Jordan Dreyer of La Dispute talks about why music matters.
As this dude is one of my biggest inspirations, from his stage presence, to his inspiring lyrics, back out through his dedication to his art, I’m gonna leave this right here. Through and through, he has made me want to be a better writer just in order to put out something that I was half proud of. I mean, La Dispute was the first band that brought me to tears. The first time I heard “King Park”, I literally started crying. And that’s embarrassing for me, because I don’t fucking cry easily.
“King Park” is about a shooting in Grand Rapids in which a young man accidentally killed a kid he didn’t even know. Without a doubt, one of the most vivid, insightful, and thought provoking songs I have ever heard. As a seven minute song that starts off pretty slow and progressively starts to develop a real story. A commentary, even, on society as a whole. I was already tuning out the music after a few minutes. Not purposely, you see, as I hadn’t really listened to much of Wildlife and hadn’t realized yet exactly what it would come to mean to me.
The song takes you through a 360 degree perspective of the situation, from the shooting, the crime scene, the victim’s neighborhood vigil, then to the shooter, and ends at the door of a motel room in which the shooter is holed up and trying to figure a way out of the situation.
The last verse is the shooter saying, “Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself? Can I ever be forgiven cause I killed that kid? It was an accident, I swear it wasn’t meant for him! If I turn it on me, if I even it out, can I still get in or will they send me to hell? Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?” While this is powerful stuff all on it’s own, the music then stops after Jordan, as the narrator, comes back in and says, “I left the hotel behind. Don’t wanna know how it ends.” Shivers and crying and all kinds of shit. With a single verse, I was hopelessly and irrevocably in love with La Dis. Occasionally, those dudes from Grand Rapids still bring me to tears.
Musicians and writers with that much passion, that much courage, that much drive, just to do whatever it takes in order to get the message out there, that’s what art is all about. That’s why I listen to music. That’s why I even pick up my pen.