No, really, this is probably the least absurd thing that will happen in 2020.
2020 was going to be the Year of the Loaf. The Archers were going to release an album and tour and the world was going to be a far better place. But then the world collectively indulged in its apocalypse fetish and every loaf was pinched half baked.
Instead of a full on return, we have been given a few snippets of the new music. Not that I can complain. Those four tracks are all amazing. Talking Over Talk is already one of my favorite songs ever. But it could have been so much more. I could have heard Matt tell jokes between songs live on stage for the first time since 1998. I just hope that the Orwellian Flu hasn’t broken up their momentum.
In the meantime I need something to believe in. Everything I had going for me was stolen by the fear and arrogant overreaction of the powerwalkers. I need the return of a savior to guide me to my salvation. Absolutely nothing makes more sense than Archers of Loaf.
I was just about to graduate high school when I discovered Archers of Loaf at a Best Buy preview listening station. It has been said that the name was a curse which prevented their ascendancy into mainstream recognition, but the name is the exact reason I decided to put those headphones on. Step Into the Light was a bit too meandering for me in that moment, so I skipped forward to Harnessed In Slums, and was instantly in love.
Over the next months I acquired the Archers of Loaf’s entire catalog, as well as the first Barry Black album, and listened nonstop. I became a Loafvangelist, telling anyone who would listen about the greatness of the Archers. There were many conversions among friends and family.
It wasn’t until two years later in 1997 that I would finally get to see the band play live at the legendary Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City, Iowa for the first time. It made me love them tenfold more. In early 1998 I moved to Iowa City, and was lucky enough to see them twice more before they split up late that year, both times also at Gabe’s.
The first of those took place some time in the summer. I will never forget that, because it was a very hot day and I was walking home from work, and ducked into an alley to smoke weed to lighten the edge of my anticipation for the show that night. And as I fumbled loading a one hitter with the melody from Smoking Pot in the Hot City running through my head, somebody began walking down the alley and I had to abort mission. It just so happened to be Eric and Matt, who were having a laughter-filled conversation. I didn’t want to interrupt, and I was still a bit startled, so I didn’t try to talk with them. I am glad I didn’t, because otherwise I would be that weird guy that gushed all over them in a hot, stinky alley in some hilarious Matt story the next night.
The next time I saw them would be my last – October 22, 1998.
22: This is the last date I saw AOC. It is also my birth date. V is the 22nd letter in the alphabet (Vee Vee). It took 22 years for the band to release new music, which they did on 2/20/2020. The first song I ever heard, Step Into the Light, is 4:22 in length.
That show was extra special because my friend’s band Stubby opened for them, and the band in between was Skeleton Key, whom I absolutely adored from the moment that dude started pounding on hubcaps and sheet metal. The Archers were absolutely electric that night and I cannot remember a bout of Stendahl Syndrome lasting that long in all the other days of my life.
If I had to be stuck in one night for the rest of eternity, I would pick that one. Which kinda makes it my own personal version of heaven, and Archers of Loaf my divine figurehead.
The numerological sum of “archers of loaf” is equal to 1.
A lot has happened since 1998. As I have grown and evolved as a human being I have decided that the meaning of life is in joy and beauty, and the purpose is in creating and experiencing that which is joyful and beautiful. I don’t believe in gods, house-apes in labcoats or boundaries and authority. And so who better to represent what is sacred to me than Archers of Loaf?
Now who wants to join me at the altar of the greatest of all time?
It’s the spit on our chins that makes us strong
It’s the sounding off of a crowd that’s gathering
Rocking out, rocking out