By Sean H. Doyle
Dear Julie Christmas,
I’m not sure if you get a lot of letters from fans or not, so I hope this doesn’t come off as awkward as it feels like it might. If you just give me a shot here to explain myself, I think this might be okay.
I honestly had no idea that you existed until a couple of years ago. I was on a date with a woman from one of those Internet Dating Sites. We were having dinner in Koreatown, and she asked me what was inside of the gyoza I had ordered [it was pumpkin]. Me being the smartass that I am, I replied with “they’re made out of babies -- that’s why they taste so fucking good.” Her face lit up and she started to bounce up and down in her seat like an amphetamine-fueled cymbal monkey. “Made out of babies! MADE OUT OF BABIES! I used to work with a guy who was in a band called Made Out of Babies -- he was really cool.”
I was very drunk in that moment, but I did ask my date to send me a text message from right there at the table, reminding me to look up Made Out of Babies. Any band that would give themselves such an awesome moniker would probably fall right into my wheelhouse.
I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for not knowing about your band at the time. My use of the name was not malicious at all. If anything -- it very well could have been some sort of prescient homage.
When I got home the next afternoon, I was able to download your first album, Trophy. It only took fifteen seconds for me to hear your voice on the opening cut, “Herculoid.” By the time the song was over -- I hate admitting this so readily, but I cannot lie to you -- I was madly in love with you. I tried to suppress it by smoking a bowl of Brooklyn’s finest cannabinoid offerings, but that only made my love for you grow warmer and squishier with each listen. Your band packed the massive and caustic boom-bap of The Jesus Lizard, coupled with the melodic intentions of bands like Amebix, or even at certain moments -- the counter-melodies of Sonic Youth at their noisiest. Made Out of Babies weren’t just in my wheelhouse, you kooky kids pretty much encompassed the SUM OF ALL THINGS SEAN LOVES ABOUT AGGRESSIVE MUSIC, with the added bonus of having a very intense/beautiful/intimidating woman as the lead vocalist.
So, that’s how it started for me. I don’t know, I figured that maybe if I told you this, everything else will make a little more sense.
Whenever Made Out of Babies were playing locally in Williamsburg, I would debate whether or not it was a good idea for me to come see you guys play. After years of playing in clubs all over the country, and after getting my head kicked in multiple times by thuggish bouncers and overzealous revelers -- the idea of me being in a small room with that many people witnessing a band as aggressive as y’all felt like teasing The Universe to fuck with me some more. I know I missed out on the few times your other band -- the massively under-appreciated Battle of Mice -- played out locally, but that was probably for the best as well. I mean, what with your fucked-up relationship with the guitar player being the inspiration for all of the intense and scary music that band put out. From the internet research I’ve done, it seems like the two of you could have done with some serious couples counseling. I know how that movie ends -- been there, got the restraining order.
Plus, I was pretty sure that if I actually saw you in person, my heart was going to burst inside of my chest.
Julie -- this is serious, now -- you and I have some mutual friends. Well, according to Facebook we do, but that’s not the point -- Brooklyn, at least the part you and I live in, is very small. I’m not telling you this because I am stalking you or anything -- I’m just always on the lookout for you when I am out and about. I thought I saw you coming out of the Penny Licks ice cream place on Bedford one day last summer, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t you, as you do not strike me as the type of woman who is into anything vanilla, you know what I mean? I kind of have you figured for the type of woman who digs Rocky Road as much as I do.
We should go get ice cream some time. I think that would be nice.
Late at night, when I am sitting here at this desk writing things that nobody else will ever really read, I think about you from time to time. I think about that blood-curdling 911 call spliced into the end of the song “At The Base Of The Giant’s Throat,” and I wonder if I can ever hold you tight enough to make that pain go limp inside of you. The way you shriek into the phone makes me want to bring you breakfast in bed every day. I know that kind of pain, Julie -- I really do. Not everyone does, but they think they do. It’s not like just anyone can appreciate a woman who titles songs “Cave of Spleen,” or even “Mr. Prison Shanks.” Not to mention the fact that I feel like the lyrics you wrote for “Sleep and Dream” were written about me --
In a tiny little cave
A dog is sleeping on his back
Iron chains around his leg
But he's purring loud enough to snap
I see blood around his snout
A smile that's bigger than his mouth
They come to hurt him every day
To stomp him back into a crouch
Some people just aren’t damaged enough for that to make sense to them, Julie.
I can assure you that I am.
Anyway -- I hope this letter finds you well, and that things are how you would like for them to be. If you ever feel like hanging out in the dog run together, or smoking some cigarettes and drinking some coffee, just shoot me an e-mail. Take care of yourself.
PS -- I’m serious about getting ice cream together.
Sean H. Doyle lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is hard at work on a memoir that you probably won't want to read without consulting your therapist first. His writing can be found through a simple Google search of his name, or you can always go check out his site. Sean does his own laundry.