The author at age 16, sitting in her high school journalism class.
When I moved back into my parents’ house in San Jose in 2009, after living in San Francisco sucked almost every dollar from my checking account, I quickly became a hopeless nostalgic – sleeping in the same bed you slept in until your last day of high school, surrounded by the posters and magazine cutouts that were there when you left, will do that to you. Nostalgia was something I did in secret – I didn’t want anyone to know this super-cool music writer longed for the local bands she used to go see every weekend in her punk rock youth. That she spent her afternoons shuffling through the piles of glossy prints that populated the space under her bed.
Then in July of 2012 I met up with Eric Fanali, a San Jose show promoter whose events I frequented as a teen, for an interview. Once the interview was all taken care of, we got to talking. We sat on the patio at Falafel Drive-In long after the place had closed trading memories of local bands from the early 2000s, and I started to realize I didn’t have to be so ashamed of my nostalgic tendencies anymore. So I ventured out to his big 16th anniversary celebration at Homestead Lanes – one of the few all-ages venues in the San Jose region that has survived more than five years – and you know what? It might have been the best show I saw this year. It was a lot of bands that sounded like the ones I used to love — Sacramento wunderkinds Dog Party, the ferocious Bomb the Music Industry — and even a couple of the bands that I remember from “the old days” (Phenomenauts, Kepi Ghoulie). The whole night came together to form the most overpowering nostalgia rush I’ve ever experienced.
Working The Bay Bridged has been a dream realized – after all, it was at Fanali’s shows that I started to think that maybe, since I sucked at playing music, I might not be so bad at writing about it. But the honest truth is I don’t feel cool enough to be writing for them. I mean, I’m a 26-year-old woman whose best night of 2012 was spent with a bunch of 17-year-olds. Grown adults, especially ones with such cool jobs, don’t hang out at all-ages shows. Right?
I exited the place sweaty and beaming at 1 a.m., but something about it still felt kind of wrong. In the days after, I had a little bit of a revelation – who the fuck cares whether I’m cool or not? Isn’t that what that scene I grew up on was supposed to have taught me? Though I still keep relatively quiet at staff meetings for fear of revealing my hideously uncool tastes, I’ve learned to live with, even take a little pride in, my continuing love for teenage punk rock. I’ve branched out to other kinds of music since then, but I still hold that kind of music, the stuff that makes kids shove their fists in the air and scream ‘til they’re red in the face, very near and very dear. It’s where it all began for me.