Pubescent ties to music exist in an untainted, pure form as the ultimate high. Our adolescents inhale and savor their first taste of cultural-societal freedom with the touch of one iPod button – and they worship what they hear.

But alas, our malleable youth are prime candidates for betrayal. While musical heroes soothe the sting of unrequited love, the disappointment of adult existence, they betray us just as easily: They leave. They quit. They forget to record. They disappear completely. And while there are no idols easier to worship than musical ones, their betrayals are also the hardest to recover from. When poignant-rockers Braid called it quits in 2000, fans wept for lost music, aimless youth and the realization that musical bonds don't last forever.

"When Braid broke up there were hundreds of people that still wanted to see us live and never would get to," says guitarist Bob Nanna. "I never got over that. That we denied fans the chance to see us live. I don't have the heart to do that."

So they decided to tour; to do interviews; to get back into the groove of something they gave up years ago because it had "run its course."

"I used to absolutely dread interviews," Nanna says. "Maybe it was because we were constantly talking about emo ... everyone called us emo. I was so frustrated by that word. Now I take it with a grain of salt. I have more important things to do and think about."

A national reunion tour for Braid, a new Braid DVD, a new band (Hey Mercedes), a cozy bedroom recording gig (City on Film) – you're damn right he's got other things to think about. Nanna sounds relieved – mostly because he knows that for the large number of fans that were soothed, emboldened and impressed by the emotional roil of Braid's music, there are just as many hearts that were ruined by the band's disappearance.

So they're punching their timecards, jumping onstage one last time to thrash out something akin to thinking-man's heartbreak. They're still strumming hardcore through the effervescence of muddy sentimentality, still despising emo.

"I keep thinking during rehearsal, 'Man, I'm really excited to see Braid,'" Nanna laughs. "I wish I could sit in the audience to watch us because this is going to be good!"


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