-- This has nothing to do with the general topic of this blog --
In the mid 80's I played in various bands on the East Coast.
Safety First was not the best band I played in. It was too odd, too low-fi, too weird, too amateur to be the "best." I'm not even that confident it was the most fun band I played in.
But it was a special band for me - and a special experience. As a band, I think we were as close as you can get to being a true "family". This wasn't all a good thing. No family is all good. As a family, we fought. We sometimes disliked each other. We had issues and disagreements. But there was a bond at that time that was really important to me - and is still really important to me.
I remember recording our first demo tape - before Matt joined the band to play drums. We had a cheap ass drum machine that we named Iceberg that had a bunch of cheesy pre-created beats we used in odd ways.
I remember the long discussions about Gumby.
I remember the gig at The Grotto where our band photos were shot - where we ended up coming across as a psychedelic lo-fi version of The Velvet Underground.
I remember songwriting with Oz while trying to learn how to actually play the bass.
I remember hours and hours spent trying to get my ancient Rickenbacker bass to stay in tune for at least one (3 minute) song.
I remember the horror show gig in Boston somewhere in the bowels of Government Station where an audience member passed us a note telling us how great a band we were and how awful our singer was -- and distinctly remember Oz convincing Matt and I that kicking the woman's ass for insulting Sarah was a bad idea.
I remember Sarah.
Her horrible stick and twig tea she would brew up in our place in Brookline.
Her manic moments where energy would roll off her in waves for 45 minutes before she crashed.
Her crazy outfits and wild makeup.
Her notebooks with lyrics and ideas and sketches and random notes.
Her opera-meets-toneless chanting-meets-psychedelic seance possessed warbling that was somehow both the weirdest singing ever and the most incredible.
Her thoughtfulness (now and then) and her thoughtlessness (now and then).
Perhaps most of all I remember her courage coupled with maddening carelessness. Watching her decide that she was sick of the insulin shots and sick of fear and sick of the life she was having to live as a type 1 diabetic who wasn't taking care of herself was terrifying and yet inspiring. Watching her decide that the solution was to trust in a quack - and seeing the (predictable) consequences was horrifying. Being unable to change her mind was too much to handle.
But in the end - Sarah didn't want any of our help.
Sarah was going to live her life - by her rules - in her way - and on her own. And whatever the consequences were - she was going to embrace both the ride and the result.
Of all the regrets I have in my life (and believe me, I have plenty) one of the biggest is not fighting to stay in contact with Sarah.
And sadly now it's too late.
RIP Sarah Garment.
You were truly one of a kind.