Feb 11, 2011

The Kills - Keep On Your Mean Side

Remember, if you can, Dear Reader, the first time you heard that one album. That one time it took only the first few seconds for you to fall in love? A love so deep and painful that the only way you could express it would be to rip your skin off with pliers or at least bloody your hand on some rusty guitar strings.

Maybe you've never had this experience, Dear Reader. In that case, I mourn for you. You've never had your Keep On Your Mean Side.

2003: It was a late night after a few rounds at the bar. Maybe we'd stopped at a gas station for cigarettes or beer or both. Maybe we'd been playing pool or talking poetry. I don't recall. For the first and only time, I sat in the spacious, thrift-furnitured living room of the house he shared with some roommate or three. As usual, we talked music with semi-automatics, blasting names and songs and labels back and forth with sharp precision.

At some point, he changed the record and then . . .

. . . the faint, lo-fi clicks of some rescued beat box rolling around my skull. Then—

—that guitar. That. Guitar. Like a hobble-legged demon growling from down the hall. "I will rip you." Just three notes and lots of space, but that was enough. And always will be. Forever.

There was that voice, too. The demon's ghostly familiar. But it really only took that 10 seconds—not too change my life, for sure—to change everything I ever thought music and bands and rock and energy and love and lust and cool could be.

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