Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grace Under Pressure

Some years prior to 1984, I had taken a keen interest in the relentless beat and jangle of guitars that amounted to (then) modern rock-n-roll.  I recall dragging my Dad to a hardware/general store, Gambell’s, and buying (or more likely having Dad buy for me) a 7” inch single of Pat Benatar’s “Fire and Ice.”  I still have that single sitting in a closet.  But my interest in the power of rock must have reached a frenzied pitch in 1984, because the only reasonable explanation for the following events is a lot of whining and nagging on my part.

I grew up in Socorro, NM, about 75 miles south of Albuquerque.  National touring acts included stints at Tingley Colusieum at the Albuquerque fair grounds, and at some point I decided that I wanted to join the sweaty masses of people, throw my arms in the air, and just flat rock out at a concert.  Only whining and nagging can explain my Dad agreeing that, yes, he would take me to a show.   I could pick the next band that I wanted to see, and he would drive me north, chaperon me, suffer through parking, excessive volume, horrible acoustics, and the drunk and stoned masses that were sure to appear.  I clearly got the better end of the deal.

Fantastic!  Not weeks after getting the green light, Ozzy Osbourne announced a tour date in Albuquerque, with Motley Crue opening.  The Albuquerque Journal even had a big write up on the show, featuring a quarter-page photo of Motely Crue.  This was it!  I marched the newspaper article into my dad, pointed proudly, and announced that we needed to get tickets, and soon!  He took one look at the Crue, and replied, “Nope.  Pick something else.”  Crickey, can’t a kid get a break around here?

No worries, though.  Quick on the heels of Ozzy and the Crue, Rush announced a show in Albuquerque.  Yes, Rush would do nicely.  Apparently finding nothing immediately and undeniably offensive about Rush, Dad agreed this time.  Money was spent.  Tickets were bought.  (And for anyone comparing ticket prices, past and present, I think they were $12.).  And then, miracle of miracles, Van Halen announced a show.  Tickets went on sale and sold out immediately.  They announced another show.  Again, the whining and the nagging must have reached fever pitch, because my Dad said, “Yes, you can go to that too.”  Thankfully the Rush concert hadn’t happened yet.  If it had, there never would have been a second.  We got tickets to Van Halen, and I suddenly felt like the coolest sixth grader in town.

Both bands filled the coliseum, both bands were as loud as you would expect, and Dad hated every minute.  Many years down the road, he critiqued the concerts as follows:  “Rush at least just came out, played their noise, and left, without all of the swearing and stories about sex, booze, and drugs, but there was way more pot at the Rush show too, so I don’t know which one I hated more.”

So what?  What does this have to do with anything?  By now you’re probably thinking, “Geez, I waste my valuable time to get an update into your HEALTH, man, and all I’ve got to show for it is this waltz down memory lane?”  Well, as it turns out, the chemo room has portable DVD players.  I frontloaded our Netflix cue with a concert film by Rush from that 1984 tour (although not from the Albuquerque show).  So while the poisons pumped, I again rocked out.  I still like Rush, although in truth I can’t remember the last time I reached for a Rush CD (or MP3 file).  But the concert was quite dated.  I’m sure the band members look back today and shake their heads.

Chemo infusion two has come and gone.  We’re killing cancer here, people.  Probably be an early night tonight, and then start the prednisone pills tomorrow.   The hair is definitely on its way out.  We’ll have pictures after the shaving!  Hmmm… If I can find a flat bed scanner, maybe I could post a parade of my hair styles over the years.  This won’t be the first time my hair has been taken down to the scalp (albeit only for half my head!).


  1. How well I remember our 17th anniverary spent at a Van Halen concert. Who could ask for a more romantic time. That probably contributed to my loss of hearing.


  2. Part of the story I neglected to tell above involved the purchase of four Van Halen tickets. After the Rush show, my parents tired vainly to find some other responsible adult to take me. "Here! Take your kid, my kid, and a fourth of your choosing! Just spare me the anguish!" Even with that hard sale, they found no takers. So my Mom signed on, I brought a friend, and the four of us went to see Van Halen. And yes, it was on my parent's anniversary. And yes, it probably contributed to hearing problems. I can only guess that on that night in 1984, they were both second guessing the decision to have a kid.

  3. Hello Scott, we are thinking about you here in Texas. (and, just in case you didn't know, Rush is on tour this year and I read that Van Halen is in the studio recording a new album....)

    Take care,
    Barney (Buddy), Jill, Michelle, and Melissa

  4. hey scott rest up! good luck with the hair who need it anyways!? :) by the way you are fantastic writer!

  5. Scott, loved the story & since we've known you & your folks since you were 2 1/2 years old-it was a great flashback ; when you get tired of lawyering you'll make a great writer; we will be thinking of you thru each treatment & wish you & C. the best. the Runions

  6. Thanks for the comments all. And, Buddy, thanks for the tip on the Rush tour. I'll have to see if they have any shows planned for my parent's anniversary and get them a pair of tickets.