How do I start this?? Hmmm, well I’ve been a fan of music since before I can remember. My parents used to sit me in front of MTV (yes I’m talking about the golden years when they actually played music videos) and I would watch videos for minutes sometimes hours at a time. My mother once told me that “Centerfold” by J Geils Band was one of my favorite videos and it would hold my attention all the way through. I still do hold a soft spot for MTV and the early years of my life. I can also tell you this, if it wasn’t for me being a huge connoisseur of music and loving it for the expressionism and art form that it is, I might have turned out to be a serial killer.
When I was finally old enough to be able to half ass handle vinyl in a proper way (about the time I was maybe seven or eight years of age), I received my first record player. It was small but with the use of a small plastic apparatus it would play 12” as well as 7”(or 45s, they were called 45s because that was the RPMs at which these smaller records would play). I didn’t have a huge vinyl collection by any means. Seriously I was only about eight and had no way of buying anything so I would just take what I could find. I also didn’t really have a taste in music, some would say that I still don’t. My collection consisted of the Top Gun soundtrack, Wham!’s “Make It Big”, Kenny Loggins' "Keep the Fire”, Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue”, a 45 of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Princes’ “Parents Just Don’t Understand” on the A side and “Girls Ain’t Nothing but Trouble” on the B side, and finally a paper record that was found in magazines which contained a song made to help you remember all of the McDonald’s menu. As I recall, there was some sort of contest for singing it at your local Micky-D’s. Besides the record was made of paper, was square in shape and I thought it was cool. It was also around this time that my mother took me to my very first concert. Who was it you ask??? Being that I have no shame, I’ll tell you that it was New Kids on the Block. Gonna give me shit are ya?? Well I don’t care who you are, if you tell me that you didn’t like them back in their heyday you are a damned liar. It was statistically proven that everyone in the free world liked these bastards at this time in the same way that statistically nine out of every ten people bought Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”.
Flash forward about seven more years, I’m not quite sixteen years old and I’m attending a concert in a larger scale at the Madison Theatre. Prior to this I had attended a few house shows where I could and enjoyed shows at such smaller venues such as Tiamat Records (located off of Main St. in Peoria and still remains a vacant lot I believe). The band was Bloodhound Gang and it was truly a life changing moment for me. I say this not because Bloodhound Gang are some crazy talented musicians who were the best thing to happen to music since sound, I say this because the entire atmosphere of the venue was so incredible. The worn and tattered shape of the building, the thick smell of cigarettes and spilt beer, and the wild electricity of the audience simply captivated me. As soon as the music started playing the crowd moved like the Louisiana rioters after hurricane Katrina hit. I’m talking people everywhere, it was hard to tell whose arms and legs belonged to who and you stood to question how you would get out of the middle of this large mass of sweaty flesh. I knew right then and there that I was in love.
I saw some things that night that I hope some day I can pass along to my grandkids in one of those “Grandpa is a pretty cool old guy” moments that I’m sure will never come.
1. I vividly remember my attention to be drawn to my left. As I looked over, I saw a guy finish a fifth of something. Once the liquid within the bottle was consumed he promptly put the cap back on it and immediately chucked it into the crowd in front of us. I watched as it whirled its way through the air and shatter against some poor bastard’s dome. The nutty part was that this situation stopped nothing. The glass as well as the victim were sent to the floor and meanwhile everyone kept throwing themselves about.
2. As much respect as I have for the female forms who crowd surf, I never understood why they do it…….A younger female probably about the same age as myself decided that she was going to be put up and let the audience take her where they would. She got not more then five feet away from her starting position and hands went up and round her almost instantly. I watched, half shocked as the hands proceeded to grope and rip the top right off of her. Luckily the tank top she was wearing underneath her shirt managed to stay on but not before it was stretched so far down that the poor girls boobies were out.
3. The act of crowd surfing. What an extremely amusing thing this is. So much fun I don’t even think I can really put it into words. The fun stops however once you near the front of the audience and you feel everyone under you dip and then…whoooosh…in a strange blur you realize that you are indeed flying over the guard rail. Up until that point, its nothing but being tossed around and kicking others in the face and head. It would be during this act that I would meet one of my closest friends. Good times indeed!
That was it. I was love struck. Other than being at other concerts later, I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun in my life. I would end up by going to concerts at the Madison Theatre more times than I can count for the next six or so years after that. I would also come to own 800+ CDs and counting as well as having about 25-30Gb of saved music.
Stay tuned for my next post: My love/hate relationship with the Peoria music scene.