Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How rock music changed my life

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
Rock music: you either love it or hate it. Me? I was raised on the stuff; hearing Aerosmith, Kiss and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as a kid, I was bound to grow up loving it. I still have fuzzy but fond memories of sitting in the backseat of my mom’s car, handing her Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” cassette for the millionth time. I loved the music, even though that big bat on the front of the plastic case scared me. As a kid, one of my favorite songs to sing along to was Heart’s “Magic Man.” I was hooked, and sure to be a rock child.

When it came time to buy my first album though, it was 1998, and I picked Britney Spears’ first CD. From there it was Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and NSYNC…but I still loved when my family would play the classics…classic rock. Years went by and I remember sitting outside with my father in middle school.  I remember striking up a conversation that went a little like this: “Ya know, I don’t like pop music as much as I thought I did. I only want to listen to the old stuff now. I mean, I’ll still listen to like, Jason Mraz cause I love him, but not the other stuff. It’s just not that good.” That day, I handed my “Now That’s What I Call Music” CDs down to my little sister, and later started collecting rock band t-shirts. I had officially jumped ship from what other kids my age were doing. It was like rebelling, and it felt cool.

My first day of high school I wore a Kiss t-shirt. I remember feeling like I was going to reinvent myself that freshman year; after all, it was the perfect time to do it, right? I wore jeans and black high top shoes. At any time, you could look in my closet and see a sea of black shirts.

I was always “tuned in” to the classics. Headphones would be in and I’d be singing along to Pat Benatar or Joan Jett. Heck, I wanted to be Pat Benatar or Joan Jett. I still do. And when I was alone, or I didn’t want to hang out with friends who were doing stupid things, I had my music. I could listen to it; I could write about it, I could burn hundreds of mix CDs. Strange and ironic as it may seem, I think my love of rock music helped keep me on the straight and narrow as a teen. I was already so used to not doing what everyone else was doing, why should I care what they think about me at all?

Rock music inspired me. It still does to this day. Whether it’s a guitar riff, drum solo or powerful lyrics, I’m moved. I want to write, draw, dance…I just want to create something. Power ballads make me want to scream at the top of my lungs; power ballads also make me want to fall in love…hard. When I got my first car, I thought I had it made. I could cruise downtown and with the windows rolled down, blast the classics. I could jam to Foreigner or Def Leppard in the middle of the day or the middle of the night and just feel alive.

Rock music makes me feel more alive than anything else. And until you experience that for yourself, you won’t understand half of it. For me, it means feeling happy, happy in its purest form. It doesn’t matter what happened that day or what’s going down around me, if I have my rock music, I feel better. I feel more like myself. And when I’m singing along at the top of my lungs, I feel complete. As silly as it may sound, it really is the best medicine. Plus, it just sounds like home. When I’m listening to it, I AM home.

Rock music changed my life for the better, and it continues to do so everyday. Sure, a catchy new pop song here and there is fun, but I will always come crawling back to classic rock. This great music will always be there for you to fall back on, solid as a rock.


Stephanie said...

I love this! I remember listening to Nirvana in middle school and wearing a flannel shirt around because it was so awesome. : ) Music shapes us all for the better. That's why we let Avery listen to old school rock and roll and Adele and the Civil Wars and the Beatles instead of kid music.

Maddie Shae said...

I was totally raised on classic rock as well,and still am being. My mom was raised that way,and when she,me,and my brother would go on road trips that's all we listened to. Instead of lullaby's I was sung Fleetwood Mac; no joke.
Maddie Shae


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