In 1994 I bought a cd by a Scottish band who’s song I’d heard a few times on the radio and really liked. The album was a revelation, and I instantly started telling my friends about it. They shrugged their shoulders.
Several months later, a freshman in college, I spent money I didn’t have to purchase their earlier album and played it in my dorm room ad nauseam, such that my roommates took to spoofing the band’s name to tease me.
Spring of that year they released a new album and I instantly bought it and poured over the intricate liner notes and made copies of it and played it everywhere I went. One of that album’s songs broke out, and they were all over the radio. To this day, if you mention the band, that’s the only song anyone knows.
There was another album two years later. I bought it at the Tower Records store across the street from my summer job while on lunch break and spent all summer playing it just as much as all the others. But it didn’t go anywhere commercially. And that was pretty much that. By the time they released their fifth album in 2000 they were a non-factor in the U.S., so I had to download it on Napster; it wasn’t even released here.
The band broke up. The lead singer released four solo albums, and I dutifully acquired them and learned them front-to-back. Then last year they got back together and released an album of entirely new material. It’s all great, of course, and I’ve worn it out in my kitchen and my car.
And last night I saw them. In a packed theater. It was wild.
For 30 years I’ve been the only person I know who cares about this band. I have internalized their catalogue to an almost obsessive degree, and a not-insignificant part of my identity has been wrapped up in the fact that I am as into them as I am in a way that nobody else I know is. And last night I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with complete strangers who are as into them as I am. It took almost 30 years, but I finally found my people.
They’ve been hiding in plain sight, and I was the last to know.