The Story of Phake

A quick story on persistence.

I was in a band. It was called Phake. The name was a play on the idea that, though we had attempted to infiltrate the local punk rock scene, we weren’t punk rock at all. We were fake punkers, fighting for a niche in the local hardcore punk scene, and in the early days of ironic t-shirts I threw together a self-made number that proclaimed our not-punk-though-really-we-wished-we-were status.

It was our fifth name in a year of practicing. It stuck.

With it came a distressing label: “Not Very Good.” But, let’s be honest. That label might have been deserved.

We weren’t very good.

At that time, we didn’t care. Or we didn’t know it. A little of both, really.

But we tried, and here’s the thing: we eventually worked our way into the public conscience, like worm wriggling into rotten wood. We got better – still not good, but BETTER – and, as things often work, we stumbled into some kind of routine. Our practices sounded something like this [WARNING – shitty garage band alert.]

Then, one guy got kicked out and another guy decided he was done and soon the band was over, just as we had supposedly found our niche and identity.

I don’t bring this up because I’m nostalgic, or because I needed an excuse to play this video that our friend Jim inexplicably kept long past its freshness date, but because I realize how badly we all needed to flail and stumble and fail before we could really belong.

Except for me (the non-musician in the group) all four members ended up becoming fantastic musicians and songwriters and people in general. Some still play today. Bring the five of us back together, and there might be something special.

And while I didn’t gain anything musically, I did gain confidence, which I suppose is the ultimate instrument of a lead vocalist.

I failed. We all failed. We had a whole lot of fun and made a bunch of friends that we still hang out with today and, hey, we can all say “Yeah, we were in a band once,” and that kind of cool points doesn’t come around that often.

Given the chance – and given the friends and experiences and confidence I gained – I’d fail all over again.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 28th, 2010