It’s 2002. Stephan Jenkins and Brad Hargreaves are enjoying a beer after an exhausting awards show in the hotel bar. They can get away with this, because it isn’t 1997 anymore.
“Damn, man,” Brad says. “Can’t really do it like I used to.”
“I know.” Stephan looks pensively into his microbrew. “Hey Brad? Did you see that girl I was talking to?”
“The weird artsy one?”
“Yeah, man. She said she’s bisexual.”
“Haha, nice.” They fistbump.
“And she’s a ballet dancer. So you know what that means.”
“Those little red panties, they pass the test.” Another fistbump. “But anyway, dude. Not to totally kill your boner but...you know who that is, right?”
Stephan kills his microbrew and orders another. “No. Who?”
“That’s that Vanessa Carlton chick.”
“Yeah, I don’t know who that is.”
Brad covers his face in his hands. “Aw dude, it’s bad. Should I tell you?”
“Tell me! What is it?”
“I don’t want to crush you, but I feel like crushing you.”
“Tell me! Tell me! Crush me.”
“She’s that Thousand Miles girl.”
“You know. ‘If I could fall...into the sky.’”
“The fuck are you saying?”
Brad exhales deeply, toying with his phone. “Man, sometimes I wish cell phones had the internet.”
“Yeah, but how would that work? Would you have to like plug them into a phone line?”
“Dude, you’d plug them into a DSL line. It’s way faster.”
“I don’t know. I don’t really like to be tethered down like that.”
“I know, I know. You live your life like a burning man.” Brad waves his hand at the bartender. “Hey man,” he says. “Could I borrow that?” He jerks his thumb at the fake Steinbeck in the hotel lobby, just outside the bar entrance. The bartender, who appears as if he has given up on life, and who appears to have no knowledge of the great alternative stars of the 90’s, shrugs his shoulders.
“Alright,” Brad says, sitting down at the piano. “I never claimed to be a pianist.”
“Haha,” laughs Stephan. “You said ‘pianist.’”
Brad sighs. “Alright, man. Sorry to be the one to break it to you.” Brad cracks his knuckles and then launched right into the opening notes of “A Thousand Miles.” You know. Doo doodle-oo doodle-oo doo, doo doo doo...
“Oh that one...” Stephan laughs. But in his nervous laughter, he sees it all. Like a crystal baller. Like a star-crossed pimp. He sees a commercial for engagement rings, he sees White Chicks, he sees Workaholics, he sees Lil Wayne.
And that’s how Stephan Jenkins began producing music for Vanessa Carlton.