I loved was one of the very most important things in the whole world. My hair started to get longer, and I started to get mocked by my friends in car rides for blasting Primus.
I finally made it through high school. While I didn’t totally feel like a social outcast the whole time, there was a general sense of alienation. I longed for friends that share the same deep personal connection to music as I did.
One day in a local guitar shop, I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was an ad that looked like it was made for me. It was for a rock group called “ECT” that was looking for a bass player. They emphasized an influence of early 90s alternative rock, especially the Smashing Pumpkins.
When I showed up for the audition, it felt like coming home. From the style of music, I expected these guys to be 10 years older than me, but not only were these guys close to my age, they also matched my long hair and band t-shirts.
There was nothing glorious about this band, but it scratched the itch that I think most musicians have. We’d spend Sunday’s hashing out songs, introduce each other to new music that excited us, and joke around like crazy.
Our show turnouts were small, but I would still not look forward to anything more in the whole world. We didn’t care that we didn’t conquer the world on a given night night, we were just happy that a few of our miscreant friends would show up, and we were able to perform with pride and silliness the music that we wrote. (I remember fondly one night was topped off with a hot sauce packet fight with the staff at Taco Bell…)
While this all sounds like a snapshot of young adult life not relevant to my adult self today, I think nothing could be further for the truth. This experience not only furthered my love of music, but also furthered my love of being a musician, and most importantly further my love for the camaraderie that comes with playing in a band.
Like faith, ECT is no more, but this is the same romance I have taken with me into Fat Candice, and what keeps me going as a musician. One of the things I’m most very grateful for today is that my current bandmates, Clark and Adam, give me a very similar experience to the one I fondly remember and constantly strive for.
Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with us! If you’d like to hear Fat Candice’s latest album, click here.
-Rob, Fat Candice
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