So I’ll just talk about last night…
Greg Bennick, the vocalist of Trial, stopped through SLC on a spoken word tour he’s doing. Being no stranger to the hardcore community in Utah, our local Provo boys in
Despite Despair opened for him. I will be posting some of their show footage shortly after this.
The “theme” of Greg’s performance was largely based around the lyrics of a Trial song called Reflections:
"the wreckage of humanity has been strewn across the land
and now the hour of desperation is at hand
we the maggots feed off the dead
seeking solace in a bed of broken glass
we bleed infected water
beneath bright skins of polished steel
through empty, yearning, starved and frustrated hearts
which long for risk and reason
this is a standard and sterile half-life to lead
empty facades conceal slow decay
within these new dark ages which breed discontent
to give up all hope to see the dawn
reveals a victims face beneath the veneer
struggling to show that it’s been wronged
led astray by the myths of the father
with ancient wounds often ignored
fighting for scraps from the table
while slowly we rot on the floor
struggling for balance amid these unholy lies
reflecting terror and chaos
we are born into suffering
with constructs, icons, idols and eyes
which manifest and forecast our fear of our own demise
but on the eve of the apocalypse
you can burn these words into my flesh:
we are the tortured and insane disillusioned and mundane
unknown and unnamed desperate and enslaved
and we want something more”
Throughout the talk he spoke a lot about how we all want something more. I’m not going to try and regurgitate much of it. Because it’s not something you should experience 2nd hand. In fact, I was hoping to record the performance like I do with a lot of shows but Greg requested that I not for that reason. I had a feeling he might and I respect his reasons. So I will just say that if you have an opportunity to catch him on a spoken word tour, do yourself a favor and go.
One of my favorite things in the world to hear, tell and discuss are absurd stories of traveling and touring and Greg had plenty of that tied in. Which added a lot of amusement and built a lot of rapport with everyone there who hadn’t already met him. But by far for me the most significant part of Greg’s performance was at the end when he recited “Surgery Without Sutures” which, for those of you who don’t know, is a cameo he performed on local Provo/SLC Utah legends, Parallax’s album, “Mediums & Messages” in a spoken word delivery. The entire time I was imagining relevant instances in my life that relate to each line. I mean, I’ve heard the song a million times and I always felt it powerful and well done. But I never thought I would see a live reading of it. You just assume it’s a thing he does once in a studio and it’s forever sealed in that. Something about Greg actually being 8 feet in front of me and reading these words really let them sink in so much more. It really made me want to tear up a little(if only I were so bold) and gave me goose bumps. Before he read it, he kept saying “the right words, the right night, the right audience.” He told us that just a few days prior to last night he decided randomly to read it to his audience, most of which were not familiar with Parallax. And then it dawned that it was actually the 7 year anniversary of when Blake(vocalist of Parallax), Jen, Scott and Ariel tragically passed away in August of 2005. Of course this is something that is going to resonate in Utah, and it did. But Greg spoke about how even though he intended to end with it, it actually brought on more discussion. The people he was speaking to wanted more back story and they wanted to know about Parallax and their ideas. He described an audience surprisingly mostly not from the hardcore scene and even those who were, not really being familiar with Parallax. Now they were now asking about this obscure hardcore band from Provo, UT. They wanted more of these ideas. It was really the right words on the right night for the right audience:
"How many seconds left?
How many years?
How long remains until everything I’ve known,
Everything I’ve loved,
Anyone I’ve touched, disappears?
There will come a day when the world will never have known
this face, this name, this body, this brain.
Is it any surprise that sometimes I am short of breath?
That I find solace in being alone?
Where safe and protected with armor selected to deflect the world and to maintain control.
I can lay quiet and restrained.
Immobilized by a threat that won’t fade…
Self contained, self aware, self absorbed, self perservere.
Individuate to survive then isolate.
Try to stay alive at any cost.
Lost and terrified,
Ignoring the heart and killing the mind.
Unable to find real peace inside.
Tattoo this body and tear apart my brain.
Diminish the strain in any possible way.
Its safer to retract than act.
Protect and defend.
But still ignore the end…
I lie to myself vitally.
I lie to myself.
It’s all lies.
Trying to convince myself that it’s okay that almost having everything ,
Meant that I never had anything at all.
But I know my eyes reflect the truth.
Every moment counts me closer to zero and I am desperate.
Desperate to hold life in an embrace instead of at arms reach.
I am recast and adapted by all those around me.
Shifted and molded into someone and something I no longer recognize .
I feel linked yet alone.
Regret like ice piercing me.
Convulsions from imagining what could have been.
But regardless of every hand that slips away forever.
I am hoping someday to hear whispered these words in my hour of deepest pain:
'You are very much so alive - In a way most people would never let themselves be'
With every beat of this slowly dying heart.
To make the choice.
To be set free.
To be here.
To be with you.
To be afraid.
To be ignored.
To be embraced.
To be unsure.
To be erased.
To be touched.
To be shared.
To be damned.
To be scared.
To be shunned.
To be absorbed.
To be wanted.
To be unknown.
To be inescapable.
To be in awe.
To want it all.
To have it now.
To be alive.”
* I will post the MP3 of Surgery Without Sutures right after this.
After the show, most everyone lingered and talked. I spoke to Greg briefly and brought up when we first met a little over 4 years ago when he came to visit Andy Patterson while Reviver was recording Versificator with him. He said he was planning on visiting him while he’s in town and I brought up that the studio was literally around the corner from where we were and we could walk there in only a couple minutes. Andy was just wrapping up a session with a friend’s band of most of ours. A bunch of people from the show spilled over there and hung out in front of the studio for an hour or so just talking. Pretty soon it was really late and everyone had left and it was just me and Andy talking so we just called it a night.
It was a pretty good night for me.