I rode into Minneapolis on a bus from Chicago with a backpack full of my belongings. I don’t want to get into the hows and whys because for my point here, it won’t matter – But I left behind some close friends. They knew me and didn’t expect anything more than what I was. Talking was easy. I figured that’s the way it’d always be.
I don’t braid hair or do much clothes shopping. My closest friendships, whether they were with men or women tended to more closely resemble a brotherhood. A punch in the arm, an in-depth discussion about a mutual interest. Critical comments were rarely saved until I wasn’t around. They were said straight to my face, often hilariously, with a smile and a gulp of beer so that I could laugh, or pretend to get mad, or fire one back.
My first year in Minnesota was a wake-up call. I rarely bathed. For Christmas, I received a piece of miracle attire called The Forever Lazy. It looked like a Snuggie that mated with a Union Suit. I wore it because it was warm and it was comfortable. I ate a lot of frozen pizza and canned soup. I watched re-runs of The Golden Girls.
Because I got bored, I started playing guitar.
I hadn’t played in years and it took a minute for me to pick it back up. But I was writing. Songs kept coming. Some were decent. Some stunk, but I was writing and that’s what was important. I got dressed. I stopped wearing the Forever Lazy. I bathed. I put an ad on craigslist and asked around if anybody wanted to play music with me.
I called up my friend Erik. We had known each other from when we were teenagers in Michigan, but he had moved to St. Paul. He was, and still is a talented songwriter, guitar player and producer. Thankfully, he was able to connect me with a few people and after some trial and error, I was able to put together a band I was proud of.
I started going to more and more shows. Getting to know my bandmates and connecting with people who love what I love.
It’s not hard to figure out what to say when you’re watching a good live band. Aside from the fact that it’s loud, your eyes light up. You get excited like a kid. You geek out, and there is nothing more open or attractive than that. It breaks down barriers. It humanizes people.
I am lucky to be a part of music in this city. To watch a guitar player go off on an unexpected solo. To hear somebody play a song live for the first time, when they still feel nervous and unsure.
There are a handful of bands whose shows I can go to and find friends and I’d like to create that someday. I want somebody in their apartment, huddled in their Snuggie to see that Delavan is playing and to know that they can come to the show and see people they know, or that they’d like to know and who welcome them.
That would be really cool. And it’s a heck of lot better than sitting in your apartment wearing a dirty Snuggie.