Friday, September 30, 2011

9/11 Memorial Pass

Off to the big city, will write more later...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boston College Transcript (1992-1996)

I’m sure at some point I will write more about my academic experience at BC, but for this transcript I will say this:

  1. It’s not nearly as good as my Wheelock Transcript.
  2. You can probably tell which semesters I was drinking.
  3. The semesters I wasn’t drinking, my GPA was 3.0.
  4. There’s no freakin’ way I deserved a C in Creative Writing.
  5. In my Sociology for Third World Countries, I did my research paper on Nicaragua because of this (see at around 3:50):

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

National Grid Parking Pass (2006)

Five years ago, I wasn’t working at a job that I love like Hope Lodge. I was doing temp work at National Grid, and I was not happy. My job was to send letters to people who were way overdue with their electric bills. But not just anyone – my letters went to the elderly, low-income families with infants, and people with medical conditions. The law in Massachusetts protects these groups from having their power shut off, but only to a certain extent. I sent letters to people who were already struggling with life in one way or another, and remind them that they were way overdue and owed National Grid $1984.52. I could feel little bits of my soul escaping with each one I sent. I understand that someone had to do this job, but I knew it couldn’t be me. I barely lasted 3 weeks.

When I quit, I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn’t want to teach, and I knew I didn’t want to work in an office like National Grid. But, I kept thinking postive thoughts. I kept telling myself there was something out there for me. Then, I found Hope Lodge.

I keep this parking pass right by my apartment door, so I can see it every time I leave. If I’m having a bad Crohn’s day or I have to go shovel 2 feet of snow off the Hope Lodge parking lot, it reminds me how much I love working with cancer patients. National Grid made me feel like I was spreading hurt into the world, and Hope Lodge gives reason to my life. Even though I would never want to work another minute sending overdue electric bills to people, I’m glad I have the experience as a reminder for how lucky I am every day…

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Medical Records, Last Hospitalization for Brain Cancer (9/16/92 – 9/27/92)

So, it’s been 19 years since I was last in the hospital because of my cancerous brain tumor. Awesome.

Last night, one of the Hope Lodge guests was feeling the wrath of his disease come over him at the dinner table. He told us at least at the end of the week, he would be done with this round of treatment. When I told him that today would be my 19-year out-of-treatment mark, his face lit up and he thanked me. More awesome.

Rather than scanning the entire 13-page discharge summary, I’ve included the front page and a couple of highlights:

If I didn’t want to talk, I must have been pretty damn sick – especially with all those nurses taking care of me.
I’m glad that it’s on record I was playing video games while in the hospital. That was my way of saying f- you cancer, I’m still going to have fun.

The real highlight of this last hospital stay was when the radiologist came in to tell me what I knew was coming. He said they wouldn’t be doing radiation (as was planned) and my treatment was over. The doctors had no explanation as to why I didn’t need radiation, but I wasn’t going to argue. My physical battle with cancer was over, and 19 years later I’m still fighting it with Hope Lodge and

Even with September 27th being a big day for me, I’m not alone in celebrating today. Google turned 13, and professional t-shirt wearer Jason Sadler of I Wear Your Shirt is celebrating his 1000th day of t-shirt wearing. Congrats to both of them for their revolutionary and visionary success! I hope to do the same in my crusade against cancer…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Letter from Massachusetts Department of Education (2005)

This letter was sent to me right before school started 6 years ago. I don’t remember if I read it or just skimmed it, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. I figured if any of my supervisors had a problem with what I was wearing, they would let me know.

I worked in a residential setting with students who had severe emotional and behavioral issues. Anytime you could make them smile for just 10 seconds was worth the effort. These students, along with my co-workers, really enjoyed the t-shirts I wore. Of course, I wore t-shirts that I thought would make everyone laugh. I would wear this one, this one, this one, and this one. I wouldn’t wear t-shirts like this one, this one, this one, or this one.

