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Music Review: Mastodon – Crack the Skye

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God, did me and Terry love that van. When we weren't in school or sleeping, it was all about the van. Decked out just like in the magazines — shag carpet, bean bag chairs, a mattress (Yes, we were optimistic), and a very loud Kraco AM/FM stereo with 8-track.

And boy, did that stereo get a daily workout: Bad Company, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent. You know, the usual suspects. I would like to report that our cruising machine got us involved with girls and all manner of hormonal hijinx, but that was never the case. We were too geeky and shy for that kind of thing. Despite what you've seen in the movies, the geek-loving, glasses-wearing bookish girls never materialized.

It's just as well anyway. Even if we'd managed to get some poor opposite sex-types curious, they would have been turned off by our musical obsessions…and maybe our literary ones too. See, there came a point one summer when me and Terry had read, in order, Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, The Lord of the Rings, and then Dune. Somehow, this blend of science fiction and fantasy bled over into our box of 8-tracks — which began to be populated with tapes by Blue Oyster Cult, Iron Maiden, Uriah Heep, UFO, and Molly Hatchet. While some of those albums hang onto the theme only by virtue of the cover art (Flirtin' With Disaster in particular), we felt that the collection had attained a nice futuristic thread. Girls, apparently, didn't dig it. Or us. Or something.

A few weeks ago, I was digging through a box of old 'stuff,' getting ready for an upcoming family reunion (that embarrassing photo of me and my cousin Susie just had to be in there!). I had this new Mastodon record on, thinking just how much me & Terry would have enjoyed it way back when — scary cover art, super-muscular riffs, vicious drumming, skittery guitar solos — all of this in support of songs about traveling through space, wormholes, and other cool things. The music itself is pretty brutal, sort of like our favorite bands on steroids or maybe too much Red Bull.

So…I never did find that photo of my cousin, but I did stumble onto an old Polaroid of Terry's van — the paint job was candy flake deep maroon with the artwork from Kansas' Point Of Know Return on one side. I'd forgotten about that. It made me wonder where Terry is right now. You think he got married? You think he has any Mastodon records?

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About Mark Saleski

  • Jordan Richardson

    the geek-loving, glasses-wearing bookish girls never materialized.

    That was always the way of things, wasn’t it?

  • you know it!