19 September 2005

I've Been Meaning to Write This for a Week

I was one of four Dans in a group of friends while in college. Dan Manchester, Dan Haar, Dan Crowell, and Dan...I can't remember Dan #4's last name. I didn't dislike Dan #4 (though I do remember that he was the cause and the intended target of another non-Dan friend's comment that "some people just major in being an art major" and that I agreed with the comment and its intents wholeheartedly), I just didn't know him as well and my memory is pitted with years-of-drug-abuse-sized holes. That I've lost Dan #4's name is not surprising. That I've only spoken to the other two Dans three or four times (totaled collectively) is also not surprising, given my lack of skill at keeping in touch with anyone outside of my immediate family (they call me) with any frequency, a problem only compounded by my moving to Indiana after graduation instead of Park Slope or Williamsburg. That said, I still think about the Dans and the rest of the crew with some frequency, wondering what they're doing, if so-and-so is still painting, what band so-and-so is in, if Dan X is still dating Person Y, etc.

So it was a pleasant and shocking surprise when I opened the newest issue of Rolling Stone magazine last week to find this year's crop of 10 New Bands to Watch! only to have one of the Dans staring out at me. Dan Crowell, whose drum set lived in our dining room all of junior year, whose stationary-floating dance is one of the true indescribable wonders of the world, who nearly talked a bicycle police officer into arresting the two of us one night after our graduation (Officer 1: "Why are you two sitting here on Broadway drinking when you know it's illegal? Dan Crowell: "Well, it's hot out, sir. And there's a bench."), this Dan Crowell's face (and upper torso, too!) was captured in glossy color among the pages of Rolling Stone. The band's name is Matt Pond PA. I know nothing about them, other than what Jenny Eliscu told me and what I've gleaned from the band's website (they're opening for Liz Phair on her upcoming tour), but I'm still excited.

And I'm not just excited because someone I (used to) know is in Rolling Stone magazine. I'm doubly excited because this marks the second issue of the magazine in a row that contained someone I knew/know. The first, sadly, was an obituary for Al Aronowitz, a rock journalist and the man who, legend has it, first turned the Beatles on to weed and first introduced them to Bob Dylan. I "met" him while I was a sophomore in college. I somehow stumbled across his website. There, tucked among amazing tales of his insider views of early rock excesses and milestone moments, was a note that he'd "start posting other people's poetry and fiction to the site if [he] ever got around to finding a victim willing to sort through it all." I emailed to volunteer. This began a couple years of our talking and planning an on-line journal (independent of The Blacklisted Journalist site) that never got off the ground. While planning a memorial gathering in Central Park for Allen Ginsberg, Al called me to organize a student presence/reading event to happen simultaneously. Somehow, through all of that, I never put his name together with the legendary Al Aronowitz I had read about in Dylan biographies and elsewhere. Even when he included me on his mass emails and I'd find my name next to Country Joe McDonald and other 60's lesser luminaries, I just equated that to...well, to something else. To be honest, I don't think I thought about it too much. I liked his energy regarding our starting a journal and his cranky honesty regarding my bad ideas and just left it at that. I hadn't spoken to him in about five years when I saw his obit last month. But, like Dan Crowell, seeing his face looking out at me from the pages of Rolling Stone immediately brought back college---the smell of the house, the snow, that mysterious white dust covering everything below the knee--in a way I hadn't experienced or expected in quite a while.

2 Comments:

Blogger shim-shim said...

For the record, Dan is second from the right.

And, in a related note, also among the 10 New Bands to Watch! was the recent Entourage cameo-ing rapper Saigon. I've been thinking about this a lot since I first saw him on Entourage and seeing him in the magazine only made me ponder it more frequently: do you think that in 30 years from now there will be a hip hop artist named Baghdad? Or The Rhyme Taliban? Lil' Basra? Something? Just wondering...

Monday, September 19, 2005 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Realizing this is from September, and you may never see this comment, the individual furthest to the right could in fact be referred to as Dan #5 as his name is Dan as well. Affleck was the name you were looking for. And if person Y is who I think it is, yes they are still dating. But that's not all he's doing.

-#2

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 1:08:00 PM  

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