- Meghan Chiampa
|Should of Gone Home - Tribute Letter to the Tim Gearan Band
So, Monday night something happened that will never happen again. It
was Tim Gearan’s last Monday night show at TOAD in Cambridge. Tim has
been playing every Monday night for 15 years. In the music “business”
that is unheard of. Someone would think that people would get tired of
the same thing over and over again.
Tim Gearan is my favorite live musician. He inspired me to get into
promoting and writing about, and most importantly experiencing, live
music. Last night I was trying to tell a friend what made his music so
special and tripped over a quote that explains the Monday night at TOAD
The quote was this: “A verbal art like poetry is reflective it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become.” – W. H. Auden
What I like best about live music is that it is an immediate
experience, it is fleeting and instantaneous and also ultimately
unique, because it has never happened before. It reminds you of being
alive, and that you are alive not for a controlled, concrete amount of
time but for a long, silver trail of instances. And I’m sure you
understand that when you remember that part of being human, it kind of
gives you the chills, which also happens when you hear great music.
I do not remember the first time I went to TOAD on Monday. It was
always there for me in college. I suppose I am a “trooper” and could
stay out late and sleep 3 hours and then got to school or work. It was
also nice to know that the other people who were at the show are also
only the kind of people who would go out on a Monday night which I
think says something about a person.
The followers, or participants, I suppose, of Monday nights come
from all over the place, personality and background wise. There were
other musicians, fearless college students, artists, local Cambridge
folk, figure skaters, computer programmers, journalists, actors and me
usually. As diverse as the make-up of the audience was, Monday nights
were probably the greatest sense of community I have ever experienced.
And I must thank Tim and his band for bringing us together.
Tim’s music is one of my favorite kinds, bold and gutsy soul-driven
blues. It would make me cringe to hear him play because sometimes it
just oozes with so much feeling I would feel like I would have to sit
down and close my eyes. His voice is unique and perfected with a
weather-worn rasp. The band on Mondays were composed of a horn section,
trombone, trumpet and sax, all musicians whom I deeply, deeply admire
and thank. Two percussionists, and a bass player. Sean Staples, a
fellow UMass Boston alum played mandolin.
The other weird thing about Monday at TOAD was that a lot of the
fans were UMass Boston alums, which hints at the idea that maybe that
is how I started attending the show. They were also co-workers of mine
when I worked at the Lizard Lounge, the sister venue to TOAD. It has
always fascinated me when I see two groups of people from different
realms of my life melt interact with each other in the same room.
TOAD is a small bar. Very small with a capacity of 62, I think.
There is a long church pew lining the wall and a bar with windows and
little toads opposite it. The bartender was a guy who I really liked as
a bartender. I don’t like bartenders who don’t really think about your
alcohol intake. This guy would give me this look. I don’t know if it is
just the way his eyebrows went, but he looked like he was asking me
silently if I really needed that second shot of Jameson.
I have so many memories of those evenings. They all kind of blend.
There was this one time me and some of the band members decided to
drive to New Hampshire and play board games all night. I went swimming
in the morning, it was really pretty.
Like most people, if not all, I have an issue with large losses. It
is hard to admit to myself that it something or someone is gone. It is
abstract with this loss though. Because it is not a solid, tactile
thing, nor was it ever. It was a string of instances, which would loop
together meticulously on Monday nights, on a main street in a beautiful
city which I call home. It’s never going to happen again. But I am so
happy it did, and that I was there for it, and that I could participate
in it and see amazing human beings creating magic on cold Boston nights
and balmy summers.
Thank you, Tim and your whole amazing, amazing band. Thank you Jeff,
Anna, Nicole, Steve, Greg, Karen, Paula, Elizabeth, Dave, Jeremy,
Jamie, Jason, Allissa, Cody, and everyone else who made me be able to
stand in one particular place on Earth, point down and say, “This is my home. This is where I belong.”