What a Nice Surprise, Bring Your Alibis …

So, I had a little musical bonding moment with my boys the other day.

My boys are fifteen and twelve years old. The older boy plays the electric guitar and the younger one plays the drums. Both of them have been taking lessons for several years, and yes I’m their mom, but trust me when I say they are both incredible musicians. However, there is just a teensy bit of a generation gap between us. I don’t mind their music so much — in fact, at times I really enjoy listening to it, if only to try and understand their world and what’s going on in those brains of theirs (I know, good luck with THAT, right?). They are both heavy metal enthusiasts … not like my generation thinks of heavy metal. Oh, no … Metallica? Iron Maiden? Poison? AC/DC? … Mellow compared to what my guys listen to. Ever heard of Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot or Disturbed? Yeah. Half the time, all I can think about is how someone can “sing” that way without completely destroying their vocal cords. And I’m told these groups are not considered “Screamo” and so far haven’t had the nerve (or the eardrums) to ask to hear an example of  what would be classified as “Screamo”.

So imagine my surprise and pleasure when I hear my older son begin to pluck out the beginning strains of  Hotel California while I schlep down the stairs of the basement the other day with load of laundry. Turns out his guitar teacher assigned it to him (bless you guitar teacher … I knew I was paying you for something!). Then yesterday, he spied the Hell Freezes Over CD in my van and asked if Hotel California was on it. Of course it was on it, I told him, but a different version than he might expect. You see, the Hell Freezes Over live version of Hotel California happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time, so I happily slipped it into the CD slot and hoped that both boys would humor me while narrated the intro for them, which in my humble opinion is the most amazing song intro ever:

Imagine a dark stage. All the audience can see is the silhouettes of the band members on stage. Don Felder begins to play an unfamiliar melody on a classic-styled acoustic guitar. Then the percussion chimes it … the bass drum and a bongo (at this point, I glance in the rear-view mirror at my drummer, happy to see I have his rapt attention). Joe Walsh joins in, strumming along with the still unrecognized melody. The audience has no idea what the song is, all they know is they are there seeing one of their favorite bands of all time, a band they never thought they’d see in a live performance again. Finally, Don starts to play the familiar, famous tune. The audience immediately recognizes it and goes wild. You can barely hear the music for the cheering. You can feel the electric emotion just from the recording. Joy!  Something that never was supposed to happen, happened! Hell froze over, and they were there to witness it! Do I sound jealous at this point? Because I am. Brings tears to my eyes every single, damn time. And yes, I am a sap.

And you know what? I think they understood. The most telling evidence of this is how often I’ve heard them each listen to the song in the last couple of days since. As budding musicians, they’ve come to  a turning point. Music isn’t all about  the musician … okay, maybe if you play lead guitar it is. But seriously, that’s only part of the equation. It’s about making a connection. As humans, we all crave a connection to other humans … through music, through books, through art, through movies … whatever. And as writers, musicians or artists, that craving is even more intense. We want to be understood, to be loved. We want to matter. We want to write that song, or that story, or paint that piece that is instantly recognizable, like Hotel California. Something that others will love and connect with. Something that will live longer than we will. Something that will matter.

And now for your listening enjoyment:


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer
    Mar 27, 2009 @ 01:15:43

    I got goosebumps just reading that entry! The video was amazing too. Love that song!

  2. Ilana
    Mar 27, 2009 @ 15:09:28

    Love this song too!

  3. Brenda
    Mar 27, 2009 @ 16:26:04

    Wow! This hit me like a ton of bricks on so many levels!

  4. Darla
    Mar 30, 2009 @ 21:06:47

    Oh the memories of our youth.
    Thanks for the few moments of mind escaping bliss.

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