Monday, February 9, 2009

Rock. Out.

Note: as is the apparent norm in this "business," today Bob's file storage site disappeared completely from the Internet, leaving his current song posts unplayable and leaving him without an immediate option for putting up songs in conjunction with this post.

I hope to resume normal programming shortly.

Last Saturday night, I did something that I haven't done for a long, long time.

And, no, I'm not talking about sex.

My family was out of town, and so, I put very, very loud music on in the living room and rocked out. I haven't done that since I don't know when. It reminds of how I haven't played my purple Stratocaster in over a decade and am about to loan it to a former student to see if he can get some use out of it. Apparently, it being a 1972 Strat, it has increased in value since I bought it, so I don't know if I can sell it to him for the price I originally planned (or at all), but I am going to send it his way.

The loud music is the same way. Music, the way it should be heard, has been isolated and compartmentalized--relegated to alone-time in the car or headphones.

When I became a parent, I put away non-parentish things.

But last Saturday night, I got to take them out again. Loud music is college. Loud music is not background music. Loud music is the evening, not part of the evening. Loud music does not need assessments or any other talking about. In fact, the person who has anything much to say beyond "This is rocking my ass" really doesn't need to speak while loud music is playing.

And, oh, the joys of hearing that music the way I've always liked hearing it. Immediately, of course, I wanted to hear live music. I found online a Springsteen concert from New Year's Eve 1978, the Darkness On The Edge of Town tour that I loved so much live and now love in nostalgic ways. It's the tour where Bruce decided he wanted to show off his guitar prowess; though he may not be a master guitarist, he is an idiosyncratic one who, when you hear him, you know it is him playing the solo, and that is what does it for me. The guitarists who have an identity are the ones I really love. And so, I let songs like "Streets of Fire," "Badlands," and especially "Prove It All Night" blast my ears.

From there, I moved on to Tom Petty. "Rebels," "The Waiting," and "Southern Accents" all live.

The next day, I said to my wife, "I'm back into Tom Petty."

"So what else is new?" she returned.

But that's the way it goes. Get to hear somebody loud and live, and all of a sudden, they're back on your radar.

I think we forget most of the time that music is the point, not the window dressing to some other event. I think it takes a night of nothing but you and the music to remind yourself of that.

When I was a child, there were days when I would come back home from somewhere, maybe a friend's house, and there would be no one home but my dad, and he would be in the living room, blasting Glen Miller from the RCA console and when I walked into the room, he didn't turn it down, he didn't ask me how my time had been with my friend. He just said, "Listen to this."


John said...

Love the closing vignette. We have rocked out before and will again, but the night that we saw Tinsley Ellis at that now defunct brew and cue place is largely responsible for 18% of my hearing loss. Good times.

Billy said...

I'm pretty sure the reason that scene from "Risky Business" is so immortal is not because we get to see what Tom looks like in his undies, but because that's precisely what all males who love music do when left at home alone for a weekend. We crank the volume to 11 and play air instruments in some stage of undress.

Loooove this post. Thankee.

troutking said...

I love this post too. Sometimes you just need to rock out. Given that my concert dancing has been likened to Elaine's full body heave dancing on Seinfeld, it's best that it happens alone for me. In high school, my friend and I thought we were cool blasting Queen's "One Vision" real loud on the car stereo. But now it's more about catharsis than coolness, I think. Here are my lifetime top 3 songs to turn up loud and sing along with:
1. Like a Rolling Stone---the live version on the Bootleg series where someone yells "Judas" and Bob replies "You're a liar...I don't believe it f'in loud." I like to drop in some f-bombs when I'm singing this because that's basically what Bob seems to be feeling. "HOW DOES IT F'IN FEEL????"

2. Atlantic City---the live version on Bruce's Unplugged appearance. It is not unplugged at all. In fact it ends with the mother of all guitar battles. It is a bit sacriligeous to pick this one because it is not the E Street Band, but, what can I say, it blows away all other versions I've heard.

3. Oh Darling--Abbey Road. Paul's best vocal performance ever. The pain and joy of love wrapped into one soulful package. If I'm really ambitious, it might be the whole second side of Abbey Road because I also love the guitar battle in The End, especially if, as Her Majesty does, "I've got a belly full of wine."

jed said...

i haven't rocked out except in my car since 2001. sad.