Rockin’ With the Chili Peppers

I spent some time tonight writing a commentary on my experiences with the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was younger. I say that like I’m old, but skipping work for concerts seems like a lifetime ago.

I won’t bore you with all the stories of mayhem; backdoor crashing, wristband making, concussions, “just in case” cigarettes and debt-building concert tours; (unless you ask me to).

What I will share, is that these were some of the happiest days of my life…so far. They are a band I followed since I was eight. And it became much easier to have access to shows and special events while I lived in Southern California after I graduated high school. I was foolish with money, spent time with some weird people and looked up to musicians who did a lot of drugs. I did not condone the drug use, but I did find solace in the music and theirs became a soundtrack to many years of solid memories and friendships.

Some people hate them, some people love them and I’m not here to debate that. I used to try but really, what is the point of trying to convince someone to alter their taste? I personally have a connection to them, which is that I feel happy when I hear them. My hips rock to Flea’s bass and my feet tap to Chad’s drums. I can’t resist singing along, even when the lyrics don’t make logical sense and no matter who is playing guitar, there is a hauntingly soulful sound on most tracks that just make me…happy.

I’ve posted a shot of me when I was 18. I just moved to San Diego and went up to Los Angeles for a charity event that the Peppers would be playing at. I snuck into the celebrity-only area and met the band for the first time. I’m smiling so hard that I look scary in this picture, while Anthony was in the middle of asking my photographer when to smile. My words to him did not make sense that night, and it was the first and only time in my life I was wordless…imagine that. I stood there in my leather pants and platinum hair and grinned for what felt like days. What a doofus, I think now. But what naive joy there is to be that young and happy without a care in the world.

Adulterers in Romantic Comedies Don’t Do it For Me

Whether we like to or not, there are well known people in the world that we simply like, let’s call them celebrities.  The reasons could be for any reason really; they could remind you of your favorite relative, they are simply gorgeous to gawk at or you adore their body of work.  I tend to want to get to know people well when I like them.  I don’t think this is very uncommon, but when I admire the work of a celebrity, I sometimes reading about them and discovering the (wo)man behind the magic.  Maybe it is the investigative part of me.  The tricky thing is to learn for fun and not actually think you know them because a few articles were read.  We also can’t invest ourselves in a person we don’t know.  This is what happens to the stalkers and teen idol fans.

A good friend of mine from years ago loved tabloids and the who’s who of Hollywood.  We both enjoy kitschy humor, goofy characters and pretty much any witty comedy.  We would quote Seinfeld on a regular basis because so much of the humor fit into daily life and I remember telling her that Julia Louis-Dreyfus was going to be on one of the late night shows.

“I won’t watch it” she said.  “But she’s your favorite, why?” I asked her.

She went on to explain that whenever she develops a fondness for a character or an actor, she refuses to watch anything which presents the actual personality of the actor/actress.  She explained that if they said something that rubbed her the wrong way or if she saw them in a different light than what she envisioned in her mind, it would ruin the entertainment part of it.  I thought it was a little silly at first, but looking back, I can’t say I disagree.

The last thing I want to do is create a political debate, but I find that when celebrities that I’d typically really enjoy on screen, back politicians I don’t support or if they make bad choices in general, it really does affect my enjoyment of their work.  I guess I should elaborate.  The guys and gals of Hollywood who cheat on their spouses, I just have a difficult time seeing them in romantic roles after that.  Ashton Kutcher for example, used to be a goofy, sort of cute Midwest guy who I now see as a sleaze ball.  Don’t try to reel me into a romantic comedy about how he is the down and out guy who needs love but keeps getting rejected.  I won’t buy into it.  And I could care less about Demi Moore mind you, I just won’t be able to believe the characters they intend to portray.

This is stupid for several reasons, because:

A)     We are all entitled to our own beliefs and lifestyles, as you and I are.

B)      Why I believe they need to appease my feelings so I watch their show is beyond me.

C)      They are just people who should not be glorified in any way, anyway.

Now, trust me when I say that I do not glorify celebrities, particularly since I don’t have the time to sit down and watch enough pop culture to really know who half the celebrities are today as it is.  But I think because I’m a realist, I just like to see people for who they are.  I have a very difficult time letting them trick me into believing they are an alternate character.  I don’t know if I’m proud of that or I’m just a fool for simply not taking entertainment for exactly what it is supposed to be; entertainment.

This is the cheesiest post I’ve ever written.  If my main complaint today is that I can’t envision a romantic comedy with the lead played by an adulterer, life must be pretty good.

