The Girl at the Rock Show

My daughter’s first concert was at an outdoor venue a few months after her 3rd birthday. My husband and I took her to see Vampire Weekend since they were one of her favorite bands. She still likes them and walks around the house howling along to White Sky fairly often.

Tour dates were just announced for the 2020 Vampire Weekend tour so I thought she may like to see them again. When I asked her if she wanted to go she had several questions including if it was at an indoor or outdoor venue, what time they would take the stage and if the seats were up close. After much deliberation her final answer was a firm “maybe.”

The conversation closed with thoughts from my daughter that perfectly sum up how she thinks. She said concerts are fun but would be a lot cooler if there was a way to lie down and relax while listening and watching the band. This is not surprising considering her favorite way to eat dinner is lounging on the couch with a tray on her chest. I can see her now – “Excuse me, guys, can you move the mosh pit over there, I’m just trying to relax here.” or “Can you people stop singing along so loudly, I’m trying to hear the band.”

She is a little old lady in a child’s body. Concerts are fun but having to put pants on to go out is just too much effort sometimes. She loves live music, but she would never survive a packed punk show with sweaty shirtless guys in close proximity without throwing up. The last concert we were at had seating in the back so she was content but I doubt she would have stood for three hours without complaint. Luckily there was no line in the bathroom or she would have started a riot. She also gets hungry for dinner before 4 so it makes sense.

I don’t think I have ever wanted to lie down and take a quick nap while at a concert, but I am usually too busy shaking my butt. I’m also usually just excited to be out after dark. I guess I should just be happy that my daughter has always wanted to go out to concerts and that she likes the same music that I do (for the most part. I could live without Taylor Swift.) My poor Mom had to sit through more new wave than Gary Numan. I could be suffering through mind-numbing pop concerts or worse yet, hip-hop. I am lucky that my kid has good taste in music. Now I just need to toughen her up a little in preparation for three days of punk music all day and all night in Las Vegas this May. I have been begging my family to come with me to Punk Rock Bowling for years now and I think this year may finally be the year. I’ll have to check to see if we can get some couches to lounge on in between sets. From what I have heard, pants are totally optional.

 

*In honor of the upcoming 2020 Punk Rock Bowling, I wrote this while listening to the Circle Jerks

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Punk Rock Music Will Save Your Soul!

Sarcasm. coffee & punk rock in the morning…

I don’t know how old I was when I fell in love with music, but I was young. I don’t remember a time when there was not music in my house. As a child I heard a lot of the Beatles and Beach Boys, Elvis and Neil Diamond. I remember driving on winter days with my Dad, heater cranked up, windows down rocking out to Roy Orbison. In second grade my favorite aunt took me to see the first concert I chose to go to on my own – The Stray Cats. I was certain at the young age of seven that I would grow up to marry Brian Setzer. I blame him for my undeniable attraction to musicians. It is clearly his fault that I grew up to marry a man who sings and plays guitar. I won’t even mention the fact that they both have killer hair and to die for eyes.

How could I resist a man with a guitar?

Almost every memory I have in life has a song or a band attached to it. I remember the Christmas I got my first bike whenever I hear “Surfin’ Safari” and the time I was brought home at 3 am by the police when I hear the Talking Heads. Violent Femmes remind me of dropping in on a half pipe on my hot pink Steve Caballero board, eating the ramp and bleeding all over my favorite Descendents t-shirt. “Jesus Saves” by Slayer reminds me of getting caught skipping school as a sophomore and Ministry brings me back to my senior prom. My life has always had it’s own soundtrack running behind the scenes.

 

Prom circa 1990

My favorite Powell Peralta

My favorite music has always been fast, loud and angry. Even as a kid I couldn’t stomach pop music. I didn’t want to hear vapid lyrics about dancing and falling in love. I wanted substance. By the time I was a teenager I wanted to scream about social injustice and being marginalized. I was drawn to the music that expressed how I was feeling. I knew I was different from my peers by the time I was eight years old. I rode a motorcycle and performed daredevil tricks on my banana yellow Schwin. I wore muscle shirts and jeans instead of polos and cardigans like my classmates. My rejection of all things mainstream became more fierce as my teenage years approached. This is when I began my life long love affair with punk rock.

Punk has been compared to the mafia, in that once you are in, you are in for life. It’s not a genre or style, it’s something that seeps into your bones and becomes part of your very being. To me it is like a religion. Listening to Black Flag gives me the same sense of belonging as reading the Bible or listening to a lecture by the Dalai Lama. My places of worship are St. Andrew’s Hall and the Magic Stick watching Negative Approach or Refused. The difference is that you leave these holy grounds sweaty and possibly with a new t-shirt that smells vaguely like dirt and gasoline.

I spent quite a few years trying to be something that didn’t suit me. I will never do that again. I had forgotten for awhile that I am and will always be a punk rock kid deep down in my soul. I will never really fit in with the people around me and that is okay. I am who I am because somewhere long ago I became aware that being myself was more important than fitting in. Believing in myself has always been all I have ever needed. I don’t need anyone else’s approval.

I am watching my daughter learn these lessons today. She told her Dad yesterday that the kids in school think she is weird and they just look at her when she talks about the things she does at home, mouths agape. He told her that one day she will come to appreciate all of the things we do at home, from jamming to punk rock in the basement to sitting around creating art together. We are a little weird and there is nothing that’s going to change that. That’s okay. One day she is going to look back at our time together in the same way I look back at jumping on a motorcycle at three years old with my Dad and picking up a skateboard at thirteen. One day punk rock is going to seep into her bones too and she will remember the times we took her to the Warped tour and to see the Interrupters. I have no doubt that one day she is going to do great things and that starts with being herself no matter what anyone else thinks.

 

 

 

 

 

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