Summer School of Rock

It’s summertime-a break from classrooms, text books and homework for my son. However, learning can still take place despite the fact that school is not in session. This past week, I took my eleven-year old son to his second rock concert. (Last year, I took him to a Bruce Springsteen concert.) This time around, the music was “heavier” and there were three bands-Cheap Trick, Poison and Def Leppard.(My son is familiar with all three 80’s bands as we regularly follow a local group that plays music from that decade.)

The concert was about four hours long, which included set changes between bands. The crowd was a fairly young one-mostly folks in their 20’s and 30’s, with a few older devotees like myself mixed in. My son was not the only minor in attendance, and his presence was acknowledged by several fellow attendees. One guy instructed M. on the proper techniques of the air guitar during Poison’s set, and another one high-fived me and told my son that “your Mom rocks!” Still others encouraged M. to move closer so that he could have a better view of the stage.

M. seemed oblivious to the somewhat sleezy crowd, and was grossed out by the excessive beer consumption and cigarette smoking going on around us. I’m pretty sure that an additional “scent” wafting through the air literally and figuratively went right over his head. We danced and sang all night, and were thoroughly entertained by all of the performances. My son’s favorite band of the night was Poison, as he insisted that they had the best guitar solos. (He has been a student of the acoustic guitar for four months.) As we made our way to the car after the Def Leppard encore, M. remarked that he had an “awesome time!” I explained to him that the evening had been an education of sorts, and one that he would never receive in school.


Goodbye M.J.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have shed a tear or two or five since learning of Michael Jackson’s passing. I was a HUGE fan of his albumn, “Off the Wall.” I can remember blasting that particular cassette as I drove around town in my orange VW Beetle. I kept right on listening and buying his music well into the 80’s. On April 25, 1988, I was fortunate to witness his talent first-hand at a concert in Dallas, Texas. As my friend, Shawn, and I sat in our seats, I couldn’t help but notice the faces in the crowd. There were people of every race and color, ranging in age from children to grandmas. I had never before (and probably never since) seen such a diverse crowd at a rock/pop event.

On the day after his death, a local radio station played non-stop Michael Jackson music. We had three different radios at work all tuned to this one location on the dial. We sang and reminisced our way through the day, and managed to get some work done, too.

I do not actually believe in placing celebrities/entertainers on any kind of pedestal. I choose to think that this type of “worship” should be reserved for the heroes searching for a cure for diseases such as AIDS, cancer or diabetes. Or, just everyday folks who devote their lives to charity work. However, I just felt like writing about Mr. Jackson in an effort to honor his amazing talent and his gentle, giving, often misunderstood soul.

A Big Nod for the iPOD

I think that the iPOD just may be the third greatest invention of the 20th AND 21st centuries.  (Under-wire bras and Diet Coke claim first and second places, respectively.)  I love the whole concept of the iPOD-its compact design, its easy portability, the immense amount of music it is capable of housing, yada, yada, yada.

Have you ever heard the catchy ad for Capital One-“What’s In Your Wallet?”  I’ve got a great take on that-“What’s On Your iPOD?” I think the answer to that question just might say a lot about someone.  Here is a sample of what’s on my iPOD:

1. Bruce Springsteen. I LOVE Bruce Springsteen.  I have 21 Bruce songs on my Nano.  (No other artist or group has that many downloads. )

2. The vast majority of the artists listed in my library are African-American.  They include Prince, Babyface, Michael Jackson and little sis, Janet,  Luther Vandross, 50 Cent, Kanye West and many more. (I am an equal opportunity downloader.)

3. In addition to Rock, R&B and Hip Hop, my musical taste also includes Country.  (I may have just lost a few readers here.)  I dig the song, “I Love This Bar by Toby Keith and I don’t even drink!

4.  I am into some of the new, younger, hip sounds from Coldplay, John Mayer and Mat Kearney. (Pretty cool for a woman of a “certain age!”)

5. I like strong, feisty women who sing.  Think Pink and Joan Jett.   (Love Ms. Jett’s first name!)

6. Of course, no REAL list would be complete without classic rock. I like to rock out to The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith,  ZZ Top, Steve Miller and The Beatles, to name a few.  Have I mentioned The Boss, Bruce Springsteen????

7. Last, but not least, are two of my favorite songs and the artists who sing them.  (These are the ones my family can play at my memorial service as people file past my casket and look over poster boards splattered with old photos.) They are, “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong and “Imagine” by John Lennon.

After reading the above summary of my iPOD library, one might conclude the following about the keeper of this device:

The owner is female (hint #1-Luther Vandross).  She is middle-aged (hint #2-The Rolling Stones).  She might be a lesbian OR she just has really short hair (hint #3-Feisty Female Rock Stars).  She lived in Texas for 21 years (hint #4-She likes country), but was originally from somewhere in the Midwest or Northeast (hint#5-That New Jersey rocker, Bruce Springsteen).  Lastly, her father was a devotee of Glenn Miller, Dixieland bands and Jazz, and blasted this music on the turntable every Sunday morning (hint #6-Louis Armstrong).

What’s on your iPOD, or more importantly, what does your iPOD say about you?