Lake Music

by Chris McGinty of
Just as an odd aside, which may
be more about our Google overlords than about coincidence, I just turned on my
Spotify, and as I started typing this blog post the song “Summertime,Summertime” was in a McDonald’s commercial. I don’t think McDonald’s gets how
edgy that song is… if it was still the 1950s. But let’s instead turn to the
subject of bands like Metallica, AC/DC, and ZZ Top. Yes, we’re talking “lake
music,” you know, if it was still the 1990s.

I actually have no idea what
music people would play as lake music now. Lake music is the stuff that someone
plays at the lake that 98% of the people at the lake don’t object to. This
means that it can’t be too new, because new music will always sound awful to a
certain subset of people. Lake music has to be something that everyone is
familiar with.

I haven’t really been to the lake
in recent times, but I have some memories involving lakes.
I mentioned a high school friend
in a previous post in the blurb at the end. It was the result of trying to find
a blurb loosely related to the blog post, but when I thought of it I knew that
it was right, because I would be talking about some lake memories. She lived in
a house that was on Lake Worth, so there are a number of lake stories.
The house was on the lake, but it
was a part that was shallow and had less movement, so it wasn’t really the best
suited for swimming. It was good for a view mostly. The house had a sizable
backyard that was good for parties and such. I remember one such party that
took place the summer after we had graduated (when I say we, I mean she, but it
was my last real year of school so we’ll go with it).
There was a band called Urine
Trouble that played at this post-graduation party. I have three thoughts about
Urine Trouble.
1. Not everyone saw the flier for
the party, so some people were under the mistaken presumption that they were
called You’re in Trouble.
2. They were pretty good. I
enjoyed their set, and most of the people at the party seemed to also be
enjoying their music. They did a cover of “Message in a Bottle” by The Police,
but they didn’t know the words, so they offered that anyone who knew the words
could sing it. No one did. Even if you actually know the words to a song,
you’re used to singing along with a singer, so it’s not so simple to just jump
in. Their cover played up the punk elements of the song and increased the tempo
a little, so some of us started a little mini-mosh pit. At the end of the song,
I jumped up on the stage and started “singing” at a slower tempo “I hope that
someone gets my…” and the rest of the crowd sang the refrain with me. It was
fun. One of the guys in the band then goes, “You were a bit late, dude.” I
laughed. Some girl in the crowd said, “Hey, I thought that was pretty cool.”
And then they played their next song.
3. Years later when I was in a
local punk band named JAKT, they asked me to write lyrics for the new songs we
did, because they felt that the lyrics to their early songs were just a means
to have vocals. They liked most of what I wrote, but I wrote some lyrics that
were maybe a little bit off to them. It was called “Urine Tensions,” and the title
idea was because of Urine Trouble. I figured that most people would miss the
play on words. The idea behind the lyrics was being in a relationship where
being yourself was met with hostility. I used the analogy of being pee shy. I
think the line that maybe threw them off the most was something to the effect
of, “It’s just hard to piss with you screaming in my face.” The good news for
the guys from Urine Trouble is that you inspired me. The bad news is it wasn’t
very well received.
Nathan and Chris have a concept band called Act Like Niles, meaning that in concept, they might one day write some music. Maybe they could just start with a cover of “School’s Out.”
The funny thing about my friend
and her family was that while they lived on the lake, they went to the lake
just like everyone else. There was a park for swimming near the Lake Worth
Bridge, and they would go there most weekends. I worked most weekends, so I
rarely got to go. I think the bulk of my trips to the lake was going over with
them and hanging out for an hour or two before I left for work. I think I only
went swimming once. The important part was that this was how we came to realize
what lake music was.
She was telling me that a number
of the people who would go and hangout at the lake were unemployed at that
moment in time. There had been a recession that got closer to a depression than
most do a few years before (at least that’s the perception that everyone had
about it) and I guess not everyone had gone back to work yet. Meanwhile, I
couldn’t hang out very long, because I had to go to work. One day, we were
driving somewhere on a Monday, and I saw a bunch of people at the lake. I said,
“You weren’t kidding about how many people are unemployed.” She looked a little
perplexed for a moment and said, “It’s Labor Day.” I said, “Oh. Federal
holidays don’t really mean anything to me.”
She had two stepfathers in the
time I knew her. The first maybe had some issues. He was there when we were
still in high school. I know they had trouble getting along sometimes. He was a
nice enough guy, but I didn’t have to live with him. She summed up how she felt
about him when she told me this story.
They had spent the weekend up to
that point arguing about stepfather/stepdaughter kind of things, meaning that
they were just upset with each other for no real reason. She said that he
stormed out of the house at some point and she heard the lawnmower start up. As
I said, they had a pretty sizable backyard, so she figured that he just wanted
to work off the angry energy. He walked into the house when he was done, walked
past her, and said, “Look in the backyard.” He had mowed the entire yard except
that in the middle he left some of the overgrown grass in the shape of a peace
The second stepfather that she
had was a little more even tempered as far as I could tell. He and her mom
married on the lake. I seem to remember that there was a boat, but I don’t
think it ever went out form the shoreline. During the reception there was
dancing, and he had some moves. I told my friend, “I realize you don’t see it
because he’s your stepdad, but he’s got some sexy moves.” I walked over to him
and put a dollar in his shorts. He laughed, because back in the 90s we had a
fucking sense of humour. Other people followed suit and he was out there
dancing with a bunch of one dollar bills sticking out of his shorts. He told me
later that he made $15 in the course of that one song, which in the 90s wasn’t
too shabby.
I have other random memories of
lakes that have nothing to do with that family, but that will be for another
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
misses that era of time when any music over 120 beats per minute was a
sufficient enough reason to start a mosh pit.

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