My fundamentalist mother believed Rock N Roll was from the devil and responsible for my older brother’s drug problem. In her effort to save me the same fate, her car and home radios were permanently tuned to a Christian station out of Black Mountain which primarily featured fire and brimstone type sermons.
She fancied herself a vocal artist and had a gigantic collection of accompaniment tapes of “contemporary” Christian music. Back then, all contemporary meant was your traditional hymns, as played on a 72 key, battery powered keyboard.
I wasn’t completely cut off from secular music. My dad’s restaurant had a juke box that snuck me a little Conway Twitty or Dolly Parton every now and then.
There was the friend whose parents had a band. When I visited, they were usually getting high having band practice out in their barn, so we’d put on some Dwight Yoakam or Skynyrd and dance like fools.
No, I mean actual fools.
Once I got my own radio I was still stifled by the lack of stations I could pick up. With a house that sat in a pockmark on a mountain, the choices were slim. Little known fact I’m making up right now: EZ listening sound waves travel further than the waves made by good music.
As a teen my horizons were expanded by an automobile capable of driving into town to meet the better radio waves at the Boone city limit. Coincidentally, that was also where we met the pizza delivery guy.
Most of my favorite artists are the ones I was introduced to between the ages of about 16 and 18. And often, by the time I was introduced the bands were already breaking up or dying off.
While none of them have resurrected yet, many have gotten back together, so I’ve made an effort to go see all the good music, live, before they start dying off again – or finish dying, as the case may be.
Despite the years and mileage on these people, I have not been disappointed! In the last few years I’ve seen Tony Bennett (twice), Eagles, Journey, Steve Miller Band, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young, to name but a few. At each show I’ve been captivated by the clarity of their voices, their mobility, and the muscle memory in their arms and fingers that allows them to still play the songs in the exact same way they did 30 or 40 years ago.
Just last night I got to see The Rolling Stones! The show was fantastic. The music, the energy, the wardrobe! But I’ve got an embarrassing little confession; like many, many before me, I have fallen victim to the mesmerizing powers of Mick Jagger’s crotch.
It’s not like I would expect him to shop off the rack, but he was wearing skinny jeans that were custom tailored to allow for the saggyness of an aged man’s scrotum. You could say those Stones really have some longevity.
And he wore them quite well, I might add.