March 2003

Open Letter To Albany

by Todd Pasternack

Dear Albany,

Well I finally feel like I'm back home in your vacuum embrace. And I'm trying to figure out where my head has been and what clouded it up for the past year. I mean I was ready to leave you, Albany. Pack up my clothes, guitars and my laptop and move life to the city of brotherly love. I mean it's almost ten years, four bands and six apartments since I moved up here from Long Island. But something's kept me here. What is it, damnit?

It certainly isn't the sight of falling snow, creating claustrophobic street piles, that snaps me back home. It isn't my bite into an overstuffed vegi-burrito at Bombers or a chin-dripping cheese steak at Pepper Jacks. It isn't the ominous tree-lined shortcut I take through the park to get to my apartment during a polar freeze night. It isn't the salt residue on my lips from a dirty martini at Justin's that's put the brakes on for me.

Maybe it's the music scene? I mean at first I was going stir crazy not being on tour with the Seapods, getting away from you. But it was a blessing in disguise. I recorded a solo album here, played some cool shows as Marlow and I got to rediscover how many talented musicians there are in your little city: Knotworking, Michael Eck, Bryan Thomas, Kamikaze Hearts, Runna Muck, Jerkwater Ruckus, Sirsy, Mother Judge, John Brodeur, The Velmas, Brian Kaplan Band, Wetworks, Adrian Cohen, George Muscatello, Raisinhead... my god it keeps going! But alas, even that wasn't enough to stop my big move to Philadelphia either. Shit, I wish it was just plain fear to leave. Cause you see, Albany, you really got under my skin. You're comfortable like my torn-up High School sweat pants I wear to sleep. You're friendly and nurturing, like the mom on the Wonder Years. You're affordable, like my occasional porn habit. For the most part you're even clean (except for the occasional run-in through the college ghetto). And you've even brought love into my life.

Love! That must be it! I know Valentine's Day is way past and all, but I found love within the gentle arms of your city limits. And that sounds cheesy and all, but in this time of terror-filled uncertainty and political absurdity, it's the one thing I can say I'm the most happy about in life. And I'm living that life here with your kind blessing.

So keep your Black & Decker suck on my soul, feed me your sloppy foods, play me your pioneering music, tip your hat to me on the street and inspire me again and again, Albany. I'm truly home.

All the best,
Todd Pasternack

Once an Ominous Seapod, Todd Pasternack is now Marlow.