I’m a very proud child of the ‘80s in every way, but especially in music. Like most of my friends during high school, I warmly embraced the L.A. hard rock, glam metal, hair band scene. In that musical genre, my teen-aged Top 3 list looked like this:
- Van Halen (always, always #1)
- Motley Crue
When I was a mullet-wearing teenager, and later a slightly better-groomed twentysomething, I prided myself on following every move of these bands, tracking their upcoming releases and saving money for their over-the-top, self indulgent concerts. Today, as an accidental adult, I still love a good rock concert. I’ve even been known to spend way too much money on reunion tours, justifying to Kelly, “These might be once-in-a-lifetime events!” So imagine my surprise this weekend when I discovered that Ratt was playing in the Twin Cities, but it was too late to make plans to bang my head. I kind of felt kicked in the gut. Which is ironic, because years ago I actually wanted to be kicked in the face by the band’s lead singer. The story goes like this:
In the late 1980s, my friends Louie and Bar (don’t ask) accompanied me on a pilgrimage to a Milwaukee-area Ratt concert. A high school classmate of ours attended the same show with her boyfriend, and the couple lucked into front row seats. About halfway through the show, this boyfriend had the temporary misfortune of being mistaken for the drunk idiot next to him who was spitting on the lead singer, Stephen Pearcy (one of the coolest names in rock, BTW). For this offense, Mr. Pearcy penalized him with an undeserved kick in the face. Bleeding profusely from his nose and mouth, our classmate’s boyfriend was escorted backstage for an interrogation during which he quickly explained the case of mistaken identity. Moved by this story of injustice, the group’s manager treated the bewildered guy to free drinks with the roadies and a backstage pass to party with the band and their groupies. He also had his bloodied shirt autographed by my hero, Mr. Pearcy.
When I returned from the show I told my older sister about the bloodied dude. Her reaction was, “How awful!” My response was, “Yeah, how awful that it didn’t happen to me!” In shock, she asked, “You mean you’d really like to be kicked in the face by that idiot singer?” Without missing a beat, I replied, “If it got me backstage to meet the band, hell yeah!”
If asked again today, decades later, I suspect I’d be slightly less enthusiastic to kiss Stephen Pearcy’s boot. But please don’t mistake that for a sign of assimilation. Had I known Ratt ‘n Roll was coming to town this weekend, I’d have called my fellow accidental adult buddies, and we’d have enjoyed a hell of a show, no matter the price of tickets. Why? It may no longer be super cool to be physically assaulted by a heavy metal singer, but no matter your age, rock concerts can still provide any adult a much needed kick.