I did alot of drugs in the 60’s. Which was really difficult as I wasn’t born until 1972. That’s what drugs will do to you kids….but along with the drugs came the more damaging music. The music I was into was not your mama’s music. Well, maybe it was.I had a friend whose mom would pop in and no matter what we were listening to, NIN, Shriekback, PiL, she would ask “oh is this the Replacements?” and bop along in the doorway. It wasn’t MY mama’s music that’s for sure. My mother wasn’t all that into music. Her favorites were Barry Manilow and Paul Anka. So, obviously, I would like Sex Pistols, Ramones and Concrete Blonde.I had another friend whose mother was all about country western music (that’s what she called it). When we were listening to music at her house her mom would come in and try to mosh with us, the whole time asking us “Is this how you do it?!?” My friend’s parents were weird…but funny.My dad listened to nothing but classical. That is, excluding his Village People stash of albums I found when I was 9…that’s a whole ‘nother blog.
Music was a huge part of my life as a teenager. Knowing people in bands was the ultimate. My best friend lived next door to a local band, another best friend had a family member in a local band, another best friend was in one of the most talented local bands. I think at one point I knew more people in bands than not in bands. And they were all talented musicians. Watching bands practice, going to shows, hanging out after shows is what I did with my friends. I wish I could remember all the bands I did see. It was like having street cred when you could name off bands you’d seen before they sold out. Bootleg tapes, shows in the middle of the day, bands in basements. I suppose it was the 80’s. I suppose this was everyone’s experience.
Yet I cringe to think that MY kids would ever, EVER do or see the things I did and saw. I purposely live in a village that does NOT connect to public transportation so that where ever my kids want to go, they have to be driven. I can’t tell you how many times I “went to a friend’s house” only to take the bus to the city and see GWAR or Cro-Mags or some equally sick, loud, drunk band. I know my hearing has suffered from those loud shows. I’m sure the liver damage has reversed itself by now. My memory has gone down hill and I am aged,but I wouldn’t trade that adolescence for the world. I’m lucky I got out alive but while I was in, it was a blast!!
After a short stint as a crazy punk (once a punk always a punk), I moved on to the dirty hippy crowd. The music was way more tame, the people were way more mellow and slower to be funny. Everyone of them was always on some substance. There were no straight edge hippies. Off we’d roam, into the woods, for all night bon fires, to giant concert venus (rather than “shows”) getting there in somebody’s van or giant, 70’s, boat of a car. We would never turn down someone who needed a ride even when it meant they were riding in the trunk.
Yeah, I saw The Grateful Dead in Buffalo with Steve Miller Band opening. Yeah, it was a trip. We all camped out there for a couple of days, I think. Maybe it was a week, maybe it was overnight, whatever it was definitely an experience. All of you who have been to a Dead Show know exactly what I mean. I vaguely remember some of the characters we met. Everything that happened there, from gathering water at the community well, to “finding” one of our friends who came with us but we hadn’t seen in a few hours, was an OH MY GOD moment.All of it was such an out of this world experience. Glad I had it, but it not something that could ever be duplicated….
I came back to reality with a few bumps and bruises and went to college at the birth of the club kid scene. Living in Philly and attending UofArts was a perfect combination for the club scene. I hated grunge, so off to the clubs we would go…dressed in beautifully hideous costumes, eyes tie dyed, hair florescent, shoes platformed. The music was still loud, the place was still packed, but I laughed more than I had in ages.
Being in a pit with punks, someone always got hurt. Being at a show with hippies, someone always overdosed. Being in a club with The Kids, someone always never slept. Occasionally, I would get tired and need to sleep so I would head down to South St. to a sweet little hippie shop to visit. Sometimes I would feel a bit irritated with the colors and obviousness of the clubs and take off for the weekend with my skinhead friend to see some local shows in NYC. It was a good life, a very full life without restrictions cause I was young and having fun!
When I got pregnant with baby#1, I gave up all of it. I gave up even listening to music. I went to shows very, very rarely when I was pregnant and when she was a baby. Little by little, I became a radio listener. It was embarrassing to admit to my friends. Yes, I knew the words to songs that were in the Top 40. Hey, don’t judge! I did what I had to at the time.
After I became a single mother, I began to introduce my kids to MY music. I played them Soul Asylum, Violent Femmes, Descendents, Bad Religion. They LOVED it. Suicidal Tendencies and D.I., T.S.O.L and Fishbone. I bought a Sirius Satellite Radio for the car and that was so much fun because the monitor would show who the band was, the year and the song. So, the kids and I would quiz each other. This is how I began their musical education. Bob Marley, Journey, Led Zeppelin, Def Leppard, Blondie, Elvis, Velvet Underground. I made sure they knew who these musicians were, from what time period, and which ones I liked and who I didn’t and why. We spend ALOT of time in the car.
My kids have now moved on to liking their own music. And it really isn’t that bad. They listen to top 40 stuff, a little bit of rap/hip hop, most of it is tolerable. Every once in a while I will pop into my kid’s room and no matter what she is listening to I ask “Oh is this Eminem?” which always gets me the eye roll. My oldest went thru a stage where all she would listen to was the “new” hair bands like Good Charlotte and Linkin Park. That was annoying. But she got over it and now mainly listens to show tunes. Her younger sister has become all emo with the vampires and the black and maudlin so she is listening to the New Moon CD over and over and over (thanks Aunt Aubry). My youngest one doesn’t have an opinion yet, although when she was 3 she knew all the words to My Humps….which she sang to her nursery school class on share your special talent day….with a special talent day dance…she did not run that one by me first. I would have suggested Blister in the Sun…
Music is a huge part of our lives. I know when I hear a song it can bring me right back to what was going on when I first heard it.I also have some sort of OCD with music. I can’t listen to a song without choreography running through my head. Even songs I hate have a dance in my mind. Music makes me feel. And sometimes I hate to feel. So, now I listen to NPR talk radio. Then I get to think about how I feel. Occasionally, I will flip thru the radio stations, or pop in an old cd to sing along with but it never lasts long. I have trigger thumb when it comes to music in the car. The station tuner is on my steering wheel and when the kids are in the car they do the “Oh Oh OH I LOOOVE this song!!!Don’t turn it” as I turn it. I have no attention span when it comes to music unless I really like the song. And I have very strong opinions about everything we listen to.
I refuse to apologize anymore for liking Usher or Jason Mraz or Neil Diamond (saw him three times in concert in the round). Whatever. But, I am embarrassed to admit that yesterday, when the kids and I were eating dinner at a local restaurant, we were sitting next to an old hair band, I just didn’t know which old hair band they were. I tried to bribe the kids into going and asking them for an autograph. Not gonna happen. I thought seriously about going over and asking them who they were (cause they were obviously somebody what with the hair and the pretty, sleazy chicks hanging on them) but then I thought that might be painful to have someone come over and say “You guys look like you were famous at some point, in the 80’s, but exactly who are you?” So, I chickened out.
I was sitting next to Slaughter!! Oh, that made me laugh. Now, Slaughter was never on my radar as a band I liked, but I had many friends who loved hair bands back in the day. They looked exactly the same. A few more tattoos, alot more grey hair, blue tooths in ear, kinda fat, eating at a family restaurant, at 5 o’clock…with the families and the old people. Kinda sad. We all get older, even those who are in a band. A video on MTV does nothing to stave off old age. Sex, drugs and rock and roll baby…ok, maybe just rock and roll and the early bird special. Guess I’ll leave it all up to the Youth of Today…..