Years From Now

Sounds like: Lifetime, CIV, and pizza in the morning.

This file includes the 2005 demo, So Much Promise, We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat, Enough Already, all comp and guest appearances, some rarities, and a ton of art and lyrics.

Stream the above files here.

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What Took You So Long:
The Story of Years From Now

A biographical essay by singer/songwriter/king baby
Michael Hawkins

What would eventually become Years From Now began the day after Hurricane Charley curb-stomped the state of Florida. It was August 11th, 2004, the power was out, and it was hot as shit. Everyone in Daytona was bored, sweaty, and miserable. And everything was closed, including the Volusia Mall, where I worked. So that morning I staggered around my house for a while, staring at stuff, on the verge of tears because of the heat. I got so bored I even unplugged a storm drain on my street which took care of some flooding, but none of my neighbors noticed because – like me – they were slowly turning into liquid. Finally, I went out on the back porch with my acoustic guitar, and an actual pencil and notebook, intending to maybe write the last song I would ever write before I jabbed the pencil into my brain. I hadn’t written anything since 2003 when my previous band Total Recall had imploded. We were on a short tour and everybody got mad at Tom in South Carolina and we just went home. So I started playing two of my favorite Total Recall songs and then wrote some lyrics which I thought fit the music better. These two became “Snap Out of It” and “Chad Is A Fun Hater.” And over the next few weeks, I wrote the rest of the songs that would eventually appear on our 2005 demo.

I took what I had to Mike, my good friend and the old singer of my first band, Every Waking Moment. He’d been trying to teach himself guitar for a while and since he sucked at the time, I figured he’d be in no position to turn down a spot in the band. Next I guilted my other two friends, Shane and Justin from Total Recall, into joining on bass and drums respectively. Finally I managed to get Alex into the fold. Before Years From Now Alex and I didn’t really hang out. I didn’t like youth crew or soccer and he didn’t like all the dumb shit I was into. The deciding factor was that Alex was good at guitar and since Mike wasn’t, he was in.

yfn5Even though we were just a ragtag group of Daytona locals, we clicked immediately. It was like we were meant to play music together. I’ve never had a first practice go so well. To get accustomed to each other, we’d each learned the Kid Dynamite song “K05-0564.” I’d never sang in a band before, so about halfway through the song, I stopped and said, “Fuck it. I’m sorry, guys. I sound like shit. Never mind.” Alex told me I was being an asshole and that my ears were broken. Everyone else agreed, told me to shut up, and we kept going. All of a sudden we were a band.

Recording came next. We headed up to Goldentone in Gainesville where my previous two bands had recorded. Rob was accommodating as always and let us go as fast as we wanted. We slammed out an eight song demo in about eight hours. It would have been a perfect weekend except that Shane had just found out he was going to be a dad. But he was a trooper and didn’t have a meltdown, even when our buddy Chad from VIFL kept making jokes about the anti-abortion billboards so prominently displayed on Highway 40.

We played a lot of shows. At the time we were one of the only functioning, decent bands in town so our friend Billy, who booked all the local shows (and the annual This Is For You Fest), threw us on everything. From 2005 until 2007, we played with all the cool bands from that era: Crime In Stereo, This Is Hell, The Backup Plan, Blacklisted, Another Breath, Down To Nothing, Attitude, Meltdown, Cast Aside, Mental, Outbreak, Verse, Kids Like Us, Instilled, etc., etc. Soon enough, we started heading out to other parts of Florida every chance we got: Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and all points in between. We even did a quick jaunt up to Atlanta and Virginia within a year of forming.

97794719_3ab084a022It was early 2006 when we had some more songs to record. So we went back to Gainesville and returned with five songs for an EP I titled So Much Promise. At the time, I was getting swept away by all the shows we were playing and all the fun we were having. Months long U.S. tours and becoming the next H2O seemed right over the horizon so I stopped giving a shit about school. Of course, quitting college for the fourth time had its repercussions, mostly with my parents. So, to belabor the point, I had promise, but – at least the way they saw it – I was squandering my potential. Of course, I was twenty-three and thought the world was made out of fucking ice cream so I didn’t care.

A guy we knew from Daytona offered to put out So Much Promise for us. And about a year after that, this guy had seventeen new tattoos and we had no record. But at least it wasn’t our money. It was about this time that we met Charles.

years10At first, Charles seemed great. He played guitar in a youth crew band from Orlando called Make Or Break. He also ran a label called Get Outta Town Records. We started playing a lot of shows with Make Or Break. Charles, along with the other guys in the band (Pick, Mike C, and the Mos) loved us. They used to go nuts when we played and we’d return the favor. Well, when I say we, I mean me. At the time, everyone else in Years From Now was deep into mosh retirement. Alex would emerge from time to time if a band covered Project X, but that was about it.

Charles offered to put out a record for us. He wanted it to be a full-length. So because we had no fear or expectations, we wrote and recorded one. We threw the So Much Promise and demo material we didn’t re-record at the end of the CD making it into a discography of sorts. Nineteen songs, a track listing close to bursting. Hence the title: We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat.

Charles also took over doing our merch. He would front us shirts and we’d pay him back a percentage of what we sold. However, sometimes he would change my designs without telling me. Which is the reason the Years From Now shirt with Lewis Black on it – the one I was so proud of designing – ended up with the graphic reversed and the Get Outta Town URL as side-print (woof). And then there was the garbage bag of hoodies he dumped on us at Significant Fest in the middle of summer. They were expensive as hell to print, we didn’t ask for them, and now we owed on the whole bag. And no matter how many times we washed them, they always smelled like taint.

130224338_34928d7399Of course, shirts are shirts and who gives a shit. The breaking point came when we had a falling out with Charles. It was personal in nature and there’s no need to elaborate. I don’t want to smear the guy, but at the time I believe we were justified in our dislike of him.

