Our first song was a pop masterpiece with
a jangley, infectious lead guitar line. We called it "Sunday"
because that was the day we practiced.
The video, if we'd ever got around to recording and releasing
it, would have revolutionized musicvideo art. We had our
every move scripted, right down to Rob getting locked
out of the pedal car just as "Sunday" hit its
driving, marcato-basslined climax, and Chris and I saving
him from the jump-suited bad-guys just before the song
resolved into its stunning, abrupt ritardando and strong,
slow, open chords.
It was stellar.
So stellar, in fact, that Meredith had our Grammy-acceptance
speech worked out by the third Sunday. That was the beginning
of the end.
"I don't want a Grammy," I said. "The
Grammies are lame."
"But we have to go!" she said. It was key.
It was at the Grammies that Meredith would meet Billy
Corgan, her future husband. If there was no Grammy, there
could be no meeting. And that was unthinkable.
Meredith was depicted on the band T-shirts as a giant
Smashing Pumpkins logo. The shirts, made for us one Christmas
by some friends, said "Track 88" on them and
had caricatures of each of the four band members. I was
because, when we'd had band photographs taken, I'd been
playing with pieces of the dismantled train set in Meredith's
basement. I quite liked the train motif. I felt it captured
nicely the appeal of the downtempo, minimalist intro to
Rob's girlfriend hated the band.
"She's jealous," we said, "because she
can't play anything," and I told her so.
"Nor can any of you," she said.
She had a point. Chris never really learned to tune his
bass, let alone play the complex bassline to our most
enigmatic track, my personal favourite, "Houston,
We Have A Problem". Rob sped up fatally every time
he got louder, and our amps were so shitty he could barely
hear us over his energetic
drumming anyway. Meredith was too shy to sing loudly enough
for people to hear her. The only lyrics I ever knew to
"Jelly" (a pop-rock ballad which I later found
out shared a chord progression, unfortunately, with GnR's
"Don't You Cry Tonight") were "I'll wait
for you", "superstar", and "like an
angel fallen". Come to think of it, I have no idea
what any of our lyrics were about. Probably Billy Corgan.
One Sunday afternoon, we tried to record a demo tape.
We tried playing "Jelly" half a dozen times
and couldn't finish it once. Then we attempted "Sunday"
and failed on that one too. We gave up, went down to the
convenience store, pretended to be Swedish exchange students,
and tried to wrangle free M&Ms out of the store clerks.
It didn't work.
Practices slowly became less frequent. We kept telling
people we had a band for ages until, one day, three months
after our last practice, Chris finally took his bass back
to the rental shop and it was all over. It took the better
part of a year, though, for Meredith to return the pitiful
contributions we'd made to our studio-time fund.
Blue is a vampire. Sent to drain.