Since Back in the Day

Johnny Benitez seems to come to Amsterdam every 6 months lately. He works for Taking Back Sunday, and they must be doing ok, cause that place was full last night and you almost can’t hear the band with everyone singing along and pointing fingers in the air. Earlier in the day I went over to the Melkweg and sat with the band, then me and my boy wandered around Leidseplein playing catch-up.

It’s a truely amazing thing… the size of this world and the way lives intersect. Me and JB grew up in the same neighborhood, both of Portuguese families, his house was even designed mediterranean style, with tiled roof and gloriously white on the outside. This, of course, triggered the baptism of his house by our other friends as “Taco Bell.”

When I think back, he was the friend who helped me get adjusted to public school in suburbia, coming from the urban polish-catholic school from hell. We played soccer together and used to reak havoc on the tennis court, ignoring all the rules and hitting the ball as hard and as far as possible. If you hit the ball out of the fenced area, it was like hitting a homerun, you were a champ.

In high school we produced TV programs together, running around outside school grounds with microphones and cameras while other kids sat in boring classes. Then came the One Cool Guy days, when together with 8 other friends, we became part of one of the NJ-tri-state area’s third-wave-ska legends.

But I never expected our lives to continue to cross paths when I moved to the dam. As I sat on the tourbus watching the boys play some motorcross videogame, I kept thinking what an odd coincidence… I grew up with this guy, and to this day, our lives somehow intersect… often. Pretty cool.

Oh and Back-to-Iraq, the journalist and blog pioneer who’s been working in Iraq for the past 3 years or so, has some good insight about what took place on election day. And if you’re curious about other perspectives, Chris Missick gives you a soldier’s take.

Today’s Sounds: Taking Back Sunday – The Newer Album