Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let There Be Rock

I knew it was a CD, of course, before I pulled off the paper. After all, it was the right shape and size. Todd looked pretty excited for me to open it, too. Hmmmm. When I unwrapped it, the new AC/DC Ironman II CD (don’t forget the bonus DVD video footage!) was in my hands. Todd reached out and grabbed it, “Let me see! Oh look, there’s a little book and pictures!” He was all over it. Music blared from different CD players throughout the day as Todd worked on his different projects. The next morning as I was headed to work I texted him, “Where’s my CD?” His response, “In my pickup.” And a minute later, “Oops.” Tuesday morning, however, when I turned the ignition, Bon Scott was screaming at me in time with the guitars and drums.

In 1986 “Who Made Who” along with the Stephen King movie, “Maximum Overdrive”, was released. I’m a huge Stephen King fan so when it came to the Showtime Theater in Hugoton, I was there. Now I was raised with three sisters but my parents were introduced by Gary and Janice Porter so our families grew up together. Jim was the closest thing I had to a brother. As kids we played baseball, fished, swam, and often pretended we were the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. As teens, I remember when he got that powder blue step-side Ford. I think he drove it straight to my house to show me. Well, he offered to go with me to the show. As I think back, I’m sure he was more interested in the soundtrack than the movie itself. And I became an overnight AC/DC fan.

Julie and I made lots of trips to Liberal in those years. During one trip soon after purchasing the AC/DC album that first caught my attention, I decided to buy an older release. So the second addition to my AC/DC collection was “Let There Be Rock”. As we drove home, I had it cranked up (as usual). After all that loud music (my dad was great at picking vehicles with awesome stereo systems) you would think that I would be hard of hearing. Julie often got tired of the blaring guitars but I didn’t take kindly to people messing with my volume knob. I remember pulling into the drive, turning off the pickup, and Julie and I both commenting something like, “That sucks.” Then laughing. But, that cassette often ended up playing on those crazy high school weekends…and we soon knew the tunes and the words.

My life took some unexpected turns over the next several years. When Tiff caught up with me in college and talked me into getting a babysitter and going out with the girls, I’ll never forget cruising to the Golden Q in her red 1988 TransAm with “Thunderstruck” vibrating our seats. For the first time in a while, I felt young and alive. Little did I know that within the last several months she had went to see AC/DC in concert with my future husband and his buddies. She introduced us to each other on a blind date a few months later.

They had gone to the “Razor’s Edge” concert in Manhattan. I’m not sure who all was with them but I’m pretty sure of Andy (Jack), Jeff (Macster), Wade (Hipper) Todd, Todd’s girlfriend (I won’t name names to avoid embarrassing her), and Tiffany. There may have been others but, of course, I was not around yet. The Scrüe made their way to the front row. Brian, Angus, Malcolm, and Cliff were close enough to drip sweat on them occasionally. Somehow (and honestly I don’t want the details) Todd ended up with his girlfriend’s black, lacy, strapless bra in his hands. After getting Brian’s attention, he threw it up to him. Mr. Johnson wiped the sweat off his face and threw it back to Todd. The poor girl’s underwear immediately became a trophy and hung on his dorm wall until she came to get it after they broke up.

This past year when I saw that AC/DC was coming to Kansas City right after Todd’s birthday, I bought the perfect present--tickets. Sadly, I can’t keep a good secret so he found out pretty quickly. After waiting through a six-month postponement, we walked into the Sprint Center.  Although there was an opening act, it was completely unnecessary.  They took the stage and "they, they, they blew our minds." As we watched and sang and danced, memories flooded both of our minds. When they played their new song, “Big Jack”, I looked over and tears were streaming down Todd’s face. How can it be that music can touch you so deeply that you can completely relive moments from your past? We weren’t just there with Kris and Lisa, all of our friends were there with us…grinning like fools.

Tonight as I tore down wallpaper, Todd came in and said, “Hey, do you want to watch the AC/DC special bonus DVD while you’re doing that?” “Sure,” I said. Throughout the next hour or so, I listened and sang and stopped to watch every now and then. But my favorite part of the evening was periodically glancing at Todd to see him mesmerized by the live footage and smiling at his own memories.

And it came to pass that rock 'n' roll was born.
All across the land every rockin' band was blowin' up a storm.
And the guitar man got famous. The business man got rich.
And in every bar there was a superstar with a seven-year itch.
There was fifteen million fingers learnin' how to play,
And you could hear the fingers pickin' and this is what they had to say…

…Let there be rock

--Bon Scott, 1977