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Amazing flashback weekend

March 26, 2006 Leave a comment

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

So this weekend, I went to a showing of Quadman, Junebug played a set including such songs as “Fargo Gypsy Girl” and “The Cacophony Trilogy”, Fed By Doris played and I went to a Five Point Theory show.  Feels like we all warped back to 2001.

Dan wanted to show Quadman again, because it had been a darn long time since it has been shown at the coffee house.  For those who don’t know, Quadman is what was referred to as a lo-fi sci-fi.  Bruce Likness is an Adjustment Training Center client who, a few years ago, wanted to realize his idea for a movie.  With the help of Dan Cleberg and many others in the area, it became a no-budget full-length feature film.  There was local press coverage (the front page of the local paper), a pre-show party where everyone dressed up and had hors d’ouvres, and arrived in a limo on a red carpet for the premiere.  It was amazing.

I hadn’t seen the movie for years, so watching it again on Friday was a total blast from the past.  All these memories about hanging out at the Rooster, situations in which the movie was being filmed, people I haven’t seen in ages, it all came flying back at me.

Junebug had played at the premiere party on May 5, 2001 and all the members of Fed By Doris were involved in the film.  So at this showing on March 24, 2006, Dan had both Fed By Doris and Junebug play. 

At practice Anthony brought a copy of the setlist we played at that show and we decided to play nearly all of those songs plus some new ones.  It was pretty fun playing “Fargo Gypsy Girl” and starting “To the Next Episode” with “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” again.  It also brought back some memories of the old Junebug days.

And Fed By Doris.  Where do I begin?  This bizarre and amazing band was formed in 1998 and I joined them in 1999.  FBD was loved by all the Coffee House crew and at the risk of suffering delusions of grandeur, I’ll say that FBD was a huge part of the local music scene back then.  When Jer, the lead singer and chief songwriter, moved to Arizona in 2003, Fed By Doris called it quits.  I remember thinking at the farewell show on August 8, 2003 that I would never play these songs with these guys again.  We had “called it quits” a number of times, but Jer had exclaimed at that show, “This time it’s for real.”  Well, we actually did play on New Year’s Eve 2004 and then this past Friday. 

It was odd, because only a fraction of the crowd on Friday were survivors of the old FBD era.  And I guess, from what I’ve heard, the jokes coming from the stage were more for those who knew us in the past.  The song about thwarting an attempt on a televangelist’s life was lost on some.  But that was part of the beauty of FBD back in the old days too.  Audiences sometimes didn’t quite know what to do.  I guess we had a bit of an Andy Kaufman quality at times.  At any rate, we played a bunch of old favorites as well as two new songs that I had never heard.  My first hearing of these songs was when I played them onstage.  And actually, that was a blast from the past as well.  When I first played with FBD in July of 1999, the first two shows were pretty much me just learning the songs.  We also played a song from the “los hermanos muertos” days, and strangely, all of us remembered how to play it.  And…in typical FBD fashion, spawning some wistful memories, I found out about the FBD show by seeing the flyer posted at the Rooster.  (The entire FBD set can be viewed at FBD’s Myspace.)

And as if Friday wasn’t flashback enough, last night when we had some friends over for beers, Dustin got a call.  When he put his phone away he said, “Five Point Theory’s playing tonight.”  Five Point Theory is another band from the hey days of the Aberdeen music scene and they have been missed in recent years.  Their lineup changed over the years of their existence and I wondered who would be playing at this little reunion.  As it turns out, they all did.  It started with Joel, Mike, Randy, and Corey and as the show went on, Brian and Matt came in and out.  It was such a throwback to five years ago.  At the Last Chance, beer in hand, raising my glass to the Five Point boys.  When I left, it would have felt normal to just go upstairs to the old apartment above the bar in which I lived for five years.

I think it’s okay to get wistful sometimes, as long as you don’t become Uncle Rico.  I am convinced he can NOT throw a pigskin a quarter mile.  He’s living too much in ’82.  I love blasts from the past.  I don’t want to downplay the NOW days at all.  I’ve got things really good; I’m engaged, I have pets, I have a place to live, I play in a kickass band.  The now days are amazing.  And the old days were fun.  It’s nice to relive them sometimes.  And this weekend was sweet.

