Hello! Here we go again... my 2nd story for the archive. I never thought I would write something else, but... well... sometimes, when I get stuck (which I am, horribly and completely, with "Common People"), I leave a story alone for a while and work on something else... which is what I'm doing now. I dunno... I just had a bunch of ideas for another story and... so... here we are. Yay... or something.
Ok, a quick word about the story in general and then this particular chapter. Those of you who read "Common People" might notice a couple of similarities between this and that... but, for the wide majority of things, the two stories will be pretty different. Only a few character names that I liked before transfer over. The protagonist of this new story, Evan Matthews, is a bit difficult to like and/or relate to at some points... just bear with me on this, however... there is a reason for EVERYTHING (how ominous did that sound?).
This chapter: this chapter is really a prelude to everything else that's gonna happen in the story. There's no plot to speak of AT ALL in this, just background info on the main character. He's too complicated to try and do it within the actual story, so I came up with this... a fake magazine article. Pretty cool, huh? You can skip this and wait for the arrival of the "real" first chapter, but reading this, I promise you, will make understanding everything else much easier. It's pretty short, and hopefully it'll whet your appetite for more.
Alright... almost done, I promise (my intro is gonna end up being longer than the actual chapter... sheesh)... the next chapter will be out very soon... I promise. Special thank you's go out to: Jeff (SLJ), Ryan, RCJ, Matt, DLS, Adam, Rebecca... and everyone else who I'm prolly forgetting.
Disclaimers are fun! If you're under 18, you're not allowed to know that homosexuality exists, so don't read this.
I don't know NSYNC, I don't know if any of `em are gay, and quite frankly, I don't care. This story is a complete and utter work of FICTION... sorry to all of you who came to this site on some sort of bizarre fact-finding mission.
"now nothing left is out of hand
a stronger jaded man stands
if the world is ending
then we toast to it"
-the get up kids
and now... the prelude to "Yellow"...
Searching for Broken: the Disappearance of a Band in the Spotlight
By Rebecca Tilsen
As I walked around the quiet college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I began to find a general uneasiness creep over me. A question kept running through my head: "Will he show up?" I guess, before I get any further, a bit of an explanation is in order. I might as well start at the beginning.
Five years ago, the members of Broken burst onto the rock scene, bringing with them a slew of angst-filled hits off of their debut album. In an interesting break from tradition, critics agreed with fans, declaring Broken as the new "IT" band.
The members of Broken, Evan Matthews, Aaron Skiba, and James Andriano, then each only 17, emerged as voices of a new generation. Matthews, the lead singer and songwriter of the band, drew much attention, in particular, for his lyrics about depression and alienation, his striking looks, and his lack of secrecy about a then-taboo subject: his homosexuality.
Broken spent much of 1995 and 1996 on the road, touring relentlessly, and earning themselves the reputation as "road warriors." In 1997, they dropped their second album, "Nose Over Tail," to unanimous critical praise and an eager fan base, who snatched up copies of the recording to the tune of five times platinum. Again, Broken spent all of 1997 and the beginning of 1998 on the road.
In March of '98, Broken played a hometown show in Chapel Hill, the last scheduled date of a long tour that took them across this country three times. Matthews left the stage thanking the crowd for its support and promising to "see you guys again soon." They've never played another note in public.
In fact, they haven't made another public appearance since then. They haven't released another recording. And they've had no contact with either the press or their fans about when any of those events might occur. Until now.
I've tried to interview Evan Matthews on three other occasions. Now 22, he's kept busy producing CD's for other notable bands and tutoring young children in the world of musical instruments. On each of the three aforementioned occasions, Matthews agreed to meet me at a specified time and place in Chapel Hill. He did not show up for any of the meetings.
So it was with a great deal of apprehension that I sat down at a café on Franklin Street, the town's main drag. I glanced at my watch nervously on repeated instances, wondering if this time, Matthews would indeed appear. And, approximately 4 minutes and 39 seconds after our agreed upon meeting time, I glanced up at the door to see an attractive, if somewhat tired, young man walk into the restaurant and sit down across from me. He apologized for being late, saying that he encountered an accident on the road on his way over. He made no mention of the three times he stood me up.
