By Juan Manuel
The title is not an overstatement. Five musicians from a country I am not even from had a larger influence on me than any other music I had ever heard before. That’s right, I am not from the U.S., or from England, or any other English speaking country. I am Colombian, and truth be told I am probably the only Colombian in the world that knows and loves TATE.
My journey to finding TATE goes through one man: my father. You should probably also know that I am just 16, and I was much younger when I was introduced to TATE. So it was thanks to my father that I started listening to their first album. He stumbled upon them while searching for music on iTunes, and as he once told me, “After listening to ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ I knew that this band was special; that song is the best song ever made, and it is my all time favorite.” In that me and my father agreed, “Sometime Around Midnight” was the best song ever to be made, and after listening tirelessly to their first album me and my dad had just one topic in our conversations: just how much we loved that band.
It is hard for me to explain my fascination with their music, my friends don’t understand why I like them that much, and to be honest I don’t either. I guess that I love their sincerity. In a world in which music is made to sell, and lyrics are often empty and meaningless, TATE is the exception. They do the music they love, whether people like it or hate it, as evidenced by their new album. And Mikel Jollett’s songwriting is just beautiful. I tried searching for another adjective to describe the lyrics but I just couldn’t find one that describes them as they deserve; that’s it, the lyrics are simply beautiful.
I have listened to every song of every album countless times, and I don’t get tired. Usually, when you listen to a song one too many times it loses its appeal; that hasn’t and will never happen with TATE’s music. The bond me and my father made through their music was truly special; we would sit and talk for hours about what our favorite songs were and how badly we wanted to see them live. My dad was able to; he took my mom to one of their concerts in Fort Lauderdale, and came back even more in love with the band. He told me that it was one of the best concerts he had ever attended (and he had gone to many, many, concerts) and that he had the chance to meet them; he had talked to Steven in the bathroom and their humbleness and friendliness truly astonished him. He also told me that the band was excited to have fans from such an unlikely place. When he and my mom arrived back home, my dad gave me a TATE shirt signed by all the band members, and three years later I still have that shirt displayed in my room.
I loved the band, and they were already firmly entrenched as my all time favorite, however it took a tragic situation to elevate TATE to a crucial part of my life. One week after they released “Wrong,” their first song from their last album, my dad passed away. He was young, but three brain tumors were too much to handle, and he moved on to a better place. It was then when TATE became the thing that, in my eyes, would always keep me linked to my dad. Even if he is not on this earth anymore, every time one of their songs plays on my iPod, my first thought is my dad, and for that I am forever grateful toTATE. My dad’s love for “Sometime Around Midnight” was so much that we played the song, full blast, at my father’s funeral. A song that has very little to do with death and was not very appropriate for the occasion, but it represented my father, so we played it, and people loved it.
When my dad was really sick and in a hospital bed I played him “Wrong” for the first time; he could barely talk back then, but he managed to say “It’s weird, but I like it.” I couldn’t have put in in better words myself.
So, this is my story, the story of the band I love, the story of my relationship with my dad. I could go on and on talking about why I love them and all they mean to me, but I don’t want to bore you. I apologize if my grammar is bad or if you don’t understand something, please take into account English is my second language and I am currently a little distracted, as I am listening to “California” and “Time to be a Man” at full blast on my speakers.
I also wanted to share with you some of my favorite TATE songs. The list is not in chronological order, or in order of preference, they are just the songs that I love the most, and that I could think about from the top of my head. (Please take into account that I have not yet heard Songs of God and Whiskey):
- Sometime Around Midnight
- Wishing Well
- One Time Thing
- Welcome to Your Wedding Day
- The Graveyard Near the House
- My Childish Bride
- The Kids Are Ready to Die
- This is London
- All for a Woman
- The Girls in Their Summer Dresses
- Time to be a Man