GETTING MORE TALE #857: Obsessed With Rock
As this summer flies by, I’m reminded of seasons past. My dad always took the same vacations in the summer: one week in July and two in August. That means we’d be up at the cottage for that time, and I wanted to be well stocked with music. Meaning, I had to bring all my music. All my cassettes, all my vinyl. Everything.
It was a process, to say the least. All my tape cases had to be wedged between seats of the car, and I had “a few” tape cases. Then I took apart my jury-rigged stereo setup and carefully prepared it for transportation. I taped down the tone arm on the turntable so it wouldn’t fly about. I packed up all my wires, head cleaners, and record brushes. My ghetto blaster and record player were loaded onto a seat in the car, with my dad’s old 8-track deck/receiver at the bottom. I was using it as a pre-amp for the turntable, and it worked after a fashion.
My treasured Kiss cassettes were not in a case. They occupied a shelf in my bedroom, with two custom ceramic Kiss bookends. I placed the bookends and tapes into a plastic grocery bag for transport. Upon arrival at the lake, I set them all up on another shelf, always in chronological order. It’s funny to think that I didn’t get an obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosis until I was in my 40s. I was pretty clearly already there in my early teens.
Once I got everything hooked up again at the cottage (stealing extension cords from other rooms), I’d begin blasting the rock. With OCD firmly in control, I first had to finish listening to whatever tape was in my Walkman during the car trip. Only then would I choose what I would be listening to that night.
It’s all very clearly obsessive behaviour, but I guess people were not as aware of various mental health issues back then in the 80s.
Then and now, I loved listening to music at the lake. I liked to blast it, which sometimes earned a noise complaint from the parents. They were pretty good about it though. They indulged my musical obsession though never quite understanding it. I only had one true love and it was rock and roll.
Something else I enjoyed very much was buying new music while on summer vacation at the lake. There were not many stores that carried anything good. Don’s Hi-Fi, and Stedman’s were all that was available when I was really young. They sure didn’t have much. Still, listening to Priest…Live! when it was brand new, and breaking the seal at the lake was special. It’s hard to articulate exactly what was special about it. Your normal listening space is a familiar place. Most things you hear, you first played in your own home. When you get to experience an album on less familiar territory for the first few times, it develops a different flavour. It’s not something you can hear, it’s just something you can feel. I guess that’s why I always see myself playing darts in the back yard at the lake every time I hear Priest…Live!
Perhaps that is a feeling only a music obsessive gets.
When we returned from vacation, it felt like I would be welcoming my new albums into their new home. This is where you live now, Priest. This is where I am going to be experiencing you from now on.
I never claimed to be normal. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve often boasted of not just “liking” music, but actually “loving” it deeply. Maybe the only thing I’m actually boasting about is mental illness!
Whatever. These are all good memories. Although I speak fondly of it today, as a kid I would have chosen to stay home if I was old enough. I missed being away from my friends, my rock magazines, my Pepsi Power Hour and all that stuff. I missed talking about and listening to music with my best friend Bob. Truth told, by packing up all music with me and hauling it up to the lake, I was trying to retain one aspect of being at home, which is my music collection. Today the obsession remains, but I can do the same job with a laptop. Crazy! I never would have imagined that as a kid.
There are worse things to be hooked on other than rock and roll. If it makes you feel so good, can it be so bad?