My job often takes me on long trips across empty desert that invites the mind to wonder. Its truly un-glamorous travel but the scenic no-man's-landscapes never fail to surprise and with a subtle angle of lighting from the sunset or clouds hanging just right I manage to always see a different viewpoint. Plus it beats hanging around the office.
A recent adventure across landscapes unknown, my first 80's flashback occurred. A fortunate last minute download to my IPod of VH1's Bret Michaels Rock of Love is what did it. Truly trashy, it kept me spellbound...well at least for the couple of hours I had nothing much else to look at. Yes, its reality TV at its worse...what do you do? But what got me was the season finale confession of the Poison lead singer regarding his terrible health. Years of living the 80's Rock N Roll lifestyle left him with debilitating diabetes.
KISS made "I wanna Rock N Roll all night and party everyday" such a damn fine-sounding idea.
And though Poison would rank as glam hair band rock in my book of metal status, Bret was none the less a product of the same rock machine as myself. Rock star status suddenly became much less alluring. Damn you Bret.
As Bret's mortality sinks into me, I roll into El Paso, TX. El Paso is the dirtiest, grimiest, non-glamorous city barely in the United States...and I love every bit of it. I wondered out loud to myself...yes...I this happens when you've been driving for several hours alone with Bret Michaels...why I always got so damn excited about this brown city. Brown in more ways than one. This brown city brought tears to my eyes and a rush of emotion. Then it hit me. This was MY epicenter of the Rock N Roll lifestyle. Bret and Slash had Sunset Blvd. but I had the strip in Juarez, Mexico.
College brought me to the area where I tried my best to live up to those KISS words. Most of the major rock bands I have seen in my short lifetime were in the El Paso area- Aerosmith, KISS (sans makeup), Rolling Stones, LA Guns, Guns N Roses and Metallica (Las Cruces), Skid Row, Dokken, Winger (What the hell???), and more than I can remember.
I saw many not so-famous-but-should-have-been bands at some of the heavy metal clubs on the US side of this boarder town. Heavy Metal Clubs just don't exist anymore. I even married my husband in a denim skirt and fringed white boots at the JOP downtown. I banged my head and dirty danced way too many times to AC/DC's Shook Me All Night Long as the sun came up. I used to hang with two rocker chicks (the not too unimaginable female versions of Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx) at the Drink N Drown every Thursday night...then I figured out they were lesbians. How I figured it out is another story for another time. I drank yards of beer at the English Pub with Judas Priest in the background and Def Leppard posters on the walls. El Paso was my metal home.
So it was on this very same day that I heard the lead singer of Quiet Riot had died. (I saw them in Albuquerque.) I'd later find out it was a drug overdose. Another victim of the Rock N Roll lifestyle...neither a newsflash or startling revelation. Except a little voice that keeps repeating "these guys are almost the same age as you."
Funny, I had always secretly desired and was envious of being a groupie. You know, following a band around the country, giving blow jobs indiscriminately to roadies to get back stage and then wildly fucking the drummer. Maybe even reaching preferred groupie status and by-passing the roadies with the sheer general common knowledge of my talents...like Sweet Sweet Connie. I never thought about being the WIFE of a rock star. Dumb ass.
I guess it ended up alright that I chose the safe route. I married young, had children young, and settled for dreaming about the rock star life. I might trade it all for Axl, but I wouldn't trade singing Sweet Child O' Mine to my baby boy. It's his ring tone now.