Musical Notes

The funniest things happen on the most ordinary days, making them extraordinary. My favorite drummer boy got a gig. He hasn’t played in front of an audience in years. He stays mostly on the other side of music but he was invited to play a gig–a big one, at holiday time. I could not be more excited for him. He deserves it. And, as a drummer, it will do fab things for his love life. You know–girls and drummers. I plan to watch as the ladies drape themselves about him. I will be the wise one as he is bemused at the fuss.

This happened the same day new bags arrived on scene. Not the physical scene; photos arrived from the manufacturer heralding new bags for the PDC line. Took long enough didn’t it? There’s a classic flat bottom bucket in black, a modified bucket in distressed brown, like a bomber jacket (delish), a round navy and white cutie and a houndstooth stunner to suit all your looks. Naming rights are available on all four. As you know Amour grew out of a lifelong love affair, music and a chance to fuse the two. The combination of drummer boy and new bags had me so giddy I had a concert with myself and Meat Loaf in the car on my way home from the real job. I sang so loud I’m hoarse and gave myself the slightest headache. I fixed a dirty martini, three olives straight up, to soothe my throat. But Meat’s, along with my own wailing, got me thinking. We are the last generation really guided by music. We didn’t have internet, immediate access to anything, cell phones. Music spoke to our souls, our lives, our hearts.

While I belted out Bat Out of Hell, I was struck by how Meat Loaf and lyricist Jim Steinman set my young life to music in late high school and early college. I asked my youngest brother about this and he said, “The thing I remember about that album is the motorcycle on the front scared the hell out of me and made me think you were a freak.”

“With good shoes though right?” He conceded that yes the shoes were good. I made that up. He wouldn’t recognize a good shoe if it kicked him in the ass. Eleven years behind me, he spent his youth being driven down Main Street with me and my girlfriends forcing him to sing every line or we wouldn’t buy candy. He would get candy to not tell my parents we smoked cigarettes, swore and talked about boys and sex. Poor child–we were 17 or 18 so he was seven or eight. It’s a wonder the man is not scarred.

Two Out of Three takes on a different meaning with a dead husband–who knew? Seven offerings from Meat and Steinman chronicled the life of young people falling in love, getting hurt, falling out of love and falling in love for real. For Crying Out Loud may be the finest song ever written about a lifetime of love. Some believe it’s about a breakup; I think it’s about sustaining the breakup. I truly thought about playing it at The Norwegian’s funeral but I knew it would be me and a dead man in on the joke. And the chickens. My chickens spent a lifetime learning lyrics on the way to soccer and playing air guitar in the living room on rainy days.

The Meat everyone recognizes is Paradise by the Dashboard Light. Remember my snotty sorority sisters, me amongst them? We sang the boy’s part so everyone would somehow grasp we were in control and would never be tied down. We were that first generation of girls not tethered by our mothers’ constraints. We could be what we wanted, when we wanted and with whom. We swallowed the feminist pill whole. Little did we know the truth lies somewhere between having it all and never having it all at once. Gloria may have taught us, “A woman needs a man about as much as a fish needs a bicycle.” It’s funny until your fish is gone and all you’re left with is the bicycle.

Music shaped our lives and our attitudes. There wasn’t a nineteen-year-old girl amongst us who couldn’t knock you out with her American thighs ala AC/DC. My chickens believe they discovered AC/DC–no, really. They think it’s new. Same for Journey. Littlest Chicken was astounded to find a Journey album, yes vinyl, in the garage. And Lynyrd with Freebird–pfft–no boy could catch us. REO could lift our hearts in later years as we knew they felt it too. Still can’t tuna fish. We could, however, remind you that it was Time for Me to Fly. Then I found out the band formed in 1967 so basically is almost as old as me. An entire lifetime of REO–how did I not know until I was seventeen? Has no good music existed in the past twenty years–excepting Adele?

Who wouldn’t have run off, leaving everything, for Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora when they gave us “I’ll Be There for You.” Yes, in concert Richie is the one to take the lead–yum. I can promise you tomorrow but I can’t buy back yesterday. I’ll be the water when you get thirsty. When you drink I’ll be the wine. You say true love is suicide. Stop, you’re killing me.

And who can forget the ladies? Some of us do indeed worship at the goddess altar of Miss Janis. Me and Bobby McGee, live in 1970, just before she died, will break the heart of anyone with a lover named Bobby. She anthemed it for all us girls when she belted Take Another Piece of My Heart. It was 1968 and she was in Germany, drunk as me and my girlfriends with hairbrushes for microphones. Girlfriend, don’t even pretend. She brings concert goers on stage like any good party girl and wills them to feel. A Woman left Lonely could be the battle cry of neglected women everywhere. And she wore outrageous hats and boas.

And then we had Joan Jett leading the first all chick band, The Runaways. She gave us permission to not give a damn about our reputations and to lust after the 17-year-old at the record machine. If you’re really a freak you’ll remember Suzi Quatro, first female bass player to make it big. If You Can’t Give Me Love broke all our tough girl rules. And her Don’t Change My Luck may be one of the most subtle kiss my ass songs ever. Best about this song: certainly not the hair of any of us in the eighties.

Here we sit twenty years later with shitty music. What the hell happened? No answers girlfriend. All I can suggest is a concert in the car, or better yet, pick up a hairbrush, jump on the bed and teach your daughters how rock and roll is supposed to sound. If your throat doesn’t hurt, you’re doing it wrong.

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