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The Three EPs, The Beta Band

Regal, September 28, 1998

Track Listing: 1. Dry the Rain, 2. I Know, 3. B + A, 4. Dog’s Got a Bone, 5. Inner Meet Me, 6. The House Song, 7. Monolith, 8. She’s the One, 9. Push It Out, 10. It’s Over, 11. Dr. Baker, 12. Needles in My Eyes

“This is the definition of my life
Lying in bed in the sunrise
Choking on a vitamin tablet the doctor gave
In the hope of saving me
In the hope of saving me”

-from “Dry the Rain”

I read a story on CNN about job burnout. “The American worker has the least vacation time of any modern, developed society.” Hmmm. Didn’t need to read the article to know the score. I had a friend whose company granted its employees a whopping total of five holidays over the course of the year. The shop was open on the Friday after Thanksgiving. And heading into those few and far between holiday weekends, there were never any announcements to leave early, not even on Christmas Eve, or the day before Thanksgiving. It was too costly. At the end of each year, each employee was rewarded with a store bought Christmas cookie handed over by the president with a smile. It was a symbolic pat on the back for a job well done, a cookie and its crumbs.

“Dog’s got a bone now
All of his own”

-fromDog’s Got a Bone

No, a story about job burnout could hardly surprise.

“If there’s something inside that you wanna say
Say it alright it will be okay”

-fromDry the Rain

I think that sometimes you just gotta move. You grab the wheel to remind yourself who is driving the damn bus. Press down on the pedal. Accelerate. Queue the bongos. The Greyhound station shifts to the left and then to the rear, before it evaporates from sight altogether and the only thing you see is the wide open road ahead.

“Listen you will see, coming on in to me
Listen you will see that we are climbing”

-fromDog’s Got a Bone

It’s magnetic, an invisible pull. It is the open road: We’re all powerless to it whether we realize it or not. White lines on the pavement pass underneath us like a blurry snapshot of histories morphing together into one. You see the lines and memories in your head as you lay in a fleabag motel bed at the end of the night after crossing through the Rockies. The exit was random, somewhere in Utah, taken after you knew you had no choice but to rest for the night. But the movement of the road doesn’t stop. It pokes and prods at your equilibrium like the sway of the land rocking under your wobbly feet when you finally step off a boat. Even when you sleep, the world keeps on spinning. You are lost in an oasis in the middle of the desert where you discover an energy source like no other. You see twenty-nine native California Fan Palms growing along the Pinto Mountain Fault. A raging thirst is quenched and the heat subsides as you lay down in magic shade, exhausted from a lifetime of being on the go.

“Yesterday I found a day”

-fromThe House Song

Here, the world is, at long last, as still as you can ever remember, as if all roads have led to this secret crossroads. Your eyes remain locked shut and racing fast in their own mad dash, desperately trying to absorb every last cubic inch of this fountain of power.

“See me lost inside
You will see me lost how high
I’m a overandoverandover
I’m hoveringhovering oh
I’m a hoveringhovering oh
I’m a hoveringhovering oh”

-fromDr. Baker

You wake up—didn’t even know you dozed off or for how long—feeling completely refreshed, cleansed in clarity, and of course, ready to move. It’s the desert silence, well chronicled, that has done it. The profound transformation. The realignment of spirit. It’s like you just detoxed in rehab.

“She’s been switched on inside my head
An imaginary friend sitting by my bed”

-fromIt’s Over

The future, at once dim and limited, is now as wide open and bright as the 360 degrees of sky and sand that surround you. The epilogue has become the preface. Surrendered dreams make triumphant returns. Memories flood back into focus, sharper than before. Familiar faces step out from behind dead trees where they had apparently been hiding in wait all along for this very moment.

“Never dream alone
Never dream alone”

-fromInner Meet Me

Can there ever be anything as wildly refreshing as the cool shade of possibility? You get up, ready. The rut has ended. It is your turn and you know the exact sequence of moves you are about to play.