April 26, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Hair Band Nostalgia

Friday night, I saw a local band called Blind Luck belt out hard rock classics from AC/DC, Bad Company, Stevie Ray Vaughn, the Black Crowes and more. The experience left me with a nostalgia for the hair band days of the 1980s that I haven't felt in years. I spent the morning scouring the Internet for music files (legal ones, of course) of all of my favorite hair bands. Listening to such cheesy hits like "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger, "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister and "Round and Round" by Ratt took me back to a much more carefree time in my life.

I did some stupid things during those late teenage years (who didn't?), and sometimes regret my decision not to go straight to college. But those three years between graduating from high school and going into the Navy left me with memories of an idyllic period in my life that will probably never come again. Only the freedom and impetuousness of youth can produce such happy-go-lucky days.

The image police and fashion patrol have long since taken over the streets of Del Mar, but in those bygone days, we owned the town. Seagrove Park served as headquarters for us "Aardvarks" (I never quite knew how that epithet came about), where we whiled away sunny summer days drinking suds and listening to the acoustic jams of fleet-fingered Mark Waddell. The walls of "The Cave" at Ed Nucci's house reverberated with the sounds of Zeppelin on many a night. And Aardvarks sometimes prowled the bluffs of Torrey Pines State Park in the days when park rangers were a mellower bunch.

Hair bands also got me through the Navy. In boot camp, music of any kind was verboten. But as "yeoman" of my company, I had certain privileges, one of which was to handle the mail and lock up anything forbidden. Thus, when a family member sent me a Sony Walkman, I had access to it whenever the coast was clear. The next chance I had, I purchased a cassette tape of Van Halen's self-titled album at the Navy Exchange. "Running with the Devil" gave me the fortitude to put up with the indoctrination of the following eight weeks. Similarly, I think of my time onboard the USS Ranger whenever I hear the pulsing tones of Great White. On my way to the Gulf War, I spent many a night lying in my bunk, listening to "Rock Me" and "Lady Red Light," reminiscing about good times and good friends.

In my experience, music is second only to smell when it comes to having the power to evoke memories. Countless songs tie back directly to a specific moment in my life, taking me back whenever I hear them. For me, then, music is more than just entertainment for the present, it is a window to the past. And hair bands open a window on some of the best times of my life.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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4/25: Consequences
4/24: Lemon Curry?
4/23: My Father Midas
4/22: Earth Day
4/21: Joshua Tree, Part III
4/20: Joshua Tree, Part II
4/19: Joshua Tree, Part I
4/18: Royal Flush
4/17: A Long Strange Trip
4/16: A New Line to Back
4/15: Still Writing
4/14: Conspiracy Theory
4/13: Los Coronados
4/12: Y2K in Y2K3
4/11: Slow Glass
4/10: Freedom of Speech
4/9: Why We're Fighting
4/8: Eucalyptus Memories
4/7: Sleep
4/6: Writing, Just Not Here
4/5: Sci-Files Trivia
4/4: Sobering Up
4/3: Great White Hope
4/2: Entropy
4/1: Peace on Earth
Previous months in The Archive

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