IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!! The Cheshire's Blog: If It's Too Loud, You're Too Old

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

If It's Too Loud, You're Too Old

In my younger days, one of my favorite pastimes was to attend concerts. Rock concerts. Unimaginably loud rock concerts. Preferably the type that would turn your brain to jelly, and your legs into cooked spaghetti noodles. The kind that would leave your voice hoarse for a week, your ears bleeding, and the impulsion to run right out and party for the rest of the night. All while attempting to debate with your friends about how that show was, by far, the absolute most kick-ass band you’ve ever seen in your life. Of course, they would always want to challenge that fact, and we would spend the rest of the night drinking beer and trying to talk over one another with our raspy voices. None of us could really hear what anyone was actually saying, because we couldn't raise our voices loud enough to get past the after effects of the twenty-million decibels that had been thumping through our ears an hour earlier. If someone were to have walked into our conversation, they would have sworn that we sounded just like a bunch of chipmunks squabbling over a nut.

Now that I’m forty, life is very different. I have a home and a family, and I go to work each day dressed in a suit and tie where I employ these younger concert-going types, who now call me sir (evil little bastards!). However, I daily face a mid-life conundrum: Inside this Giorgio Armani shell, lives a kid in his twenties who wants nothing more than to bang his head next to a speaker the size of a Cadillac. The kid that lives in this middle aged creaky closet of mine has been pushing from the other side of the door since 1991, when I let him out to attend the last concert he's seen. Even then, it wasn’t one of those hard-rocking, head-banging, ear-bleeding type concerts. I took him to see Depeche Mode when they were on their Violator Tour. It was a decent concert, and good music for the time, but it wasn't heavy metal, and my inner-Kid Rock has been pissed off at me ever since.

In the 90's, the music world turned its back on the dark and depressing bands like the Cure and Depeche Mode, and combined rock and roll with melodic Goth to create a new musical genre called Industrial Alternative Rock. Trent Reznor started recording under the nom de guerre of Nine Inch Nails, which prompted an entirely new set of rockers to follow. Marilyn Manson was next to take the stage, then Korn, Tool, A Perfect Circle, and post-punk bands like Green Day. These outstanding bands have been causing my inner-child to lose his little mind for the past ten years.

Well, anyhow, last night I let him out of his responsible family man suit enclosure and took him to a Nine Inch Nails concert at the Excel Center in Saint Paul, and he came home crying. You see, just because he thinks he still bang his head with the best of them, what he had failed to realize is that he currently resides in a forty year-old body that tends to get cricks in its neck and is in dire need of a good chiropractor. Oh, he knows now! But it took taking him amongst the people, whom he thought were his peers, to get it through his delusional head-banging skull.

My wife (who is quite possibly the biggest NIN fan to walk the face of the planet) and I were able to attain box seats for the concert along with my boss and his wife, and we had all been waiting for the night with bated breath. There was a possibility that the concert would be cancelled, due to the absence of his drummer, Jerome Dillon, who had been hospitalized with a recurrent heart problem following the band’s September 28th concert in Sacramento. This left Reznor scrambling for a new drummer, and his fans worrying that they may not get a chance to see the band perform. Reznor finally settled on session player and hired gun, Alex Carapetis, who has played with the likes of Groove Theory and Lenny Kravitz. Even though Carapetis only joined up with the band on October 7th, and had very little time to prepare for the rest of the tour, he rocked as though he’d been with Nine Inch Nails since its conception.

One of the best things about the concert was the light show. Now, I know that a lot of people say this about whatever concert they attend, but I've been to many concerts and this particular show was far and above anything I've seen since perhaps Pink Floyd in the Eighties. Reznor incorporated his usual front screen display of visual effects along with the spectacular lighting, which included short clips of swimming protozoa, fighting baboons, nuclear explosions and George W. Bush. This, combined with his emblematic heart-thumping back beat of new songs like Only (voted as number one alternative song by Billboard last week) and old favorites like Sin and Reptile, made for the kind of night that my sequestered demonic rocker child has been dreaming about for years.

Nails finished their two-hour performance with the old classic Head Like a Hole, which left the audience on their feet and screaming the lyrics to the song. This is what finally pushed my voice over the edge, and as I was screaming with the rest of the eighteen to forty year-old crowd, I felt the moment when it happened. “Bow down before the one you serve,” I screamed, “you’re going to get what you deser - - ” SNAP! From that moment on, my voice sounded like a bad impersonation of Harvey Fierstein with a sore throat. But, voice or no, I sustained my adrenaline rush all the way home.

Today? Well, today is a different story altogether. Perhaps it’s due to the unsympathetic vibrations from the music, maybe it's because of the fact that I was screaming along with the rest of the audience, or it could be because my poor neck can no longer endure being thrown around in ways that it was never meant to move. But, even though my inner-child is completely satiated and incessantly singing the songs he heard last night, I feel like shit. I’m wiped to the very core of my being, and all I want to do is veg-out in front of the television and sip hot chocolate.

So, today I offer thanks to Nine Inch Nails for allowing me to be twenty-one again for just one night. I thank my boss, Terry, and his wife, Megan, for landing us the box seats (it was like having a private performance because no one else was in the box with us) and head banging right along with us the whole time. And to my inner-child I can only say, “I hope you had a good time too, young man. Now, get back in your cage and shut the fuck up!”



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