It’s weird to have a song written about you especially when it’s not exactly a positive one and the writer goes on to form a band I’m sure you’ve heard of over the last 10 years. When I was in a bad place a few years ago, I found the song and it bummed me out. I asked him to take it down. Now I kind of like it.
When I knew Chris I lived in this terrible room above a store called City People’s Mercantile in Seattle. The building used to be a rooming house for loggers and sailors. Place had class, ashtrays bolted next to the toilet in the shared bathrooms, elderly alcoholic resident manager(6 beers deep by 10 AM), no water pressure in the showers. Anyway, I worked on Chris’s guitars, we’d drive around and we’d listen to the latest Brit pop bands and go see Elliott Smith or The Dandy Warhols together. He was a good friend. I still have some four track demos of his, they sound great sometimes you just know some friend of yours is going far.
I suppose I posted this as I just saw Weekend tear it up at a loft party where I had such a good time that I really messed up my hand when someone flew into me hard. I saw Weekend and Death Cab are both doing Treasure Island Music Festival the same day this year. Ben Gibbard has quit drinking so I’ll drink his beer for him… not even sure if I’m joking or not.
Here’s the lyrics and details…
written and performed by the Martin Youth Auxiliary / recorded onto a cassette tape at 818 Garden Street in Bellingham, September of 1998 / mixed to DAT in the spring of 1999 at the Hall of Justice / posted 10.31.2005
- ‘Mercantile’ is the second song from the MYA cassette. It’s a true story; sometimes it’s impossible to be a good enough friend.
MERCANTILE / words by Chris Walla
Upstairs, on the kitchen floor, is where you are consumed. You solder faster than I knew, but there’s a chance your pinhole camera pictures are still alright. Be good now, don’t fight; the stars will be up soon, and soon you’ll have another chance to move. With any luck, you’ll pin down constellations with hummingbird precision.
Council meeting: The Mercantile wants to see you evicted. I can’t argue. You’re very loud, and sick, sick, sick.
Take this cash, feel good. I don’t know what you do (if it starts or if it ends with me), I only know I’ve tried not to be bitter. I brought you soup for dinner, and while you’re eating, we slip into a sad, sad conversation: You’ve decided that some exotic tea will let you choose your reincarnation.
I could play the voice of reason and yell at you to get your ass to bed, but I’m uncomfortable with kind suggestions, so I’ll sit and watch you here in your apartment, with records on, and use that’s unrestricted. Mark these words: It’s the last time I encourage you to fix it. I encourage you to fix it.
I’ll never cry for help, it’ll be a whimper.
Madness is tonic and invigorating. It makes the sane more sane. The only ones who are unable to profit by it are the insane.