A couple years ago, a friend took me to see one of my all time favorite bands, Silversun Pickups. Living in LA, I had seen the band around, but never seen them play live. I was making music with my friend at the time, and he joked that any bandmate of his should get to see SSPU live at least once. That show was musical magic for me, but for more than just meeting the band after.
That night, School of Seven Bells opened. I’d never seen them, or even heard any of their music. I was simply patiently waiting to hear Future Foe Scenarios or the like later on. However, School of Seven Bells began, and I was immediately mesmerized. I left my friends, and went awkwardly closer. As I watched them perform, I had one of those feelings I experience only every couple of years or so- the feeling of being completely intoxicated by musical and visual movement. I later learned the song I had seen and heard was called “Scavenger.”
If you know me or have been around me in the past couple of years, you know this song, whether you realize it or not. You know it, because you have heard it in my car, on a mix I made you, or in my apartment at a party. You know it because I have listened to it at least a thousand times, in a literal sense. My favorite song in 2013 was Where Do My Bluebird Fly by The Tallest Man On Earth. My favorite of 2012 was Scavenger, and I can’t stop listening to it. I have never tired of this beautiful, driving rhythm. I need not say anything of these dark, brutally honest lyrics, because they speak for themselves. They have jaggedly carried me in solidarity through more frustration and turmoil than I can convey. And I am a better person for it.
A mutual friend who also attended the SSPU concert alerted me earlier this year that they were on hiatus because Benjamin had fallen ill. LA Weekly explains that in February, School of Seven Bells announced Curtis’ cancer diagnosis, and artists including Devendra Banhart, and members of the Strokes and Interpol participated in fundraising efforts for his treatment. In October, bands including Silversun Pickups, M83, Cocteau Twins and Blonde Redhead wrote messages of support for Benjamin during his treatment.
I never met Benjamin. Even though I grew up in the Fort Worth/Dallas music scene, and was also an avid fan of Secret Machines, I knew nothing about him. What I do know is what it feels like to lose someone to cancer. He was far too young, and I humbly share that my heart breaks for so many others in learning this shattering news.
I know I am not alone when I say that it seems that every time I turn around this year, there is a death of a loved one. A devastation and losing of something that cannot be replaced. As we ring in another year, God help us take nothing for granted. May we love one another, support one another, and be there for one another. There’s no time not to.
I gave you the tide You didn’t stay You didn’t want it You let the day slide Into a drain Until you lost it You took me like a drug To make you feel loved To make you feel wanted To make you feel fire To make you feel like I made you feel something ‘Cause you can feel nothing I know what you are And you’re a fake You’re a scavenger Too scared to take part You only take ‘Cause you’re a coward On your own, You have no love On your own, You’re not enough You took me like a drug To make you feel loved To make you feel wanted To make you feel fire To make you feel like I made you feel something