Dusk And Autumn

The first time I talked to Chris Carrabba, I think I was still the office manager at Alternative Press. Most of my days were spent sorting mail, cleaning up after our gastrointestinally challenged cat Ogre and dreaming of writing pieces for the magazine that were more than 50 words. It must’ve been late 2001 or early 2002, and the whole editorial staff was prepping for AP’s “100 Bands You Need To Know” issue. I had been trumpeting Dashboard Confessional‘s awesomeness for months and I’m pretty positive that I got the assignment mostly because Jason Pettigrew was tired of me nagging him everyday.

Hypothetical-yet-completely-possible conversational reinactment:

Me: “Hey, Jason! I’ve seen the future of music and it’s all about a lil’ punim named Chris Carrabba!”

Jason: [Growl.]*

Me: “No, really! I saw him play with his band Dashboard Confessional a couple weeks ago at the Beachland Ballroom and the place was packed. Plus, all the kids were singing along. It was like Children Of The Corn—but in a good way.”

Jason: [Annoyed snort.]

Me: “C’mon… I can do this! Let me do this!”

Jason: [Snarl.]

Me: “Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it. Lemme write it.”

Jason: “Fine.”

And… Scene.

(Note to future journalists: Never give up when you believe in your pitch! Just make sure your pitch is on-the-money.)

I remember Jason let me borrow his office for the interview and I sat perched on a wobbly stool—which, if I’m not mistaken, Jason still uses to this day—and waited for Chris to call from his Florida HQ. He had just stopped teaching full-time but had gone back to school to visit his former students for a holiday pageant or something. (Swoon, right?) I had what felt like a million butterflies swirling around my stomach and about 30 seconds into the interview, I knew the convo would change the course of my professional life. It sounds hokey, but I just knew in my gut that Dashboard Confessional was on the verge of exploding and I was about to capture the swell before the storm.

I’ve been lucky enough to talk to Chris a bunch over the years and the two of us have even become bros, which still causes me to pinch myself on a regular basis. Now, any good writer knows that you shouldn’t write for anyone else but you—not your editor, not your audience and especially not your subject. I try to live by that guideline as much as humanly possible but I have to admit, I squealed just a smidge when I got the following text from the beau of the boulevard:

Photo 8

Here’s the interview Chris is talking about. Let me know if you agree!

* Oh, it should also be noted that despite the above depiction, Jason has always been my biggest cheerleader. He’s been a mentor, a bestie and a constant source of wisdom and unfathomable humor. So what’s with the ‘tude? Oh, he just hates “pussy emo music.” For a man raised on Revolting Cocks, can you blame him?

Comments
One Response to “Dusk And Autumn”
  1. Rosalie says:

    You painted a lovely picture of the wonderful Chris Carrabba. Another winner, Miss Les Simes.

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More about Leslie Simon

Leslie is the author of Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World, out now through It Books. She is also the author of Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes and co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.