In the middle of the school year, one of my supervisors told me that I couldn’t wear t-shirts to work anymore. He told me that the letter sent to every teacher specifically said we couldn’t wear t-shirts. I asked for a copy of it, and this is what I got. I still can’t see where it says “no t-shirts”, but maybe my interpretation is just different. I kept wearing t-shirts, but made sure I had a buttoned shirt to cover up if I needed to. No one at work seemed to care, and students kept laughing when I wore them.

I hope all the hard-working teachers are off to a great school year, and aren’t letting their supervisors cramp their style too much!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Live Ticket, At The Live Show Poem, III Sides to Every Poem (9/21/07, 9/23/07, 2009)

Even though Pearl Jam dominated my ears when I was in college, the band Live did leave an impression. When I went to see them with my “lawyer friend” 4 years ago, they did not disappoint (Collective Soul was pretty damn good, too).

A couple of days later, I wrote down these words that came to me during the show. I haven’t written many poems like this recently, which is a good thing because I usually use poetry as an outlet for the darker emotions. This poem made it into my third volume,III Sides to Every Poem. Hope you enjoy…

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pearl Jam 20 Ticket and Brattle Theatre Schedule (9/23/11)

Like the Brattle Theatre employee told everyone before the Pearl Jam 20 screening last night, this wasn’t your typical VH1 Behind the Music. This was a true rock doc, covering the pre-PJ days, instant rise to popularity, and everything that followed.

Seeing Pearl Jam perform “Alive” at just their 2nd show, after they had been playing together for less than a week, was truly unbelievable. Just as crazy was Eddie’s signature climbing/circus/diving act of their early shows. And when Eddie started swearing his head off and tore down a banner at the Singles release party (what the band themselves call their worst performance ever – ever member totally wasted), I smiled and confirmed out loud, “He IS my hero!” I also enjoyed this back stage rehearsal of The Who’s Baba O’Reilly during the 1992 Lollapalooza tour:

But it wasn’t 20 years of just fun and games with the band. There was alcohol and drug abuse (some related to guitarist Mike McCready’s struggles with Crohn’s Disease), dealing with instant fame, and the tragedy at the Roskilde Festival in 2000 when 9 fans were trampled to death during Pearl Jam’s set.

But through it all, Pearl Jam stayed together. They kept making albums, touring, and adding to the number of fans who love their music. Can’t wait for the DVDs to come out…

Pearl Jam Twenty from Pearl Jam on Vimeo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Dad’s Hole-In-One Picture (1960s)

Today is my awesome dad’s birthday. This is a picture from when he won a hole-in-one contest, and today he played in the One Ball Two Strikes golf tournament. Although hitting the hole-in-one was most likely the pinnacle of his golf career, he has continued to excel as a husband, father, and grandfather ever since. He provided for a family of 7, gave everyone an opportunity for high quality educations, and always went above and beyond the title of “dad”. And just as important as all of the unconditional love he gave over the years, he gave (and continues to give) countless moments of laughter – the most recent being during a family game of Cranium when he was trying to be Christopher Walken…

Happy Birthday, Dad…I love you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

David Way Sign (1993)

Tonight was the first Hope Lodge visit of the school year by the Holy Cross SPUD students, so I figured I’d blog about something I stole.

It was New Year’s Eve going into 1993, and I thought I’d do a little raging against the machine. With a little help from my friends and a couple of tools, I took this sign sometime between midnight and 1:00 in the quiet little town of Westboro, MA. I was a freshman at BC back then, just months after finishing my battle with brain cancer. I had my eye on it since New Year’s 91-92, and after having cancer I began trying to live life fearlessly and without regret. I don’t know if there is a statute of limitations for stealing street signs, but I hope this confession doesn’t get me into trouble. The town of Westboro has since taken things of mine, so I guess it all evens out in the end anyway…

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hope Lodge Card

If you ask me what my least favorite season is, I’ll tell you summer. My Crohn’s and skin don’t mix well with a hot sun, and there’s no hockey. The Summer of 2011 was a different story and made me wonder if it might make a move out of the number for seasonal position.

