This was certifiably my year! The following isn’t meant to be braggy, but I dunno, I feel really powerful when I look back at all I was able to accomplish.
For the first time in my life I’ve been able to travel a little bit and got my van tattooed on my arm to honor that feat. I went to Detroit, Lansing, Chicago, Kalamazoo, Royal Oak, Howell, Owosso, and Holland. I began treatment for the neuromuscular disorder I was born with after fighting insurance for coverage for a year. I made album art for seven different records. I released five zines, a compilation album on my friend’s label, and my own hot sauce. I got to cover Bled Fest and Three Stacks Festival. I went to over 70 shows. I sang backup vocals live for my friend Maggie May a handful of times, once of which was on the radio. I got to sing for The Penske File for the first time as “the unofficial fourth member.” I began writing my own songs for a project with my friend Ian. I gave a fifteen minute speech about social issues to a packed room. I threw my second annual music festival, participated in Grand Rapids Zine Fest, and helped raise hundreds of dollars for various non-profits. I loved hard, failed gracefully, and fought for what I believe in. All the while I did some of my best ever writing here at Bad Copy. Let me be very clear, I am so fortunate to be able to do all the cool things I do and will never take any of it for granted. Thank you. Cripple-punx to the front. Respect preferred pronouns and personal space. Make stuff with your buds. Send it! Cheers.
(After the #1s, nothing is in a real order. It’s too hard to rank people and things I love this much. If you’re reading this, tell me your favorite stuff, please please please!)
Top 5 (non-festival) shows I attended:
When looking back through my show logs, I was shocked to see that this bar/venue was still called Kuzzins at that point (now rightfully rebranded as 741 with a complete staff overhaul). This has been the longest year ever. Anyway, Cloud Rat is my favorite band under the heavy music umbrella. I’d seen them before, but never this close and personal. Seeing them while actually fearing for my life as Matt and Kim did their best to prevent a churning sea of people from taking me into the undertow was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes of my lifetime.
I’d written a raving review for the new Turnspit record a few months prior and in turn, they asked me to book/host their tour kick off show in Grand Rapids. My heart about burst, and I was determined to throw the best show I possibly could for them. If you can believe it, there were no less than 8(!!!) other shows that night in the city. Trying to find an open venue was hell, but I finally landed on little known DIY spot The Fuse Box, a neat multi-purpose space. And then on the hottest day of the year, the air conditioning broke. We all agreed it was by far the hottest show we’d ever been to. It was gross, but unforgettable. The room was full and overflowed onto the deck, the band was paid well and had a place to sleep. Also I did my first ever public speaking engagement about social issues to open the show. Also also, the cops came right as we were loading equipment back into the van. Great timing! My hard work paid off. It’s easily the event I’m most proud of having my name attached to. RIP Fuse Box…this ended up being the last event there by owner’s decision.
Some of my friends really liked Japanese Breakfast and I ended up winning two tickets to this show, so I got ridiculously obsessed with their music. I decided to bring my friend Lindsey since she had recently surprised me with a ticket to L7. Anyway, about 5 minutes before I got picked up to go to the show, I got a call from my doctor saying that I was finally approved for Spinraza, the treatment for my neuromuscular disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I wept on the ride there and then got wine drunk with Lindsey in celebration. Singing along to JBrekkie’s cover of “Dreams” by The Cranberries was a moment of perfect warm bliss that I’ll never forget.
I wrote a whole review/story about this show. Go read that, pretty please! Spoiler: it ends with me somehow being backstage for Against Me!’s encore. Best. Night. Ever.
Pity Party is my favorite band. Sarah from Pity Party is a dear friend of mine. They live 2,000 miles away so it’s not often enough we see each other. This day was the first real snow storm of the Michigan winter. But nothing would stop Bek and I from getting to this gig. The 45-minute drive took us over an hour, but we made it safely. Hugs were aplenty and “WE ARE GREATER THAN THE SUM OF OUR SEPARATE PARTS” was sung together with tears welling in our eyes. I wouldn’t trade that night for anything.
Top 15 LPs that connected with me the most:
4. Camp Cope – How To Socialize And Make Friends (Run For Cover Records)
10. Rent Strike – IX (self-released)
13. McWeakerton – Lungfishopolis (self-released)
Top 3 compilations:
1. Cloud Rat – Clipped Beaks & Silk Panic (self-released)
3. A Hella Skitchin’ Compilation – Vol. 2 (Put Out Your Own Records)
Top 5 EPs that connected with me the most:
1. Shoebox – Coasting (self-released)
2. Pity Party – Are You Happy Yet? (La Escalera Records)
Top 5 songs I had to listen to twice in a row every dang time:
1. Pity Party – “Grindmother” (La Escalera Records)
2. Distants – “Meanwhile” (Salinas Records)
3. Ugly Flannel – “I Want To Leave The House” (self-released)
5. Typesetter – “Viva” (6131 Records)
Top 5 new (to me) artists:
3. Devious Ones
4. Kali Masi
5. Ugly Flannel
Top 3 artists I’m anticipating new music from in 2019:
2. The Lippies
3. Grey Matter
Top 5 movies:
1. Hereditary – dir. Ari Aster
2. A Quiet Place – dir. John Krasinski
3. Uncle Drew – dir. Charles Stone III
4. Black Panther – dir. Ryan Coogler
5. Equalizer 2 – dir. Antoine Fuqua
Top 3 zines:
1. The Zine Is Over – PUP w/ Amanda Fotes & Marie Enger
2. Brain Garbage Vol. 2 – anthology by Miles Honey & Jack Van Tuyle
3. Haddonfield, Illinois – Freddy Torres