Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My 80s Flashback Part 2

So back to my flashback...

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.

Akasaka Prince

This was written on April 18, 2007 on the plane from Tokyo back home:

I followed the lines as they curved like a serpant, sinking its teeth into you, sinking your teeth into me.
I prayed to the Shinto gods for mercy.
Chinese writing telling the story of your life, trailing the arch of your back.
A story of which I streaked through momentarily.Not long enough.
Etched into my mind like your tattoos...the way you looked through me into the deep pools of my soul and announced it dreamy. Dreamy.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My 80's Flashback Part I

I've been having an 80's flashback. Not the "wow, I feel like listening to Depeche Mode" but some serious metal transport to my past life as a straight up Rock N Roll Hair Metal Girl- fringed white boots, big hair, and all. I haven't quite switched back to Aqua Net, but I have had visions of times when I did kill the Ozone before heading out on a Saturday night. I guess a series of events have brought on my daydreams of rock gods. But I'll get to that soon.

I actually can't say I was a truly devout metal chick for the entire 80's, but more the latter part of the decade. Here's how it went down...

As I entered high school around 1984, Christianity as we know it was being threatened by four California boys named Motley Crue. I say boys because I later realized they were only a couple of years older than me at the time. Now this was a serious and urgent matter in a strict private Presbyterian preparatory school. No pentagram star t-shirts, cassette tapes with Vince's crotchal area, or sacrilegious lyrics were allowed on campus or one would face certain inquisition/exorcism. I laugh now at the deep concerns of my school's administration on the matter. They are so nonthreatening today, but at the time...they were the devil.

Nick, my friend from Arizona who lived in the dorms and was a constant source of humor due to his crippling boredom, actually changed the words to "Shout at the Devil" to "Shout at Your Grandma" (his grandma was deaf) to dodge trouble but to push the envelope simultaneously. All this activity over such bad boys made them an obsession amongst all us young, shy girls nearly overnight. Not so chronologically, Metallica soon followed. Though more "underground" and a bit more edgy and disturbing, they none the less disturbed our preacher. And Iron Maiden? Forget about it.

It didn't take too long after that though that I fell into a long punk/New Wave scene. I became enthralled with Adam Ant (I believe God will forgive me sooner for loving Motley Crue). The local "teen dance club" opened and led me to Depeche Mode, New Order and alot of the English synth bands.

Then one day...I heard THE VOICE. I saw the nearly neurotic, oddly sexual, frightening presence of the man who changed my outlook on the world- Axl Rose. He scared the crap out of me. He turned me on. He was the sexy bad boy, but probably too unsafely bad. The kind of guy to lure you into his car with a flashy smile, then slip you roofies and gang bang you along with three of his much hairier friends. But ya...you'd still get in the car.

And speaking of hair...not until then, nor since has any guy sported long hair better than him.

My first year in college (pre-guns n roses) my boyfriend helped bring me to some sense of reason when it came to music. I discovered Lynard Skynard (I'm over it now), KISS, Def Leppard, AC DC, Judas Priest, and some really heavy rock like Accept. I rediscovered my older sisters music- particularly Zepplin. But come my sophomore year, there was only one soundtrack, background music, theme song, etc. for any college student, and that was Appetite for Destruction. Motley Crue were bad boys but this was different. Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll, were taken to a whole new darker level. MC made it sound like fun, but G n R made it sound down right scary. The inside album photo was of a young blindfolded girl who'd just been raped by some scary creature. The photo was originally meant for the cover of the album but G n R were forced to change it for fear of reprisal for such a graphic image. It was replaced with the iconic drawing of the band members skeleton images on a cross that later became a tattoo on Axl's arm.

Axl sung about heroin...and not in a good way. He called women bitches and suggested rape. It was haunting and captivating and it rocked. At the time, no one I knew listened to anything else. Literally. I remember endless nights of parties playing the cassette repeatedly and never pausing to play something else. The pace of the album just kept everyone stirring. I had two copies myself. It seemed to personify the new sense of hopelessness that came with AIDS, unprecedented levels of violence, and the "war on drugs"- the debilitating use of crack. Sex and drugs were now deadly for everyone and forever. The innocence of the 60's was not only dead, but G n R stomped on its grave. G n R didn't just reflect the times...they oozed it. I was a full-fledged rocker chick.

  • When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. ~Hunter S. Thompson