First, the Bruins won The Cup for the first time since I’ve been alive. I started the day at what had become my usually Wednesday hangout: Buffone Arena’s hockey rink. I skated from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM, and played a public hockey session from noon until past 2:00. I then skated and shot the puck around until about 5:00, when the rink manager Nick asked me if I was ready to go watch the B’s win The Cup. I had been waiting my whole life. That night, I watched with my Michigan-converted-Tim-Thomas-worshipping girlfriend and thanks to her, I went to my parents to celebrate with my family. Easily one of the best days of my life.

In between The Cup victory and parade, the Skating for Hope committee met to continue preparing for the event. My team had just won it all, but there was just over a month to get ready for the big day/night/day.

Saturday, June 18th was the day if the Bruins Cup Parade, and my girlfriend and I headed into Beantown early to make sure we got a front row position. Although I had to sacrifice missing my 3rd trip up to Burlington, VT to play in the 32-team wiffle ball tournament simply called Wifflefest, there was no way I was going to miss the parade. Seeing the first shimmering glimmer of The Cup making its way towards my position was the first time the B's ultimate victory started to sink in. And there Lord Stanley was, being held by Timmy Thomas who had Captain Z by his side. Still, unbelievable enough to doubt if it was really happening. But it did. And I’m pretty sure Adam McQuaid saw me wearing the “Darth Quaider” T-shirt my sister Carolyn designed. Sweet.

Skating for Hope preparations continued and with the suggestion of a friend, I even tried to get The Cup there. On July 30th at 10:00AM, I took to the ice at Buffone Arena in Worcester. With a lot of great people behind me, I was able to make it through the 24-hours, played in 3 hockey games, and we raised a lot of money for Hope Lodge. All of the committee members and volunteers took responsibilities while I lived out my fantasy of being on a rink for an entire day. I played hockey with BC and BU Alum that can play about 4,385 times better than I can, and saw some taking the ice for their first times. We had a great Saint John's /Westboro High Alum game in memory of Danny Manning and Greg Montalbano. Family, old friends, new friends, and people I had never met came and supported the event. Even though my words can’t really capture how amazing it was for me, this collection of pictures and clips should give you an idea.

In the month of August, donations for Skating for Hope continued to arrive in the mail and online, and the total amount of money raised by Skating for Hope continued to increase. After a week of rest, I slowly introduced myself back to exercise and not having SFH on my mind. I took time to start writing thank you notes to people that helped, but knew to make them all personal it would take time. At the end of the month, I had another date with Lord Stanley. After stopping at Hampton Beach, NH to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd, I drove through the night up to PEI and arrived there late on a Saturday morning. It was a beautiful “PEI Day”, and my girlfriend and I caught up on our sleep on the sand The Island’s north shore. Saturday night included quick stops at Cow’s, the Charlottetown cannons, and a few races at the CDP (or whatever it’s called now). And Sunday was another Cup Parade. Although on a smaller scale than the Boston celebration, the Adam McQuaid Stanley Cup Festival was just as enjoyable and well worth the trip. I think the best quote of the weekend was JB’s thought about PEI as she was enjoying the beach: “Why would you ever leave here?”

After a 2-day workweek back at Hope Lodge, we celebrated my sister-in-laws birthday with a game night that included my dad mistakenly acting out Christopher Lloyd when his Cranium card said Christopher Walken (video to follow). Then, I went up north again for a full week on PEI. This time, I went with my mother and younger brother, and even though the good weather alternated each day it was a great week full of fun times. Labour Day was gorgeous, and the rest of the week I chatted with a Stanley Cup champion, drive up The Island’s west coast (from West Point to North Cape), went to the PEI Potato Museum, listened to Celtic music by Cynthia MacLeod, Gordon Belsher, and Richard Wood, and finished the week going to the Buddy musical. It went by too fast, and I’m already missing PEI.

