This is my friend Mat's face:
This is my friend Mat's heart...I will carry it with me always:
A lot of people would find me and my friend Mat intimidating because we are different. Mat wears eyeliner, has his nose and ears pierced and generally wears girls jeans and jackets. He writes and plays rock music. He usually smells a bit..ummmm...unbathed? He takes amazing pictures and he also blogs (check out Racoon Society on my Blog Roll). I'm looking forward to the day that my friend Mat actually writes a novel and then his memoirs. Mat is also tattooed like me. His tat is one word..."Courage". He has a lot but he doesn't realize it most of the time. My friend Mat has the most interesting collection of close friends....John Hughes Sr & Jr, Jared Leto, Billy Corrigan, Heaven Malone, Mili, Steven Smith and Bam Margera. He has a library of books and movies that is phenomenal and the things he can rattle off from said books and films will make your head spin.
My friend Mat is intelligent, articulate, prolific, cultured, educated, wise behind his years, creative, funny, a pain in the ass, and has a heart bigger than the planet. He writes his best songs in the dead of winter in the middle of the night on the Navy Pier in Chicago, the city he calls home. I know he's originally from here in Connecticut and that a piece of his heart will always live in New York City. He believes in ghosts. He loves ooooold buildings inside and out. He is incredibly respectful. He is spiritual. He's a little boy and he giggles. He also cries and screams and wears his heart on his sleeve.
My friend Mat preaches tolerance. I'd like to share some excerpts from a recent Q&A blog he posted when posed with a girl's question about her mom thinking rock music was satanic:
"You know the saying “Guns don’t kill people, guys with mustaches do.“ ? That’s how I feel about religion. Undersexed, miserable people like your mom ruin it. Religion itself is not inherently crazy. We’d all love answers to the unanswerable. I get it. Here we are, floating in space. It’s a terrifying mystery where we go from here. Everyone deserves the inalienable right to believe anything he/she wants. Faith is a good thing. -just don’t confuse it with fact. No one KNOWS what happens when we die, and anyone who claims to know is, at best, unhinged, at worst, very dangerous."
He goes on to give a really great list of arguments to support intelligent thought over brainwashed ignorance:
"As a backup, I’m always a fan of open, adult conversation. A difference of opinion and can lead to a healthy, non-argumentative debate. Such a convo would force her to defend her position.. and in doing so, expose the flaws in her logic. She’s likely the product of a country and generation that emphasized loyalty to your religious heritage over independent rational thought and self-expression. Be sensitive to that. Depending on her age, rewiring might be too painful to bear. You reach a point where the values you’ve established throughout your life are like a warm blanket.. even if they are wrong. Hopefully she isn’t brainwashed beyond repair.
I even took the time to write you some Cliff's Notes for that convo:
1. Economics: What’s a band’s financial incentive to influence their fans to do bad things? If the power of suggestion in music is so overwhelming, wouldn’t it make more sense for a band to suggest that fans buy more albums? If I wrote a song called “Buy 20 Copies of Our Album Every Day,” would it work? Discuss.
2. Many of today’s largest religions have a great deal of gravity, not necessarily because of the validity of their claims, but because of a momentum gathered over thousands of years of history. Many religions predate the human invention of Satan: Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Chinese Shamanism, Aboriginal Animism, etc… Are all religions equally legitimate and equally ridiculous? What makes one religion superior to another?
3. Ancient Mayans believed in an Underworld, and that human sacrifice could appease the gods and end a drought. Is that any more insane than what you believe? Discuss.
4. Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), was the founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Is he a villain or hero? Discuss.
5. Some people may claim that it is arrogant and narcissistic for one to believe that an all-powerful deity, who created the universe and bends time and space, could possibly have an interest in what CD your daughter listens to. How would you respond?
6. If indeed rock music is Satanic, then what else is?
Is Sex? Is beauty? Is Food? Is all pleasure? Where is the line, and who is authorized to draw it? Discuss.
7. What do Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Wagner, The Doors and Kieth Richards all have in common? All were considered “Satanic” at one time in history. Clearly the definition of Good and Evil in established religions has evolved over the past 2000 years. Might it continue to evolve further? Discuss.
8. In the SciFi novel, 1984, George Orwell paints a vision of a Totalitarian society in the future wherein all behavior and thoughts are censored and monitored by Big Brother. All individuality is condemned, punished, and ultimately erased. Does this sound familiar to you? Discuss.
9. If Satan is truly responsible for bad metal, why would he choose to spend so much of the mid 1990’s in Southern Florida?
10. Do you believe in personal responsibility? Why or why not?
11. If rock music is a cause of violence and immoral behavior, might we expect serial killers across the nation to have similar CD collections?
Listen, I know how much effort, talent, time and money my favorite bands and contemporaries put into their songs. I know how much thought and care go into creating albums with a deep purpose and positive message… albums that heal.. albums that give hope."
This is my friend Mat. We see eye to eye on a lot of things. I had the honor of giving him hugs when he's been way way down. I've received hugs when I've made him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. For as many times when my "mom side" has wanted to smack him for being stupid, my "friend side" just wants to sit down over coffee with him. Today my heart breaks for my friend Mat because he may have finally hit the last straw as far as his music career is concerned. He and his band brothers have lost everything to stupid, ignorant, selfish thieves. It wasn't the monetary value of the things that will devistate these guys but the sentimental value.
My friend Mat loves his guitar. He's written and recorded a lot of songs with it. Its been his companion for many years. I've seen the tiny scratches, notes taped to the back, the wearing on the fretboard. Now his beloved Gibson is in the hands of someone who could give a shit. Someone who has no idea how well loved that instrument is and how the music that comes out of it makes people feel. So I dedicate this blog to my friend Mat. I hope you get to meet him some day. I hope he finds his guitar. I hope he and that guitar will fill your heart the way they have been filling mine for the past three years. And if you meet my friend Mat, don't be scared. It's just some added jewelry and lines drawn on his face. His clothes are worn and need to be laundered, his hair is a disaster but under all that? He's like you. Just somebody who needs a little love. Somebody who can usually use some food, a clean pair of socks and a hug. I love you Mat. Mom