Where: Uintah Exit (Colorado Springs to Denver)
Time: About 5:30 pm
Wait: Less than five minutes
After a pleasant weekend spent in Colorado Springs involving a bit of hiking and cycling through Garden of the Gods, and some drinking on Friday night, I decide to hitch out on Sunday night this time for sure, to ensure that I don’t miss my Monday classes like I did last week. My brother gives me a lift to Uintah exit, where I wait for less than five minutes for a car to pull over. The weather is warm and comfortable with minimum wind; it actually feels like a spring day.
A guy with long brown hair and a basecall cap introduces himself as Johny. I think of the “Heeeeeeerrrrre’s Johny!” TV show introduction when he says that. The inside of the his truck is covered with every sticker imaginable regarding Colorado microbrew beers: Aspen Brewing Company, Bull & Bush Pub, Fort Collins Brewery, Gravity Brewery, Big Foot Ale; a long assortment of different beers and breweries decorate the interior of his car and meld through the upholstery of his Nissan Pathfinder.
Johny tells me that he is studying civil engineering at CU Boulder, and has been studying for some time, approaching his senior year. His parents live in Colorado Springs, and he commutes almost every weekend. We start chatting about music, and I come to find out that Johny “plays a little bit of guitar and sings.” He puts on a demo of his old band, we plug in a gadget that he “just got”, Johny laughs, explaining that they were all “slightly intoxicated” when they did the particular song.
The song is mostly funk and reggae mix, with some influences of punk rock. “Sometimes, we’ll just randomly bounce from reggae to random thrash metal”, he explains. We listen to his demo for about twenty minutes, and he tells me that he plans to devote more time to making music once he is finished with his studies. ” I’d much rather contribute something to society through making music than spend a bunch of time with engineering techicalities, only to build another apartment complex.”
Somebody sings in a high pitched voice along with a Fea-influenced groove bass line and drum beat, and I ask him and he tells me, with some amusement, “yeah, that’s me singing. We were drunk.”
Johny tells me that his band will often jam on a single idea for over twenty minutes, just so they can really tap into the groove of it and start forming spontanenous parts, which they record and often go back and analyze.
“Did you hear about the avalanche along the Loveland Pass?”, he asks me. I say no. “Five kids were killed by it. Avalanches are some serious shit.”
Johny likes to talk about engineering. He tells me that he likes to look at our world and city infrastructure as a giant grid system, which is akin to the wiring of the human brain. “If you look at the diagram of a brain, and the lights of a city and vehicles passing by at night, they are both almost identical”, he says. “We’ve reached a point in engineering that is beyond the industrial era, passed mass production, and arriving at the question of not how much can we build, but how can we build things better? ”
This is the direction it seems that Johny would like to take his engineering knowledge-base. He tells me that he has a friend whose senior thesis is based on a new kind of concrete, which literally has small bacteria inside it, making it so that the pavement will reform itself every time the concrete erodes or cracks. This is just an idea, one that has not been implemented in actual infrastrucuture, at least not yet. Johny tells me enthusiastically about his adventures backpacking through Patagonia, the southern-most tip of South America. ” I couldn’t really do a lot of hitchhiking out there, although I wanted to”, he says. “There just aren’t a lot of cars. I tried hitchhiking in one spot, and after waiting for a few hours, this security dude came up to me and told me that there are literally no cars that were heading in a southern direction from my location. I was passed the point of no return.”
Johny drops me off on Colorado Boulevard, and we exchange contact information. Who knows, maybe a collaboration will go on between us in the future with our similar music interests.