Last week was one of recovery from a very intense, unbelievable, and magical summer. I’m ready to skate, play hockey, watch hockey, plan Skating for Hope II, and finish writing thank you notes to all the people who helped with Skating for Hope – thank you for your patience. And, thanks to everyone who made this summer a very memorable one!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Youth Soccer Card (1982)

Yup, I was a badass back then. I think the person taking the picture told me to give a “Play soccer with me and I may kick you where it hurts” look. My career soccer stats are something like 2 seasons, no goals, no assists, and a lot of dirty socks. Coach Doherty did a great job coaching the “Green Machine”, but no coach would have been able to convince me that soccer was the sport for me. One of my teammates, Jim Campbell, went on to play in the NHL, which I still think is pretty funny. Yes, it always comes back to hockey for me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

9/19 – Cholestyram Info

My name is Dave and I have Crohn’s Disease. This means a few things. One, my shit stinks and I know it does. My family and close friends know it does. Because the severity of the disease can vary from person to person, so do the medications that help alleviate symptoms. I’ve been pretty lucky with my Crohn’s. Even though I was diagnosed almost 23 years ago, I have only needed one surgery. And, I’ve only been hospitalized twice (my initial diagnosis and April 2008).

Still, I have my bad days. There are days when I have no energy and days when I have no energy and need to use the bathroom 8 times. There are cramps, bloating, and aches. I stopped drinking coffee and eating fast food, and that helped cut down on the number of “bad days” I experience.

No matter what I do, I usually experience symptoms at least a few times a week. I’ve never tried Cholestyram (or Cholestyramine as I found it), but I’m willing to give it a try to see what happens. Not that I need it, but it should lower my cholesterol. And I think the common side effect is desirable. Just ask anyone who has had to use the bathroom after me…

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Star Wars Storybook (1979), Princess Leia Card, Special Edition DVDs with Star Wars Office Space Spoof Video

Star Wars has been part of my life for just about as long as I can remember. It was the first movie I remember seeing in a theater, and I was blown away. When I got the Death Star for Christmas one year, I got my first taste of dreams coming true.

And ever since then, I’ve been buying or receiving Star Wars related “stuff” like this book, card, and DVDs.

After seeing A New Hope, I couldn’t wait for the sequels to come out and started adding to my Star Wars collection over the years.

Even though I wasn’t too happy with some of the changes in the Special Edition releases in 1997, I was excited to see the trilogy up on the big screen again. Like most fans, I was not pleased with the prequel movies. Episode III wasn’t bad, but I and II were big disappointments.

Still, I defended the “Holy Trilogy” if anyone bad-mouthed it and kept adding to my collection of merchandise.

I bought or was given quite a few Star Wars t-shirts and started putting out a Hoth scene under my “Star Wars Ornaments Only” Christmas tree (What better way to celebrate baby Jesus’ birth than with a Death Star on top?). Even this blog has its share of Star Wars posts.

I was glad when I heard George Lucas had taken Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, agreeing to give away at least half of his fortune to charity. Then, they made the announcement of Star Wars being released in 3D – just another way for George to make more money and give Episode IV a chance to climb on the all-time box office gross list. Again, I say I will only see the movies in 3D if Lucas announces he will donate all of the profits to charity.

When I heard that the Star Wars Blu-ray edition included even more changes to the movies, I told myself I would refuse to give Star Wars any more of my money.

How much money do you need, George? Will you ever be satisfied with the movies? You can’t even keep your hands off of the movies that you didn’t direct?

Unless you donate all of the 3D profits to charity and let fans turn in their older movies (VHS, DVD) for the newer ones, I am done. I will still watch the movies, but I am done contributing to your greed.

