This week we dive head first back into Damage with “How’d You Have Me”.
Listen to Jimmy Eat World’s original recording of “How’d You Have Me” here:
Now, check out mine:
I was actually originally thinking I might slow this one down a bunch but it feels a lot better to just dig into the lyrics and get a little shouty with this one, so I ended up turning it into a pretty straight forward punk rock tune.
There isn’t even any lead guitar! So I guess it’s like the 3-piece punk version of the track, in the shakey, nasally vocal stylings of some of my favourite SoCal punk bands.
It probably shows but this one didn’t take too long to throw together.
There’s no editing and super limited mixing. Like a band’s first demo, or something.
Anyway, lyrics! Let’s get at ’em.
I love this introduction to the song. It’s a place I find myself often no matter how much I try to avoid it.
If you haven’t gathered by now, I have a bit of a tendency to over analyze things and dig a little deeper than perhaps I should, which doesn’t lend itself well all of the time. I’m not a terribly anxious person anymore, at least not like I used to be, but I still often second guess what I’m doing, why I’m doing, what I’m saying and how I’m saying it. So “saving up enough courage” is something I find myself doing often; avoiding some potential conflicts in favour of others because I know how taxing the emotional toll is on myself.
The second line here is probably why it’s such a challenge to just commit to what you feel you should be doing/saying/feeling – it often ends in either a) nothing at all or b) a repeat of a previous situation that just leaves you feeling like it’s all a waste of time and you knew better than to try, because now you’ve still put in a ton of thought and emotional energy into something that didn’t result in whatever you were hoping for.
I could take this blog breakdown through a few different rabbit hole tunnel wells but, the reason I ultimately chose to perform this one this week is because it’s been on my mind since Poland (and feel free to read my blog about catching Jimmy Eat World perform there and the post-show meeting I was fortunate to have, in case you missed it).
And here’s the best example of what this song brings up for me that I can share with you right now.
I’ve mentioned before I’d met a couple of the guys in Jimmy Eat World previously, but I’m not sure I explained why it was particularly significant to me then or why it keeps weighing on my mind now during this project.
I saw the band perform live for the first time when I was about 15 and I’d hoped way back then that I’d have met the after the show, but it didn’t come to fruition. A big bummer for younger-me.
And then I’d see them live a couple times after that, and again hope to meet them and say hey, but it just kept not happening. They were one of the few acts that I’d actually wait around outside the venue for back then but they didn’t seem to come out before I’d have to leave.
When I saw them back in 2013, it was just after my 23rd birthday and I managed to meet half of them – Tom and Jim.
I didn’t quite know what to say to Tom then, I was a little too flustered and too excited, and generally a little overwhelmed that they finally actually came outside. Not to say I knew what to say to Jim either, but, we did have a brief conversation about set lists and it was the first time I felt like I really wanted to keep this conversation going with someone. Of course, I didn’t want to be a total bother and already felt like a major dweeb for being as excited as I was about… set lists… so, I let him walk off to say hi to other fans before parking myself on the curb for a bit to wait for Zach and Rick.
Who never came out that night before I had to leave, and so began the plight again where over the course of the next couple shows, I’d hope for this opportunity.
It took until Poland for it to fully realize itself – me, now 31.
It’s difficult for me to explain why this mattered so much to me because in all honesty I’ve spent years being unsure of that myself. As much as I love music and bands and meeting people generally speaking, it’s never been a massive goal of mine or something I generally strive for. I’ve always just gotten pretty lucky to meet the artists I have and I’ve been okay with that being how it goes. But I guess there has always been some sort of invisible magnet between me and this band in particular and so it’s been more difficult a thing to shake – I can’t tell you why, only that I just felt like I had to.
And when I think about what I keep wanting to say after all these years it’s largely the same thing. It’s a hey, and it’s a thank you. So I suppose in knowing that for myself it becomes frustrating that its been so difficult to do, both to muster the courage to stick around after the show and then to try and put that thank you into a concise sentence without tripping over my own tongue.
