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Monday, March 07, 2016

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #34: A Brief Autobiography of the Valley Underground: Part XIII: Feast of Song

Sub Terra Vita
By Tim Krenz
February 8, 2016

Chronicle #34: A Brief Autobiography of the Valley Underground: Part XIII: Feast of Song

Music, both songs of good age and sad times, have always served as a delicious dish to the feast of life for the Valley Underground. The background score to our living meal, the song behind us playing while we dine on experience, continues formless for fun, but also rigid like a hymn, to give shape of sound to our present and incomplete supper. While we await the dessert course to conclude our party, we may notice too many beloved guests left our table empty chairs. While we must celebrate their company, while they blessed our room, we cannot but mourn their pass, and continue to do so in the song of life.

Before we dirge we must dance, and take our repast in the times now. Life belongs to the living, as we say, and song completes our evenings.

To many of my time, my generation in Osceola, we nursed on a full bottle of The Beatles, and others, a wholesome breakfast to any young born late 60s and afterward. We lunched on songs now called “classic rock,” or “old country,” but then just songs played on the radio. They still get played on the radio, hence their durability as “classic.” Our parties had live polka bands, that distinct aroma of fun. We may have heard songs about freedom in Philadelphia during THE Bicentennial, or Steely Dan songs we did not quite understand until adults. Still, though, the world had music in the background, always playing, all the time. As we grew, we grew restless for meaning to songs giving definition to our identity.

In middle youth, came punk and radical, the “repo.” Now it passes for “alternative,” but to what, bad music? In all the who-who's of unwholesome snacks, we discovered soylent trash took over, popular music feeding us its dead corpus. Then, we learned that our generation, here in the valley, had its own tunes for the dinner concert.

In late high school, when I all but finished an early supper, I could not play a note of noise. My drum had no beat, my voice a rotted tone. I did, though, know to love good sound, but I could only become part of the party, vicariously as the table guest of the band. I had older friends, out of school—mentors, inspirations, and protectors in every sense. They helped me, in many ways, find a new appetite, and invited me to the underground diner. And we ate from the wholesome garden grown roots of healthy, natural foods of real music, live, raw, and life reinventing.

At a mansion one night, the snow storm canceled Friday night in Oz (our Osceola). Everything shut down in deadest dark and white. After our dinner, we got bored. “Let's go get the gear!” one of them said. Like idiots, we said, “Sure.” I even said, “Let's take my car. It goes through anything.” Our enthusiasm high, our logic weak, and our bellies full and our minds sleepy, we five piled into my cherry red Plymouth Horizon. Snickers drove. Dels in the front seat. Bops, (I think) Dens, and I sat in back.

“Back in our day,” we can say, “we drove 20 miles through a foot of snow just to get band gear for our own private concert, for us.” It took us almost three hours to return to the mansion, where we set up the stage in the living room of the house above the pond springs. The fab ones played music all night, late. I had my appointed, proud role, too, as a brother at the table feast, not a guest. I still have copies of the tapes we recorded that night. The legend of Osceola's own Rollicking B-Sides began. The party continues, the dinner not over, the night youthful, and the music in the Valley underground continues to play, loud and alive.


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