This is how much I care about money and “things”. This is what I think you’re doing to Star Wars…

Friday, September 16, 2011

Birthday Card from My Sister (2010)

Diabetes, Asthma, Crohn’s, cancer, cists, surgeries, dog attacks, broken bones, unemployment, and drinking. There are more, but you get the drift.

Why do none of these really matter and why has my family been able to deal with all of them? It’s simply because we have each other.

My older sister has been there for me through everything, and without her support I wouldn’t have been able to make it through my challenges. I am there for her when she needs me, and today I’m wishing her a very happy birthday and best of luck with her new job.

Thanks for everything Ca, I love you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011 Brochure from Evo

Even though it’s right around the corner from me, I had never been to Evo before. After a very tasty black bean burger lunch, this brochure was included with the bill.

My friend Jodi thought I was kidding when I opened it and said, “Hey, I wrote my cancer story for that website.”

But My 15-40 Story is there on the 15-40 website, along with other 15-40 stories.

Like it says on the brochure, improvements in the cancer survival rates for teens and young adults have remained nearly 0% since 1975.

Two constant reminders of this statistic are guys I knew from Saint John’s and Westboro. My friend Danny Manning graduated with me in 1992 and lost his battle with cancer when we were juniors in college. I knew Greg Montalbano from Westboro and Saint John’s, and he passed away two years ago. I think about Danny and Greg every day, and they inspire me to do whatever I can to fight back against cancer.

Doing your part is easy, especially if you’re 15-40 years old – it’s all in the brochure:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jury Duty Reminder Notice (9/14/11)

Today, I fulfilled one of my civic duties and reported for Massachusetts jury duty.

It wasn’t my most exciting day, but I did learn a few things. One, in 1860, Massachusetts became the first state to seat African Americans on a jury. Two, women did not become part of jury pools in MA until 1950. Also, the page reminds that “Despite its late inclusion of women jurors, Massachusetts was the first state to institute the one day/one trial system statewide.” I learned all of this through a riveting jury pool room video, and after that it was a lot of sitting.

They did let us out for a lunch break, and I met a favorite person of mine at Spoodles – which is always nice. And for the first time, I didn’t order a sandwich with meat (almost 2 full weeks meat free and I think my Crohn’s likes it!).

I was brought with a group of jurors into a courtroom twice, but my juror number wasn’t called. Maybe I shouldn’t have written “I think our whole system sucks.” for the last question in part 3.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buddy Programs and Ticket (9/9/11)

Last week, not only did I travel to one of my favorite places (The Island, PEI, Prince Edward Island), I traveled back in time…

It was the late 1950s, and a young musician named Buddy Holly was trying to make a name for himself.

I didn’t know much about Buddy’s life and music career before taking my seat at the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, PEI, but the cast of the show was happy to educate me - and they did a spectacular job doing so.

Not only did Jeff Giles do a wonderful job bringing Buddy and his music to life; the rest of the performers complimented him on every number.

The Apollo scenes and the Big Bopper/Richie Valens scenes were my favorites, but every scene was truly awesome – even the commercial jingles were great!

If you ever get a chance to see any performance of Buddy, don’t miss out. This year’s PEI cast grabbed me, took me back to the 50s, and made me a Buddy Holly fan – I have since bought his Definitive Collection and looked up the chords for That’ll Be the Day. Of course, I can’t sing and play as well as Buddy OR Jeff, but I can feel the words and spirit of a 22-year-old whose life ended far too soon…

Monday, September 12, 2011

Patriots Gameday and Team Rosters (8/10/01)

Interestingly, even though I’m not the biggest Pats fan you’ll meet, I wore a Pats t-shirt exactly one year ago today and blogged about it here.

Later that year, I wore another Pats t-shirt. Included in that blog are my experiences as a Pats fan, going to my first Pats game, and how the only piece missing from my sports fanaticism was a Bruins Stanley Cup championship. (Maybe now I should say the only thing missing is the B’s repeating?)

