Diary Of Dean: Chapter One "Me, Warren & U2"

We at The Shit thought it might be fun to cover the trials and tribulations of one of the many bands that call Superior St. home,through the eyes of one of their members. The band we've chosen to feature is The Myth Brigade, whose story will be told by guitarist Dean Machine.

My name is Dean. From the moment that I saw U2 during their Joshua Tree tour, I've known that I wanted to be a rock & roll musician. I was seven at the time, but my older brother Warren had taken me to the show because he'd just broken up with his girlfriend and had the extra ticket. It was a total spur of the moment thing, I could see it in his eyes when he asked if I wanted to go with him, but I idolized my brother - I still do, in fact - and was not about to pass up an opportunity to spend some time with him.

Quite frankly, I was surprised my mom and dad let me go. They were a little over-protective, but I guess they trusted Warren enough to look out for me. Warren had just turned 18 and was graduating high school that year. In the car ride to the stadium, he was playing cassettes by bands named R.E.M., Camper Van Beethoven, and the Dead Milkmen. I asked him why he wasn't playing U2 and he just said shrugged and said, "When I hear those songs tonight, I want it to feel like the first time."

For me, it was the first time. There was something just so otherworldly about the way the stadium was filled with such a wide spectrum of people - all smiling, it seemed - the way the stage was lit in anticipation of U2 hitting the stage. When they did, it wasn't with all the BOOM SHAKA LAKA that you might expect from your typical big-time stadium rock bands. The first thing I heard was the chiming of The Edge's guitar, making that chorus-laden sound that is so totally his but that sounded so alien to me at the time.

By the time the rest of the band kicked in and Bono began singing, I was completely transfixed by them. While I loved the music, what I noticed the most was how the band connected with the audience. Watching Bono was like seeing the best snake oil salesman in the world sell every last bottle of his homemade concoction. I don't mean that in a bad way, either. Whatever he was selling that night, he believed in with all his heart and everyone in that crowd had paid good money to hear him. There was a technique to the way he reached out to the audience that was completely devoid of showmanship. When guys like Jagger did it, you knew it was something they'd practiced in front of a mirror. When Bono did it, it was an honest movement based on what he was feeling inside.

The rest of the band seemed so into the music as well - almost to the point of being hypnotized by it and, therefore, oblivious to the screaming fans and flash bulbs. They seemed to almost be in worship of the music, as was the audience, albeit joyously so. After every song, the audience just erupted. I'd never heard anything like it.

Time seemed to slow down, allowing each moment to last an eternity and me the chance to soak up every nuance, every sound, every color. Then it was over. Or was it. The band had left the stage, but the entire crowd kept singing "How long to sing this song...How long..." as they exited the stadium. Even as we crossed the walkway that took us over the freeway and back to our cars, thousands were still singing. Even to this day, I get a chill down my spine thinking about it.

Two weeks later, with my mom's help, I started a lemonade stand. There was a parade in town and tons of people were walking through our neighborhood so I knew that, at some point, people would be thristy. I sat out there at my card table with the homemade sign - "ICE COLD LEMONADE 50 CENTS" - as people walked to the parade and managed to sell only two glasses of lemonade. Needless to say, I was crushed, but my mom told me to just be patient. Sure enough, a few hours later, when the parade ended, all the same people who'd walked by came back through and, this time, they were thirsty!

Before I knew it, I had people waiting in line to buy a glass of lemonade. Thankfully, my mom was ready with another tall, icy jug of lemonade when I ran out of the first one. By the time all was said and done, I had made $45. I'd have made more, but we ran out of cups.

The rest of the summer was spent doing odd jobs around the neighborhood and helping Warren with his lawn-mowing business. By the end of the summer, my big blue bank with the combination lock held over $300.

Then one day, it was completely empty.

That was the day that I took out all $300 and asked Warren to give me a ride down to McNeice Music, where I bought my first guitar and amplifier. I'd like to say that it was a beautiful Rickenbacker or a Telecaster, or something cool like that, but it was a cheap Harmony guitar. The amp, though, was an old Fender tube amp that I found in the hallway when I asked to use the restroom. At first they said it wasn't for sale, but Warren talked them into selling it to me.

Once we got it home, Warren cleaned it up and turned it on. With the guitar plugged in and ready to go, I grabbed my guitar pick and struck my first note, holding the middle finger of my left hand
tightly across the strings.


Turns out we had to wait for the tubes to warm up a little bit. Even then, the amp snap, crackled and popped like it might catch fire at any moment. Then I could hear the buzz of the amplifier beckoning me to play. Again, I struck a note and, while it sounded nothing like The Edge's beautiful noise - in fact, it sounded pretty awful - it was noise and that was enough for me.

It's tough to admit, but the first song I learned was "Smoke On The Water". I didn't really like the song, but, after a few days of struggling to make sense of the guitar's inner secrets, I began to find my way. After hours and hours of trying to get my fingers to do what I wanted them to, I was absolutely thrilled to finally be able to play something that other people could recognize.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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