In my conversation with Matthews, which took place over the course of 3 hours as we ate lunch, wandered through the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, and finally concluded under an oak tree in a park, I discovered an intelligent, jaded, sensitive, complicated young man, one whom the rock world is in dire need of re-attaining.
What follows is an abbreviated transcript of our conversation, what I feel to be the most relevant of our many discussions.
T(ilsen): I guess the question that's most on everyone's mind is quite simple: where have you guys been?
M(atthews): (laughs) That's what everyone wants to know, huh? Well, there's an easy answer. We've been right here.
T: You know that's not what I meant.
M: I know, I know. I guess what you really meant was: `why haven't we put out a new CD, played any concerts...' stuff like that, right?
M: Honestly? We were tired of it all. I mean, I can't speak for Aaron or James... but I know that I was burnt out. Have you ever had a time in your life when the thing that you love most in the world to do... the thing that gives you the most pleasure... is all of a sudden the last thing you even wanna think about? It's not a pleasant experience. We spent over three years on the road, basically. And it just wore on all of us. Aaron and James are my two best friends in the world... but by the time that 1998 rolled around, I could barely look at them. So we decided to stop.
T: Was the decision final? Will you guys ever get back together?
M: I'm inclined to say yes, we'll get back together, but, again, I can't speak for Aaron and James. We never wanted to put a time limit on our break... whenever it feels right is when we'll do it.
T: Have you been writing songs?
M: I'm basically always writing songs. Some fit into the Broken `mold,' some don't. Writing songs has always been cathartic to me. That isn't gonna change just because I'm no longer performing.
T: A lot of people have stated lately that they think that rock needs Broken. What do you think about comments like that?
M: Well, if it's true, then rock needs Broken a lot more than Broken needs rock.
T: What does that mean?
M: It means that we honestly don't give a damn. People take bands for granted... they always assume that they'll be there, putting out new CD's, touring. But it doesn't always happen. I'm not just some mechanical wind-up toy who puts out music and plays shows. I'm a person first, a musician second. And that's just the way it is. So what my statement meant was this: I don't need to be playing in Broken in order to die a happy man. If it happens again, great. If not, I won't go to my grave cursing at old regrets.
T: But kids identified with you guys, related to your music...
M: Yeah... well... that wasn't up to me, and I never asked for it. I never wrote stuff for anyone but myself. The lyrics I write are intensely personal... and if other people relate to it, that's great. It's a nice side effect. But it's never been my main intent, you know? I never asked to be looked up to, respected... hell, I'm probably the last person in the world who should be looked up to. I'm just a person. A person with feelings. And a person who sometimes writes about those feelings. That's it. Look... it's not like I'm saying I don't appreciate it, or I don't like it or anything... it's just that I never asked for it. And it would be completely unreasonable to ask ME to cater to the whims of something I never wanted. I write music for me. If people like it, great. If not, no skin off my back.
T: It takes a lot of effort for a band to just up and disappear, doesn't it? Was the transition hard?
M: (laughs) What kind of `effort' does it take? You just don't do anything. A band disappearing, as you put it, is probably the one thing on earth that takes absolutely NO effort. You just don't record, you don't play live, nothing. And as for your other question, no, the transition really wasn't hard. When the tour in '98 ended, I was dead tired, and I didn't even wanna look at my guitar. By the time that I got over that, I was kinda used to not playing anymore.
T: What do you think of today's `rock scene?'
M: I don't really care much for it, or at least the stuff that MTV or the radio plays. It seems that today, more than ever, the good stuff is the stuff that you have to search for, dig for. Limp Bizkit? Kid Rock? Three Doors Down? Matchbox 20? Blink 182? They're all interchangeable, and none of them will ever make a damn bit of difference in the larger scheme of things.
T: Who ARE you listening to?
