Music Stand: Columnist lives out teenage dream, angst


By: Miranda Liming, editor-in-chief

During the ages of 13 to 17, many adolescents begin forming their strong music opinions and expand from what their parents listened to, to what they want to listen to.

Everyone has gone, or will go, through this essential growing up phase. Mine was at 13, when I threw out my parent’s 1980s punk rock, anti-establishment mentality and opted for a softer side of the late 90’s punk-pop scene.

My inspiration: The Ataris, mainly from the lead singer, and band creator, Kristopher Roe.

Since the beginning, on the 1998 EP Look Forward to Failure, I become enamored with the musician who seemed to write songs directly related to my life experiences.

A year later, with their release of Blue Skies, Broken Hearts… Next 12 Exits, I had completely divulged into another side of music that I had known existed, but never recognized as an art form.

Blue Skies had become a personal soapbox for my small group of friends in junior high, with Roe leading us through the trials and tribulations, heartbreaks and hurt of the teenage experience.

Like all good things, those teenage years and friendships eventually ended. As if he was recognizing and paying tribute to our end though, Roe released So long, Astoria in 2003, an album in which the most popular song was “In This Diary,” the culmination of friendships established and then destroyed.

Although Roe and band mate John Collura continued to make music together, the end result was never what the Ataris had once meant to a group of kids in southern Mississippi. The end of the Ataris was the end of an era for those kids.

The music, and friendships, may have ended, but the mark left by Roe was eternal. This week I was able to finally live out one of my childhood dreams and witnessed an influential individual in my life perform live. It was acoustic, intimate, and the most nostalgic experience of my adult life thus far.

After the show I was able to meet Roe, and explain to him in words horribly formulated how he changed my musical tastes, and many views in my adolescence. He signed a limited edition poster for me; I spilled my beer on him.

But it wasn’t until this time, almost 13 years later, I realized that Kris Roe didn’t just change my small group. Everyone in that measly bar felt the same as I.

When we walked in the door, we were all strangers; but when Roe sang, and we sang back, we become the group of friends that we had all forgotten. We were once again the angst filled, awkward teenagers of a time past.

And for that one unmistakable hour, we gave no apologies.

As for Roe, well, he shared in those old feelings with us. But you could see in his eyes, looking out into a crowd that had traded their dyed hair and punk rock T-shirts for an adult life, he remembered being that shining beacon of hope, the spokesperson for the disquiet, rowdy and peons.

In his eyes, you could see the past, and the love.


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