Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mahatma Candy daze

Mahatma Candy
In some ways, the years since Mahatma Candy dissolved have passed like the brief ride home from a noontime picnic.  The memories are so fresh and sweet, the reverie so absorbing, that one is startled to find oneself pulling into the driveway, home once again.  Has it really been nearly a decade since those heady days when Dave, Lori, Dan, and I were spending every waking hour engaged in all the joyous activity of playing music, of singing?  Eight years since we shared all the laughter and friendship inherent in mutual creation?  Eight years since we were drinking ourselves silly, sharing late night mussel shooters at Montage?  Is that really possible?

I can't remember for certain how Dave Thompson and I first conceived of the idea of forming a band.  It must have had something to do with our similar hippie worldviews, and our time together on the basketball court during lunch hours at work.  Something that came about from smoking cigarettes in the parking lot, from our mutual love of un-amplified guitars and our shared admiration for Lindsey Buckingham.

We started working out a few arrangements, just the two of us.  We did a nice version of Neil Young's Comes a Time, and we pieced together a rendition of Jethro Tull's With You There to Help Me.  There were other tunes, too, but I can't remember them anymore.  And we got to feeling a bit proud of what we were doing, so we went down to the Snake and Weasel on open mic night, to play in front of people.

And we were encouraged by the response we got from the audience.  I was feeling so elated that I announced from the stage, that we were looking for a female vocalist to join us.  And Lori just happened to be in the audience that night to listen to her coworkers, who had their own band.  And so she snagged me, as we left the stage, and asked, "Are you really looking for a singer?"

And I said, "Yeah, absolutely," and we made arrangements to meet later and see how things clicked.

Dan and I were already friends at that point.  Had been for several years.  And he was also there that night at the Sneasel.  And I think he saw how much fun Dave and I were having while we played, and so he mentioned to me that, if I was willing to give him a chance, he'd try to play percussion with us.

Gig at the Sneasel
So that's how we all came together.  We didn't realize it at the time, I think, but although we were four very different people, we were all at similar stages in our lives.  Each of us single, or soon-to-be single, looking to have some fun, loving music, and (speaking honestly) eager to indulge in a bit of narcissistic preening.

All told, we were a band for nearly two years.  In that time, we wrote about two dozen songs, some more worthy of remembrance than others.  We played maybe two dozen paying gigs and innumerable parties, barbecues, and other social functions.  The highlight of our time as a band came in the spring of 2001, when we climbed aboard an Aer Lingus jet, flew to Dublin, and spent two weeks driving through Ireland and Wales, playing music all the way. 

Playing in Ireland
Our lives were completely dedicated to our mutual endeavor, and we were fast friends.  We shared everything. We lived in each other's houses; we laughed and bickered and, yes, we loved each other.

Eventually, of course, our lives began to pull apart.  When we came back from Ireland, we set about trying to record a CD of our music. But the effort proved to be too much.  Personal friction, rivalries, insecurities, and, I believe, a mutual recognition that it couldn't go on forever brought about an end to Mahatma Candy.

I can't say there wasn't any bitterness.  Even today, there are still some aspects of our dissolution and our history that are too painful or too dark to talk about.  Let's leave them there in the past.

But the Mahatma Candy daze was such a blissful, carefree era in life, that I can only remember it with fondness.  And in this, I feel safe speaking for my bandmates as well.

You can hear some of our old tunes at this website:  http://archive.org/details/iuma-mahatma_candy.

by Mahatma Candy

Baby, I can hear you knocking on my back door;
Every time your old man's gone, you know you come a-runnin' back for more;
I know you don't like me much, and I could say the same thing about you;
But if you're all alone, pick up the phone; I ain't got nothin' better to do;

The lines on your face don't look so hard,
When you're lying in my bed, moanin' in the dark;

Mister, I like your style and I like the pretty things you buy;
When we're ridin' downtown in your Mercedes Benz I see my girlfriends roll their eyes;
I know you like the looks I get when I'm hanging there on your arm;
But you ain't seen the best of it yet; there's a price to see all my charms;

You never hurt me; you treat me right;
But I just can't see coming home with you every night;

People say I'm a real fast mover and they don't like the way I play;
But I kinda like the way that I am; I don't give a f*ck what they say;

Some girls thing that I'm cold and I make a bad name for them;
At least I'm not lyin' at home alone cryin', wishing I could find the right man;

I've lived life hard, but I ain't dead yet;

And what you see is what you get;

1 comment:

Dan Binmore said...

Actually Dade, how I joined the band was we were sitting at a barbecue, with me hitting on a hand drum to people playing. You asked me if I wanted to do it in a band, and I replied that I couldn't play the drums, that I'd never done more being silly at a barbecue. You said I could do it, and I said I would think about it and then the next day I called you up and said I'd give it a try as long as you were honest with me if I was crap.

One of the better decisions of my life.