Music and books were the number one influence in my life from the time I was a small girl, to present day. People are becoming more and more inspiring to me but when I was a kid, that was not the case. People regularly disappointed me. But music and books.....NEVER! They were always there for me.
Today finds me thinking about one band. Guns N Roses. My relationship with that band's music is a long one. Starting all the way back in 1987 when I was 13 years old. And just a little reminder....I was not a pleasant 13 year old! (Sorry Mom & Dad)
I remember the first time I ever heard/saw a Guns N Roses video on MTV back when it was king. Welcome to the Jungle came on. I was hooked the second I heard the music start and Axl stepped off the bus in the video. My eyes and mind were nowhere else, they were simply glued to the tv.
No other band sounded like them at the time. None.
After that I immediately had to own the cassette tape. But I really didn't need to since the album was being played virtually on repeat on every radio station I listened to. I remember spending the night with my friend Lara one night. Her mom drove us to White Castle, you know, to order like 20 cheeseburgers, and we heard Mr. Brownstone on the radio. Lara and I were just jamming, we didn't care what the song was about. Her Mom then informed us that the song was about heroine. Our 13 year old minds were like...no it's not! No way man, you're crazy. Guess who was right? Not us!
That didn't stop me from being a fan. If anything, it inspired me to learn more about them. Fast forward to Highschool. My freshman year, my best friend in the whole world was named Chad. He was a few years older than me but we lived in the same neighborhood. He picked me up for school every day in his classic Mustang. We did nothing but have fun together. One night we went to a party. I remember this party because I had a crush on one of the boys there. I don't remember who it was now but I remember the feeling I had that night. The party was dimly lit, everyone was drinking from a keg. I had braces on my teeth and my hair was huge! Of course someone was playing the Guns N Roses tape and my heart was racing and anxious over this boy! What a sweet feeling that was.
Next thing you know, there is a concert coming up. Not G N R but rather Ozzy Osbourne. It was now '88 or '89 and we loved us some Ozzy. Chad and I didn't have money to go so we put up a collection in the smoking area at our highschool. (Yes we had a smoking area! So wrong but at the time, so right!) I remember exactly what I was wearing that day. I had on a black Tshirt. The logo and writing was hot purple. It was the cover of the Ozzy Osbourne/Randy Rhodes tribute album (another one of my obsessions at the time) We begged everyone we knew to give us money so we could go to this concert. And they did! We had enough money to go. So that evening we met up with a bunch of friends at the townhouses where many of the kids from our highschool lived. We all set out to go have the time of our lives to see OZZY! There was a convoy of cars and Chad, another boy and myself were at the end of the line, I believe. We were riding in his Mustang. What song was on the radio? Paradise City by Guns N Roses. I mean we were jamming so hard. Next thing you know the song is at the very end when it's just going crazy and we get cut off by a semi truck and slam into a guard rail...............The details after that are not so pleasant. But don't worry, we all survived and are still friends to this very day!
After that, I still loved my Guns N Roses. But I could never, ever, ever, ever, EVER listen to Paradise City again. UNTIL................Last Saturday night. Almost 25 years later. Last Saturday my husband and our friends went out to celebrate my 39th birthday. We are all sitting at the table, laughing, listening to music and enjoying our time together. Then what song comes on? Paradise City. At first I tried to escape, as I had done so for years and years. I always succeeded at turning the channel or leaving the room. But this time was different. I couldn't just get up and leave, or turn the channel. My husband looked at me and we all sort of panicked for a hot second. Then something happened. I said I'm ready. I'm ready to hear it. I want to make this song my bitch!!!!!!! And I did! I sang it, I jammed to it and now I love it all over again.
This is just one more reminder to me that if you are able to face the pain of your past, you will be so free. What an amazing feeling! Here's to you Guns N Roses....THANK YOU for the memories!
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