Beer and Pavement

An Open Letter to Archers of Loaf

Posted in An Open Letter, Life by SM on June 28, 2011

I found this nice picture of you. I clipped it from that Vulture piece you did.

Dear Loaf,

It’s been a long time, my old friend. I’ve missed you very much. It seems that you’ve only had time for a few of us, so I’ll make this brief.

I saw you on the television this past week. You guys sounded great, making me yearn for those years past when we used to meet up at Stache’s (twice), the Euclid Tavern, or that shitty metal club in suburban Cincinnati. Those were some good times. You tore up tiny stages and dealt with rowdy punks. You flirted with the devil and chose the higher ground. In my mind, you were kindred spirits with those of us trying to find our way through college with our blue-collar backgrounds[1].

Then, you broke up sometime in the last century. At first, I was hurt, but as new projects emerged, some of that void was filled[2] and I eventually found other music to distract me. Still, I often returned to the material from those glory days and remembered our time together with great fondness.

And as the years passed, several of your contemporaries decided to give it another try, often reaping the benefits of nostalgia. Yet, Archers of Loaf stayed away, never even hinting at a reunion. I was okay with this as I figured you all had better things to do with your time. Also, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to get in touch with my lost youth. Your slot would just have to remain empty.

Then, you did it. Without saying a word, you showed your face in your old stomping grounds[3]. There were whispers and rumors and then a summer festival. It looked like Pavement all over again. However, this was different. I saw you before I ever saw Pavement[4]. This was a longer time coming for sure.

As dates for your reunion were announced, I grew disheartened. The closest you would come to my home would be Chicago and that was the same weekend as anniversary of my marital union. There was no way I’d get to see you again. My dreams and hopes of us getting back together were shattered.

The strange thing is that as I watched you play for Jimmy Fallon[5], a peace grew within me. It became clear that you did this reunion thing right even if you didn’t come within 130 miles of my home. You didn’t record any new music in a half-assed manner just to cash in on the Loaf nostalgia. You didn’t play every summer festival or late night variety show in hopes of big money. You’re not releasing some ungettable box set on a major label. Nope. All you’ve done is play a tour much like the ones you played back when I knew you in support of the reissues of your catalog as put out by long-time friends Merge Records[6]. That’s reuniting the right way.

So, as you wrap up this summer tour and sail off into indie rock history for the second time, feel comfortable in the fact that you did the indie rock nostalgia trip the way Baby Jesus would have wanted. I hold no ill feelings and wish all of you the best in your future endeavors.

Best,

Zac

Notes:
1I don’t even know that this was true. It’s probably not a fair label, but Archers of Loaf appealed to that part of me. Many of the friends who held a similar appreciation for the band had similar backgrounds. Loaf was direct, to the point, and seemed to speak for the blue-collar ethos both lyrically and aesthetically.
2The Crooked Fingers material was very different, but once you saw the live show, you still felt that Archers of Loaf urgency.
3Cat’s Cradle.
4Weeks in fact.
5Does Jimmy Fallon even own an Archers of Loaf record? Did he know who they are/were? Maybe I’m underestimating Fallon, but I doubt it.
6Of course, judging by Arcade Fire’s sales numbers, Loaf could still reap some benefits.

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3 Responses

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  1. Matt said, on July 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Despair not, friend. Indications are that this summer’s tour will not be the last we’ll be seeing of the mighty Archers of Loaf on the road.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on July 1, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Really? Maybe I need to actually read all those Google Alerts I’ve been receiving on the tour. Thanks for the sliver of hope.

      • Matt said, on July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am

        Yep. The basic idea is that the touring will coincide with the re-releases and they’ll keep doing it for at least the next couple of years if they’re all still excited about it and having fun. Judging from the reception at the shows on this tour and the band’s enthusiasm so far, it’s a good bet they’ll keep it up for a while. Plus, new material isn’t out of the question for them either, so that’s a whole new realm of possibilities…


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