GETTING MORE TALE #588: Broken Hearts are for Assholes
What music do you seek out most when your soul needs soothing?
I remember my first “real” breakup in 1994. Upset and confused, I sought solace in music. I had just ordered a new release from Columbia House. The Alice in Chains Jar of Flies EP hit me right where it hurt. Why music resonates the way it does with certain feelings in specific people, nobody knows for sure. If they did, there would be a perfect formula for writing perfect songs, but there is not.
It wasn’t the lyrics on Jar of Flies that affected me. I didn’t consider “Hey ah na na, innocence is over, over,” to be particularly revelatory. It was the music that got me. While soft, Jar of Flies was also very dark and soaked with emotions. Perhaps a lot of this had to do with new bassist Mike Inez. Jar of Flies was one of the first things they wrote with Inez. According to guitarist Jerry Cantrell, “He plays the nastiest, darkest shit but he’s got the sweetest heart in the world.” Both the weird darkness and the heart can be heard on Jar of Flies. That EP stuck to me like glue. Play it once, flip it over, play it again.
We got back together and broke up again a couple months later. This time it was final. I remember trying music again to feel better. I put on “Love Song” by Tesla. This time, this music only made me feel worse. The line “Love will find the way,” didn’t seem real to me anymore. So I put on something angrier. In 1994, I was very much into Motley Crue. I put on “Primal Scream”. I felt the tension; I felt the frustration, and the seething.
Broke dick dog,
My head slung low,
Tail knocked in the dirt.
Time and time,
Of being told,
Trash is all I’m worth.
When I was just a young boy,
Had to take a little grief,
Now that I’m much older,
Don’t put that shit on me.
This had nothing to do with the breakup, but digging into my anger brought with it a lot of baggage from being bullied as a kid at school. “Primal Scream” helped bring that to the fore. It was the beginning of a long period of self-discovery and realizing that trauma as a kid can carry forward.
Breakup #3 happened in November of 1995. Different girl this time. I didn’t want to get angry anymore. I decided to try to re-ground myself and get back to who I was before this. I started hanging out with my family more. I was listening to more old music like the Beatles. The Anthology had just come out. Via the Beatles (and co-worker T-Rev) I discovered Oasis (see: Getting More Tale #561: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?). These new bands like Oasis weren’t that much different from the old ones.
What really clicked with me this time were bands from the extensive Deep Purple family tree. (See: Record Store Tales Part 141: When We Rock, We Rock and When We Roll, We Roll). I was playing British bands with a blues base. Whitesnake, Purple, Rainbow and so on. Why these bands resonated with me during this breakup, I don’t know. Maybe it was the male posturing and testosterone. Whatever the reason was, for a little while Deep Purple and Whitesnake really helped me put the pain out of mind. I felt more or less normal and I think the tunes had a lot to do with it. This kicked off a huge Purple obsession with me.
It’s strange but every breakup had its own music. There was a girl named Jasmine in the year 2000, and the music for her breakup was Marillion. “So here I am once more, in the playground of the broken hearts.” Both Fish (first singer) and Steve Hogarth (second singer) are real poets. With Marillion, both the music and lyrics seemed to fit. I was becoming a little bit of a broken-hearted douche bag, but I had to do what I had to do to get by.
Perhaps what I really needed was some Frank Zappa.
Some of you might not agree,
‘Cause you probably likes a lot of misery,
But think a while and you will see…
Broken hearts are for assholes,
Broken hearts are for assholes.