What! Live Music twice in a week? I'm most certainly living a life of excess. It was a totally wild night too, I must have consumed 2 whole beers! All that humid sweaty air, leather; worn on parts of the body other than the foot, oddly out of place frat bros moshing and patting each others butts as though they had just reached the pinnacle of the air guitar summit, every white dude with dreadlocks for 100 square miles, and beards! Good Lord, The Beards! It was almost too much for a highly jaded and slightly surly little guy such as myself! I could barely keep the testosterone from bursting out of all orifices (sorry, that was a gross but wholly necessary visualization). What I'm really trying to say is, it was So Awesome! The truth is, I probably would not even have considered if it had not been such an awesome band (it was Mastodon, if you care to know). Not only would I not have considered it, but I would not have been able to go without the help of gracious friends who got me a free ticket and paid for gas and beer. So, thanks a ton to them. The whole experience did get me thinking though, about the course of my life and the parallels between John of the past and John as the Dad of what I hope to be the metalheads of the future (more on that fight later). See, I have spent a lot of time on the road, both playing music and traveling to see it. It has been a part of my life since the first time I saw a local band exclaim the words "all I wanted was a fucking twinkie" into a microphone at the ripe old age of 15. Upon this profound and most revelatory of exclamations I had an epiphany and it was............"Whoa, cool" These guys were obviously assholes and people still gave them money to hear them make music. I was hooked. I'm sure there is a deeper connection somewhere and maybe someday when I'm wildly famous for something I will tell the whole story of that night and where I got my start. Right down to the guy with the dangly earring who spoke to me as if he were some sort of Pirate Sage telling me "arr, you're awfully small to mix it up with these guys, but I like your spirit". He said this to me after carrying me out of the pit. Look at me, carrying on. I should save these gems for future Grand-kids. Or not. Seriously though, the more I look at the differences between being on the road with a band and being a dad that occasionally sneaks away to heavy metal shows the more the similarities arise.
Because I like the way they look, I made a list.
- Arguably, to be done correctly and efficiently, both require a van. Ample room is necessary for sleeping, stowing away food (i.e french fries and nuggets of varying disciplines) and hauling all of the required equipment for the days activities.
- Both of these vehicles smell. They smell bad sometimes. Especially if they are filled with dudes. Heavy Metal usually smells more like beer and B.O than it does old milk and forgotten happy meals. This smell is amplified during peak operating season, which for both is between June and September.
- The diets of both little boys and touring bands are very similar. The things that little boys want to eat the most, the kinds of things they cry and complain until they receive are more often than not found in the aisles of a gas station. Which is where many touring bands eat everyday. On occasion, they are both told no and escorted out with nothing.
- Conversations that are more than a few sentences usually take a turn for the gutter. Heavy Metal usually prefers the more anatomically correct nomenclature. Fart and Booby is used by both partys. The volume of these conversations, as well as all interactions amongst them is done at maximum volume.
- Any and all actions performed by either party are done so solely in the spirit of self-interest with a specific emphasis on "This is so awesome".
- Sleep is of little interest to either party, until it is happening. When it is happening, it is best to not disturb. Both party's are unpredictable when roused.
- Personal image is marginally important to both. As long as there is one element displayed to alert their peers as to there social leanings the rest of their appearance is of little consequence. This usually presents itself by way of a skull on a t-shirt and hair that has not been washed since someone else did it for them.
I could go on and on, but what I really want to do is throw the boys in the Toyota and blast "Sworn to the Dark" until they stop whining for Human League (yes, that Human League) and start banging their goofy little heads.