WE GET LETTERS: This story was sent to us by longtime fan and friend Andy S. aka Da Slob. We take his word that this story is true, and we’re glad to still be touching lives and annoying people all these years later…
By ANDY S. aka DA SLOB
I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world this has ever happened to….
A few years ago, I was getting ready to drive across town to meet some friends. Normally I’m never in the car for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, most of where I go and what I need are pretty close. But for this trip, I was looking at a good 40-45 minutes in the car, an eternity for me as far as In-the-Car-Time goes.
So before I left I thought, “I should grab a few fresh CDs for the ride.” Yes, my car still has a CD player, and yes I still listen to CDs. I haven’t bought one in years, but I have a crate full of them… dating back to the dawn of the CD. I keep a handful of them in my car, in the door compartment or map holder. (Remember maps?)
Anyway, when the 6 radio presets all come up a commercial or crap, I’ll reach into the stack of 20 or so CDs and blindly take one out. But I’d been pulling from the same stack for a while. So when I said “grab a few fresh CDs for the ride,” that really meant going into the crate and picking out a handful of CDs I hadn’t heard in a while. I don’t remember exactly which CDs I grabbed, but it was something like… Rage Against The Machine: The Battle of Los Angeles, Cypress Hill: Temples Of Boom, Q-Tip: Amplified, Jane’s Addiction: Nothings Shocking, etc.
However, I DO remember one in particular…The Circle Six: Gravity Hits. I had listened to that album hundreds, maybe thousands of times. But that was way back in The Sunnyside days of the 1990’s in Morgantown, WV.
I’m guessing from the dust, I hadn’t heard the album since somewhere around 2002. It was the first one I dropped in the deck before I backed out of the driveway. And then….
The Frank bass…the Todd drums…the Rubin guitar…the Joey P. congas…and also…The COD.
Oh yeah, I remember this album like it was yesterday.
(Note: This is not an album review of The Circle Six Gravity Hits. It’s a story, just like the title says. And better yet …a true story. But in order to get to the heart of it, you have to ride along with me through the first few songs on the album. It’s all part of the story.)
The album kicks off with the title track and The COD makes his debut. Like the second coming of Zack de la Rocha, he jumped on the scene and punished the mic with furious lyrics. All backed by a band with a style that couldn’t really be labeled in 1995. Blues? Rock? Punk? Funk? Hip Hop?
No one was really sure.
This album was, and still is…the shit. As I listened, I began to realize how ahead of its time it was. I mean… Jesus… it’s been almost 20 years since it came out! And then I started thinking, “Damn… back in 1995, before Eminem, Fred Durst and Kid Rock, there was The COD.” [Editors note: Really? Fred Durst and Kid Rock? You had to go there?]
A few minutes into the drive and we move on to the second track “Access.” After settling in, The COD hits you with a more laid back style. But even laid back, he’s still just as menacing. As he proceeds to calmly demand your milk money, COD also reminds you that “I might be a pussy, but I won’t back down.” And also, “If you step up to me, all you’ll find in your face is a size 11 Nike with the big fat laces.”
I cranked it up a bit as I got to the bridge (not the musical bridge in the song, an actual bridge) doing 60 mph with the windows down. Next up was the third track “Tricks of the Trade.” As some fans may know, when the album gets to Track 3, the volume increases significantly. I’m still not sure if this was a production error, or a brilliant plan by The Circle Six to automatically raise the volume and crank that shit up. We may never know.
So “Tricks of the Trade” is blaring pretty loud. The band is fucking tearing it up, and COD is taking it to another lyrical level. “All my competition, don’t gimme no beef. It’s kinda hard busting rhymes, all gums and no teeth.” I’m getting my head nod on, singing along, and exiting the bridge into regular city traffic.
I pull up to a traffic light, windows down, and Track 4, “Sold” comes on. At this point, without the wind and noise from going 60 mph, it’s probably a tad too loud at a city traffic light.
I’m not, and will never be…that guy. Blaring your car music for the rest of the world to hear is not cool, unless you’re playing something I like, then it’s OK. It wasn’t too loud, but loud enough to make me lower it a bit.
I went to lower the volume, and skip ahead to Track 5. No disrespect to “Sold,” it’s a great track, but I was buried in 1995, listening to the COD spit the angst of my Early 20’s. So I reached to lower the volume and skip to “Microphone Check.”
And then it happened….and I remind you again, this is NOT fiction…
I pressed the volume down button…it didn’t go down.
I pressed the forward button to skip to “Microphone Check.” It didn’t go forward. I pressed the back button to go back to “Tricks of the Trade.” It didn’t go back.
