Monday, March 23, 2009

Manly Music Monday

This is gonna come as a shock to many of my fans but I was not well liked as a child. No, no, its true. The problem was that a keen wit, sharp mind and dry sense of humor were not as appreciated amongst my fellow 10 yr olds as I would have liked. They valued the ability to hit a small round object with a stick over reading at a High School level and upper body strength over IQ. Not only was I picked last for kickball, most of the time the team that had me left as their only option would choose to be one man short rather than be saddled with my dead weight.  During recess I would generally walk laps around the basketball court where the other boys were playing. They called this "Target Practice". Obviously, 4th grade was not a love fest. About mid way through the school year the constant abuse was starting to erode even my notoriously high self-confidence. I was really starting to hate going to school and my grades were slipping along with my sense of self worth. Then one day my teacher, Mr Mitchell, called me over to his desk while we were reading. He just chatted with me for a sec and then he pulled out a black cassette tape with a gold label and the letters "CCR" written in black sharpie on the front. He told me it was a group that he really liked and that he thought I might appreciate. He said he noticed I was a little different and that this music wasnt like the stuff the other kids listened to but that he thought I was mature enough to appreciate it. ( I realize as I write this that it sounds like the set-up for a long term highly inappropriate relationship but times was different back then.) The rest of that day felt like December 24th and I ran home as fast as my little legs would go. I jammed that bad boy in my tape player and heard this...







It blew my little white bread mind. It was raw, it was rough, it was visceral and it was completely alien to what I knew music to be. It talked about drug use, poor southern kids, bayous, and for the first time in my life music took me some place wild and foreign. Sure it was old news at the time, but compared to "Walk Like An Egyptian" and "There'll Be Sad Songs" it just seemed so dirty and real and the polar opposite of the music I heard on the radio. I had never seen a music video but I knew these guys had beards, overgrown sideburns and bad teeth. I could picture them kickin back on someones porch and just jammin out. They weren't cool, they didn't have nice clothes and they were still freakin awesome.  And that meant there was hope for me. I went to sleep that night with visions of elephants on flying spoons being serenaded by hicks in overalls and little kids with messed up teeth dancing a jig for thrown quarters and I was happy. Because I could see myself with them.








I got up early the next morning and could not wait to get to school. I wanted to tell Mr Mitchell how much I loved Creedence Clearwater Revival and talk to about all the things I was feeling and thinking about and wanted to do and what I though of their music and how it had changed the way I though about musicians and how we would be best freinds and on and on. Unfortunately he was still just my teacher. And I was still the dorky skinny kid that sucked at kickball. And I still got beat up that afternoon. But I was ok with that. Every now and then Mr Mitchell would slip in an obscure CCR reference in his lesson and give me knowing smile. And I knew that I was different. And that somewhere there were other kids that were different too. And no amount of wedgies could take that away from me. 

6 comments:

Ginger Snaps said...

When I got here it had already posted so you must not be as retarded as you think you are.

I am not a huge ccr fan, but I give them props for originality.

Ginger Snaps said...

And I would have been your friend Chops, I was exceptionally compassionate. Did you have Chops at 10.

Cleopatra Jones said...

yeah... this is my mom's music, but I'll let it slide.

This time.


BTW- You're still a dorky skinny kid.

The Ramones Cover of "Have You Ever Senn the Rain?" is way better in my humble but super important opinion.

Jeninator said...

Chops- I don't know you, but your story makes me want a list of all those mean jocks so I can kick their butts.
Your teacher was one cool dude.
I still love CCC!!! My pops introduced them to me at a young age and I've loved them ever since.

Chops McGee said...

Robbie Johnson: Riverside CA
Jason Wegwert: Phoenix AZ
Will Harold: Phoenix AZ
Roland Pittman: Flagstaff AZ

That was the top 4. I dont have their exact address Jen but that should be enough to get you started. I appreciate you doing this for me. I dont want any of them dead mind you, just hurt. And thanks again. Also, you may want to bring a bat or something, Roland got pretty beefy what with the steroids and all...

Jeninator said...

Sweet. I'm on it. Don't worry- always have a bat in the back of the car...just in case...

 

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