the band with a stupid name.


i met her on the internet. her screen name was magiqspell, and she was about two years younger than i was. she was into singing, and i was into guitar, so i said, "let's start a band." she agreed. i said we should meet, and she said she took classes at csus, or maybe it was rehearsals for a play, some piece of shit called under 21. i went to a dress rehearsal, and i met the director, some pompous black guy who sat in a director's chair while blowing bubbles. i said, "hello," and he just kept blowing bubbles. guy was an idiot.

magiqspell had dyed red hair, and at 14, she was the youngest person on set. she didn't have much of a role. i just remember this one scene where the lead male went to a sperm bank, and for some reason, he was carrying around his sperm in a cup. he ran into a pretty girl he liked, and somehow, the sperm ended up spilling all over her shirt.

magiqspell lived all the way in the south area, and it took about half an hour just to get there. i got lost, and i called her house. her older sister answered, and she tried to guide me, even though i had no idea where i was. i was driving my dad's camry. i don't know what i told my parents that day. it definitely wasn't "i'm going to play music with some girl i met off the internet." finally, i found her house. i set up my amp and guitar, and we tried to write a song. i wrote a little guitar riff, and she said it sounded 80's. she wrote some god-awful lyrics, stuff only a 14 year-old girl could come up with:

remember the 80's show with charles and charge? we had such good times with full house and empty nest. chorus: i love my 80's sitcoms, don't you miss the 80's sitcoms.

yeah. jesus.

i told my cousin that i was looking to start a new band, since our last one, the one with the christian drummer, didn't pan out. he seemed like he wanted to join, and he quoted what liam gallagher told his brother and oasis before they were oasis: "are you gonna let me in the band, or are you gonna just sit around like a bunch of sad cunts?" i thought he would come up with some better tunes than the 80's sitcom show, so i agreed. magiqpsell thought we could use a little help, too.

so, just about every weekend, my cousin and i drove down to her house in the south area, and we worked on songs in her living room. she had a p.a. set, and my cousin and i had our guitars and bass. he said he didn't mind playing bass. i've always preferred guitar to bass. we didn't have a drummer yet, but we decided we didn't need one until we had a set group of songs to play. we would usually go to jack-in-the-box for lunch, and magiqspell never had any money. the little money she did have, she would spend on cigarettes.

sometimes, we went into her sister's bedroom and we played playstation on her tiny tv. one night, we were playing silent hill, or maybe it was silent hill 2. the production company's logo flashed on screen. it read: idol minds. "that should be the band name," i said. "yeah," she said, "but we should spell it differently. it should be 'idle.'" that's how we got our band name. idle minds.

during this time, magiqspell was in a musical, the pirates of penzance. it ran at a small theater in old sacramento, and i was bored stiff. the only redeeming quality was that there was a st. francis freshman by the name of danielle who was also in the play. danielle had soft brown hair, a cute face, and a lot of forehead. i told magiqspell to put in a good word for me. she came back with the news that danielle's parents forbade her from dating. i was devastated. i wrote some chords for a song, magiqspell wrote the lyrics:

danielle, you know one thing is true. danielle, all my friends want you. danielle, they saw you at the play. danielle, they think of you to this day!

yeah. worst.

a bunch of us went out for bowling one night. it was midnight bowling, or disco bowling, one of those nights where they turn on the black lights and everything glows. glow bowling, i guess. i wanted to go to the arcade afterward, so i could see my cousin's friend beat star wars with just one quarter, as i had been told he could do such things. i think he played for a little while, but the miracle quarter never happened. i played that g.i. joe game i always loved, the one where you just run and run and shoot down everything in sight. what a game. on the ride back home, magiqspell rested her head against my forearm and fell asleep. i thought it was nice to finally have a friend who felt comfortable enough around me to do something like that.

there was another band in town that magiqspell loved seeing. they were called piccolo music, and they were a powerpop group. the worst thing about them was that they had a moog and an asian guitar player. their songs were actually kind of catchy, and i think they even received modest radio play. another awful thing was that the asian guitar player went to my high school. he was a cooler and nerdier asian, and i immediately hated him. i hated that people went to their shows and that magiqspell genuinely liked them. idle minds had "the 80's song," "danielle," "feels like fire," and piccolo music had powerpop jams like "alison j." and "roller rink." the chorus for "alison j." went something like this:

when i'm a big rockstar, i'll have any girl i want, but the only girl i want is alison j.

we decided if we were going to get anywhere, especially if we were to compete with a band of nobodies like piccolo music, we had to get a drummer. i put up an ad on america online. we got a few responses, and finally, we decided to go with a guy named orin, who used to be in a metal band. coincidentally, orin was filipino, and he had long black hair, like a real metal drummer. we warned him that we weren't metal. "that's okay," he said, "i'm just looking to start playing again." i don't think he gave a shit that our songs were terrible. after a gig one time, he showed us a videotape of his past work in a metallica cover band. my cousin was impressed, but i thought it was stupid.

orin turned out to be kind of crazy. we had him drive us to get lunch at jack-in-the-box once, and he started driving on the sidewalk. also, on his america online profile, he wrote as his location: principality of nicaragua. we had no idea what he was about. we decided we had to lose him, and magiqspell wrote him a nice email telling him that his drum services were no longer needed.

we met another drummer. he wasn't a very good one, but magiqspell thought he was attractive, so he stuck around for a while. we went to his house once, and my cousin and i sat on his couch. "sorry, guys," he said, "my house is kind of boring." we told him not to worry about it. he took magiqspell into his bedroom for a while, and my cousin and i sat there, feeling like dopes. we wanted a drummer and ended up with a groupie.

it was about this time that i really started to hate our band. it was obvious we were never gonna put out an ok computer or even get small gigs like piccolo music. that, and our lead singer was using band time to sneak away with her love interest and do ecstacy at raves. i wasn't ever gonna tour and have girls like danielle fall for me, so what was the point? i didn't tell the band i was thinking this, but i wanted to quit. what a fucking waste of time.

we were sitting around one saturday, working on another stupid song. i was silent for a long while, until magiqspell asked what was wrong. "i quit," i said. "what? what are you talking about?" i repeated what i had said. it was my first taste of being dramatic, of letting everything bottle up and explode. "you're not quitting," she said. "yes," i said, "i am." they tried to draw out of me what was wrong, but i didn't want to give them the satisfaction of knowing. i was a broken record: i quit. i quit. i quit.

a few months later, my cousin told me that magiqspell had actually landed us a gig through her mom. they needed me to play, as i was the only one who knew the songs on guitar. it felt good to be needed, and to have this over them, so i agreed. we played the gig to a bunch of teens at some rec room at the red lion. we ended the set with a song called "idle minds." the lyrics went something like this:

idle minds, the band with a stupid name. and not just the name, but what it means is really lame.

i couldn't have summed it up better myself.

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