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Richard William Becker

March 20, 2006 Leave a comment

[This entry was originally posted on my MySpace blog. It was transferred to WordPress on 1/20/2013.]

On Monday night, around 11:00 p.m., my stepdad’s breathing slowed, becoming more shallow until he subsided.  He was 63.  He hadn’t been in good health for quite some time.  He was diabetic and he had chronic back problems.  A few months ago, he was diagnosed with lung disease and was finding it difficult to walk from the living room to the kitchen without becoming winded.  He never smoked a day in his life.  He served the Jamestown fire department for over thirty years beginning in 1969. 

The smoke inhalation from firefighting is what eventually caught up with his lungs.  Just a couple weeks ago, my mother contacted me saying that he was in a Fargo hospital being treated for pneumonia and other complications.  He was then diagnosed with lung cancer.  They gave him a couple months to live.  He said that he’d see the leaves come in, but not turn colors.  Then things happened very quickly.  He didn’t respond well to the chemo and the cancer had spread rapidly and vastly.  His condition was downgraded severely and it was said that he wouldn’t see his home in Jamestown again.

But boy, did he want to.  They had said he wasn’t well enough to travel from Fargo, but he saw to it.  He fought and at one point the doctor even referred to him as a miracle.  His condition improved just enough to get him home and get a little make-shift hospital set up at the house.  In between hallucinations in which he thought he was aboard a cruise ship, he expressed to my mother that he was very glad to be in his home.  And everyone thinks she made the right decision in bringing him home.  He lost consciousness not long after coming home and slipped away on Monday night.

I didn’t always get along with the guy.  We had our differences.  Sometimes he could be horribly offensive, but dammit, aside from that, he made my mother a happy woman.  I got to know him a little better over the years (they got married in 1997) and I warmed up to him considerably.  He knew I didn’t really trust him at first, and he kept a respectable distance.  He said that were he in my position, he’d feel the same way.  But I got over it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to let him know that myself.  I asked my mother to relay the message to him in the hospital, which she did.  But I was always massively appreciative of the help he provided to both my sisters and me.  He was a big believer in siezing opportunity and he assisted me with my trips to England, my trip to New York, and a bit last year when I went to France.

I wrote a song a long time ago, in 1997, called “Potatoes & Cream”.  There was a line in it that says, “Fireman, come and rescue me / From the horrid torment of putting up with me / Take me down that big ol’ ladder and on a shopping spree / To a place where there’s no sales and nothing comes free.”  It was about my stepdad.  It was about wanting him and me to get along and have some tiny semblance of a father/son-like relationship.  He did it too.  When he married my mom, I was welcomed into his home, into his family.  He provided me with a LOT over the years, and I will always be grateful.

This morning, around 8:00 a.m., I had a dream that an old friend of mine passed me a note in class.  I unfolded it and it said “Comfort and strength come to those who ask for it.”  My friend smiled and in my dream, I showed the note to Liza.  As she read it, my phone began to ring in real life.  I recognized it as my mother’s ring and I woke, knowing what the call was, and knowing that my God was willing to give us all strength and comfort.  Say what you want about God speaking through dreams, I believe he does.

I took a nap in the afternoon and I dreamed I was trapped in a room with massive flames licking the walls and no escape.  I could feel the heat burning against my face and the door burst open.  A great gust of cool calmed the room and my stepdad stood in the doorway.  He looked me in the eye and smiled.  He walked out of the doorway and I awoke.

Toward the end, he was never sad.  The nurses all said he was cheering THEM up through all the procedures and treatments.  He kept a joking attitude and he wasn’t feeling pain.  He left us peacefully and calmly and painlessly.  He left us in his sleep, perhaps feeling the same comfort in his dreams that I was reminded of in mine.

Richard William “Dick” Becker
July 30, 1942 – March 13, 2006

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