Freddy Was my First Love and Love Will be my Last
My very first love was Freddy Mercury. When 11 years old I hang a poster above my bed, calming down night after night, gazing at his gigantic teeth, dreaming away. The existence of a Palestinian gay guy with a remarkable jaw being loved by Millions of people was my little mustard seed of faith. I didn't know much about his life, or life in general, I however felt like Freddy and me were one of a kind. There was something very odd about him and at the same time, exactly this unique weirdness seemed to be the place where he got his power from. I knew thanks to him, that it was possible to be loved, no matter how weird you are. And love was really everything I was looking for back then. At this point, music was the only place, where this love could be felt. And Freddy the example. Love is accomplishable! Go on, @mayb!
The mission went on, as long as I was on music, wearing headphones all the time, life seemed reasonable. Other than music there wasn’t much. Trauma, abuse, manipulation, depression, anxiety, tears and tears, and oh, so many tears. I wanted a mother to love me or a father who could care enough to save me. All I got was sound, my heart and the dreams in my right brain. After school I would grab my bike, visit my favorite tree at the Ruhr, a German river that knows about my secrets and tasted my tears. Day to day, sitting on a branch over the never-ending stream, writing and listening to music as long as the batteries would allow.
Thanks, Norbert Janz (Picture)
This tree was my only friend. I couldn’t fit in at school or anywhere. I was a weirdo in my grandfather’s coats to my grandmother’s shoes, pink dreadlocks, accompanied by a little rat at times. The more people neglected me for being myself, the more I found my passion in it and definitely lost myself in a wild potpourri of clichés. Everything wearing the label “anti this society” seemed about right. I found an abandoned factory for house floors with a presenting hall for the different types of wooden floors they once had offered. There I was riding my skateboard, hovering almost, all by myself, spraying the walls with my graffiti’s, wearing headphones of course.
I was quite stubborn when it came to music. Punk, Rap, New York Hardcore and repeat. My sadness turned into rage, I found Riot Grrrl and finally comfort in this idea that I had never been wrong, just different. On the horizon I could even see the possibility that I was right all along. System wrong, mayb right.
Even though everyone on the outside seemed to be reflecting else. Screw them! As long as I was still spotting trees like my willow weep or places like this hall, riding the glossy polish floor boards, painting the walls, I didn’t need anything else. I was still looking for love. But I finally understood that if anything I wanted to be loved for the person I was. For my ideas, my beliefs, my understandings and interpretations of what people call reality.
This understanding widened my view. I found harmony which influenced my taste in music also. It started being ok to listen to something that was not expressing anger and I finally found some friends. Friends that felt the same about society but had different songs to express their craving. Of course, that’s where I found my friends:
We can be happy UNDERGROUND. And this underground wasn’t all black as I had seen it thus far. Bright shining colors, smart and sexy people, enjoying themselves, even pop music seemed to be something I could let pass my ears. My friends were different. Rap was ok for them, singer/songwriter like Ben Folds also, they however loved reggae and electronic music, both of which I didn’t comprehend. Mostly reggae. To me it was only …
Seven Eights – Oompah
… ridiculous. Until my friends dragged me to a summer jam. Everyone was enjoying themselves but me. Gladly there were so many spliffs being passed around that I stoned in. I was surrounded by chilled people sharing exciting stories, using terms like 'vibes' and 'resonance'. This underground world got even bigger. I got so stunned, so stoned until I found myself dancing to seven eights, Oompah, passing joints without ever rolling one myself, being smiled at by strangers in bright colors. And finally I got it. It wasn't about the Oompah, it was about tuning into a frequency, what those people called 'the vibe', their frequency of sheer love, which very much 'resonated' with me.
Most of my friends were living together in a big house at the Dortmund haven. There we grew illegally, were having long & lovely dinners, had party nights and chilled days. Some of them were making music themselves. And secretly I started doing the same. I was playing the guitar when all by myself and wrote some songs that I recorded with a minidisc player. Once I took my recordings and went to the park to listen to them and figure if I like my own voice and songs and such. While sitting there with my headphones on, one of my reggae friends passed by.
Is this Music, Already?!?
He sat down on my blanket and asked what I was listening to. I blushed.
“I am listening to myself.”
“What? Music? Do you make music, mayb?”
I shrugged my shoulders, answering: “Am I?”
He asked for my headphones. A thousand times. Until I gave in. I gave him the minidisc player, he started listening, my eyes desperately searched for something to look at, my sweaty hands looking for something to grab. He smiled at me and offered some hash and something to roll.
Finally busy, still nervous, glimpsing at my friend P. from time to time to see his reaction. P. was happy. When I lit up the joint, he pulled the headphones from his ears and stared at me.
“I didn’t know you play the guitar or sing.” He said.
“I still don’t know, if I am doing it.”
“May, it’s beautiful. Can I take it with me?”
He eventually persuaded me and took the minidisc. He said he wanted to hear all of it. I was so scared. Him and many others of my friends were professional musicians. I had taught myself to ‘play the guitar’, didn’t know any chords and couldn’t play anything else than those songs that I had written. I just tried it out. I never really felt like making music, more like searching for something. Where to put my fingers on this guitar, first of all … peace, most of all.
