Songs For Our Brother's 21st Birthday

Today is the 21st birthday of one of Craig's Hlist's biggest musical influences: Not the Pixies' Doolittle, Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine, or even Operation Ivy's Energy LP. It's an actual person, our little brother Jake. The kid came of legal drinking age last night at midnight, another Hlavaty getting another year older.

Jake doesn't drink too much, which Craig's Hlist loves about him. He wasn't busting the hatch at a Pearland bar last night to get in his first licks. When midnight rolled around, he was probably at home asleep or on the computer. The kid has proven to Craig's Hlist time and time again that you don't need booze to have a good time; sometimes all you need is an energy drink and a trip to the gun range to live it up.

Craig's Hlist still cannot believe it's been 21 years since we met the dude at Hermann Hospital on a blustery day in 1989. He came a few weeks early, which was a big surprise to the whole family. The first thing CHL said to the kid was that he loved him and that he needed a bath. After that, it was our job to teach him the ways of the world.

But he was born with a laundry list of health problems, normal for premature babies. Clubbed feet, jaundice and some scary, scary heart issues, the kind that had killed numerous children on the Czech side of our family for the past 100 years. Tiny casts helped his feet, and the jaundice was fixed with medicine, but major surgery would be needed for the holes in his heart.

The doctors told the Hlavaty family that he wouldn't live very long, even with the surgeries, which is a messed-up thing to tell any family holding an infant. But he survived the operations, coming out with a nifty scar in the middle of his chest that he will show you if you ask him.

Funny enough, he just had a routine follow-up appointment a few months back and he saw some of the same doctors who treated him at Texas Children's Hospital, 20 years on.

Music has been one of the biggest defining points in our relationship, bringing us closer together as the years go on. Craig's Hlist remembers taking Jake to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Numbers in 2002, his first real concert. We lost him somewhere in the pit and he came out sweaty, happy and addicted for life.

Early on his favorite things to listen to were his WWF theme-song discs, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. When you get into music in 1999, it's hard for that not to happen. And yeah, we did buy him that first Bizkit disc.

Later on he would discover Rancid and their various side projects, The Clash, The Misfits, Danzig, screamo and a boatload of metal and hardcore. Motorhead is his favorite band (duh) of all time, we are pretty sure. He owns more shirts, jackets and hats than we ever will. Around the time Grandpa Hlavaty passed away, he went full-hog into country. When you call Jake's cell phone, his ringtone is Billy Joe Shaver.

Now the guy is practically engaged, has a nice job, a huge Chevy truck, a bunch of shotguns, a fishing boat and no tattoos. We envy the guy in so many ways, mostly for his hard work and the fact he has a clean liver and enough money to bail us out of jail if needed.

So Jake, here's to road trips, our dogs in heaven, Chinese buffets, and stealing your shoes. Also, CHL would like to apologize for holding you down and spitting in your mouth when you were ten. It was Chad's idea.

Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards, "To Have and Have Not":

Hatebreed, "I Will Be Heard":

Billy Joe Shaver, "Old Five and Dimers Like Me":

Kyuss, "One Inch Man":

Motorhead, "Ace of Spades":

Iggy Pop, "Butt Town":

Scott H. Biram, "Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue":

Hank III, "Long Hauls and Close Calls":

Mastodon, "Colony of Birchmen":

Merle Haggard, "Mama Tried":

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