Bon Jovi happened…
I first heard “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi, in the 6th grade. I was hooked. Yeah, I was into rock, but up until then, my only rock record I’ve ever owned was, Quiet Riot. But, they didn’t make the kinda splash that Bon Jovi made. Here was a band with a catchy tune, singing about a subject I knew nothing about. Hell, I hadn’t even experienced my first kiss yet! The music still spoke to me. It was fast paced, loud, cool and everything else rock & roll is supposed to be. Slowly, I was listening to other long haired freaky people like, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Poison, Twister Sister, Ratt and a slew of other sinister names. And man, did people flock to them! I started growing my hair long by the 7th grade and had started playing the drums in my own little rock band named Cyanide. Yeah, not very original, but the name rolled off the tongue nicely. We wrote songs with titles like, “Slam Bam, Thank You Ma’am” and other sleazy stuff like that, yet, the only sexual experience we’ve ever had involved old magazines with women with 70’s style boobies. (Is that a thing? 70’s style boobies? Oh, yes it is… Google it).
Back then, this music spoke to us. It told us to become rebels, to call our own shots, to laugh in the face of authority! But of course, Mom and Dad were always responsible for buying us concert tickets and drive us to the shows. It was like, “Mom, don’t drop us off right in front of the Coliseum! Leave us at the park, we’ll walk from there.”
Oh, and the look! Yes, the heavy metal, hair metal look! The 80’s was a time when boys grew their hair long, wore makeup and wore an earring ONLY on the left ear lobe so that no one would think we were gay. We wore so much hairspray that our generation should be held responsible for today’s ozone collapse. Our jeans were tight and were the original “skinny jeans”. And by the way, they covered our whole butt. What’s the point of wearing tight jeans if not to show off the assets? Today, skinny jeans are so skinny, they only fit around the bottom of the butt cheeks. That explains why teens today wear basketball shorts underneath! Can you imagine catching a glimpse of dirty underwear! That would be a fashion trend no one would pay $50 for!
The girls loved the boys with long hair, makeup and earrings. It wasn’t rare to see a “rocker” and a girl kissing and not think, “Is that two girls?” The rocker boys were just as pretty as the girls. When the two broke their lip lock, things were just as confusing. I was part of that age and I don’t regret any of it. I display my rocker pics proudly and I wouldn’t give up the experience in a million years!
Back then, the music said things that it doesn’t say to me now. When Motley Crue sang, “Smoking in the boy’s room, I tell ya, I was smoking in the the boy’s room, now, now, now, teacher don’t you fill me up with your rules, cuz everybody knows that, smoking ain’t allowed in schools…” it spoke to us. Today, it sings to me a different message, “Smoking in the boy’s room, make sure you kids aren’t smoking in the boy’s room…. cuz smoking is bad and that will lead to smoking pot, and if it does, your kid won’t wanna go to college and he’ll end up getting some girl pregnant at the age of 15, and….” Well, you get the point.
Did the Metal Years make me into the man I am today? No. But then again, music is not supposed to define you. It’s supposed separate you from the reality that is this crazy world. Music reaches the senses and stays with you forever. The Metal Years will never die.