Thursday, July 8, 2010

Decade of Decadence


I look out my window, sometimes it's hard to see
The things you want in life, they come and go so easily
~ Cinderella, "Heartbreak Station" (1990)


I wonder if the person I was at sixteen was my truest self. Back then, I lived and breathed rock 'n roll as if it was my only shot at freedom. And back then, it sort of was.

I used to drag the clock radio into my room late at night on Saturdays via an extension cord and listen to Eddie Trunk's show "Saturday Nights Rocks" on WNEW. Eddie played all types of metal, from NWOBHM to the stuff released yesterday. Through Eddie I got introduced to the Priest vs. Maiden debate. (For what it's worth, I would always pick Judas Priest in that fight. Rob Halford is second to none.) On Friday nights, I would turn to VH1 at what seemed like a really late time to me but was probably 10 pm. I'd watch Sebastian Bach's show "Forever Wild" which followed him shopping in the Village at Trash & Vaudville or shooting animals with Ted Nugent. And - I know it's hard to believe, so brace yourself - the show would feature music videos. Yes, that is the first time I heard "You Can't Stop Rock 'N Roll" by Twisted Sister.

Now, I've lost track of Eddie Trunk's radio show. I'm pretty sure he's on Q140.3 and the Sirius/XM channel The Boneyard. I was bummed when, in 2003, WNEW underwent a format change and became some lame station which was either talk radio or easy listening. I forget. A very old orange and black Saturday Night Rocks bumper sticker is still taped to my closet door. Trunk now hosts "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic. And despite being devoted to most any program on VH1 Classic, I have yet to watch it. But I know I should.


I used to sit on the dock at my summer house with my Discman and listen to "18 And Life" by Skid Row over and over again, wearing a Planet Hollywood jacket way too big for me. I'm surprised I didn't wear out that CD in the summer of 2001, 12 years after it was first released.

I devoured every VH1 countdown show (particularly "What's My 20? Top 20 Power Ballads" and "Top 40 Hair Bands of All Time" hosted by Dee Snider of Twisted Sister) and taped them so I could watch them many times and memorize the dialogue. If I watch now, through grainy clips on RealPlayer, I can still recite the dialogue along with Lonn Friend and the editor of Metal Hammer.



And best of all, or worst of all, I had that attitude. Somehow I lost it in college, or maybe it is specific only to those disenfranchised high school years. Maybe I got legitimately tired of going against the polo-and-pearls tide. It was somewhat exhausting but ultimately rewarding.

No matter what, Autograph had it right. "Day time, night time, any time, things go better with rock." So turn up the fucking radio.