It was 1988 and my mom was yelling at me because if I didn’t hurry up we’d be late getting me to school on time. If I remember correctly I was blow drying my hair upside down and in shock that we were out of White Rain. I mean how could that industrial-sized can ever run out of hair spray? Mom kept yelling so I straightened up and watched my Bon Jovi hair fall back into “regular person mode”. I sighed and straightened out my four or five fake gold chains, unbuttoned another button … then buttoned it back up and unlocked the bathroom door…
This was hard training to be a rock star as a junior in high school, dreaming about the talent show coming up soon and what song me and the guys could pull off for the screaming fans.
I guess this is about the time I caught the rock-n-roll fever. I had been taking guitar lessons from the baddest-ass guitar player in town, Terry McCoy at Joseph’s Music Center and had lied about my age to get a job and buy my dream guitar, a Washburn A10-K like Quiet Riot’s Carlos Cavazo played. It was like 800 bucks and this was 1988 for God’s sake….. but I did it! I managed to stay employed at Food City long enough to buy it and had been playing my ass off. Yeah this is what I wanted to do with my life… I was sure of it.
Fast forward to the big talent show of 1988, me and some other musicians had gathered in a living room to discuss what we might actually play tomorrow morning and we came up with “Youth Gone Wild” by Skid Row and “Rock Me” by Great White. We practiced all day and night and took a bunch of smoke breaks of course. The next morning I was sick to my stomach as I walked into the gymnasium and its high-powered fluorescent lights. I took a deep breath and there we were, on stage and loud as all Hell, but surprisingly the crowd wasn’t rocking, they were just sitting there in their Members Only jackets with their book bags staring at us with the teachers! I felt sick but I pressed on with my brothers in arms.
When we struck the last chord of our performance I flailed my guitar pick into the audience and quickly exited the stage into the locker room hallway. It was then to my dismay that I experienced the severe punishment that comes along with the quest for rock-n-roll when a scrawny teenager ran up to me from the bleachers and said “excuse me sir…. here’s your pick.”
I kept my chin up and thanked the little fella, then I walked away swearing I would never ever do this again…
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