Saturday, May 22, 2021

My Galaxie 500 Story

For me, Galaxie 500 will always be music for vacuuming your car.

When you're newly single again, your schedules can get a little fucked up. If no-one needs you at home at 10:30 PM on a Sunday night, there's no reason, for example, not to go to the gas station and vacuum your car out, if you've been putting it off for weeks and feel a little lonely and ineffectual as another boring weekend closes itself out.

In the early oughts, I was living on an island in the middle of Biscayne Bay, buncha condos, buncha restaurants and the one Shell Station. So I drive the 3/4 of a mile over there, and all the restaurants are closed, there's no-one around and very few cars are even driving by.

Cerveza had just given me a tape he'd made with a bunch of Galaxie 500 on it, so I popped that in, and cranked it up. Gotta hear it over the vacuum motor, right?

This was my introduction to the band, so not sure which of the three albums, or whether it was a mix, or whether "Tugboat," their masterpiece, was included on the tape, or what, but I've got it loud and it sounds pretty good to me, all the dreampop surf guitar and the melancholy keening vocals.

And then as I'm leaning down into the passenger side seat with the vacuum hose, I get the shit scared out of me. I hadn't heard him over the various roars, but some dude must have been walking by, I swear I have no recollection of what he even looked like, but he called to me from five feet away and asks, "Hey! who's that band?"

I don't know what to say, but I twist around in the driver's seat towards him and yell, "they're called Galaxie 500!" and I have no follow up at all. Again, I've barely heard of them, and this is the first time I've heard. You always want to say something like, "they're my favorite band," or "my sister knows the bass player," or "they're gonna be in town next week," or even like I should have said, "too bad they broke up," but I had nothing. No knowledge, no stories, just the somewhat inappropriate volume, and sounds issuing forth from the Pontiac's 6 x 9's, of this pretty, sad little atmospheric dreampop band. So I just stare at him silent for a ten seconds or so, reverbed guitar blowing past us under the filling station lights, at a complete loss for anything at all to say, and then he nods his head, turns around and walks away, hoodie flapping in the nighttime bay breeze.

And then I finished vacuuming my car and drove back to my apartment and went to sleep.

File under: Music for a lonely Sunday Night on an island and without a girlfriend