I just read that Richard Wright of Pink Floyd has died. This may be a terribly unhip thing to say but Pink Floyd meant a lot to me when I was a kid. I think that when you're a damaged kid you find something to fill in the blanks. For me, it was music. For a lot of my friends as well. A band that made a concept record about putting walls up around yourself to protect your emotional state should be required listening for angsty 13 year olds. I will say this - what me and my friends went through was more than run of the mill teenage angst. All of us had emotional problems, troubled homes, some of us were developing drug/alcohol problems. We certainly weren't the sheltered rich kids that we were growing up around. We couldn't relate to their trivial top 40 music. We had to go deeper and darker. So we did. Metal was big among us, classic rock, and a few of us liked college radio and punk. Anything that felt real, I guess.
Anyway, Pink Floyd. Me and my best friend (a guy named Chasz) spent a lot of time hanging out together listening to music. We had very similar lives and problems. So much so that we were in the same counseling group for children of alcoholics together at school. We loved our counselor so much... I'm sure that some of that had to do with the fact that she was into Pink Floyd! She really understood where we were coming from with our obsession, and unlike most adults she didn't look down on us for finding comfort in music. Chasz and I used to pool our money and go to the record store and buy records to share. On our way there our favorite song to sing was Pink Floyd's Time which, looking back, seems quite fitting for two 13 year olds with a lot on their plates. We ended up buying everything from Pink Floyd and even got into the solo Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, and David Gilmour stuff. I think about Chasz a lot. We were each others lifelines for a couple of years. It all ended because of a stupid fight when we were 15. Thankfully, we ran into each other a couple of years later and made amends. I always wondered what happened to him but then I found out about 5 years ago that he died. I had high hopes for him but he never made it out of the shit that tried to keep us down. I miss him.
I sincerely hope that I'm not the only one who made it out. I feel a responsibility to tell the stories of my friends. If you were going through anything real as a teenager and had just one friend I'm willing to bet that you've never found another friend like them. We grow up and become jaded and closed off. It's not as easy to let people in yet it's easier to cast them aside when the going gets rough. Maybe it's easier to find our own way ultimately. Not sure. Whatever it is, I just know that I've never said so little with people yet we all said so much. We just said it through song lyrics. It's still my preferred medium for communication. Recently I've been listening to Dark Side Of The Moon again. It may be a terribly unhip thing to say but Pink Floyd still mean a lot.