I am a punk rock kid who was raised by rock n’ roll parents. Music was always on in my house. I was raised on The Beatles, Rush, Pink Floyd, Heart, Black Sabbath and a steady rotation of videos on MTV. I was always a music fan, though I never was able to cultivate any musical talent, I can’t play an instrument or even carry a tune. Which is part of the reason that I write about it, to be a part of that world that I love so much.
My parents took me to see Poison when I was seven. It was general admission at our local armory. After hours and hours of standing in line, battling the freezing February temperature with sporadic bonfires, the doors opened and a stampede ensued. I was smashed into a fence and I swear that my dad broke a girl’s wrist getting me out.I remember being in awe of the neon outlines of bikini clad girls that danced with Bret during “Unskinny Bob” and how beautiful his guitar for “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” was. Even after being crushed and an asthma attack it was the greatest night of my seven year life.
Thanks to my awesome parents, I was lucky enough to see a lot of those bands before they broke up, fizzled out, or became huge. When we were too young to drive my parents were always the ones who took my friends and I to concerts. What made it awesome was that they weren’t doing it out of some parental responsibility, they really liked the music too. (I was probably the only one of my friends that stole Nirvana Unplugged in New York from her mom.)
That music still strikes me in some visceral way whenever I hit play. AFI – Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes, ALL – Mass Nerder, The Descendents – Milo Goes to College, Screeching Weasel – Anthem For a New Tomorrow all have to be played as loud as the speakers can bear. And there is still no place that I would rather be than a pit. The connection of hundreds of people moving to the same beat, screaming the same words, unselfconsciously flailing their arms, sticky with sweat, is something exceptional.