Photos courtesty of catalogs.com and Star magazine.

Rock Star Incident of 1998

Perspectives really change with age.  I’m not quite 30, so I’m nervous about how many things I have yet to look back on and shake my head about, but needless to say, it’s funny how time changes things.

I heard the song “Shimmer” by Fuel on the local rock station tonight, WMMR.  I drove along and snickered a bit when I thought about my first “rock star” experience.  I was fifteen and Fuel was in regular rotation on the airwaves at my favorite Modern Rock station, Y100.  RIP.  They were holding a Sonic Session, which was a somewhat regular promotional event in which the station got a popular band to play a mini concert at a local recording studio as they breezed through town for a concert.  One of my best friends at the time won tickets and asked me to go.  If saying “OMG” was popular at that time, I would have said it about 150 times the day leading to and following this event.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  My Mom had been the type to idolize musicians in her youth and met the Bay City Rollers at a similar event when she was that age, so she understood the true excitement to it all.  My Dad on the other hand, was none too pleased about his little girl going into the city on a school night to drool over some guys in a band.  Looking back, it’s fair to say he was right to feel that way.  They both were, really.  Mom won and I went.

There weren’t that many people allowed into the small recording space, but it was pretty exciting as we sat on the floor and watch a band, which was signed to an actual recording label, jamming out in front of us.  The lead singer Brett was barefoot and blonde, and giving the full rock star vibe to the small-time performance.  The show ended and we were allowed to ask for autographs.  Guess who was first in line.

At that very moment, I remember thinking that I didn’t have enough things for the band to sign.  I should have brought posters or bought a second CD in case something happens to this one.  A bundle of excited nerves, I handed over my CD and introduced myself to Brett.  I probably just said my name and nothing else, afraid to throw too many words out there at the same time, in case they got jumbled.  He said it was nice to meet me and then in a quick panic and sheer brilliance, I thought at the time, “Can you sign my shirt too?!”  Of course he did, what a nice guy, to take the time to sign a barely developed girl’s chest.  Then he saw I had a camera and offered to take a picture. O-M-G.  We posed for a picture and then it happened.  He pinched my ass.

Now, if a guy today, even a popular musician did that, although I’d be flattered, I’d have the presence of mind to say, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”  I didn’t.  I glowed.  Since we were just fifteen, my friend’s Mom waited outside for us and I bounced around outside, in the car, at home and for a month following exclaiming “He grabbed my ass, it was awesome!”  I can only imagine what my Dad was thinking.  I clearly looked underage too, all big cheeks and innocence.  And by big cheeks, I mean the ones on my face.

I don’t have children, but I’d be torn about whether or not I’d let them go to something like that.  Experiences like that as a whole, minus the groping, don’t happen often.  It spurred a nearly ten year concert spree that I am currently still paying off, which included hundreds of concerts and memories that always make me smile and that I’d never give back.

(Don’t worry Dad; this experience never turned your little girl into a groupie.)

Women like Audrey and Diana

Did you ever think about how the most iconic and fascinating women are usually the most insecure?  Of course this is something we learn post-mortem usually.  But looking back, the signs are usually so blatantly obvious.

As I looked through some biographies on my bookshelf, I thought about two iconic females represented there; Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana.  Two women that I had admiration for; Audrey I discovered in my late teens after she’d already been gone for years and Princess Diana who fascinated me from childhood and most of the world from the very start.  Two generous and stylish women, who more often than not, played by their own rules.

Audrey

“If you want to get psychological, you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority.  I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive.  I found the only way to get the better of them was by putting my foot down, by adopting a forceful and concentrated drive.”  – Audrey Hepburn

They individually gave so much to the world, through charity and hands-on efforts in previously disregarded regions that needed a spotlight from a respected figure.  Both battled eating disorders, depression and unfulfilling relationships; often waging a war with an inferiority complex and constant outside pressure.  Both finding solice in children and humanitarianism.  I wonder if it takes such a sensitive and genuine character to produce such admirable gifts, to be so altruistic.  Could an egotistical and self-assured woman be so generous?

They say so much of who we are stems from our childhood.  Both of these women came from broken homes and found in their youth, comfort in solitude.   They eventually went from unknown young ladies to instant celebrities, with constant criticism and a yearning for normalcy.  I think it takes a special kind of woman to face the world in such a public way and despite personal battles, finding happiness in the people they can trust and in the causes they can fight for.

A young Diana Spencer

“I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that, I want to do that.”    Princess Diana

 

Reference:  “How to be Lovely” by Melissa Hellstern