M: Ummm... (smiles) it's hard for me to do this without my CD's in front of me, cause I'm gonna leave someone out. Let's see... the Alkaline Trio, Juliana Theory, Radiohead, REM, Foo Fighters, NOFX, Smashing Pumpkins, Ben Folds Five, Fountains of Wayne... stuff like that.
T: What's your opinion of Napster?
M: Honestly, I'm all for it. I've had so many people tell me that they've found so many bands over it... how many times have you been told to check out a band... but you didn't want to spend fourteen bucks on a CD? So instead, you download a song or two onto your computer, check them out... and if ya like `em, there ya go.
T: You don't think it discourages people from buying CD's?
M: Bullshit. Period.
T: What's your opinion of the music scene in general? How do you feel seeing NSYNC and Britney Spears amongst the most popular musical acts in the country?
M: You know, people always expect me to say that I think it's disgusting, that it's a travesty to music history or something. I honestly couldn't care less. Would I ever buy an NSYNC CD? Probably not. Do I think some of their stuff is catchy? Hell yeah. Do I care if people like to listen to them? Not in the least. The thing about music is this: it's supposed to make you feel a certain way. But the great thing is that you get to CHOOSE which way it makes you feel. If it makes a kid happy to listen to Britney or NSYNC or WHOMEVER... well, what the hell is wrong with that?
T: But do you think it's good for music?
M: How the hell am I supposed to know? No one person can say what's `good for music.' Not me, not other musicians, not the critics, not the fans. Music just is. That's all there is to it. It exists. It EXISTS. People always come up to me and ask me stuff like that, like I'm supposed to know, like I'm supposed to have an answer. Well, I don't! I'm not some sort of music GOD. The one downside to not being in the public eye is that people have taken that as some sort of great statement from me about SOMETHING. Well it isn't. I just wanted to be left alone for a little while, and I really don't think that that's too much to ask for. As for music... instead of questioning it or complaining about it or whatever, people should be down on their fucking knees, thanking God that we have it.
T: Tell me about your homosexuality.
M: (laughs) What about it? Hasn't changed, last time I looked.
T: No... I mean, in the time since you came out...
M: Ok... first of all, I never `came out.' I never kept it a secret from anyone in the first place. If someone asked, I answered them honestly... from the very beginning.
M: Because I never felt that it was anything that I needed to keep as a secret. If I would have done that, I would have felt like I was ashamed of it or something, which I'm not. It's just part of who I am.
T: Do you think it's easier to be openly gay now though?
M: Yeah, probably, although I never really ran into any kind of problem. But, in general, the world seems to be a bit more tolerant and understanding than it was a few years ago. It's a trend that I hope continues.
T: What's your opinion of Eminem's `gay-bashing' lyrics?
M: Well, free speech and all that... he has a right to say whatever he wants to say. I can't stop that, you can't stop that, no one can. It might not be the most morally responsible thing for him to say, but who's to say what morally responsible is? Does it inspire a legion of kids to hate gays? Maybe. I don't know.
T: What else do you wanna do with your life?
M: And if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? (laughs) I dunno... that's kind of a broad question. I guess... have fun. Learn. Fall in love. Make someone smile. Be loved. Make new friends. Lose old enemies. God... now I'm sounding like Confucius or something. I guess... what I really want to do with my life is... be happy. It sounds simple enough, but it's one of the hardest things in the world to figure out.
T: What would make you happy?
M: Damned if I know. When I do find out, I'll be sure to call you to let you know. (smiles)
T: And finally... what's the last thing you want to say... to me, to your fans... to whomever?
M: (laughs) I don't know! That's a lot of pressure to put on me... I dunno... pretend I said something clever and witty.
Well... so that's that. As I said before, the next chapter will be out VERY soon... and yes, that one will get the plot started. It's just that I kinda jump right into things in the next chapter, and you guys needed an idea of who Evan is... so yeah. Enough babbling. If, for some reason, you wanna get in touch with me about this, email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm not promising a response or anything (I've failed to follow through on that particular promise way too many times in the past), but you can try if you want. So until next time, my friends... don't let the man get you down!