I didn’t like the band Suicide before I heard them because I didn’t like their name, and when I saw the album art I liked them even less, it was the name Suicide made to look like it’d been carved by a razor, dripping blood. It seemed like a line had been crossed for me. Like that was a realm I’d call tasteless. And when I listened to them I thought that even more, but I liked parts of it. I liked the mad, raw energy of it that felt unrehearsed and spontaneous. It created a very dark, tense mood. The singer sometimes screamed, but it’s like you’d been sneaked up on, it made you jump. The garbled, choking oh baby baby baby baby baby…Anthony said it was listening to one of their albums that inspired Springsteen to make Nebraska. And Anthony knows his shit.
When they visit, Anthony and I normally peel off to the den while Alison and Dawn stick to the kitchen. There are four kids between us and we like them to stay elsewhere. I joked, the music I play in the den is like a repellant or invisible fence designed to keep others out. It was that way, playing Suicide. No one wanted to come in. Maybe how dogs crap around the edges of the yard to signal to wolves, keep out.
It was a loft in Amsterdam we rented late October I connected with the band Suicide, playing it from the portable speakers I carried around, set in the crook on a baseboard so the sound webbed out along the framework in spooky angles with the lights dim, picking up the ambience of the peach street lamps outside, the reflections off the canal, the shadowy figures on bikes, the soft glow and resonance of Amsterdam and us in it, and Suicide, and me sneaking out to the car so I could take hits off store-bought cigarettes cut with pot in the shadows of the streets like I was hiding something even when I didn’t have to (it was more fun that way), and coming back bobbing my head and trancing out to Suicide; the kids and Dawn on their laptops trancing out themselves, resting from a long day, not much to do in the evenings as a family in Amsterdam, per se.
And there would come a time with the music where Dawn would intervene and call me by name, which is rare: Bill…Bill…and I knew what I had to do next, I had to change it.
I was on the part of the sofa I normally am when I nap, the part that shouldn’t smell like dog puke anymore but still does, when Dawn texted me today saying they’re playing the band Suicide at the Peets in Redmond…and my first reaction was pride she knew that, and my next wonder, at how they got away with that.