Friday, March 16, 2012

Chalk it up

I went back in time last night.  For real, time travel is possible.  I went to the Jane's Addiction show at the Joint.  I have been a huge fan of Jane's since I first heard of them way back in the late 80's.  We are talking well over 20+ years.  Back when Tipper and Barbra were waging war on the free speech of artists, and plastering warning labels on everything and forcing young kids like myself to resort to breaking the law.  No I'm not talking about stealing, although it was a thought, I am talking about having to have someone "of age" buy cassette tapes for me.  "Hey man are you 18?  Will you buy this for me?"  How Rock 'n Roll is that?

Without a Parental Warning label on an album was like a glaring sign that the music was not good enough to spend hard earned allowance.  The blue hairs in Washington with their idea to clean up the industry had the opposite affect.  Now we had the government's approval, by placing a warning label on an album meant it was quality.  There was "adult" content on this cassette, or even better the F-word.  Tipper and Barb made it easy to spot quality, they put their seal of diss-approval, which was our quality control at work.  Now the industry had a standard to live up to...put the F-word in a song, sing about sex, drugs, and alcohol.  It was a formula to sell.  Thanks for making it so easy, thanks for the free publicity. 

Every Jane's album I purchased, legally or otherwise, had this seal of approval.  Their album Ritual de lo Habitual actually had an album cover that was changed because of the artworks offensive nature.  Super tame by today's standards (or lack thereof) but none the less it had to be changed to be sold.  I was unlucky and did not get the first run album cover, I instead had to settle of the secondary run of the sanitized version.  After touring with this album Perry broke up Jane's for fear that they were going to become too mainstream and wanted to "keep it real". 

Dave Navarro did time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and also tried his hand at a solo career.  Perry and Stephen formed the band Porno for Pyros, which became top 40 with the song "Pets".  I ate all of this up, I was so starved for anything Jane's.  Perry created Lollapalooza.  So if you say or read anything with the suffix -apalooza, or -looza you can thank him.  Lollapalooza was and still is a music festival without equal, at least it was in the early days.  My sister went to the first five or so, I got to go with her to the 3rd annual one in St. Louis in '93.  This is an experience I will never forget.  Thank you Cess, and Perry for making it happen.

We come full circle to the email that I get that said Jane's Addiction is going on tour with their newest album, and they are doing a presale on tickets.  Reading down the list for a city near me...Catoosa, OK?  This was truly a what the... moment.  Catoosa?  No way, wait.  Hard Rock is in Catoosa... Way.  Long story short, I find myself last night in the audience watching childhood, adolescent, adult musical heroes that I have wanted to see for 20+ years.  Dream come true.  They did not disappoint.  I walked out of the concert way they could have done a better job.  I left with the feeling that I saw what I had always wanted to see, and I would pay to see them again.

I crossed the big white whale off my list last night, now there are only two or three left, but none as big. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I know you

Last night was the first Wednesday Night Ride of the year 2012.  This is a big deal, it is a rite of Spring, an annual marking of the cycling season.  That's right, right here in Tulsa.  A mecca of cycling.  It is a gathering of who's who in the Tulsa cycling world. The touring riders all the way to Cat I racer types meet up to do what we all dream about when we are not doing what we are dreaming about.

The meeting point at the first of the ride is swimming in the excitement of the ride to come.  It is the "business up front" time.  People are airing up tires, checking brake rub, changing out of work clothes, getting prepared for The Ride.  We all gather here from our different lives, jobs, families, but once we throw a leg over the toptube we are all transformed into the same living breathing human-machine.  Here is a Star Trek quote for you... "resistance is futile".  Once you start riding bikes you enter this community, a community that is bigger than the sum of its parts.  It's like Fight Club, but you can talk about WNR and you are encouraged to do so. 

Riding a bike strips everyone down to their most simple form.  You are no longer a business owner, a surgeon, a trash collector, a high school student.  You are a cyclist riding a social vehicle that knows no boundaries.  The bike brings us together and erases the worldly class structure.  Now you are judged on style, speed, and etiquette.

At the end of the WNR, the "party in the back" time flows with adult brewed beverages shared between warriors that just battled each other on the tarmac.  Fierce competitors on the road now sharing stories and friendship.  Boundaries are all washed away with a few sips of beer.  I'm beating a dead horse here, but it's easy to go back to the well when it is this deep.  I know that if it were not for the bike that I would never have the chance to meet or know the people that I call friends.  Oh, the places that a bike will take you.  This simple piece of machinery is so many things, and I am grateful that it has given me the freedom to live.