April 5, 2020

The Song That Changed My Life.

You gotta lose your mind Detroit Rock City.

I was always loved music. Always.

My parent's taste in music wasn't really pop.   My father never seemed to be interested in music but he would, from time to time  , put on a song that seem to mean  something to him. I don't know what mother listens to now but she liked movie and  TV soundtracks when I was a little kid. That was kind of cool. I remember getting really excited when she played the theme from Hawaii 5-0.   She also had  the soundtrack for "2001: A Space Odyssey" which was very cool.  Kubrick was a fucking genius.

Even  though lived in a small town in Texas, I didn't care for country music. I didn't grow up exclusively in Texas though.  Left to my own devise , I liked top 40 music.  American Top 40s with Kasey Kasem. That was all  I really I knew of. That would all change when I was 14 or 15  years old and  visited a relatively new friend.

I met my friend  Fred in sixth grade about a year after I moved back to Texas.  This was in the mid 70s maybe?  Fred and I would be friends off and on for a few years after meeting.  Ultimately we became  friends for life.  Everybody liked Fred.  They called him "moose" for some reason but the nick name didn't stick. In middle school we found out that we lived near each other and Fred said it would be cool if I came over.  One day I grabbed my transistor radio and made my way Fred's house.  That radio didn't know it at the time but it's days were about to end.

Fred had everything that I didn't have when it came to "stuff". He  even had his own phone that looked like payphone. That was really cool! I remember I came over and Fred was not in a talking mood and was listening to music that I had never heard before.

"What are you listening to?" , I asked Fred.

"Kiss", he replied and went back to not paying attention to me. If I remember correctly he was drawing.

"The guys with the make-up?". I wasn't sure.

Yeah", Fred said without looking up.

I sat and listened  to the song that was playing. I would find out later it was "Detroit Rock City".  It seemed OK to me. There is a part of the song where two guitars do a shared lead. It came to part of song where the lead comes in. The first guitar starts out by itself.  Then a bit later the second guitar comes in a harmony.  When the second guitar kicked in  I was blown  away! I had never heard music like that  before  and I fucking liked it.  I had a lot more questions for Fred after that.

I bought a stereo with a radio and  a record player as quick I could. The first album I ever bought was Kiss Alive II.  My love for music became ravenous after that. I fell back into 60s. Zeppelin, Stones, et al and I worked my way back up to music current in that time. Somewhere along the way I started smoking pot but I don't blame Kiss. Stoners  like music.

Fred also provided me with a way for me to see  my first rock concert. I know for a fact I was 15 years old when this happened.  Though I remember nothing of the car ride , Fred's mother drove us to Abeline to see my favorite band at the time: Kiss. They were in full makeup. The pyrotechnics would singe your hair from 100 ft away.  Kiss really puts on show and it was the most amazing thing  I had ever seen.

There was some guys at school  that seemed really cool. I wanted to be part of their social circle. It took a while but I did become part of that circle. I was always on the outer ring of it though. I was super shy after a really hard time in middle school with bullies. I would not get over that shyness until years later.  I still have some issues with it.

I was happy to be part of something. I was a stoner. I was a rock and roller.  That is how saw myself and I liked that.

My friend Fred was a big influence on me when it came to music and literature. I certainly would be a different person had I not met him. Some would  say that might have a good been thing but what can you do?  I am here now and there is no changing the past. Fred never twisted my arm nor did anyone else. I take full responsibility for my rock and rock lifestyle.  I jest, of course.