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I've told you about my late friend Mike Pearl. Hell, I wrote a poem about him and the loss of him. I needed to write that. Mike deserves my thoughts and words. He deserves Not To Be Gone, too, but...

Yeah, I have feelings. That's been true since we lost Mike in 1997.

He's on my mind because of something I'm kind of relieved about: today, for the first time in years, I listened to one of his favorite albums, the Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I hadn't listened to the album in its two-disc entirety for so long for a reason that kind of worried me:

I once thought I might be burning out on it.

It's possible to look at (listen/ read/ watch/ etc.) any work of art too much, until you don't get much out of it anymore. If you're unlucky, you sour on it. If you're lucky, you get something else out of it: I had that happen with the film Raising Arizona. If you're lucky.

What would be my reaction to Mellon Collie? I kept avoiding answering that question. I had (have) plenty of music to listen to; sometime while I was avoiding that album, I did pull out and listen to the one other SP album I own, 1993's Siamese Dream, which I like. I did that within the past two years; I don't remember more specifically than that. Finally, today, I pulled out the CD of this larger, more ambitious work, thinking I hope you still "do it" for me.

It does. It's still both crunchy and opulent, playing its Nineties-alt-rock guitar choruses in a way I once described as imagine if we'd invented electric guitars not in the 1930s but, say, 50 years earlier. It's still a pleasure to me. I still hear things in it I hadn't heard before, even having had this CD since buying it from the Hermiston, Oregon Wal-Mart nearly 20 years ago.

If it hadn't "done it" for me this time, I'm not sure how I would have felt. Mellon Collie is still tied to my feelings about Mike. I'm not losing my feelings about Mike. But if something so important to him was no longer so important to me...I'd've worried.

I can still connect to those memories. To those feelings.