It is the weirdest thing. All the music of my high school years is being brought back into my house by my son. Today he listened to Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and I couldn't help thinking back to the time when I saw this performed live. Having all this retro classic rock music in my life again is the most tangible way of remembering those things that happened way back during my high school days. Once he was playing Led Zepplin's "Stairway to Heaven" and I went way way back to a night where I had the most amazing sex with my then boyfriend in, shall we say, an altered state. I could almost feel the heat of the evening with oppressive humidity, the room walls covered with rock posters, drinking lemonade and getting so into the music that I almost couldn't separate myself from the song.
When the Boy plays Jimi Hendrix I think of the day I skipped school and took the bus to downtown Hollywood to get "Are You Experienced" as it was released at noon. I had to be the first one to have it because the music spoke to me back then. I was a kid that grew up in the 60's when the world was changing so fast that adults really didn't have a clue what was really going on. Or at least my parents didn't. I was immersed in Hendrix and Janis Joplin and the Jefferson Airplane. I would listen to the music as loud as I could, considering that my record player in those days wasn't even a stereo. Only real audiophiles had stereos. The first albums I bought weren't even put out in stereo, they were mono. It was a long long time ago.
I was a wild teenager. My parents were incredibly disinterested in me, and didn't seem to know where I was and what I was up to. By the time I was in high school I was averaging about 60 skipped days of school per 180 day calendar year. I used to take the bus into Hollywood and hang out, or go to the beach and lay in the sun. When I learned to drive, I would take the car my brother drove to school an hour early each morning for marching band practice (he was SUCH a bandgeek) out of the school parking lot, drive to the beach or to a friend's house or whereever, and then bring the car back just in time for school to be over. I'd 'meet' my brother in the parking lot and we'd go home. He never knew until I told him years later.
As a kid living in LA during the 60's, I was exposed to illegal subtances at a very young age. My kids read my blog, so I'm not going to say what or anything else, but those of you that know of the time and place can imagine what things were like. I can remember going horseback riding with friends and getting completely lost in the hills behind my house. Hills with nary a tree in sight. They were rugged hills, with tarantulas and rattlesnakes and other creepy things, and I'd be wandering around property that I knew like the back of my hand, totally lost amongst the spaced. Interesting times.
Some of the music the Boy plays is from the next big era of my life, the end of grad school. He will put on the Ramones or the Sex Pistols and I'm dancing my ass off in a club that used to be on Landsdowne St across from Fenway Park. This was during the time when I spent every night I possibly could clubbing and just dancing until I thought my lungs would burst. Loud loud music, throbbing music, music that let me forget my crappy life as a teacher and made me feel like the world couldn't be better. I was a regular at one club called Spit, and even had a member card that I'd flash at the door and get in free. That was so cool.
When the Boy plays this music he likes me to tell him about all the bands I've seen, and about some of the highlights of the concerts. It's hard for him to believe that his grey-haired mom has seen bands that he loves. I've got ticket stubs from pretty much every concert I'd been to since the early 70's, and he likes to look at them and say "Wow, what was this Grateful Dead concert like?" or "What do the Psychedelic Furs play again?" I don't see myself as a particularly cool person these days, because the stuff I'm into now probably is so outre it's not funny, but I did have my moments and music was always a big part of that time.
I get such a kick out of my kid loving my music. I get even a bigger kick out of knowing that he's discovering most of it on his own. I tend to listen to the Ipod, which is such an antisocial and solitary activity, or I listen to CDs while I'm blogging, when the kids are asleep, so he often has no idea of what I like other than to look at my Itunes list or to check out my CDs. Sometimes he'll pick out a CD like "The Pixies" and listen to it and give it a thumbs up, and then it becomes part of his repetiore. I love that. I love watching him discover music and fall in love with it just like I did as a kid. I think it's the most amazing thing to watch him develop his own musical tastes, different than the damn hip hop crap his sister and all her friends listen to. I love that he is open to lots of different types of music, that he'll listen to Bob Marley and love it just as much as he loves David Bowie and the Beatles. He's become so discerning in his tastes. It just floors me.
The saddest thing is, two of the Girl's best buddies both have fathers that are very well known rock DJs in Boston. These guys have the biggest collections of records and CDs you have ever seen, and the Girl and her friends have no appreciation of it at all. But the Boy, he'd kill to get at these collections. That's why I'm going to try hard to cultivate a friendship with one of the families. The Boy needs to be exposed to stuff like this.
Rock on, people. Stumble It! JBlog Me