BNL-APPROVED!

GUEST BLOG – BNL, Rooster Teeth and saying Hi – by Ryne

A fantastic guest blog from Ryne, take it away!

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“It’s not an overstatement to say I’ve been a lifelong fan.

I’m not entirely clear on how or why, but my parents were fans. Hard to believe, here in Middle America, BNL had a place in the cassette and CD collection of their car.

To put this in perspective, I was born at the tail end of ’93: Gordon was going strong still, and in a short year, Maybe You Should Drive would be released to the masses. I couldn’t possibly remember my own infancy, but needless to say there was music. I would never remember the first time I heard Steven’s voice blasting from a car stereo or the first of many times I would see the “Enid” music video. But as I grew to an age where I would indeed form those fuzzy first memories, I would come to find that BNL, whether I liked it or not, were a staple.

Over these forgotten years, great songs would be released like “Jane”, “Alternative Girlfriend”, “The Wrong Man Was Convicted”, “When I Fall”, “Old Apartment”, “Spider In My Room”, “Shoe Box”, “In The Drink”… I would not remember these sparkling new tracks being played. I’m simply too young. Then, somewhere in my mind, a reel of tape starts turning, recording, and I remember this.

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We never stay in our apartments long. A year’s lease is up and we are out. Every apartment becomes the old apartment, and with the title come the boxes. The furniture, removed, the toy chests upheaved for an en mass spring cleaning in the middle of autumn. A radio is placed in the largest room of the house and a stack of glittering jewel cases are stacked beside it. No telivision to distract, only the brightly colored CDs and the music to turn the house into a discothèque. And always, always, atop the pile would be Rock Spectacle.

It was played first. It was played last. Sometimes current CDs would be removed just to have Rock Spectacle played in its place. Like Christmas, an annual event of dancing and shouting, even if we didn’t know all the words.

Over the many times it was brought out alongside the moving boxes, patterns stuck, lyrics were remembered, unintentionally teaching me until I had every chord and tune engrained as a lasting memory. Tyler’s wild drumming on “Brian Wilson” still strikes excitement in me to this day, and I would mimmick it for years against desks and tables. We would shout along as a group to “Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank”, “Jane” and “Hello City”. “When I Fall” always seemed haunting, echoing down halls. I suppose it only added to the theme of the song.

“If I Had A Million Dollars” would come about, and once again as a group we would sing (though my mother always claimed “Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?”), and we would stick around to hear about that old lady looking for a theatre in Chicago, as well as Uncle Elwyn’s song.

For years, this is how it went. My childhood spun in the same songs sung, those previous albums learned and revisited. Stunt took America in the meantime and I was busy trying to keep up with Ed while reading the lyrics to “One Week”. Time changes things, though. The moving boxes came again, and with them a divorce. Somewhere in between, that copy of Rock Spectacle was lost like all things cherished too long.

I’m ashamed to say I started to grow. New places always meant new friends, friends that usually didn’t know about bands like Barenaked Ladies and were red in the face just to say the name. Maroon came and went. I never even saw up a copy of Everything To Everyone.

Somewhere between middle school and trying to fit in, I let Barenaked Ladies take a backseat.

In their place, I found Roosterteeth. Not a band, but certainly a topical conversation at the cafeteria table. Red Vs Blue was beginning to boom at the time, but sooner than later my old interests crept back up in the form of Captain Butch Flowers.

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“Holy crap, that’s Ed” doesn’t make a lot of sense to those who probably only heard “One Week” when it came on the local radiostation, but it reignited that love of the band. To heck with fitting in. In time, with Rock Spectacle the ever constant on my offbrand mp3 player, I met a friend. A friend I taught about Roosterteeth. A friend that stuck with me past our school days and eventually convinced me to attend RTX2015 with, which we conveniently found out a few weeks later would be hosting the Barenaked Ladies. Needless to say, it quickly became the best trip of my life.

Now I’m not saying I met the band (though we did sit directly behind great minds like Gavin Free, Colton Dunn, Burnie Burns, Ashley Jenkins, Meg Turney, and Matt and Anna Hullum), but it was an experience I could never live again.

I saw Kevin on stage, quizzing the people to guess what video game theme he was playing (the prize to which, he claimed, would be a big kiss from Ed). No one was able to guess it, but we later learned it was Venture, and we quickly found a copy to play. Ed led everyone in a rousing verse of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, orchestrating the venue to sing along. Jim provided amazing bass to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”, which I had never seen so many simultaneously sing along to. And Tyler entertained us all with Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” featuring funny voices, not to mention absolutely killer drumming.

The convention came to a close deciding that we would return next year, and in the span of a few months, we set out to catch up on what we hadn’t yet experienced (for me, a few short years, for my friend, a lifetime). My friend was hooked on Barenaked Ladies and with the help of eBay, Amazon, Spotify, a few select music stores, second hand shops, and BNL’s own website, we began a collection. CDs, interviews, artifacts from concerts, anything within reason and price range, Brothers Creeggan and Thin Buckles included.

I recalled Ed’s Up from TV and received a copy secondhand for my birthday… only to realize that it was signed by Ed.

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We began to hunt for signatures as well. To date, we have all current and past members autographs on various CDs, including Andy on a copy of The Brothers Creeggan’s Sleepyhead. We aren’t done yet: we aim to get ahold of some old 45s and vinyls, cassettes, and EPs. We already have some official merch from the store, but a long way to go before it’s all obtained.

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As I sit here now, writing this, it’s clear I have an exciting year ahead of me. RTX2016 looms a few months away. My friend and I have tickets to not one but three venues of the Last Summer On Earth 2016 Tour, two of which we will get to meet the band. I’m incredibly nervous. What to say to someone you have listened to extensively for so long? Do I tell Kevin how beautiful I find his music to be? Do I let Tyler know how I never fail to laugh at his jokes? Do I get tongue-tied over how entrancing Jim’s bass playing can be? Do I say to Ed how he has been the sole inspiration for the many quarters I’ve plugged into a pinball machine, the countless times I’ve hummed “Pinch Me” through long shifts at work? How do I say “You’ve been here throughout my life?” in a way that doesn’t sound immediately awkward? English would be a great place to start, I guess.

Whatever comes out of my mouth first, I hope it starts with “Hi”.

Thanks Ryne! Send your guest blogs to liam@getbarenaked.net

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