Thursday, February 28, 2019

In the Beginning

Christmas morning, 1984. The official beginning of my love for all things rock 'n roll.

I'd been exposed to great music before that day. I knew every word to every song from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band's, Against the Wind. That 8-track lived in my mom's ill-equipped Chevy Chevette for the better part of the early 80's.

One of my favorite lyrics of all time came from that album: "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Pretty heavy stuff for a 10-year-old. No idea what it meant. Still have to stop and think about it when I hear it today. Maybe that's what makes it such a great lyric.

But it wasn't until I tore open my Twisted Sister, Stay Hungry cassette and popped it in my twenty-five-dollar boombox on baby Jesus's birthday, did I realize just how much music meant to me.

Burn in Hell, I Wanna Rock, The Price. I'd play those songs over and over and over. I weighed 60 pounds soaking wet and sported the dumbest tiger-striped glasses in town, but I was all metal.

My dad thought my music was crap. The nuns at school probably thought I was a baby devil. But I didn't care. Rockin' was my business, and business was good.

It became a bit of an obsession, fueled by the mail fraud of Columbia House and their "8 Cassettes for One Penny!" pyramid scheme. Sure, I ended up with a stack of shit I never listened to, because I forgot to send in the goddamn postcard every goddamn month—13-year-olds forgot stuff. But in a few short years, I built an impressive library of legendary artists: Duran Duran, Quiet Riot, The Police, Springsteen, Hall and Oates, Huey Lewis, Van Halen, The Cars, Chicago, Billy Idol, the Vision Quest Soundtrack (seriously, there are some kickass songs on that soundtrack) and on and on...

These weren't original recordings of course. This scam of a company had to make money somehow. But I didn't know that. And I wouldn't have cared if I did. Not back then.

On hot summer days when mom would lock us out of the house (you would've done the same, we were shitheads), I'd throw Metal Health or Synchronicity into my 5-pound Walkman, hop on my yellow and blue BMX, and ride up and down the gravel driveway until near-dehydration. Or until my batteries went dead.

Fast forward a few years. The tiger glasses were gone, I'd beefed up to a bulky 95 pounds, and I had myself a $600 Dodge Omni with a $300 stereo. That meant I had my pick of the ladies!

(I made that last part up. Apparently high school girls like guys they can't beat in arm wrestling.)

So, I just listened to more music.

INXS, Kick. Damn what an album. The Outfield, Play Deep. I wore that pop masterpiece out!

Axl was on the Nighttrain. Kip Winger was singing about being a pedophile. David Coverdale was doing his best Robert Plant impersonation. Def Leppard was just starting to lose rock cred.

And Sammy joined Van Halen.

Things haven't been the same since. 5150 made me want to be a rockstar. And to this day, whenever I listen to it, I am a rockstar.

Music. It makes me happy. It makes me sad. There have been many a time it has made me feel like putting my fist through a window. But it always makes me feel something. It did then. It does now.

So I started a blog about it.

Let's rock.


  1. Thank you for transporting us back in time. A simpler time when the only worries of the world consisted of having enough quarters in your pocket for the arcade and enough air in your vintage Diamondback tires to get to and fro. And above all, the most important thing was making damn sure new batteries were loaded in your Sony Walkman to rock on! That was 1984.

    And I quote Kurt Cobain — “If it’s illegal to rock and roll, throw my ass in jail!”

    1. Those were definitely the days. Simpler times indeed. Thanks for reading!

  2. Oh, what great memories! Music has the same effect on me. It’s been my inspiration during the good days, and my salve during the not so good. It’s a rare moment when I don’t have something playing. Even if it’s just me humming my favorite U2 or Cure songs in my head!

  3. Jason, while music does indeed ROCK,so do you my friend! Life without music is life less lived...