Reflections From a Nine Spine Stickleback Fan

Reflections From a Nine Spine Stickleback Fan

The Stronger You Grow: Reflections from a Nine Spine Stickleback Fan
Written by Denver Olmstead

In the early 90’s grunge music was reaching its peak, and Nine Spine Stickleback was crafting their first self titled album. Alternative music was easing its way into the hearts of teens, and my father was pounding on a hotel room door at three in the morning. I was sixteen—the stereotypical idealizing fan standing center stage at concerts: Dr. Martin’s planted strong, Dickie pants worn low, and elbows held ready for oncoming collisions. The underground music scene was more than the sound. It was what it represented: independence and release from societies structured standards. In the mid 90s, Nine Spine came to perform in the rural Utah town I lived in, their Prospector album at its peak. My life changed with that show. Nine Spine’s lead singer, Tyler, talked me into promoting concerts in a hotel room, and music from the big city found its way to Vernal, Utah throughout the rest of my high school years.

Nine Spine Stickleback provided the sound: distorted guitar riffs, heavy drum beats, powerful bass cords, and transgressive lyrics that resonated concert halls and pounded in our ears and chests. Each member of the band from a different genre, provided Nine Spine’s unique and compelling sound. The band members may have wanted to become rock stars, but, for their fans, they were more. Being a musician is to be part of a community, and Nine Spine built a community that stretched across the state.

Twenty years have passed since I first heard the music of Nine Spine Stickleback, my father has finally realized nothing happened in that hotel room, and the band and fans have all grown. Yet, the music of Nine Spine continues to find its way into my Spotify playlists. As I write this, I sit in a coffee shop dancing in my seat, hands raised, pounding the air to the beat of Distress to the Fourth Power just as I did when I was sixteen. As the lyrics state—“I have been here before; I have become what I created.” Only now the angst of youth is gone, replaced by a thrill as I recognize my considered selfish behavior allowed me to become myself and walk my own way—unafraid and never alone.

Nine Spine Stickleback provided an outlet to express individuality—giving each of us the opportunity to add our voice. The music was our excuse, our venue that became a link. To this day, the people who moshed with me are still the people from whom I seek advice. The memories—the music—connect us in a fashion unlike anything else during that time could provide. Nine Spine gave us the ability to scream our views to the world and express ourselves without fear or shame. Being a fan wasn’t about being a groupie, it was about the experience and expression.

It’s time for our community to come back together. Reflecting back on those concerts, and anticipating Nine Spine Stickleback’s reunion show, I’m interested to see what we’ve become, but more importantly where the music will take us this time.

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