There is a place in Albuquerque, New Mexico called Nob Hill- it is a music store. I had just left my trail crew group and knew I needed to find music, because aside from the outdoors music is just a place to call home. As I was looking through the records a young man walked through the front door. His steps were light and his presence was adorable. As he slowly moved down the aisles he began to quietly hum under his breath, a tune of contentment. Outside of the music store there were no musicians playing freely in the streets and without musical expression on the sidewalk, the world can feel a little lonely. However, in Nob Hill people came and went with one important aspect in common: the endless appreciation for music.
I had a feeling Ruben was different. I was fumbling through records of all sorts (mostly punk and 80s records) when I decided to ask him a few questions. He was still humming when I asked my first question, "are you a musician?" He lifted his head and said "yes." You could feel his admiration and his passion.
He told me that as a kid he would watch Peter Gabriel live and would mimic his drumming style. The way he told me felt like I had been a part of that particular memory of his. I could picture him as a little boy wanting so badly to express himself as Gabriel had. I asked him if he played any instruments and with confidence he shook his head. He started as a young boy, because his father was and still is a musician, which is where he got a lot of inspiration. On the same note he was involved in a lot as a child, such as jazz camp and a high school band. In jazz camp he played the marimba, the african drums (djembe), and the keyboard. Aside from the many instruments he is able to play, he also can play the euphonium.
As we were talking I noticed he was wearing a Jimmi Hendrix shirt. There are a lot of people that believe that Hendrix is overplayed but he was a legend. I asked him about his shirt and he kind of bowed his head down as if he was embarrassed. I wanted to tell him he had nothing to be ashamed of, because Hendrix sure rocked the stage. I asked him what he liked most about Jimi Hendrix. The embarrassment subsided and he smiled. He said he liked his "if six was nine" attitude. I found that admirable. He also went on to say that he liked the song "Little Wing" because he found a lot of beauty in that song.
We got on the subject of his father, because he told me that a lot of his passion for music was due to him. He said that as a little boy his father would play "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon. That was probably the most inspirational moment of the day. He told me about his father's band, "Racin Creole" a Haitian band. His father plays bass in the band. He also taught Ruben how to play the guitar, which is very inspirational.
"Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
I asked him if he thought about the future in music and he said "I really don't like the way money and radio corrupts music in a way- I would hope for it to change in the future." He looked me straight in the eyes and he said "I hate money." He said it in such a manner that made me feel for him. He said it as if he wished that in the morning it would all be gone and he could just consider it a nightmare. He told me that he really wants to see society change. He said "I think people could change this world- all of the worlds problems could get better." I can honestly say he made my day, because in that music store I felt a true and common understanding with another human being.
"Creating music for money is like weaving a beautiful rope and then hanging yourself with it."
-Ruben's friend Abraham
Although Ruben's true passion is music he might one day end up studying government/politics in college in hopes of one day changing the system. I just hope he remembers Peter Gabriel, Hendrix, and Lennon as a means of sanity while caught in the race.
Below: A few of Ruben's favorite bands (I chose the songs)
Andrew Jackson Jihadhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBq2gB2sNk0
Queens of the Stone Agehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcHKOC64KnE
Townes Van Zandt http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTGKzWDakK8
Dillenger Escape Planhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMEYLlDThZU