Sort of like how 1980 is essentially the 70's and 1990 was essentially the 80's stylistically, I didn't start the new decade / century / millennium personally until nearly 2001, which means kind of another year of 90's music, rap rock, and generally bonkers mentality.

Napster was in full effect, and it was my primary way of getting tunes at this point. Audiogalaxy eventually became my pirating method of choice- you had a web queue that you could stack up from anywhere and the songs would download one at a time- but having the world of music at my fingertips was a magical thing. 

The year started right in the middle of my first season of high school wrestling. Probably the worst year of one of my least favorite parts of high school. I did not like the people on the team, I did not like my life during it. I listened to a lot of bad music and generally felt sorry for myself. I also listened to a lot of Fatboy Slim. 

I had been playing sports my whole life, but it wasn't until 8th grade that travelling for games became a common thing. This meant my high school experience was an obscene amount of time on long bus trips- early in the morning, late in the night, in the middle of the school day- taking sometimes 5 hour trips each way for a one day event. And also because of the sports I did (mostly wrestling and running), I had a lot of downtime at meets / invitationals in which to sit with my headphones on. Before I was able to burn CD's, it was easy to blow through my own collection and get bored with it pretty fast. But luckily, I was sharing a bus with a lot of other teenage boys, which meant a lot of passing around of cd wallets. I'm a little late in the log to bring this up for the first time, as I'm sure it started in 7th / 8th grade, but the cd I borrowed the most, without exception was the self-titled Sublime cd. 

It came out in '96, and I had obviously heard the singles over the previous years, but I never owned it for myself and didn't have any close friends who had it. Sublime hold a special and complicated place in my heart. They have a lot of things going against them- mostly because they were drug addicts who just "borrowed" heavily from a lot of reggae, dub, and punk acts and repackaged it to frat boys. But they've got three albums that covered a wide spectrum of styles of music that I like and meant a lot to me, even if I see some of the holes in the picture now. 

It's a complicated thing to decide the reasons why you do or don't / should or shouldn't like a band (or a movie, or etc). A retrospective look at the fan base who primarily enjoys them does not seem like a valid reason, but it's really hard to not let that influence you. And while I said that I wouldn't be providing a "revisionist" history, which I feel I'm staying true to, it's pretty easy to throw an asterisk on a statement and say "I liked this then, but I was wrong" to earn cool points back. The honest truth is that though I wore myself out on them and my musical tastes have changed a bit, I can't knock Sublime. At this point in the series, I have an "adult" mindset, and I own up to everything from here on out.

(Don't hold me to that.)

That spring, the darkness lifted off of me, and I spent the next few months listening to nothing but blink 182. Enema of the State was great and got plenty of play, but I also started digging into their back catalog and finding stuff I liked even more. Where Cheshire Cat was a bit rough around the edges (still great), and Enema was a little too polished and poppy, Dude Ranch was a perfect middle ground that really hit me. 14 songs about being bored and lonely with riffs for days and tons of enthusiasm. Again- I refuse to look back at history and deny this album. It is fantastic.

Which leads me to June 17, 2000, when Nathan, Kyle and I went to see them at the Idaho Center in Boise. My first REAL rock and roll show. 

I still remember standing outside in line listening to a soundcheck and feeling so giddy. Opening for them was upstarts Fenix TX and some old dudes named Bad Religion. Fenix TX was great, Bad Religion was fine. We had seats, which we stayed in most of the time (I think we wandered down into the stage area for the last couple of songs). I bought a shirt. This was my first real experience as an adult enjoying the thrill of a live show. The crowd was huge, and they loved every second of it. Later encapsulated in a (heavily produced and post-recorded) live album "The Mark Tom and Travis Show", I was able to relive the show for years to come. It was the greatest.

The summer beyond that was one of change, and I think it was the true end of this era of my life. After renting my whole life, we were finally buying a house and moving out of my childhood home. I was getting ready to start my sophomore year of high school and starting to develop musical "taste", or at least a consistent set of principles. Kyle got a new guitar, and loaned me his old one, which I immediately used to try and start learning blink 182 songs. Limp Bizkit came out with an awful album that made me realize that I was wrong all along about a lot of things. I quit playing football in order to join the cross-country team, with a group of people and a lifestyle that suited me a bit better. 

That fall, we also got a CD burner. I was going through a box in my basement and found a cd labeled Oct. 2000. Here's the tracklist!

  1. Eve 6 - Rescue
  2. Blink 182 - Enthused
  3. Blink 182 - A New Hope
  4. Three Doors Down - Kryptonite
  5. 311 - Grassroots
  6. Beastie Boys - No Sleep Til Brooklyn
  7. Blink 182 - Peggy Sue (live)
  8. Cake - The Distance
  9. Disturbed - Stupify
  10. Sublime - Pool Shark (acoustic)
  11. Dope - You Spin Me Right Round
  12. Goldfinger - Superman
  13. Green Day - Minority
  14. Limp Bizkit - Faith
  15. Metallica - One (S&M Version)
  16. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
  17. Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Rollercoaster

Life was looking up, and to seal the deal, I finally got my own guitar for my birthday. (or christmas?). Yes- the trusty old Ibanez I still play in my garage to this day. I'd go out and take a picture, but it's late.

Up Next- music rules all. 

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