2002 was a rollercoaster year. It starts off with the band finally really solidifying. We were called "Faction", and we were recording songs in the school music room after hours.
Update: This timeline is slightly off, as clarified by the semi-functional Faction web page.
The Faction EP took a long time to record, mostly because we were picky and I was not very good. There were 3 songs on it, all written by Matt J for the most part. I think some of my original recording made it on there, but I do know that some of it was re-recorded by them because my timing was off in a few (most of the) places.
You will love it, here are the songs:
Once that was done, it was time to play some shows and sell some cds. We had three "real" shows that I can recall- the first one was the craziest. Ben, the drummer was in 8th grade at the time, and he got us an in playing a middle school dance. Yes, we were all juniors in high school and playing pop-punk songs for a bunch of screaming 7th and 8th grade girls. It was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. I have a lot of pictures, but here are a few gems. I think we sold cds for three dollars, and of COURSE everyone wanted them signed.
I was also wrapping up another depressing season of wrestling, and increasingly finding conflicts between it and playing shows and doing other things I wanted to do. I think I even skipped a tournament for one show, which I think also happened to be at a middle school one town over. Know your audience, I guess!
As wrestling ended and track season started, I actually had finally solidified my first girlfriend, after some 17-odd years of trying. I don't know if there was much influence on my muscial taste as a result, but we definitely enjoyed the same things at the time. I was still listening to a lot of ska- now expanding into the Mad Caddies, Reel Big Fish, Catch-22, and the Suicide Machines. Simultaneously, emo was exploding and bands like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and Finch were getting play from me, as well as increased listening to the Get Up Kids (retrospectively clearly the best of the bunch).
I also was following the first (and only) punk webcomic that I'm aware of, Nothing Nice To Say. At some point that spring. the creator put out a mix called "Liquid Paper", which was the first place I heard Against Me!, The Mountain Goats, and Jets to Brazil. All just one song from each, and I didn't explore any of them right away, but interesting to think how well he predicted my later tastes before I could.
That summer was a busy one. I was trying to balance being in a band with having a girlfriend, while also preparing for upcoming "final" sports seasons via Cross Country and Wrestling camps.
Wrestling camp holds a unique musical moment in my history, as one of the strongest negative connotations to music that I have. This camp was down in San Jose for some reason, and I was driven down there by a friend and his dad in their old Volvo. It was a long, brutal drive, to do a thing I didn't want to do for a week with no escape, and I really did not like the guy who was driving us. I'd grown up kind of next door to him, and spent a lot of time playing at his house, and the older I got the more he got on my nerves. The Volvo had a tape deck, and the only thing I remember being in that tape deck was Steely Dan.
It wasn't my last run in with Steely Dan, but it was the most offensive. I spent some pretty sleepless nights of that trip with my headphones on, listening to Saves The Day, The Ataris, and for kind of the first time, Alkaline Trio.
I think right around then, the rest of the band took the opportunity to go down and play a show down in Utah where Matt's family was from. I couldn't make it work with my schedule, which was increasingly becoming a problem. It was in the month or so after that when they realized that they'd go farther without me, and I couldn't argue. I never really had the time or commitment to practice that they did, and they really did get a lot more ambitious in the next year than I would have been able to pull off. It was a bummer, but it's in the past, and we all moved on.
I played music now and then at Matt's house still, and Cody and I once or twice tried to get things started up. I remember at this point having a short song list that I wanted to play- mostly from Alkaline Trio, NOFX, and Finch. It was a nice idea to try and put together, but "Class Act" (the name of our new band) practiced twice and never played a show. R.I.P. Class Act.
The remainder of Faction became "Kyle Hates Everything", and actually played quite a few shows over the next year. They recorded a 5 song EP, and a few of us would travel to see them play in Nampa, Pendleton, and La Grande. I did my best to be a crowd hype man and get everyone dancing. Whether or not it worked, I had a good time.
I don't have any KHE mp3s on me, but here's a write up from some weird newspaper.
And then enior year was starting, and one album had completely captivated our friend group. As we explored outward to find more ska bands, we stumbled upon the RX Bandits out of southern california. They had started simple enough as a third-wave ska band with silly lyrics, but got increasingly more serious and experimental as albums went on.
"Progress" was the most influential albums of high school. It was still pop-punk-reggae-ska, but it had some experimental proggy underpinnings that had us starting to appreciate the "art" of an album and how songs flow together. It was when we first started listening to production- finding little elements in the background on repeat listens and actually talking about and sharing what we found on it. It also was an album with a stance- there were relationship songs, but there was also an overall mindset to the lyrics of humanism, pacifism, and being comfortable with who you are that would really have an effect on our opinions and values as 17 year olds. I can't dwell on it too much now, since 2003 is going to talk about the RX Bandits a lot, but this was a landmark album in my life.
So I was listening to that, but also starting to get a little weird again. I found my parents cassette tape of Paul Simon's "Graceland" and was rocking that a bit. I picked up a set of piano instrumental tapes at goodwill, and listened to them before XC races. I never had a ton of affinity for classic rock, but driving to lunch we started listening to the BOOMER 95.3 in Nathans Chevy Celebrity (the rocket), and I was starting to consider enjoying music from years before 1990.
This was also the year Nathan and I both decided that we wouldn't wrestle anymore. We had never really enjoyed it, and were mostly only doing it because we weren't quitters, but by god sometimes you gotta quit stuff.
Speaking of, cutting it off here, 2003 is going to be mammoth.
Up Next-. Everything Ends, Everything Starts Again