Friday, October 12, 2012

771. Heavy Metal in Trenton (New Publication!)

This is just a snippet. Re-posted from Outside In Travel Magazine who just published this piece! Woot! Click here to read the entire story! :-)

"In the summer of 2001, my best friend and I exchanged our rock and roll dreams for military service. Dispassionate barbers trimmed curly mop-tops into sandpaper buzz-cuts. Piercings and prickly beards were replaced with the poster boy regulations of the image-obsessed Marines. And rifles replaced our sticks and picks.

September 11th occurred just a few months after we had shipped to boot camp. We knew then that our rock star fantasies would be forever replaced by the dark reality of unending global war. Our commander-in-chief told everyone this during his state of the union address after the towers fell. In addition to Afghanistan, Iran was coming. Iraq was coming. North Korea was coming. One of those damned countries was going to be destroyed; and we knew we’d be there, quietly wishing to return to the music that meant everything to us. In our lives, there’s never been a stronger love or a more fervent connection.

At 13, Ryan (a man I call my heterosexual life mate) was a guitar virtuoso, even subbing in at Baltimore biker bars for bands that his parents knew. In his free time, he set about learning every single Metallica guitar solo by ear just because he could. A radio tower near his one-story home in Perry Hall, Maryland used to project classic rock through his half-stack Marshall amp. He’d just raise the volume knob and lick along with Hendrix, Clapton, Frampton, Page, and other greats.

I never was so good back then. But I played the drums, and drummers were always needed, so I became functional since so many bands sought me out. I never turned down any requests for my services. I played in indie bands, punk bands, alternative bands, jam bands, blues bands, acoustic bands, hardcore bands, and experimental bands.

The highlight of my career still is the Perry Hall High School Showcase of the Bands in the Spring of 2000. My group at the time, Pubescent Weasel, intentionally created a wild, grating sound that was meant to offend everyone present in the auditorium. Beautiful people cringed when our singer leaped off the stage to scream into tiny blonde girls faces. I hit every drum and cymbal I could underneath his banshee yelling, not too concerned with any rhythm or beat. Over the wall of sound we created, our guitar player riffed out a hulking anthem of low frequency distortion. Inexplicably, everyone seemed to love us.

Despite our deep musical passion, like all graduates of high school facing the rest of their lives, we made our decisions about what to do next and suffered the consequences. In the following eight years after signing up to serve and shipping off, we’d live in eight states and seven different countries. Between us, we’d serve four combat tours, which would equal almost an entire year of each of our lives. And there would be no way to tabulate the number of rockets, mortars, IEDs, and bullets we’d see.

I can tell you how many of our friends died and how many memorial services I’ve attended, but I’d rather not.

It didn’t matter because we survived, and in the summer of 2009, in Trenton, New Jersey, the Gods of Rock would finally smile down and reward us with one night as rock stars..."