Corey Trench's Blog: My Growing Life


My Most Epic Musical Failure (How The BoDeans Taught Me The Birds & The Bees)
September 12, 2013, 6:13 am
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It must of been 6th grade, when I just started to listening to my dad’s albums (or cassettes which he had plenty of) that I decided I wanted to be a rock star. Music struck me as such a powerful thing. It moved me in such a way that nothing else could, aside from girls of course (mysterious creatures that seem to like you or maybe they don’t). I wanted to posses the ability to rock, much like the bands my dad liked: Foreigner, Van Halen, Nirvana, and The Who. All this was way before I picked up a pair of drumsticks and sang for my current band Articles. It was a simpler time when I was just discovering music. All I knew was that it made me happy.

Coincided with my musical discoveries, I also had a natural leaning toward movies. My tastes at the time were like any typical kid my age, I wanted to see pratfalls and goofiness. Enter the film, Heavyweights, which my mom had rented from Blockbuster (oh, when VHS and rental fees were king) on one Summer night. The movie was your typical kid friendly Porky’s or Meatballs. Awkward kids go to camp and go on adventures, which is nothing compared to real life Summer camp, where all it was was consulers trying in vain to come up with SOMETHING for you to do.

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It wasn’t so much the movie itself that I found memorable, but a particular song that played in the beginning credits. It literally sounded like a Summer breeze hitting my hears. There was something about the upbeat tempo and catchy melody that seemed to match perfectly with following the main character bouncing along the residential sidewalks, being let of school for Summer vacation, and dumping lemonade on himself (all the 90s kids remember that I’m talking about) It was just really, really good! I became instantly obsessed with finding out the name of the song. It became my goal to figure what it was. I would rewind the movie (remember VHS tape) over and over, just to hear it again! My mom managed to figure out that all the song credits for movies appear in the end credits, so we skipped to them in order to find the song. We paused the tape and then wrote down the name of the artist and song title. It was “Closer To Free” by The BoDeans.

The next step was buying the album, which was readily available at our local music store. It was really exciting, holding my first CD in my hands. Even more exciting was the ability to hear my song (yes, it was MY song at that time) over and over again. I almost didn’t want to hear the rest of the songs. I just wanted to hear the catchy guitar part and loud, yelping scream of the lead singer before launching into the rocking, tubular tune. Finally, my musical quest had ended.

But it wasn’t until weeks later that I tired of “Closer To Free” and actually started to listen to the rest of the album. I actually found them to be quite stellar! Maybe not as catchy, but it didn’t matter. It was the feel and upbeat quality of the songs that was symbolic of my musical tastes at the time.

While it seemed like every song was good, there was one in particular that I found quite interesting. It was a slow jam that had a really driving acoustic guitar. The song was the title track of the album, “Go Slow Down”. I thought it was a pretty cool ditty, and would often find myself playing that song over and over again, much like “Closer To Free”. I liked it so much that I actually wanted to bring it into my 6th grade class for a “show and tell”. I told my mom my plan and she scolded me instantly. “Corey, DO NOT play that song for the class. It is VERY inappropriate”.13 years old and very confused, I are replied with, “But there aren’t any swear words. What’s the problem?”

I thought my mother was crazy. Obviously, she just just wasn’t into rock and roll. I had tried to sneak the CD out of the house a couple of times, but my mom would catch me and tell me that I was not allowed to play that song for people. It was an endeavor I quickly gave up on as I went on to discover other music that I liked. I decided to leave The BoDeans on the CD rack to collect dust.

It wasn’t until MANY years later that I came back to the album and heard “Go Slow Down” again, just to live out some childhood nostalgia, that I came to the nightmarish, embarrassing realization of why my mom was so opposed to the song. It was a dead give away from the opening lyrics:

“Yes, she loves me
Yes, indeed
Yes, she loves me
On my knees

First she comes, then we go
We go slow
Yeah, we go slow down

She once whispered in my ear
“Let’s not wait, let’s do it here.”

First she comes, then we go
We go slow
Yeah, we go slow down”

My eyes widened and my mouth dropped. 13 year old me was blissfully unaware and bobbing my head to a song about SEX (I know, such a unheard of topic in rock and roll)?!? I thought the song was about a couple of friends riding into town and having a good time. Well, a good time was had, I’ll say! I had to smile and laugh not only at myself, but my poor mom, who couldn’t bring herself to tell me what the song was about, considering the subject matter and how young I was.

I had confronted my mother about this recently and she laughed, having forgotten about it. If anything, the whole experience had taught me how much perspective changes over the course of your life. You start to see things you never saw as a child and that with experience, comes a whole lot of knowledge (for better and worse).