It’s funny because when I look back on meeting Tom and Jim the first time, I remember it as being too shy to say much of anything to Tom, and then being totally comfortable and able to speak to Jim.
In Poland that changed.
It was suddenly super comfortable and easy to talk to Tom, and… I don’t know at all what was with Jim, only that he seemed off – but with me. As I mentioned in the Poland-breakdown-blog linked above, I had waiting patiently in reverse order this time; stuck around while he spent a good chunk of time chatting to some local Poles before putting myself in front of him. In my head, I’d thought this re-meeting to go a lot differently, especially after watching how great of a conversationalist he was with everyone else. I’d imaged an even more comfortable conversation with me, but it wasn’t.
I’ve circled back to this night in my head a couple times since and I often catch myself wondering again if I overspoke or something. Or maybe it was perfectly fine and I just had an unreachable expectation because I’d built up the entire trip so much in my own mind. Once again my main talking point was to show some appreciation but it felt…. challenging. He had little to say in return, and I guess I’m still just surprised by that.
It’s funny how those types of small things can hold such a large space inside of you. It’s bizarre how emotionally taxing it can be just to try to introduce yourself in person to someone, but I try to cut myself some sympathy when I remember for me, it was something that was like, quite literally, 20 years in the making, and for them it was just another night on a tour.
Now, if I’m honest what this song really brings up for me is failed relationships I’ve had on a much more personal level but, oddly enough those ones don’t seem to take up the same weight for me.
I’ve said it before but if you’re ever taking on a project like this one, one that takes quite a bit of time and energy out of your life, it’s really important to remember why you’re doing it and to believe in what your end-goal is.
One on level, covering these songs and digging into what they mean and have meant to me for so long is a fun emotional release – but other times it’s really taxing to come face to face with yourself in this way, to really address how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.
On some days those feelings weigh too heavily on me and I can’t work on them, or even just listen.
Some days it just hurts.
And you might be asking, “why work on them then at all, if it hurts? If some days it’s not really any fun?”
Because just like happiness, those feelings of hurt or sadness or grief or pain, they all pass. They’re as fleeting as any other emotion on any other day, with or without the songs.
And I have to imagine for the guys in the band, or any other artist who is driven towards a project they’ve conjured up in their own mind, that’s the same.
Those feelings don’t ever really go away and I think they re-enter our consciousness because there’s still something to learn from or take away from them.
So I’ll keep chugging along until I’ve figured out what they’re really trying to say.
A little more
There was 1 pretty specific thing that was important to me about meeting the guys that night outside the Phoenix in 2013 that I’ll add here.
It was the first time in a very long time that I was so enthralled by an experience that it pushed me into some sort of action.
I’d spent much of my teens wanting to move out of my hometown. I always felt to really pursue my passions, I’d have to leave home. I thought for some time I’d move out to California and that was my plan for years, but then I opted to stay in Ontario to go to school for music production, which led to a series of other things that kept me here, and kept me in my hometown.
When I met Tom and Jim I was all but on my way out of the music industry entirely. I’d had so many piss poor experiences and didn’t seem to be making any headway.
Again, it’s a thing I can’t really explain because it was only a feeling, but leaving the Phoenix that night I knew I was ready to get out of Vaughan and make a real-go of what I wanted.
I didn’t believe for a second I could be a successful audio engineer if I stayed in Woodbridge, I absolutely had to move downtown.
“If I live downtown, I won’t have to leave gigs so early after they end to make the trek back out of the city. I’ll have more opportunities this way, and will meet more people like these guys,” was the line of thinking.
I held on to that feeling through the fall and entire winter and then I moved out the following April – to my first basement suite in the west-end of Toronto.
It was April fools day.
I came up with this random mini visual art project a couple weeks back and finally put it into action this morning. So there’s something else coming for ya this weekend – which I guess means tomorrow! It’s an acoustic cut.
For the entire cover song playlist, be sure to check out the official Jaimee Eat World discography page.