Here are the program and team rosters from my first (and only) Pats game ten years ago. Go Pats, Sox, and B’s!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Journal Entry from 9/11/07, 11:25 PM

This is what I wrote in my journal four years ago.

Farther and further away

From the tattoo day,

But the ink never dries

When it’s a soul that cries.

Moments of silence

For the pointless violence,

As the blood needle burns

From too late lessons learned.

See the red rain inside

A loss flowing from those who died,

A condition now part of the skin

Making pores that can’t be filled in.

It’s owed to those who lost

To always remind of the measureless cost,

Still farther way

Never forget this tattoo day.

Now ten years since it happened and four years since I wrote this, I’m still haplessly trying to figure it out. How could anyone think that killing thousands of innocent people was the right thing to do? How would families, fire departments, friends, and co-workers ever move past losing someone? Has our military response made the world a better place?

It took less than five years since the attacks for the number of US soldier deaths to surpass the number of people who were killed on 9-11 (see CNN article). Will our military presence in Iraq or Afghanistan ever result in an end to terrorism? I have passes to go visit the 9/11 memorial on September 30th. I doubt this will help answer any of my questions, but I feel (like writing this poem) it’s a way I can honor those who lost their lives 10 years ago.

Let’s hope and pray for less local and worldly violence over the next ten years…

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wayne’s World Clipping (1992)

With a history of brain cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and a drinking problem; anniversaries have become a natural way for me to remember certain dates: Dates I was diagnosed, dates I was in the hospital, the last day I drank.

The years following my cancer diagnosis (which was 3 days after my 18th birthday, March 31st), my birthday and early April became days of a “Dark Anniversary”. I was drinking for the first 3 of those time periods, and that would make me angry when I looked back to my diagnosis. Even after I stopped drinking, I would occasionally feel sad during the days following my birthday. It usually came out of nowhere and would have me wondering why I was feeling so dreadful until I remembered, “Oh yeah, cancer diagnosis”.

In the years since, I have tried to turn the darkness into stretching out my birthday to a weeklong celebration. Rather than looking back and saying to myself “That wasn’t fair or that really sucked”, I have transformed these days into a time of thankfulness and fun activities.

It makes sense to me that I hung up a Wayne’s World clipping during the summer of 1992. This was the summer that I was battling brain cancer. Two of my biggest weapons in this battle were my family and laughter. I kept both close to me that summer, and I think it played a huge part in the success of my treatment.

No matter how many medical battles I’ve fought, won, or still live with; I realize they don’t compare to the anniversary of September 11th. They are my own personal battles and I was/am able to deal with each of them because of family and friends who have supported me. I didn’t personally know any of the people that were senselessly murdered 10 years ago tomorrow, but I try to use that day of a reminder of how precious life is.

More on this tomorrow…

In the meantime, you can check out:

· Wayne’s World Goofs

· Wayne’s World Trivia

· Wayne’s World Quotes

Friday, September 9, 2011

Extreme Pornograffitti Drawing (1991, 1992)

I was 17. Extreme was my favorite band and Pornograffitti was my favorite album. I’m guessing I made this on one of those rainy days when there was no beach to go, no internet or cable, and we had to entertain ourselves. A year later, my girlfriend at the time colored it on for me.

One of the essays for my application to Boston College stated something like “write about a form of artistic expression that you think is extraordinary and explain why you think so.” I wrote about Pornograffitti and I got in. Thanks, Extreme.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Punisher Symbol Drawing and Batman Drawing by My Friend Mike (1990)

Back in 1990, my friend Mike came up to visit PEI and we made these drawings. Even though I admit Mike can draw much better than I and the Batman movies are far superior to The Punisher ones, I still like The Punisher better – He also has a much more bad-ass symbol. (You can read about my Punisher t-shirts from last year’s blog here and here.)

