We were driving toward Hollywood to catch Shwayze at the Roxy. Atmosphere was playing in the background, and my son was grumbling about Denver, futilely trying to sell me on the virtues of living in L.A., the sunshine, the palm trees — second-verse-same-as-the-first. I was trying just as futilely to dissuade him from the notion of moving to El Lame when he graduates in just two short years. The whole point of this trip was to show him what a sun-bleached turdsicle Los Angeles really is in hopes that he'll stay in Denver.
As I was building up to my best argument — it's not what we have here as much as what we don't that makes Denver better — Slug chimed in with a few words: "I wanted to make a song about where I'm from/You know? Big up my home town, my territory, my state/But I couldn't figure out much to brag about.../And it hit me, Minnesota is dope/If only simply for not what we have but what we don't."
I'd heard "Shhh" at least half a dozen times, but the words had never really resonated before. It was almost like Slug had been listening to our conversation and was now speaking directly to Lowercase D: "Follow the dream doesn't mean leave the love/Roam if you must, but come home when you've seen enough/I love New York and Cali, but I ain't movin'/Too overpopulated, saturated with humans."
At that, the boy shot me a look like, Nice touch, Dad. Did you plan this? "This is for everyone around the planet/That wishes they were from somewhere other than where they standin'," Slug continued. "Don't take it for granted, instead take a look around/Quit complaining and build something on that ground/Plant something on that ground, dance and sleep on that ground/Get on your hands and knees and watch the ants walk around that ground/Make a family, make magic, make a mess/Take the stress, feel your motivation and build your nest."
As profound as that moment was for the two of us, it didn't change anything. Little D still plans to head for the coast before the ink is dry on his diploma. He wants to be an actor, a model, a professional skater or a musician — all fields with low supply and high demand, right? But a lot can happen in two years, and during that time, I'm hoping he'll begin to see this place like I do. Hell, being away from the people and things I love for a week reminded me how much I love this town, made me realize just how blessed I am not just to live in Denver, but to tell its story. Our story.
There are so many more reasons why life's better here. For example, we have five radio shows dedicated to local music — seven, if you include Carmen Allgood's Colorado Wave and Chris K's Colorado Sound on KRFC. We've got the Local Shakedown on Radio 1190 (which is now posting its shows and playlists online); KTCL's Locals Only, now in the middle of its annual "Hometown for the Holidays" promotion, when it adds songs by ten local artists to regular rotation for a number of weeks; 99.5 the Mountain's Homegrown show, hosted by Jake Schroeder; and KBPI's Metalix, which, along with the "Local Band Hang" segment during Uncle Nasty's drive-time show, is all about giving the locals love. And then there's mine.
Named after the Denver-centric show that Matt LaBarge, Ben Desoto and Dan Rutherford threw at South by Southwest a few years ago, Mile High Fidelity airs every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. on 101.5 FM. I launched the show the week I got back to town with my co-host, Andy Thomas from Only Thunder. The plan is to play new, old and unreleased songs, in addition to hosting roundtable discussions and interviewing guests. Last week, the members of Everything Absent or Distorted (a love story) stopped by in advance of their CD-release show, and this week, we'll be talking to the guys from Yerkish and playing cuts from their brand-new album.
Ah, there really is no place like home.