My first love for music was not awakened by rock. In fact, my family pretty much never listened to rock music, and pretty much thought I was a freak for enjoying that style of music so much. I grew up in a household full of sisters who regularly blasted the albums of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and lots of 1970s funk bands from the family stereo. My first love for music began then, as I learned how to dance The Rock, The Cowgirl, and the Hustle in my living room. (This, of course, was eventually replaced by The Snake, The Cabbage Patch, The Pac Man, The Robocop, The Running Man, The Roger Rabbit, and the Electric Slide, though I digress).
But at some point in the middle of the 80s, probably about the time that Push It and My Adidas took over the airwaves, my love for music began to shift onto its own course. Yes, yes, I will admit to crushing on teen pop, like Debbie Gibson and Tiffany, and I never gave up my love for Madonna. But starting in 8th grade, I began to fall hard for the long-haired hard rockers like Poison, Bon Jovi, and Europe. Next thing you know, I was turning toward the less effeminate “true” hard rock ways of Aerosmith and Guns n’ Roses. And by the middle of 9th grade, I was a hard-core, black t-shirt wearing, authentic metal rocker wanna-be. I wrote METALLICA, the right way, on binders, on my locker, and on my razor-slashed blue jeans (because that just proved how cool you were). I watched Headbanger’s Ball on MTV and banged my head to the rhythms of Megadeth, Slayer, and Ozzy Osbourne.
So what made me renounce my Rocker ways? Two things. First of all, when I refused to say cuss words and drink blue Kool-aide laced with whiskey at Heather the Stoner Queen’s house one afternoon, she turned against me and told everyone everywhere that I was nothing but a poser. Ouch! There went my reputation. Then, I became a Christian and made it my personal mission to tell all the rockers how evil and satanic their music was. After that, every rocker in my high school avoided me as if I had announced that I was now a New Kids on the Block fan.
Eventually, I returned to rock music. But a I matured, so did my tastes. I learned to love different types of rock – the progressive sounds of The Cure and Depeche Mode and the groundbreaking classic rock of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Eagles. When the 90’s grunge rock scene appeared, I traded in my death metal t-shirts for flannel shirts and combat boots and sipped espresso to the tunes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. These days, I am more likely to sip earl grey tea while relaxing to smooth jazz or nuevo flamenco music. But I am still a rocker at heart. Though I have long since given up the combat boots, and headbanging now gives me a headache, I can’t resist the occasional urge to turn on Bohemian Rhapsody, strum my air guitar, and rock out in my living room.