Greetings once again to all who read this!
Well, it’s Saturday night, and I aint got no money, so I’m bloggin’.
I’d really like to go out with Molly and see Jarhead, or maybe (to a lesser degree) take the kids to see Chicken Little, but instead I’m here at the keyboard bearing my soul in cyberspace.
I was thinking today about the first time I heard the old Imperials album “Sail on”. Can ANY of you out there even remember that album, or do you even know who the Imperials were? Yes, they sang backup for Elvis a few times in their early years, but when I first heard the album “Sail On”, it was a revelation. I’d never heard anything like it. The song “Water Grave” was my favorite. I listened to that song over and over and over. There was a particular drum solo toward the end of the song that I loved. I would hit rewind for a second and listen to that little segment repeatedly, relishing the moment of ecstatic silence as Russ Taff’s voice faded, anticipating the first drum beat, then listening to every minute detail of the sounds that followed. The way each beat echoed, the way it thumped in my chest (with the volume as high as it could go without distorting).
The Imperials (along with most good music) were against the rules at my Christian school back then, and at my church, and anything church-sponsored that I went to (such as camp, and so forth), so I had to hide my cassette and listen to it with the player up against my ear at the lowest possible setting. I remember one day I really wanted a friend of mine to hear some of the songs, so we hid behind a soda machine and listened with our ears together against the little cassette player I had. Ahh, those were the days!
That kind of experience is such a wonderful thing. What is it called? It’s not just the momentary thrill I’m thinking of, but the life-changing aspects of it. That moment when I heard “Sail On” for the first time was a big turning point in my life. It altered every day thereafter. It was like the opening of a door that led to all kinds of wonderful things. It was like that when I read The Chronicles of Narnia the first time several years earlier. Another one was one Saturday in college when I sat and watched Franco Zepherelli’s 6 ½ hour Jesus of Nazareth epic. More recently, when Molly and I saw U2 in concert (my very first rock concert!). Sometimes I call that kind of experience “a religious experience”, but it has very little to do with the experience of attending most so-called “religious” activities, such as a church service. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve been to maybe one or two church services in my life that have been “religious experiences” in the way I’m talking about.
When I look back on my life, those are the moments that I really love to remember. They reach out of the past and become metaphors that guide me in present life. It’s really amazing. I think that a lot of what I do is driven by a deep desire to have experiences like that again and again.
Until next time—