A few weeks later, me and my friends went to a concert night. Some kind of singer/songwriter competition with local musicians. Everyone I knew and loved was there, all of my friends, even two of my friend’s parents. Something was very odd about this night, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I had a couple of joints and was going for my second beer when one of my friends held me back.
“Do you really wanna’ have another beer?” she asked.
She had this obscure smirk on her face when she suggested to not drink too much on this very special day. Others joined in, hectically supporting her, I heard my name so many times that I didn’t know where to turn my head anymore, until it eventually came out of the speakers. Time stopped, everybody was staring at me, I alternately looked at the stage where this host repeated my name and at faces of people I knew. How had I become the center of this event? Encouraging smiley faces all around me, nodding their heads.
Have a Little Help From Your Friends
J., one of my friends appeared in my back with a huge contrabass, P. handed me a guitar. J. informed me that he knew how to play my song “Februar”. I didn’t. I didn’t know anything at this moment. Everybody stared at me, waiting for me to enter the stage and finally rock it. All of them knew about my music. P. had shown it to everyone and they had registered me for this competition. That was the reason for everybody to be there. They had come to push me. To encourage me to become who I am. I had found love. It didn’t feel like it this moment, though. How could they do that to me? I trusted P. Why would he show everyone my music? Why would all of them organize this behind my back? I was confused and overwhelmed but it felt as though I had no chance, other than to step up my game and this freaking stage.
It was the first time I played my music in front of others. And those others were a whole bar of them. I was shivering, I was nervous, I would have never dared claiming a stage or just sing out loudly in front of others. And here I sat, J. looking at me, waiting for my entry, everyone else waiting for me to open my mouth and sing. Including me. My body seemed a foreigner I had never met before. How do you move this arm, what to do with my hands touching this guitar, where’s my voice, how do I open my lips??? Why did they put me through this?
I thought I couldn’t until I could. I took a deep breath and played the first chord. The second, J. joined me, I felt the bass massaging the butterflies in my stomach. What an awesome feeling. I was playing music. On a stage. And someone else was playing along. People knew my secret, they knew my music and they loved it. They loved me. Realization was dawning on me whilst singing and I loved it. When done, I even applauded myself. And felt ashamed the next second. I had to leave this stage as fast as I could.
Finally, I had this second beer I was interrupted with and my friends were raising their glasses to me. I understood that I didn’t need to hide. I could be myself and receive love for exactly that. Just like Freddy! I had found friends, I had found love and I had found myself – or P. had found and lured me into the light.
Initially I was going to write about how I had learned to love reggae and electronic music, but this story is what came out. And maybe I won’t win the trippycontest with it, I won this singer/songwriter competition, however and I won a confidence that’ll last forever.
More competition-related: Here’s some music I love listening to whilst smoking, a psychedelic playlist for more than 3 trippy hours on acid and a video of myself high on music. I swear, in this one you can even SEE the music entering my body!
And for all of us who don't like google to the point of uncklickability, find a table down below …
Have some joints and watch …
FKJ – AMAZING PERFORMANCE, I PROMISE!
Chilly Gonzales – Never Stop ("You know my name, I am bition!")
Vulvpeck – Cory Wong (Follow the script, see music developing itself)
Hempress Sativa – Twisted sheets (so you don't smoke alone …)
Tash Sultana – Jungle
Do you know the tiny desk concert series? Just watch the whole list. Have fun!
And here’s my playlist for music to crawl into when tripping:
Meute – Rej
N’to – Every Wall is a Door
Tipper – Dreamsters
Bassnectar – Journey tot the Center
Gonçalo – Mental Help
Liquid Stranger – Dissolve
Worakls – Nocturne
Weval – The most
Bonobo – Cirrus
The Detroit Experiment - "Think Twice" (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
Moog Conspiracy – Body Movin‘
Kiasmos – Full Performance live at KEXP
Nicola Cruz – Tzantza
Polo & Pan – Bakara
Hang Massive – Once Again
Dengue Dengue Dengue –Chichón
Meute – Gula
Jurassic 5 – Lesson 6: The Lecture
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Mother Mother Mother
Calypso Rose – Calypso Blues
Peter Tosh – Legalize it
Max Romeo – Chase the Devil
Don Carlos – Mr. Sun
|N'to||Every Wall is a Door|
|Bassnectar||Journey to the Center|
|The Detroit Experiment||Think Twice (Henrik Schwarz Remix)|
|Moog Conspiracy||Body Movin|
|Kiasmos||Full Performance live at KEXP|
|Polo & Pan||Bakara|
|Hang Massive||Once Again|
|Dengue Dengue Dengue||Chichón|
|Jurassic 5||Lesson 6: The Lecture|
|Fat Freddy’s Drop||Mother Mother Mother|
|Calypso Rose||Calypso Blues|
|Peter Tosh||Legalize it|
|Max Romeo||Chase the Devil|
|Don Carlos||Mr. Sun|