Day 24: The Hold Steady - Almost Killed Me

As anyone who gets this email is well aware, coming up on 1 year ago my body tried to kill me. It failed...miserably..but that's not to say it didn't give it a really fucking good try and put me through hell in the process. I don't know if I can ever accurately convey what it's like to be laid up in the hospital after that kind of surgery. To be that completely useless and be that completely unable to do a damn thing about it. And the pain? Unless you have that done to you there aren't even words, but lets just say ONE weird side effect from experiencing it is that I have a hard time watching violent films/TV now...seriously. All in all it was a learning experience..or something. A learning experience that very nearly broke me. It's unclear weather I went a little crazy in hospital....and who could tell with all the drugs, but sometimes it feels like I did. Sometimes I'm positive that I lost my mind. And if it weren't for The Hold Steady I probably would have never got it back. It doesn't make sense, because the song is not about anything that pertains to my situation at the time, but the line from the opening track that goes "gotta start it with a positive jam" and then the giant wash of guitars that follows played over and over and over and over and over and over and over..it was in my head. It was a mantra. It was simple. It was true. It meant that rock and roll could save your life. It drove out the bad thoughts, the visions of faces everywhere, the fear, the pain...

It meant that I was going to be OK.

I loved this album long before going into the hospital, and the story I'm telling you now is only about the first song on the disc, but venture beyond that and you'll find out why, even though I loathe their latest album, The Hold Steady really is one of the best bands to have ever existed. You need to hear them, and if you have already you know why you have to listen to them again and again and again and again and again and.... 

Last year I sent out "Separation Sunday", their second album, and while it's definitely a much better album, it can never take the place in my heart (see what I did there?) that "Almost Killed Me" has now.