Papa M – Arundel (20 plays)
A couple of years ago, I was 20 years old. This was a really weird time in my life. I didn’t have a car or a cellphone or my own computer. Every weekend, I would get on my bicycle and ride about 4 hours up to Napa to play music on a ranch with my band. I was taking classes in community college, but I wasn’t highly motivated. I was having all sorts of issues with my dad and ended up living out of this girl’s house for a week, which was really awkward because I thought she wanted to be “more than just friends” and I was clearly in no place emotionally or psychologically to do that.
Anyways, during that year, I saw that one of my favorite artists Papa M (aka David Pajo, formerly the guitarist in Slint) would finally be playing in California. Pajo is from the midwest, so the prospect of getting to see him play live was a very rare occurrence. Even better, Papa M would be playing at Cafe Du Nord, a smaller venue in San Francisco. To top it all off, the show would be Pajo and some bandmates performing my favorite Papa M album, Live From A Shark Cage, in its entirety.
Then I saw that the show would be 21+.
I freaked out for a few minutes and then emailed Pajo and asked him if there was any way that I could get into the show. He told me it wasn’t a problem and that I should show up early for the soundcheck and he’d get me in. Needless to say, I was floored. Here I am, this stupid 20 year old kid who doesn’t have his shit together, and one of my favorite artists personally responds to my email asking for a favor and he wants to have me show up early for soundcheck? Fuck yes! The show that I ended up going to a few weeks later was one of the strangest that I’ve ever been to. Despite his pedigree as one of the saints of post-rock (aside from his role in Slint, Pajo was also in Zwan alongside douchebag extraordinaire Billy Corgan. Pajo’s songs have also been covered by Mogwai; my point is that he is well-known and well-respected), there were about fifteen people in attendance. Even though our numbers were few, it was pretty damn obvious that those of us there were huge Papa M fans. When the lights went down and Pajo started playing “Arundel,” this overweight, kind of sweaty older guy standing next to me let out a big sigh, said “oh man,” and started crying. That’s usually how I feel when I listen to this record too.