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I Kan't Spell



Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 
The Evolution of the Mark Hopkins Band Through My Eyes

I guess I was 22 when I first started going to 'Jam Band' based music. Actually, wait...I was 21 in the back of Mike's house at Jenkfest 2 (the Fest strikes back) and I remember saying, "Hey, you guys need any help with that stuff?" pointing to amps and guitars. I said this to a band, at the time named "Tribe of Ben". I watched them play outside of Mike's house as if it were an audition in front of Mike and his closest 100 friends. It was a good time had by all but I knew that if I wanted to be closer to these friends gathered outside of Mike's house and whom I had known for most of my life that watching this band was a nice in road to take.

You see I never left my girl friend's side. Not for a second. If I went out, I went out with her. If I wanted to go somewhere, I went with her. People would pop in from time to time but for the most part it was just her and I. She was at this party at Mike's when I met Tribe of Ben for the first time, and I knew somewhere, at the point when she said, "Your friends are all losers." that our relationship would end very soon. She may have been right. She may have been wrong but more important was that what she said felt very wrong and very assuming. Despite my ego, this was my ilk. Despite my father's idea that I was somehow smarter than everyone else, this was where I grew up and I had yet to find anyone that I could dominate without being 50% judgmental. No one flocked to me. No one swarmed around my legs to ask me questions. Her statement seemed possessive, mean, and largely incorrect.

Her and I left each other not so long after that. And I was rather alone except for my friend Mike Oliver, some VJC kids, Craig, and Tim and Doug whom I had yet to meet but soon came along. I was working a job I didn't like at bionicbox.com with a bunch of snobby young programmers who were a lot smarter than I was. I had never really gone out and had a drink with anyone. I had never been on a date with another person in my life. I hadn't even looked at another woman in over 3 years. I was alone but I was strong. I had money. I had independence and a full head of hair and a closet full of kick ass clothes. I started sleeping with as many women as possible to fill a void. That didn't work to fill any void. And then I folded back in to my childhood friends.

It started one night at a dive bar in Bel Air or Edgewood or something. It was a holiday because everyone was home. It was either Thanksgiving or Xmas. Blake Miller and his girlfriend Lauren, whom I found absolutely enthralling, had introduced me to some of their college friends at Towson and I started seeing a couple of them. Well when everyone was in town (Nick, Watts, Shane, Chris, Dean, Mike) we decided to go up north to see the band that Watts and Nick and Mike had been seeing for years. I saw them but was more interested in the girls. But somewhere in there I saw how all my friends danced together and I got a couple glimpses of the talent of Mark Hopkins.

Months later, I was asked to attend a concert at Merriweather. It was Moe. and Widespread Panic, a damn good show in retrospect but it was just me wanting to hang out with my friends that made me want to go. Watts was there and we had yet to become good friends. Mike, Nick, Snake, and the Tribe of Ben guys were there. Watts was chummy with Mark, and since I was just starting my music research life, Mark and I talked a little. Watts informed me of a show the next day down at St.Mary's College that he was attending and so was everyone else. I couldn't pass up at this point. I had found a pack to run with. I was galloping a little with other horses again.

Months rolled by and I had been to numerous more shows and met the band at local watering holes and somehow started doing their website. Everyone would always come down for the shows. Watts would sometimes work the lights at the Recher Theatre or the old 8x10 and I would get shout outs from the band or work the merch table. We would bring friends to come see them and as my face time grew I met more people that would become familiar faces along the way. I became social again. I wasn't dating. I wasn't doing drugs. I still wasn't drinking but I was having fun.

I owe that transitional period to a lot of people who cared enough to include me back in their lives and in a way I owe that to Mark Hopkins as well. I know that sounds strange to say, but in retrospect watching him play guitar, turning to one of my friends nodding and mouthing the words, "Nasty" was all he needed to do to be apart of that short evolution.

Mark has a new band now and a new website. I think you'll find that he and his band are very talented and put on a fun and open show that all kinds of people can enjoy. I hope maybe some of you younger people out there have a band or an artist that does the same for you and your friends one day. I hope you get to enjoy something like that the way I have enjoyed watching Mark play. I think you'll find it will put a smile on your face.

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Quote(S)
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Bands That I Check Schedules For
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So you think you are a Baltimorian
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"You Son of a Bitch" An Open Letter to Tom Friend
Dance to Your Ocean
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When men become pussies
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Pitchfork takes music snobbery to new level
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The Hatred that is Runts Candy
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