Monday, April 30, 2007

I saw the worst movie EVER

Yesterday, MMM (the Canadian music channel) ran Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story.

The movie sucked. Then it blowed. Then it spewed. It was garbage. It was worse than garbage (wait, what's worse than garbage?). The writers and producers took a fairly interesting story of working class blokes making it big, facing difficulties and rebuilding their lives - and turned into a comic book. A cheap, childish, dull-witted comic book. Characters that could have been full, interesting people came across as cardboard cut outs, silly caricatures where there should have been flesh & blood. Still, just like the car wreck on the autoroute or the co-worker drunk and lascivious at the office party, I couldn't look away.

As bad as it was, it got me thinking. When Pat was a baby, we sang to him - anything that was on the stereo was his lullaby. His favorite stories weren't the piles of books that I bought for him; it was the liner notes of our large record collection. I can still remember him asking why the Bolos and Bozos couldn't be friends (dear friends- Europe 72? The Dead? C'mon, you know this. I know you do). When he discovered MTV on a visit back to the States, he was about 15 months old. It was all over before it began. The family started to call him the 'MTV baby' because you couldn't get him away from videos, singing, dancing and baby air-guitar. Being a musician from a family of musicians, well what could I do? I bought him a, actually it was a ukulele. Most kids would have stopped right there. Not Pat. As soon as he could lift it, the stand that held our fireplace tools became his mic stand. Toss on a pair of funky green sunglasses and the legend of "I a Def Leppard" takes root. Little Pat would hear a DL song start up and whrrrr - he'd arrive running to start 'playing' his guitar. "Pat - what are you doing?". "I a Def Leppard - look" (followed by a scissor jump and heavy strokes down his tiny little fret board). He went to a DL show at age 3 1/2, got a giant T-shirt which became his favorite piece of clothing and cemented his ideas of stardom forever. So, I think that you can see why this crappy movie was a slap to the mother of their biggest little fan.

It's funny, that crappy movie got me thinking of band histories. When I was a teen, my dream was to be the next Lester Bangs or Hunter S. Thompson (PBUH). Catch a story, share a history of the music that was such a part of my own spirit, relate how important and life changing all of this noise was. I saw everybody that I could see - sometimes catching 2 or 3 shows a night, hitting the road with absolute strangers to get to the next big thing. Living for the moment that the lights would roll and the band would fly into view. Being young, wild and reasonably attractive didn't hurt and yup, got my fair share of fun, too. I could share a few choice details about a few folks...but that wouldn't be right. My first real boyfriend was in a band - met him at his video shoot and from there...well, band histories... you know. It was part of the experience. Part of my identity. Why would it be unusual then, for my offspring to be so wrapped up in this culture? To quote my mother, 'the acorn doesn't roll too far from its tree'. Thank, Mom - your support has been immeasurable.

Back in the day, the details mattered so much. I had forgotten the need to research and learn as much as I could about a group. On a whim yesterday, I did a little work on DL, just to see what had become of this major influencer of my toddler. Last year, I was thrilled to hear 20th Century Boy again - Marc Bolan is one of my all time faves but that DL would cover it struck me as odd. A comeback attempt + a chance to share their own influences, I suppose. What I learned yesterday was the usual stuff - young guys form a band, band exceeds expectations, fame goes to their heads (and bodies) and then, they disappear. Comeback's attempted, no one's interested. Band history. What I was surprised to learn about, however was how one band member has taken his own life struggles and used his energy to help others. The Raven Drum Foundation looks to drumming and communal rhythms as agents of healing and spirituality. Not new concepts, by any means but I found it refreshing to see someone take their life and use it for healthy causes. I really enjoyed their site, especially the interviews with Rick Allen where he discusses his (dis)ability and how he worked to re-wire his brain after losing his arm. As our understanding of what a disability is shifts towards acceptance of being 'differently abled' , frank discussions like this are healing. I suppose that our biggest obstacles are really those which live in our minds.

Yeah, never leave your photos in the custody of your children - if you ever want copies of them, that is


shula said...

We have a version of this boy in our family, too.

He turned up at my studio last week asking me to turn some sad looking fabric into Ace Freeley pants.

He does Kiss.

And he's 7.

I've never seen a kid so destined for the stage.

Bumbershootska said...

Love it! Nurture that love
Pat is almost 23 and playing gigs regularly. Still can't quite make a living but he's loving his work (and that counts for a lot in my mind)
He must trust you a lot to involve you in his dream.
If a pair of pants let that little guy dream a little, more power to both of you :)