What was that story about the snake and the apple? Oh… oh… no… the man and woman were naked in that one!!!! Better call mom again.

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My Math Teacher, The Rock Star

I sucked at Math in high school. It was by far my most boring and frustrating subject. I always felt that my Math teachers were just making stuff up as they went along. Things like the Quadratic formula sounded more like something out of Star Trek to me. Instead of paying attention to numeric drivel, I was much more content day dreaming about being a rock star. I had just joined a band that and got to sing and play drums (I was stuck with the former because the other guys were scared to sing). We weren’t the most popular group in school, but we had fun. My parents, however, were much more interested in the C’s that I was getting in the unsexy world of numbers. I wondered if Kurt Cobain’s parents forced him to do his homework before he could practice with Nirvana. Like it or not, my shortcomings in “Mathletics” placed me in remedial Math. This was also known by my esteemed colleagues as “dumb Math”. To make matters worse, none of my friends were in my classes because they could do trigonometry in their sleep. I was in a room full of people and never felt more alone. I didn’t say a single word in class and I’m pretty sure most of the kids thought I was mute. It seemed like I was doomed to spend the rest of my days in Mathematical purgatory. And then I met Mr. G.

"Shall we implement the Quadratic formula, Captain?"

Mr. G was my Math teacher my Junior year. He was new and very young. He had thick black hair and a well-trimmed goatee. I’m sure his facial hair was just a ploy to cover up his youthful looks. The man was the epitome of cool. In class, he would talk to us in a very casual manner. He even let us call him Mr. G (I could give his full name, but he preferred it this way). What teacher would allow that? He would also crack jokes. Our class was like stand up comedy hour. I had never met another high school teacher like him. I almost forgot I was taking Math.

Despite Mr. G’s casual vibe, I was still very uncomfortable speaking in class. I was a really nerdy kid and thought it would be best for me to stand clear and not get in his way. I hadn’t talked to him aside from occasionally raising my hand to answer a question. However, all of that would change the day he brought in something to show the class. When he passed it around the room, my eyes widened and jaw dropped. It was a picture of him playing guitar in a band.

Wait a second, my Math teacher plays guitar…in a band?!

Ladies and Gentlemen, my Math teacher.

Just when I thought the man couldn’t get any cooler, he did. And for the first time in my life, I had something in common with a Math teacher: rock and roll. After class, I went up to Mr. G and told him I played in a band too. The conversation quickly turned to music. He was a classic rock guy who loved Pink Flyod, Zeppelin, and The Who. He said he performed “I Wanna Rock N’ Roll All Night” by Kiss at a another school where he used to teach. We were on a roll. Then he dropped a bombshell on me and asked if he could come see my band. I tensed up. I couldn’t believe it. A teacher who wanted to see my band? I didn’t think teachers went to rock shows. I imagined them quietly grading papers at home while listening to Jimmy Buffet or Kenny G. I told him we had a gig next weekend. He said he’d be there.

The band was set to play a show at a place called “Happy Endings” (No, it wasn’t a masseuse place). The night of the show, I scanned the crowd for Mr. G. When I couldn’t find him, I was disappointed, but somewhat relieved. What if he thought my band sucked? I put it out of my mind when we hit the stage. That night, we covered “Here Comes The Rain” by CCR. I had trouble singing the high notes and sounded like a cat stuck in an accordion. Despite that, we finished strong with “Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap. The crowd really loved it and gave us a big applause.

After the show, I saw a familiar figure wearing a leather jacket. It took me a second, but then I recognized him right away. It was Mr. G! He told me that he saw the show. I thanked him for coming out and we talked for a bit. I smiled at the thought of him teaching class in his leather jacket. The Fonz knew his Algebra.

Check your answers. Ehhhh!

On Monday, we took our seats in Mr. G’s class. I knew that the other night would be our little secret, one that I would cherish forever. Then a funny thing happened. He told the whole class! Everyone turned around and looked at me. They were just as surprised as I was. For all they knew, I probably just sat quietly in the corner of my own room on the weekends. My mind raced. I thought, “What is this guy doing? Putting his coolness in jeopardy by associating with me?” One of the kids asked what Mr. G thought of my band. He said we were awesome! The cool guy stamp of approval. Another kid asked me when we were performing next. I was on cloud 9. I had finally understood what Mr. G was doing. I was now one of the cool kids in his class.

Mr. G had given me a chance to live the fantasy of being a rock star. And whether he knew it or not, he taught me that it was okay to be yourself, especially around teachers. They’re people too, you know.

On the last day of school, I got to return the favor by seeing him perform. I can’t remember what songs he played, but he looked cool. Really cool.