Singled Out: Kerosene Stars' Purpose Of A Friend

Keavin Wiggins | 03-13-2022

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Kerosene Stars Photo courtesy NoVo
Photo courtesy NoVo

Chicago's Kerosene Stars just released two new songs as part of their 'Singles' project and to celebrate we asked Scott Schaafsma to tell us about one of the tracks, "Purpose of a Friend." Here is the story:

I was driving the band van through a cornfield somewhere in Iowa in the year that George W. Bush was at the peak of his Presidential influence when it hit me. I had recently taken my second mushroom cap and the sky and corn had seemingly melted into one. That long summer evening as I sped along in a haze of maize, the crisp green leaves striking my face: "What is a friend?," the mantra continuously repeating in my head. What is a friend?

The thoughts that consumed me as the evening wore on were at times elating, often enlightening, at times terrifying. I started smoking cigarettes again after a ten-year abstinence; the stars above me seemed to be closing in; there was a parking lot full of large trucks that I couldn't comprehend. Why does everyone in Iowa have the same truck? With a head swimming with thoughts of "what's right?, what's wrong?, what's wrong with the world?, people from my past kept popping into my visions, vanishing in a flicker of the night sky." I was torn, laughing hysterically, maniacally chain smoking and trying to imagine when I'd get home again, where IS home? Why did I start smoking again?

Dawn brought me to the parking lot of a casino and as I arose in a strangely refreshed state, the lyrics and melody revealed themselves to me "the purpose of a friend is to know this," "the purpose of a friend is to know this, all by myself..."

The second verse of this track goes "I'm better off, without ever finding you"-- this pertains to the people I've known that maybe I don't stay in touch with much anymore. Circumstances change, as do people. What can we do? They say you can only maintain a certain number of true relationships in your life and the rest are casual acquaintances you can't really keep up with. The "Purpose of a Friend" is a reflection in a point in time when I was reinventing my identity as a musician and reassessing how I should proceed as one, or maybe not at all. Thoughts of quitting music altogether spin through my head every single day, but the truth is I know that without it I cannot exist.

Everyone needs to reinvent themselves at some point in their lives or we grow stale and whither on life's vine. I know this all too well. Call "Purpose of a Friend" a rebirth, so to speak.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the band here

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Singled Out: Kerosene Stars' Purpose Of A Friend

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