In college, you frequent the bar scene. Whether you are of-age or not. Doesn’t matter. It’s a given. You can even be one of the lucky people that can go to a bar without being carded even though you should be studying for your Psych 101 test. Rotting Piñata contained one of those songs that stuck with me through college and I didn’t find out what it was until after I grabbed my diploma and started paying off my student loans.
Around my freshman year, a lot of music had come out of the Seattle grunge scene already and it was migrating south to California where the likes of every other band seemed to sound like Stone Temple Pilots or Red Hot Chili Peppers. It seems to be the big cash machine of popular music that when one sound breaks into the collective conscience (sic: wallet) of the youth of today, the rest of the landscape needs to be flooded with more of the same.
But I digress, on to why I bought the album…Everyone has a friend that can name a song by humming a few bars or speaking the lyrics at them. I was that friend to a lot of people. But there was one song that always escaped me, even after asking my friends what they thought the song was called. Nothing. Nada.
Whenever I heard the song on the radio I would always try and catch the name of it after it ended, but one of three things always happened:
- The DJ wouldn’t say the name of the song and keep going on with some mindless drivel.
- The song would go directly into a commercial or a pre-recorded promo.
- I forgot about the song and concentrated on the conversation at hand.
So, for six years I never knew what the name of the song was. It didn’t keep me up at night, but it was one of those things that just irked me until I went and got some chicken wings with a friend. Jason and I had gone to college together and graduated within a year of each other. We even roomed together for a year as we were both pursuing a similar major. He moved to Boston to pursue something (I honestly can’t remember) while I went and did my thing.
Typical of freshly-launched graduates thrust into the real world, we clung to our old habits when we got together. I was visiting Jason to get out for a long weekend in Boston and he suggested that we visit a bar called Our House. It was a cool joint that served reasonably priced drinks, showed a Simpsons marathon every Sunday and had the most kickass boneless chicken wings that I have ever tasted. These wings were from “on high” and we re-arranged our eating schedule to we could take advantage of Happy Hour.
One of the evenings that were spent at Our House on the long weekend I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and had a little extra cash that I had saved up. At the beginning of the evening I told our waitress that if the plate of wings at our table was empty that she were to do two things. First, bring another plate of wings. Second, bring me a drink that matched one of the many colors on my shirt. This went on for the length of the evening and while I can’t remember everything that was said or drank or eaten…I do remember one thing…I found out the name of the song that had been bothering me for all those years.
I don’t know what flavor of martini I was swishing in my mouth when I heard the chorus…”in a world of human wreckage…” At that moment, the world stopped and I was on a drunken mission to find the jukebox. I didn’t have a lot of time and everything moves slower when you are drunk. I stood up and proclaimed like a viking in a whorehouse, “TAKE ME TO YOUR JUKEBOX!” Stumbling into the next room, the jukebox was mounted to the wall across a sea of tables and empty lounge chairs. I reached the machine in a victorious dance like someone with an extra chromosome making the game winning touchdown.
Realizing the irony now as I learned the name of the song…”Plowed”.