"This rock 'n' roll thing is gonna get us all dead," was all I overheard before the jukebox spit out "Lost in the Supermarket." And I think, sixteen, seventeen? Sitting in the basement, drinking warm Stroh's. And here I am now. Yeah, things have changed almost as much as they stayed the same. Walking down the street underaged, lighting up the Vespa with twenty bucks and a fake ID in your wallet. I can feel the street through my Chuck Taylors. The parents will be screamin' in the morning with me coming home so late.
Bang! Just like every time you start to plan. Start to think you understand. Bang! Just like Leroy the communist and Bobby Kimball in Montana. Bang! Just like your van burning on Clark Street, headlights flickering on and off. Bang! The cop tells you to step away and you're just starting to believe her when the fire truck comes. "They never blow up," laughs the fire guy. "That only happens in the movies." Shit, there's toothless people everywhere. Can't decide whether to laugh or cry. Grab your bag and start walking, smoke still hanging in the air. It's a long way to a quarter of a million miles.
I can still see Eddie laughing at us while we re-wire the engine harness. Almost as strange and wonderful as the drag queens leading the blind people across the street at Broadway and Belmont. "You just follow me," she drawled. And they did, hand in hand. I make it all spin, guitar cord wrapped around my ankles, the red lights cutting through my eyelids. I can see the smiles, the combustion, the downbeats, the beer and the melody. I swallow the microphone and 110 volts rips through my skull. Yep, he couldn't be more right. This rock 'n' roll thing is gonna get us all dead. But what the hell, I got nothing better to do.
How it all happened
More than 30 years ago in the basement of a Downers Grove home, some guys who had no idea what they were doing played a few chords.
Some of them were pretty good. Some of them not really at all. And just a few were darn close to being memorable
Way long ago
Back in the days before mobile phones, there was a lot of lo-fi.