Jan 8, 2014 by Jenna Zine
(I couldn't find any footage of the cover band we saw - but I'm always down for some real Crue!)


I'll let you in on a little secret: I love hair metal. And not ironically. I totally, unabashedly, really, truly love hair metal. Def Leppard is my jam and nothing gets me going more than Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart." I've also been known to sing quite loudly to "Home Sweet Home" when I think no one is looking. It's my secret hope that my husband and I will pull up next to someone we know one summer day with the windows rolled down, Poison blaring from the car stereo. That's right, bitches - my husband loves me so much that he's willing to listen to butt rock... in (almost) public!

Of course, like most things, this unwavering love stems from my child(ish)hood. Def Leppard was in the background of my time in grade school - it's what the big, scary 6th graders were listening to and it made me nervous. I still remember being shocked when someone spray-painted the word "pyromania," as an ode to the Lep's album, on the side of the school gym. The wanton naughtiness! But then I hit 8th grade, was introduced to Ratt, and (for better or worse) never looked back.  And I mean I never looked backwards - or forwards. I'm the oldest sibling and the oldest cousin on my mom's side and I still feel guilty about never introducing my fledgling little peeps to any new music because I never moved past the glam. I loved Ratt in the 8th grade. I loved them in high school. And I was still listening to them (and other assorted hair bands) in college too. I even threatened to run away from home once when my parents refused to let me go see Ratt in concert. (Bon Jovi opened. Hello! I totally should've been there.)

As you might've surmised, I came of age in a magical time called "The Eighties." And though I was in junior high and high school in Oregon most of this time, and thus expressly forbidden to hang out on the Sunset Strip, I still feel like I got to experience the rise of hair/glam metal.

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I finally wore my parents down in high school and got to see Def Leppard's Hysteria tour in the round. I thought it was so cool; I just about lost my mind. Oddly enough, once the threshold was crossed my parents started letting me go to concerts fairly often, including Judas Priest, the aforementioned Def Leppard, Bon Jovi (twice and I'm proud. I even ended up in the background of a music video they shot at the Portland Coliseum. I mean, you can't see me - but I know I was there. Semantics.), Cinderella with Skid Row, INXS (technically not in the hair category, but one could argue that Michael Hutchence was the meld of glam and grunge in the coif department so I'm counting it), Robert Plant (not hair metal, but important nonetheless. I even got asked backstage; more on that in a future post), and Faux Halen (that's Van Halen with Sammy Hagar. I'm not proud about that one. Cabo Wabo, my ass.).

In a most shocking twist, I was even allowed to take the train to Tacoma with a friend to see the Motley Crue Girls, Girls, Girls tour. A few things came of this: 1. I was forced to throw away my tacky silver conch belt because it was considered a weapon. I was pissed at the time, but that security guard actually did me a fashion favor. 2. A drunk guy tried to light my ass on fire with a lighter because I was blocking his view by standing on my chair to cheer. Again, I was pissed at the time, and again a stranger did me a favor because I'm a much more polite concertgoer now. 3. This is the tour where Tommy Lee debuted his gerbil cage drum trick.* This tidbit is neither here nor there; it's just fucking cool. 4. I really, really wanted to be the girl who danced in a cage like the chicks the band had onstage. I was so naïve that I didn't know they were strippers. What can I say? I just wanted to dance! But with my clothes on because I was raised by parents who disciplined me and provided me with boundaries.

Are we ready to wrap this up... for now? I think we are! So, in a greatly truncated story, this leads me to New Year's Eve 2013**, which my husband and I rang in by seeing a fabulous Motley Crue cover band called Same Old Situation. And it made me so happy. I felt a surge of joy as I remembered the past. Because what better way to kick off a new year than by taking stock of where you've been, how far you've come, and how fun it is to come full circle? Here's to finding joy in the touchstones of your past - and I hope you have a very motley 2014!


*In an astounding coincidence, the Tommy Lee cage footage I found is from the Tacoma show I attended. My day? Made. 

**The NYE 2013 show at the Hawthorne Theater was sponsored by 105.9 The Brew. Stayed tuned - I have some exciting Brew news of my own to reveal very soon! 

[Photo Credit: Did I mention I got to do a phone interview with Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen and his lovely wife, Lauren Monroe? Yep. Pretty much sat there shaking the whole time with giddiness. I was grateful they couldn't see me geeking out. They could probably hear me geeking out, but they were too gracious to make fun of me. Read it here!]

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Dec 18, 2013 by Jenna Zine

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer is another must on my loooong Christmas to-do list.

 

Christmas was huge at our house when I was growing up. It started the day after Thanksgiving with a tree trimming party and mounted to an almost unbearable frenzy on Christmas Day. My parents used to set the alarm for 7 AM the morning of the big event, with strict instructions not to leave my room until the bell on my DreamMachine AM/FM radio went off. I'm surprised they didn't strap me to my bed, given my propensity to disregard instructions and shake them awake at 5 AM instead.

