Ministry's Psalm 69 was the first album I ever bought on CD. Preordered it from the local record store; waited a month for it to show up, put it in the only CD player in the house, the original Sony Discman, the one that cost $400 in 1985, the one that had a detachable NiMH battery that you could charge separately.
Staring in the face of condemnation
Laughter fills the sky instead of rain
Live my life alone in resignation
Arms outstretched for those who cannot see
Crucified and left in isolation
Pictures of our lost morality
Eyeless stares invite this whole damnation
Rotting corpse of inhumanity
I went to see Lollapalooza 2 primarily for Ministry. Then I bought tickets in San Diego to see Ministry despite the fact that it was a 1200 mile drive (Denver, Dallas, Phoenix and Vegas were all happening while I was taking my last finals, seeing as I was graduating a semester early to get away from all these fuckers). I had five of them because four friends were going with me. Everyone bailed one by one, though, and didn't pay me back. The last one the morning of. So I drove 18 hours through a snowstorm to see Ministry in San Diego by myself.
The first apartment I had to myself (after the apartment where all my shit got stolen by the junkie roommate I had no say in allowing in) was broken into by averats. They took all my CDs and all my gemstones. CDs I started replacing immediately; gemstones I didn't do anything with until a couple years ago. Psalm 69 was not a disc I replaced for some reason.
Scarecrow was practically an anthem for me. It was pretty much my outlook from 1992 until 1996. A bad time. But then I moved in with the girlfriend, who was not a Ministry fan. A lot of the really angry industrial stayed in memory, not in celebration.
I'm trying out Tidal right now. It allows you to grab pretty much anything. And since I now have ridiculous headphones it allows me to grab things at better quality than I ever had encoded (I turned my CDs into 192kbps mp3 because at the time, that was about where iPods didn't choke). And for some reason I decided I needed to hear Scarecrow for the first time since 1996.
I've spent the past 20 years telling the scared teenager inside me that it's gonna be okay. It's all gonna work out. That he's gonna make it free, that he's going to find girls who love him, that his parents are going to be irrelevant, that being smart actually counts for something if you're allowed to use it, and that the crap he's dealing with is more than most kids deal with and it's giving him a strength that they lack. That as soon as he can break free of the bullshit holding him down, he's going to be fine. That the shithole he's in really is a shithole, he's not imagining it, it's not all like that, that the sort of violence he's used to is more than most people are used to, that the level of antagonism he swims in is more than most people swim in. He's gotten quieter and quieter over time, as if I've slowly, gradually laid a ghost of my own creation to rest. He's almost found his peace.
But yesterday I played Scarecrow for the first time in 23 years and suddenly I wanted to know what that kid thought of me.
I was driving a silver 911 convertible to my wife's office where she's the head witch of a coven of 7 hot acolytes. I was in between a house that the bank only owns a small portion of and a half million dollar medical center that has outgrown its 4-extension phone system (that the bank owns a larger portion of,but still). I was wearing vintage Gargoyles, still, and I was blasting Ministry through a 9-speaker Bose system.
I think that kid would be proud of me.
He'd think the job is dope. He wouldn't really understand what the fuck it is but he'd grasp it pretty quickly and be curious as to how I ended up there. He'd be gobsmacked by how much it pays and the sheer number of buttons and levers would give him a hard-on. That I only have to do it a small portion of the year would seem magical to him. he's a latchkey kid; his parents are out of the house an easy 60 hours a week easy and the idea of not having to work for months at a time would seem positively illegal to him. He'd be astonished by how hot my wife is and he'd dig the shit out of my kid. He'd give me the side-eye over owning a PORSCHE but then I could take a few minutes to explain to him that not only is it the only reasonable sports car with a back seat for the kid, but that the reason 911s continue to exist is they impress chicks, not teenage boys (postmenopausal women, truth be told, but we could hide that from him for the time being). He'd be annoyed that the motorcycle isn't currently running but once he saw that I shared his annoyance he'd leave it be. He'd be fascinated that people give a shit about "rolexes" (he wouldn't much think beyond that) but once he thought about the difference between a mechanical timepiece and a quartz one he'd sorta get it. And he'd despair that I had to spend so much fucking time in Los Angeles but he'd be stoked that I spent the rest of the time in Seattle. He wouldn't even know my secret shame in having the word "bose" inside my car.
And then I got on the plane with 20lbs of library books about the Showa era and Belle Epoque jewellery but without my laptop because I forgot it but that's okay it's the little laptop not the big laptop and while the big laptop is too big to bike into work with it's currently faster than any laptop you can buy so when we're talking white people problems? "I only have one laptop" is near the top of the list. And if you fly out of the little airport you're way more likely to get first class so I haven't ridden coach even once which means free Woodford Reserve and power leather seats and hot moist towels at 10,000 feet. And if you buy everything Solar Fields has on Bandcamp you get everything in their library but if you listen to Solar Fields on Tidal you get the soundtrack to Mirror's Edge: Catalyst which is five fucking hours long
And teenage me? He'd be 100% into Solar Fields.