The red light turns green, and I’m still bumpin’ “Sold” at a medium to high volume. At the next red light I pressed the Mode button to switch to the FM pre-sets… it didn’t switch. AM pre-sets? Nope.
NONE of the fucking buttons on the stereo worked anymore!
After about 30 seconds of pressing every button, I decided to pay attention to the road, enjoy the music and deal with it when I arrived. About 25 minutes into the trip, I’m speeding over another bridge and “Sickman” is rockin” at what seems like an appropriate volume. But the thought of my car stereo being broken still nagged at me every few minutes. I kept pressing buttons. Nothing.
I pull up to another red light, windows down, volume a bit too high…and “The Riot Song” comes on.
I start remembering the lyrics and begin thinking “Oh man, are these lyrics appropriate for a city street corner?” I mean, “The Revolution’s here and we’re in command!” I can’t bump that here! It’s 2010, I may get questioned by Homeland Security for this!”
“The Riot Song” is blaring out the windows on a city street corner. I roll the windows up and keep pressing buttons. Nothing.
I make my way across town. I’m getting closer and “Dodge” keeps me company. It’s harmless at city red lights. Nothing but a pure badass instrumental jam session by the C-6 Squad, while the COD takes a quick breather.
Pulling up to one of the last red lights, I’m almost there. But the COD jumps back in and starts some street corner trouble again…”He’s just trying to act black, what the hell is that? Tell me how do you think a black man acts?!”
In a last-ditch effort, and exactly like it happened in Willy Wonka, I pressed the one button I had not tried…The ON/OFF button. It worked! The radio was off. I pulled into my destination. Victory!
Still not wanting to leave well enough alone, I hit The ON/OFF button again. Surely it was all fixed, right? I hit the eject button. Nothing. I hit all the other buttons. Nothing. But wait…
Gravity Hits started to play again… from the beginning. And that’s when it really happened….
Over the next few days, I pressed every button, pried with a screwdriver, turn ON, turn OFF.
It was either Gravity Hits or nothing. And even better/worse, the volume was stuck at about 7. AND… you couldn’t change the track! AND… if you turned it off, it started over at the beginning! I kid you not….
And thus began… The 60 Days of The Circle Six.
The next day, I got a phone call while I was driving, and it was the first time I realized the new “game” I had to play…everyday. I can’t hear the caller over the blare of the C-6, but if I turn it off, I start over at Track 1 again. Some days I never made it past “Sold,” other weeks I vowed to ignore all calls while driving and make it to the final track “Money or the Freedom.”
People might ask, “Why didn’t you just get it fixed or buy a new stereo? What are you, an idiot? You listened to the same album for 2 months?”
Yes… yes I did. And I’m still not sure why.
I suppose it was a return to the past, and a “game” of sorts. Aside from the actual guys in The Circle Six, I doubt anyone knows the album better than me now. I know every note and every word (not necessarily by choice though).
Like I said in the beginning, I’m pretty sure this has never happened to anyone else. After a week or two, it just became the norm. Turn it on, turn it off. If you turned the car off, it started back where it left off. If you hit the OFF button…it started over from the beginning.
That means I heard the songs “Gravity Hits,” “Access,” and “Tricks of the Trade” more times than anyone on the planet.
Kinda like the old question, “If you could only bring one album to a deserted island, what would it be?”
Except…I didn’t get to choose the album, it chose me.
Once 30 days had turned to 60 days, something had to be done. I couldn’t listen this album forever, right? So I went at it again. Pressed all the buttons. Turn on, turn off, pry with a screwdriver, disconnect.
I was resigned to the fact that it was time to head to Circuit City (RIP) and remedy this once and for all. Maybe I can still get the guys at the stereo shop to get the CD out, maybe not. If not, I’ve heard it enough times that I don’t really need it anymore. It’s burned in my brain.
So one last time, I powered it off, powered it on, hit the Eject button and…
I shit you not…it popped out!
Early on, after trying for a few days… I gave up. And yet… it popped out after 2 months! If I had hit eject after 2 weeks, would it have popped out? If not, then when? Was it possessed? (Was it The Six?)
More importantly, I now have to think twice each time I put a new CD in. And ponder the question…”Will I be stuck with this album for the next 60 days? and… am I OK with that if it happens?”
In the case of Gravity Hits… I’m glad it happened.
So…anyone else ever have the same thing happen to them?
Guest columnist Andy S. (aka Da Slob) is a WVU grad (Class of 1995) and founder of Aloof Promos. He now resides in Charleston, SC. Follow him on Twitter: @aloofpromos.
Listen and/or download The Circle Six Gravity Hits album for free by clicking HERE.