In junior year of high school I became the bassist in a metal parody band called Sparkling Honeypuff. But if you asked my bandmates, Brandon and Charlie, they would probably have told you we were in a serious thrash metal band called Slaughtered Goat (or something), and they would probably have made some mean joke about how I couldn’t play even the simplest bass chords despite their six-plus months of effort to teach me. To this I would have said that it was funnier overall if I didn’t really know how to play bass, more in line with the parody aspect of the band, and also that it was more fun to simply hang out and have a good time than to listen to the same Black Sabbath song over and over, and slide my fingers across rough strings that gave me blisters, trying to imitate the bass line of some song I didn’t even like.

“How can you not like Black Sabbath?” Brandon would say.

“Is that a real question?” I would say, completely mystified. “You honestly like this music?”

These kinds of creative differences ultimately led to the band’s demise, at which point Brandon and Charlie started a new band, also called Slaughtered Goat (or whatever) with a new bassist, a role they didn’t actually fill.

I had known I wasn’t a musician since my second-grade keyboard recital, during which I stopped playing in the middle of the song and yelled to the audience, “I don’t know the rest!” I liked the idea of being part of a group and contributing to something larger than myself, and hanging out with my friends under the guise of being productive, but I didn’t actually want to play music. Especially not metal.

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