This was my band before the Japanese Breakfast days. The throughline of the book really begins with my mom getting sick. It was important to talk about what I was leaving. I was really floundering with this band. It was just not working. This is the band that I put on hiatus to go and be with my mom as she got sick. I was like 25 and I was starting to feel like maybe if it’s not happening, it’s not meant to be.
I wrote the song about finding out my aunt was sick. It just reminds me of that period of my life. There’s a chapter in the book that’s actually titled “Dark Matter.” The real Japanese Breakfast fans will recognize a lot of these types of Easter eggs in the book. A lot of the chapter titles borrow from song lyrics or song titles from my records.
Foo Fighters – “Everlong (Acoustic Version)”
When I was a teenager, my mom wouldn’t let me close my bedroom door. I just have this very specific memory of being on AIM and downloading songs from LimeWire, arguing whether or not the acoustic version of “Everlong” was better than the original. I remember being like, “Oh, you can hear the lyrics. They are much more moving in the acoustic version.” I was full of self-seriousness at that age, thinking that I was this very wise critic or something.
Modest Mouse – “Dramamine”
There was this period of time when I had decided to get into music when I was like 13 or 14. At that age you’re like, “Oh, what is good music? Classic rock is good music.” So I started listening to a lot of classic rock. I think it wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I heard bands like Modest Mouse and was like, “This is what I actually like.” Growing up in Oregon, Modest Mouse was a huge deal for my friend group. Isaac Brock was the poet of our time. He was so dynamic and just felt kind of sexy and really cool and gritty. I remember loving this band when I was a teenager and full of angst.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
The chapter, “Where’s the Wine?” dives into when I fell in love with music. My friend had the DVD of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs live at the Fillmore. Seeing Karen O for the first time changed my life. She spat water all over herself and used the microphone in ways I had never seen before. My world was changing. Finding out that she was half-Korean in the super white male dominated industry was just mind blowing. It was such a life-changing moment for me. It was the first person I saw that kind of looked like me. To find not only a Korean woman in the rock scene, but a half-Korean woman in the rock scene, meant so much to me. I felt so connected to her and she was such an important role model in my life.
Nirvana – “Molly’s Lips” (BBC John Peel Session)
In “Where’s the Wine?” I talk about meeting my first boyfriend, Nick Hawley-Gamer. He was this really cool guy that had had a band called The BarroWites when he was in middle school. We became best friends and he’s very responsible for me getting involved in music. I just remember getting a copy of his band’s CD when we were growing up. It was this burnt CD with the Sharpie writing. One of the songs was called “Molly’s Lips”.
I had spent so much time poring over, ‘Who’s Molly? Who’s Molly!?’ Because I was obsessed with this guy. I was like, ‘Is it his ex girlfriend?’ Later on I found out that it was a Nirvana cover. But then I would like to believe that Nick didn’t know that it was originally a Vaseline’s cover. There were just varying levels of cool that I failed at.