Kids would often complain about their haul when we reconvened at school after break, but I was never one of them. My folks did an outstanding job - finding a way to get me the one big gift I really, really wanted while throwing in tons of surprises along the way as well. I was thrilled every year, without fail. I was lucky.

Of course, there was a long stretch where I was unaware that it was my mom and dad who were so dang thoughtful. I was unaware because I believed in Santa Claus. And I am talking I really believed. I didn't just play along to make it more fun for all of us. I fully embraced the idea of a fat man with questionable fashion sense flying all over the world in his sleigh with enough gifts to satisfy to globe. I was that kid.

Seeing different Santas at various malls didn't shake my belief. He was really busy at the North Pole after all. It made perfect sense to me that he would require a stand-in every once in awhile. I somehow even failed to tune into the whispers from my other classmates about whether or not the big guy was real. I had a laser's focus on pure joy.

Here's the super embarrassing part of all of this: I was 11 years old when I found out the truth. Yes, that's right. Like Spinal Tap turning it up to 11, I was ready to rock that shit. Until my folks blew me out of the water. Here's how it went down...

I was taking ballet at the time and one of my big "gets" for the year was a pink leotard. Of course! Anyone naïve enough to believe in Santa until she was practically eligible for AARP status would also naturally be girly enough to request a pink leotard as a gift. In my defense, I also had a (very) small role in The Nutcracker so I had professional reasons for my request.

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My parents, being the kick-ass gift givers that they are, had said leotard (from Santa, naturally) tucked under the tree. It looked perfect! Unfortunately it didn't fit. Whether that was due to too many holiday cookies or a sudden growth spurt is still up for debate.

I handed the leotard to my dad and said, "How are we going to get it back to the North Pole?" He laughed and patted me on the shoulder, "Oh, that's a good one, kid." But I was concerned. I still wanted my gift - just one  size larger. "No, seriously. How are we going to exchange it?" My dad laughed again, "Well, we'll just take it to the store. We still have the receipt." And then he saw my face fall. I might've even teared up. He looked concerned, and then alarmed. Because here's where it probably dawned on him that his daughter was not as bright as he'd hoped.

"Honey, you know that Santa's not real, right?" he said, as gently as possible. I took a deep breath. I may have been painfully naïve, but I was smart enough to play along. "Of course, I know that, Dad. I was just kidding." He nodded his head and let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, good."

I spent the rest of my eleventh Christmas in a haze. Not real? This whole freaking time it wasn't real? What did this damn holiday even mean anymore? What would I do next year? Fuck next year - what would I do for the rest of my life?

Well, I've got the answer now: what I've done every December since then is chase the dragon as I try to recreate how awesome my folks made me feel when I was little. And it's been a huge gift because my holidays continue to be awesome. I savor each moment as I reminisce about the past while creating new traditions for myself. I feel the joy - and I still have tons of respect for fat men in red suits. It's a legacy I wouldn't give up for the world. 

I hope whatever you believe, and whatever you embrace, your holidays are filled with happiness as well. And if you have kids, I hope they're as gullible as I was. Because, if nothing else, you'll have a blast making fun of them. Now go be merry! 

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Dec 7, 2013 by Jenna Zine
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I have a little secret to share: for the past month and a half I've been taking an Intro to Standup comedy class. Yep, I've decided it's time to take my wit to the stage. (If you haven't heard me rant about pubic hair yet, you're in for a real treat!) Never one for patience, I decided standup would be a fun way to showcase some of the writing I've been doing that didn't seem fit for my book. Besides, why wait years to do a reading (if I'm lucky) when I could hop on a stage tonight? (Psst... I'm hopping on stage tonight!)

Not that it's all balls - rather it's been false bravado, versus actual confidence, that has propelled me to The Brody Theater every week. Honestly I just about fainted when I walked into class that first night and saw a mic, a stand, and a spotlight. I go to a lot of comedy shows, but the austere loneliness never struck me until I realized I'd signed myself up to stand there with nothing but my words. I swear to god, the first Saw film didn't even terrify me as much as seeing that naked microphone.

And you know what? It's been awesome to be scared. I want to run away every week. I'm convinced I'm sick on the drive down to the theater. The day of class I feel a terrible dread hanging over my head. And it's great. It's great because it means something to me. I haven't pushed myself in a long time. And I feel like I haven't cared or been passionate about something in even longer. I'll admit nothing sounds better than sitting on the couch and diving into my Sex & The City box set for the millionth time. But, as happy as that makes me, it's not going to get me anywhere. It's time to heed the call to fear. 

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