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Entry date: 5-26-2024 – Turned In – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

This poem would not stay silent.

It turned me into a flame.

It grew wings and flew.

It dove in.

 

Turned in and on.

Attuned to a frequency bigger than me.

This poem found life

In the darkness.

 

This poem.

 

*****

 

Sometimes the words come out like a geyser.

You never know when it will blow.

You know?

 

The waiting in between blasts

Is harder than you might imagine.

There’s no forcing a geyser

Unless you are deep within the earth.

 

Digging that deep is scary.

What you find is yours to keep

And giving it away is dangerous

For all involved.

 

Best to let the geyser do its thing.

Best to let the ringing in your ears

Make pronounced announcements

Of what lies within.

 

Ready to begin.

 

***** 

 

Yesterday progress was made, and I also enjoyed a lovely afternoon with family and friends. I am a lucky guy.

 

*****

 

In retrospect, this one is heartbreaking.

 

I was a fan of Seven Storey Mountain from the first time I ever saw them. Something about the way the late Lance Lammers attacked a song was so intriguing and awe inspiring for me. It’s strange to praise him after the horrible crime he committed, but when I met him, he just seemed like a super intense guy who wrote incredible songs and found the world to be a place that needed to be taken apart.

 

Lance and I had some great conversations over the years, too. We danced around the idea of someday doing some sort of collaboration, but it never came to fruition. I guess I didn’t know him very well at all.

 

What I do know is that Leper Ethics has been a favorite record of mine since I got a copy in 1997 when it came out. We put together a big show at Hollywood Alley that we were going to record for a compilation of local (and a couple of national bands). My Hillbilly bandmate, Trent, was starting a recording studio and it was a way for him to do some cool work and for us to show what was happening in Phoenix. Seven Storey Mountain was part of the two-night show.

 

The first three songs off Leper Ethics are fucking great. The whole record is quite good, but “Last Time” flows right into “Tarnish” and then “If I.” It’s an emotional trilogy of sorts that seems to touch on similar themes throughout, including a little lyrical trick by Lammers to make you think the songs might be out of order.

 

In “Tarnish,” Lammers continually uses “If I” in the early part of the song, so when you are listening to it, you think, “is this already track three?” Aside from this, though, is the fact that the urgency in three first three songs is palpable. You can feel Lammers pouring his soul into these songs and the band, which included Jesse Everhart and Thomas Lanser is right there with him, fueling the fire and bringing the good shit.

 

From a riff standpoint, Leper Ethics is a huge, swirling maelstrom of great stuff. It’s sad that lesser bands have taken the term “Emo” and taken a big dump on it. Sever Storey Mountain, at least for me, was a great Emo band. They had a very East Coast, Washington, D.C., kind of vibe, but they still represented Phoenix and I was so proud of them.

 

They were one of those bands that I watched and thought, “Why can’t I do something like that?” It’s the whole ‘grass is greener’ thing, sure, but they inspired me to reach of a higher height. As much as listening to this record reminds me of bad juju on one level, I still can’t help but marvel at how good it is. Kudos to Everheart and Lanser for slogging it out for a good handful of years.

 

It couldn’t have been easy to be Lammers’ bandmate.

 

“Downtime” is another track that I really like. It’s more subdued than the opening three but has a great build up towards the end that reminds you of the power simmering underneath the surface. These guys were truly a sight and sound to behold live.

 

As Leper Ethics cycles through the twelve tracks, there really isn’t a let up of quality but the intensity shifts from song to song. “Loss of Hours” is a song I always remember because of one short line, “Look at the little genius/He’s not moving and he’s stone cold.” It takes on a whole new meaning now.

 

Not that Lance was little but there was some genius in there when it comes to creating great, emotional, post-(I don’t know….abrasive) music. Lance was a lanky fellow who knew how to use his voice in a song, too. The vocals on Leper Ethics are fucking great.

 

Songs like “Soon Forget” and “Self Pity” are so much better because of how Lammers spat out the words like they were blistering his tongue. Again, the band is just spot on, too. Thomas Lanser’s drums were fucking great throughout Leper Ethics as was Everhart’s melodic, pounding bass.

 

 

Peace to those who were hurt by Lance Lammers. Peace to those who miss his music. Peace to his soul, as well, because clearly, he was in turmoil. Listen to Leper Ethics and tell me he wasn’t.

 

***** 

 

See you tomorrow.



Knitting lizards.

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