by Josh Madell
I left New York for college in ’88, and left college for rock and roll in ’89. I actually was having a lot of fun in school, but it occurred to me one afternoon while I was jamming with some friends in somebody’s dorm basement that I was wasting my time (and my parent’s money), and I should find a band. I ended up in San Francisco because I wanted to try someplace new, but after a couple of years, my band seemed to be at a dead end; we were good, but I wasn’t sure that we were good enough, and I was sort of burned out on SF too. Ken Katkin told me that Antietam needed a drummer; he knew that I loved Burgoo, and I flew back to New York for a few days to see the parents and audition.
I quit my job, packed my apartment and headed east on Christmas day in my Creamsicle-colored VW bus, my drums and everything I owned piled behind me, on the southern route across I-40 to avoid the Rockies and the winter snow. No such luck, I hit blizzards at every turn, the bus had no heat or defrost (literally none, it had been disconnected), and it was rough riding. I finally slid off the road and fell over outside of Amarillo, but the giant snowdrifts padded my fall, and I was rolling again in a few hours. But on New Year’s Eve in North Little Rock the bus gave out, and I spent a couple of long, empty days waiting for a mechanic, and a part.
Days later, I limped into a friend’s place in DC, and stole out of town on the Amtrak with just my drums and a knapsack; the van never ran again, but I needed to get to New York, the Everywhere Outside sessions were already booked and I had a lot of songs to learn. The rest, I suppose, is history. I’m still the new guy, closing in on twenty years later. I miss the bus, but I don’t know why, she never ran right.