Alive! at 35: One Man’s Shameless Allegiance to Rock N’ Roll

NOTE: This is the introduction to my music blog, “Alive and 35: One’s Man’s Shameless Allegiance To Rock N’ Roll,” found here:

Welcome to my nightmare.

This is a lame intro line, but it’s the title track from Alice Cooper’s 1975 album, and I love Alice Cooper even though he’s kind of a douchebag now, and I loved that album when I was little (not so very much now), and it sounds a lot more exciting than ‘welcome to my collection of road maps” or “welcome to my smelly basement.”   A good intro is key.  In everything.  Consider the following:

Now, if you don’t like KISS, no worries.  I’m going to talk about a loooooooot of bands here.  But that right there – that was my introduction to music as a tender five-year-old, and I could not have been more impressed if Jesus Christ himself had descended from heaven riding a dragon with money and candy shooting out of his eyes.  In heavy metal, presentation is important, and this was one of the first lessons I learned.  (That and the Gene Simmons’ philosophy that you should have sex with every vagina in a 10,000-mile radius, though I think it’s been in my best interest to actually follow a different path on that one.)

That’s a decent segue into some important music facts about me, by way of further introduction:

Chris Music Fact #1: I love “big” shows.  Pulling off a big production is a fucking art form, and when it’s done right, it adds to a performance rather than taking away from it.  (Case in point: every single U2 tour ever.)  So the KISS thing?  That shit’s from the womb, baby.

2. I also love small shows with no fanfare attached, and I’ve seen far more of those.  That’s also an art form, and infinitely more difficult to pull off, really.

3. I’ve seen hundreds of live shows.  If you asked me to sit down and list the bands I’ve seen live, I couldn’t do it.  Sometimes I hear bands on the radio or on iTunes, and at that moment, I remember that I’ve seen them live.  The numbers are just too big.

4. My first actual concert was Stevie Nicks on the Wild Heart tour in ’83.  Technically, I attended both KISS and Leon Russell concerts while in the womb.  (My in-vitro encounter with Leon Russell happened the night before I popped, which I can only imagine was in response to following KISS with Leon Russell.  I think I wanted out in order to demand answers of my mother.)

5. I have no problem with the digitizing of the music industry, though I will always, always, always prefer buying records to downloading, and I think there’s a delicate balance that needs to be maintained in the interest of art and creativity.  But I can get lost browsing iTunes for hours on end looking for nothing in particular.  Clever bastards.


6. Here’s what prompted me to start this blog:

My wife.  She thought it would be cool, and she’s usually right, and I have no problem admitting that.  I wouldn’t have married someone who didn’t know what she was talking about.

The fact that I know a lot about music but I’m not pretentious.  That in and of itself is an anomoly.  (Which, FYI, is the name of Ace Frehley’s forthcoming solo record, his first in twenty years.  I have high hopes and a pre-order on deck.  Get it?  Ace??  DECK???  LIKE IN CARDS????…yeah)  And I figured it would be fun.

And, coincidentally, while I’ve been thinking about expanding my blog into this for a while, today someone found me by searching for “Ace Frehley playin’ live while wasted and drunk.”  And I thought, you know…I could write about that.   Easily.   I know all about Ace Frehley playing wasted and drunk.  I know all about Ace Frehley playing stone-cold sober.   I know all about Ace Frehley making a delightful ass of himself on the Tom Snyder Show.  But most important to me personally, I know all about Ace Frehley pointing at me in the fifth row of a KISS show and throwing me his personalized guitar pick within the first thirty seconds of “Detroit Rock City.”  Maybe I’ll even tell that story.

But for right now, if you want reviews, observations, and otherwise pointless but hilarious ranting about rock stars, indie snobs, and live shows, look no further.

P.S. To you, sir, in the Nike polo who rides the same train as I do every night and listens to some sort of unidentifiable dance music on your iPod shuffle, please stop doing that weird smacking-the-metal-stair-poles thing  like you’re playing bongos.  There really are some things you can’t pull off as you get older, and I doubt that you ever really looked cool doing this in the first place.


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