It was also right about this time that I allowed this terrible girl I was seeing to eviscerate me emotionally. My entire life started to revolve around her and since she was basically poisoning me, my involvement in the band began to suffer. I only mention her because this time in my life was integral to the demise of Years From Now.

We were about two and a half years in at this point. We had a relatively good record, at least a few kids sang along at most of our shows, and we had friends and a small following all over Florida. But we hadn’t really toured yet. So we decided to hit the road with No Harm Done from Deltona and Trample from Tampa. It was a two and a half week trek, late December through early January. The route was through the southeast to the northeast and back again: Tallahassee, Memphis, Columbus, etc., all the way to Jersey and Long Island and back to Florida. The day before we left we played This Is For You Fest 5 in Daytona. And – I have to say – we killed it. Our set was absolutely bananas. We opened with “Strength Through Wounding” and “Porphyria Cutanea Tarda,” by AFI, the two songs that kick off Black Sails In the Sunset. People went bonkers. Kids were hanging from the ceiling rafters. We played on the floor and everyone was swarming around us. People were even going off behind the drum kit. The response to those covers and then to our own material was complete and utter insanity. How I felt during that set is, without a doubt, the absolute coolest and most accomplished I have ever felt in my entire life to date.

The next day, we embarked on what we were calling The Abominable Snow Tour. And, for Years From Now at least, it was an unmitigated disaster. For which I take full responsibility.

Our amazing TIFY set notwithstanding, I was still being a sad ball sack about my pseudo relationship. I say “pseudo” because it wasn’t a real relationship. It was a game that I stupidly allowed myself to be sucked into by an incredibly selfish person. But I was naive and blind back then so it’s hard to comprehend what I was thinking.

130226299_08cad9588cThe other reason the tour tanked was that I was sick. Unbeknownst to me, or anyone else, I had a massive case of strep throat. I was in agony for two weeks. I was drinking tea, honey, throat coat, whiskey, and taking tons of Tylenol to kill the pain. It got to be so bad I had to sit out a few of the shows. Charles, who was scabbing on guitar for No Harm Done, sang our set one night in Clifton, New Jersey. By all accounts, he just made up the words and acted like a fool (another strike that contributed to our falling out). I went to the ER to see what could be done, which as it turned out was nothing (they misdiagnosed me). And let me just say that emergency rooms in Jersey are fucking crazy. I saw a homeless guy bash his head on a counter top until he was a blood sprinkler and they still didn’t admit him.

So I was sick and I was sad. And everybody hated me. Morale was down and we played terribly. It was cold as shit and almost nobody had a good time.

And whoever plotted the tour (probably Charles) must have had a stroke while they were e-mailing people for shows because we had a twenty-four hour drive back to Daytona from Long Island with nothing in between. Somehow Justin and I got lumped into No Harm Done’s van that couldn’t go over 65 miles an hour without overheating. And when it was my turn to drive, I overheated it. I also took so much pain killer I threw up all down the side of their van. They were not stoked. But, to be fair, sans Tommy and his brother Matt, those dudes were cretins who never bathed and ate trash. Well Tommy doesn’t bathe and probably has eaten trash, but he’s not a cretin. Years later we became friends and band mates when I joined Axis and started We’re Not Dead and Rewritten with him.

I went directly to the ER in Daytona when we got back. They told me my throat looked like the end of the world, gave me steroids, and I went home. When I woke up I felt 100% better. Even so, no one in Years From Now talked for a while. I guess Alex also hated Mike at the time too though I can’t remember why.

We still had a few new songs we hadn’t recorded yet. So instead of going to Gainesville again we went five minutes down the street to our friend Joe’s house. He recorded our final EP, Enough Already, in his bedroom. I was extremely proud of that recording. The lyrics were very personal and I’m still proud of them. The final song was a reprise of an intro we used to do. It dissolved into an acoustic farewell that ended with me getting up, leaving the room, and shutting the door. That was Chris Tharp’s suggestion. As maudlin as it sounds, it was an emotional thing to put Years From Now to rest. Chris came up with the perfect way to end it and that’s exactly what we did.

Years From Now played our last show at Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall in Orlando. Which is less a hall and more a hole, but back then we always played there. Almost all our friends, past and present were there: Eddie, Jesse, Pat, Rusty, Mosh Norton, Mitrik, Shawn, John Park, Gil, Sam, Think Right Crew, Jay, Melissa, to name just a few. Everyone came dressed in a white tee-shirt and tan cargo shorts because that’s what I always wore when we played. It was a cool moment that made me realize I had about a million awesome friends. Chris Tharp read a haiku he’d written before we played: “You say enough already, I say never enough. Years From Now. Reflect.”

And that was a great show that I’ll always remember.

YFN @ Union HallAlex had stopped being mad at me for the tour and we continued on with our next band Meantime, which I’ve talked about on this site. But ironically enough, in 2010 when Meantime played our last show, our second guitarist Pat put forth the idea of Years From Now reuniting for the event. Everyone agreed and we did it. We had a great time and that was the seed that birthed We’re Not Dead.

I don’t think back on those times too often because when I do, I just see a blur. We went full speed for a few good years and then it was all over. It wasn’t easy remembering everything to write this piece because I can’t pin down the times and places as well as I have in my other articles. So this is really only a partial recollection. Aside from that horrible tour, we just had so much fun together I can’t think of anything else.

Years From Now was a punk rock band from Daytona Beach, Florida that I sang for. But was also my bond with the friends I met through punk and hardcore put to song. It was going nuts onstage to sound of our own music. It was being exactly where we were supposed to be at the perfect moment.

It was everything I wanted it to be.


Here’s to everything that lies ahead.


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