I'm fairly sure I've waxed eloquent before in these (digital) pages about the wonder that was Silkworm -- simply put, they were one of the bands that truly formed my musical universe back in the college days, and one of the first to make me realize that songs don't have to go verse-chorus-verse to work and that it's okay to sing like your heart's being ripped out of your chest. They were a revelation.
I first heard their debut full-length, L'ajre, while DJing at KTRU, and I can still remember my jaw literally dropping. I snuck back up later on to dub a tape copy of the album, and it stayed in the tape deck for a ridiculously long time. I used to go running at night with my beat-up old Walkman, blasting "Three Beatings" as I pounded the pavement around the university in the dark, going faster and faster as the song built and built and built. That song, in particular, was one of the first I ever heard that gave me that weird high you sometimes get when you listen to a really, really good piece of music -- some people get their fix from Beethoven, some from Dylan, but me, I got mine from Silkworm.
I only got to see them play live twice. The first time, they played at this shithole I don't remember much about except that it was the ricketiest building I'd ever been inside. You could feel the floor move when the band moved, which made it a little like standing on the deck of a ship. And the band was incredible; later on, after a decade or so spent frantically searching used-CD bins (a friend told me he'd gotten his copy in the used bins at Soundwaves), I was still kicking myself for not buying L'ajre that night (I didn't have the $$$).
(Eventually the band came to my rescue, with Even a Blind Chicken Finds a Kernel of Corn Now and Then, which collected not only everything off L'ajre but also the band's heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of "In the Bleak Midwinter." Which is, incidentally, one of the best I-wanna-have-a-melancholy-Christmas songs in existence, along with Okkervil River's "Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas.")
The second time I saw 'em, not long after, I got to meet a couple of the guys in the band, courtesy of DJ pal Justin (I think?). I shook hands with Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen and blathered on incoherently about how much I loved them; I probably called them one another's names or something. They were infallibly nice, even to a big idiot like me.
The funny thing is, year later, it seems I was far from the only one who made that major a connection with the band and their music. Some intrepid filmmakers have actually created a documentary about the band, entitled Couldn't You Wait? The Story of Silkworm -- it'll be out soon, I'm told, but you can check out the trailer below:
(Big, big thank-you to Ben for pointing it out, btw.)
I think the trailer's pretty great, but obviously, you're welcome to come to your own opinions on that. It's neat to see the live footage, and very, very strange and sad to see the band's late drummer, Michael Dahlquist, back behind the kit. I'm not one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason, myself, but some part of me is glad that at least something positive can come out of a tragedy like Michael's passing. Can't wait to see the finished film...
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