Monday, November 22, 2010

Musical memories

It may have been each one of us was out to shock our mother just a little bit more than the older child.

Our musical choices were indeed edgy, particularly for the type of town in which we lived.

Small.

Pious.

Sheltered.

Our hometown's nickname is, in fact, The Little Vatican. The university, the community newspaper, the radio station ... everything in that town while we were growing up was run by the local diocese of the Catholic Church.

The Bishop lived in a regal, stately Victorian-style home on Main Street. One man ... huge house that's now a bed and breakfast.

The Scottish-Catholic mafia ... or something like that ... ruled the town.


We grew up on whatever sounds were emitted by CJFX, a radio station with an AM signal so powerful it drowned out all other stations within reach, and the few musical shows Dad let us watch on our two channels. Yep, The Grand Ole Opry and The Tommy Hunter Show.

Our musical exposure on CJFX amounted to fiddles — OK, not so bad now that some of us have discovered a bit of our cultural identity — and a skosh of adult contemporary, played after 8 p.m.

And Elvis Presley. Lots of Elvis Presley. Mom loved him.

I vaguely remember the four kids huddled into the 1970 Cutlass Supreme. Oddly, I Was Made for Loving You by KISS came on the radio. My mother slammed the off button and made some crack about men in makeup and noise.

Boy, did she ever not know what was coming.

Then music videos came on stream. We'd get three every Sunday on Switchback, hosted by Stan the Man. Then CTV started showing Video Hits.

We were amazed. I was enraptured by the Eurythmics, Rick Springfield, the Thompson Twins and more.

God bless the '80s.

It's Shane's fault, I suppose, for the spiral into darker music. He started collecting Led Zeppelin and Rush.

Men with long hair. Dark sunglasses. Mystical messages.

What was next?

Kevin and KISS. Twisted Sister even.

Me and Motley Crue. And Bon Jovi, Poison and Cinderella.


Jason and Iron Maiden.

The walls of our respective bedrooms were papered with men in makeup. They sang of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

The wave wars began. Shane, the eldest, would storm out of the house, looking for a peaceful respite of Whole Lotta Lovin' and Black Dog.

Mom would yell from the kitchen.

We'd twist the volume buttons on our ghettoblasters even louder.

Then Dad would come home.

Turn that shit off.

Yes, Dad.

On went the headphones. How any of us survived our teen years with our hearing intact baffles me some days (so, kids, crank up your iPods ... don't listen to your parents, you'll be fine, trust me).

Ultimately, Jason won the shock contest.

The youngest. The baby. The favourite!

Long gone were the days that Jason would croon along with Charlie Pride or go solo with Crystal Chandelier for anyone who would visit.

No, those days were in the past for the Burner Runner, so nicknamed for his speed on the track and the fire-red hair that blazed around with him.

No, Iron Maiden wasn't quite bad enough to bring into the little bungalow on Church Street, where the crucifix still hangs in its spot on the living-room wall.

The little house where an 11x14 of Jason in a polyester leisure suit, giving the Fonzie thumb-up, still hangs.

Into the little red house, Jason brought a musical group named 2 Live Crew.

He slipped this cassette into the tape deck and they started yelling 'Fuck Martinez, fuck-fuck Martinez.'

And I thought, 'ooooooooooooh, shit, we're all in trouble now.'

I don't remember too many more wave wars after that.

I don't remember any of us playing anything too loudly after that.

No more sex, no Jack Daniels, no more audible headbanging.

Walkmans and headphones were the answer to any weird looks or 'turn that shit off.'

It may have been it was time for us all to move on and get jobs, keeping us away from home for longer hours than just school would allow.

But it's a pretty funny memory.

Just as long as no one ever tells you I actually owned a Vanilla Ice or Technotronic CD.

It never really happened.

I swear.
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post, Ang. I remember coming back from Germany, for our first visit back to the 'Nish and enjoying some good old Motley Crue with y'all. Hats of to Jason for rolling out the 2LC, though. A very bold move. I remember bringing As Nasty As They Wanna Be home for the first time. Had borrowed it from a friend and was recording it to a blank. Guess I should have unplugged the speakers whilst recording, because Mom & Dad nearly hit the roof.

    ReplyDelete