Patterson Hood: My Page (Relix Revisited)
Drive-By Truckers opened their fall tour this past Friday, so we’ve decided to look back to April 2008 and Patterson Hood’s My Page essay.
Went out, just before closing time, to the local co-op grocery to pick up some homeopathic cough syrup for my daughter.
The clerk behind the counter had dreadlocks and a long shaggy unkempt beard. The man leaning on the other side had a neatly trimmed grey one. He favored an older Michael Stipe, had he become a college professor instead of a musician. They were debating with a young college-aged woman about beards. I noted that she didn’t have one and seemed to be opposed to what she referred to as this new trend of men growing them.
I couldn’t help but eavesdrop, partly because the co-op is so small and partly because I tend to do that since I make my living turning little anecdotes about people and the way they talk, think and interact into songs and little rambling paragraphs like these. I also have a beard and have had one, most of the time, for about a decade and a half.
The guy with the scraggly beard said that he’d had one since he hit puberty and basically hadn’t so much as trimmed it in eight years or something.
He took issue with the girl’s claim that all this new facial hair everywhere is some kind of a trend. So did the Stipe-looking gentleman, who probably spends longer a day grooming and trimming than it would take to just shave and be done with it. I didn’t catch the story of his facial hair, but I assumed that he had grown it well before it changed color.
Once someone drew a cartoon of me as a child and I had a full beard in it. I loved the cartoon, but in truth I was baby-faced without so much as a being dumped by my girlfriend. I was so grief stricken I didn’t shave or anything else for three weeks and finally my sister called me aside to tell me that some people just weren’t meant to grow beards and that I should give it up.
The girl at the co-op continued to rant, saying she had first thought it was just some southern thing and she had hoped that when she finally got to Brooklyn maybe she’d find guys that were better groomed and not so hairy, but sure enough she had just returned from there and beards were all the rage. It seemed every guy she met had one or was trying to get one and at this point one of the men (can’t remember which one) accused her of being turned off by manly men and she said, “No, I just like men who look good.”
I personally don’t necessarily know if I look good with a beard, but I think I look damned stupid without one. I finally hit puberty at around 30 and grew more or less the same beard that I have now. It’s starting to get a little salt with its pepper but it covers up a good bit of this ugly underneath it and I’m comfortable with it and never really considered whether or not it was in style, as it certainly wasn’t “in” when I grew it and if by chance it is this year, then it certainly won’t be next year. I think around that time the Stipe looking guy was saying exactly the same thing.
I interjected that I thought it might all have something to do with 9/11. All three of them looked at me. The girl seemed puzzled but the other two guys said they thought that might be a good point. I don’t really know what happened next, as I paid for my cough medicine and went home to administer it to my sweet coughing daughter.
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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