Ray Bradbury's biographer, Sam Weller, asks the literary legend about his fascination with the autumnal months and makes a claim on the author as a writer who ties most of his books and short stories to that particular season. He's an autumn writer, Weller says, and Bradbury doesn't deny any of it in one of the interviews making up the wonderful collection, "The Ray Bradbury Interviews." The discrepancy that Weller cites though is that after spending some of his early years in Waukegon, Illinois, the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1930s so his father could find work. Because of this, there is no actual autumn for Bradbury and there hasn't been for quite some time as he admits, quoting another by saying that autumn in Los Angeles is "when one leaf falls up in Laurel Canyon." Weller asks his how he can portray autumn so lovingly, so often and so beautifully without having experienced one in decades and decades. Bradbury defends himself by saying that he doesn't need to live through any autumns to write about them well for the autumns in his head - the ones that he remembers - are so much better than any that he could ever experience. Now, I've never been to Seattle, Washington, during the standard autumn months, but I'd like to believe that they have something like an autumn and, actually, it's probably a very lengthy season - one that stretches liberally into both the summer and the "winter," perhaps even encroaching on the springs that are just like the falls. It seems to me that those members of the band, Brad, don't need to rely on any absent memories of what those autumn-like months are like to draw upon them for inspiration.
Lead singer Shawn Smith, guitarist Stone Gossard (known famously as one of the founding members of a little band called Pearl Jam), drummer Regan Hagar and bassist Jeremy Toback have more than enough of a dosage of autumn to live off of - the sunlight that, while as bright as it ever is, lacks the same kind of warmth, and the shortening of days, the crispness of the cool air - and to throw into their light rounds of moonlit rock and roll that takes us into the worlds of people warming each others' hands with theirs, of companionship and pure cane love. The nights and the hearts that Smith sings about - sometimes with a hint of religious inkling in them - are fairly precious, often innocent and inviting, as if they remain on the vine, still getting nurtured, still ripening their juices. It's as if they know that they will only remain like this - in this state for so long, before they're plucked, their stems torn from the vine and it's then that their decline is expedited. Brad understands that there could be tampering, that there will be tampering, but staving off the impending gloom can be had for a small price, if the loves that we experience, the people that we experience them with, are mostly kept in a condition that never ages, that lives on in the perennially autumnal landscape of our memories. We have access to the pre-frost feelings whenever we'd like and they're always better.
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