I remember standing in left field absolutely convinced I would get hit by a fly ball. Batter after batter came to the plate yet luckily, no hit ever found its way to my corner of the outfield. Fortunately for me, our defense had to only deal with sad grounders and loopy infield fly balls. Had it been an actual game and not just an after school practice I’m sure Murphy’s Law would have guaranteed a hilarious outcome. Something involving me underestimating the depth of the hit and trying to run at breakneck speed in an attempt to catch up to the ball that was already flying over my preoccupied head.
But frankly, at that moment, I couldn’t have cared less. You see, The Tazmanians had a show that evening.
Finding places to play for our high school punk band in 1990 was pretty difficult. In fact, outside of this “show” I think up until this point we had only played engagements that exclusively included our closest friends and their bands as spectators. These might better be described as “community band practices”.
But nevertheless, immediately following that soon-to-end baseball practice T.J. and I would head for the locker room to change and head over to our High School auditorium. We would meet Ron and Greg and set up for the Springfield High School Battle of the Bands.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to scheduled a Battle of the Bands but it was certainly out of the ordinary. At the time, I believe the only groups in our school were two punk bands and two metal bands, one being more in the vein of hair-metal than actual metal.
Nevertheless, our band The Tazmanians was one of those punk bands and we were on the bill! While the event was a competition where one band, chosen by the audience, would win some cash prize, I remember not being at all concerned with that. For us, just playing to a crowd that had never heard our songs seemed more important and revolutionary to our small lives. It gave weight to the hours we had spent in our parents sheds, garages, basements and living rooms learning to play our instruments. It gave us a chance to present songs that we hoped described our uniqueness in a sea of horrifying conformity and ultimately it presented us as a unified gang set against the horrors of modern suburban life…or so we desperately hoped. Sure, that sounds rather dramatic now but then? It’s probably not an overestimate.
Funny how important every moment can be when you’re so rapidly adding experiences to your life. And frankly, trying to describe the importance of those moments 22 years later is a lot like trying to catch a ball that’s already flying over your head.
If you’re interested, here are the recordings of the songs we play in the live video above.
And then some photos from the evening…there’s a lot to take in here, of course. Lot’s of Peavey’s, the angle of Greg’s tom’s, my flannel, Ron’s fade…enjoy!