Dead Ends And Girlfriends – “Residential Burglary”
I graduated from high school in June 1996 and in the fall I began my first semester at Eastern IL University in Charleston, taking one friend with me to college and waving goodbye to a few others. A few of those other friends also began their first semesters at The University of IL in Champaign, a mere 45 minute drive from EIU. One of them was my good friend, Andy.
I met Andy in 7th grade and we quickly became friends. We were inseparable during high school and some of my favorite teenage memories are of the dumb things we did together. Andy came with me on family vacations, got me drunk for the first time, and he also designed the original cover to the first Allister EP, “You Can’t Do That On Vinyl.” Most importantly, though, I credit him with introducing me to the underground punk rock scene. He was the first one to play for me bands like Slapstick, Apocalypse Hoboken, The Mushuganas, and The Bollweevils, iconic Chicago punk rock bands that completely changed the way I listened to music. In 1994, Andy convinced me to come with him to a run-down, ramshackle old bowling alley in Chicago to see a band called Rhythm Collision. It was an experience that transformed my way of life and I am forever indebted to him for it.
I got to see Andy and some other friends relatively frequently throughout the first year of college. Those weekends would generally find us sneaking into bars or wandering the streets of Champaign, drunk and looking for another house party. One of those weekends spiraled a bit out of control, landing my good friend in jail and inspiring the track “Residential Burglary.” One of the funny things about the song is that lyrically, it is entirely factual. Andy really did run out of a house party trying to steal a record player and CDs. He was really thrown in jail with a guy accused of beating his wife. And, of course, his cell smelled like piss and beer (would you expect anything else?). The only other memory I have of writing this song was that I remember thinking how sophisticated I felt finally adding a (gasp!) 4th chord into one of my songs. Sad, but true. Andy and I have since lost touch and I haven’t seen him or talked to him in a number of years. Kind of a shame considering how close we were but I get it, sometimes shit happens. Maybe one day him and I can get a beer together again and wax nostalgic on those earlier years. Particularly the year that “Andy is going to jail…”