Today though, I think the real punisher is Jeremy Jacobs. The cheapest Bruins ticket for this season is $70. I understand that the B’s won The Cup, but this is almost double what the cheapest seat was last year. There’s only one excuse for jacking the price up that much and it’s greed. You didn’t win The Cup, Jeremy. The players did, and you were able to pay them because fans buy the tickets, buy the merchandise, and watch the games on TV. And, you made even more money because they won – especially with all the diehard and bandwagon fans buying championship gear. The cost of running this team couldn’t have gone up that much since last season – you just figured because they won you could charge whatever you wanted to. Shame on you for making that decision. When the B’s repeat as champs, will the cheapest seat be $100? Jerk.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coke Classic Six Pack Label (1989)

You know what the coolest thing about PEI is? It’s the little differences. Examples? Well, in PEI, you could get a bottle of Coke. And I don’t mean a little 10 oz. special edition Christmas bottle; I mean a glass liter bottle of Coke. They also call it pop instead of soda. And, you know what they have in PEI instead of Dunkin’ Donuts? Tim Horton’s. They also have the metric system there, so when the sign says “Maximum 100” you can only go about 60, they don’t know what the f- a mile is. And you know what kind of potato chips they have in PEI? Ketchup Chips. And they drown them in that flavoring, man - you’re hands are red after you eat them. But my absolute favorite? Instead of Oreos, they have Fudgeos – they’re like Oreos, but they have chocolate in the middle. I still haven’t gone into Burger King, though…

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Picture of Motley Crue and The Dirt book autographed by Vince Neil (1988, 2001)

I remember when my older brother showed me his Motley Crue Shout at the Devil LP. I couldn’t believe the picture of the band inside, but was blown away when I heard the first two tracks - In the Beginning and Shout at the Devil. The music was heavier and meaner than Van Halen, and I liked it a lot. I remember being one of only a few students in my 5th grade class who knew about Vince Neil’s car crash in December of 1984. This was before we had cable/MTV, so I think we all thought that The Crue was over. Through the magic of being a rock star and money, Vince only went to jail for 30 days and the band continued. In my 10-year-old mind, I figured what he didn’t must not have been that bad if he only had to be in jail for a month – and I was happy they didn’t break up. The next summer, my brother got Theatre of Pain and brought it up to PEI. We listened to it just about every day, and “Home Sweet Home” quickly became the favorite with my siblings and me. When Girls, Girls, Girls came out a couple of years later, I made sure I had a copy the day it was released. I don’t know how many other 7th graders with straight A’s walked around playing the new Crue album at school on the last day (they let us do this as long as we were outside), but I was one of them.

That summer, my older brother did something that would change me forever: Motley Crue was touring, and he took me to my first concert at the Centrum in Worcester. Not only did it quickly make The Crue my favorite band; it made going to concerts one of my favorite things to do. Like I wrote on my blog about meeting Nikki Sixx, I remember hearing about Nikki’s overdose. It was the winter after that first show, and (again because of the time and slow news travel) the rumor was that Nikki had died. Of course he had died for a couple of minutes, but the news of his “kickstart” didn’t reach me until later that day. I remember being relieved and pissed at the same time. I thought “Dancing on Glass” meant not doing drugs anymore, and was upset that Nikki would put his life on the line like that. But, I was happy to find out he was okay, and hoped the close call would make him stop.

And in the summer of 1988, I hung up this picture by my bed in Prince Edward Island. My brothers, sisters, and I often bought “metal mags” to keep up with our rock heroes. I don’t know if this came out of Metal Edge, Circus, Hit Parader, or Rip, but I’m sure it was one of them. We didn’t have the internet, we had magazines.

My older sister got me this autographed copy of The Dirt, and I just finished reading it again yesterday. Say what you will about Motley’s music, this book makes it clear to me that these 4 people were meant to be in a band together. They all have demons that differ in size and shape, and the way they dealt with them was through rock, chemicals, and sex. It’s really a miracle they survived through it all, and pretty amazing that after all the drama, breakups, and headlines, they still put out a kick-ass album a few years ago (Saints of Los Angeles). If you are (or were) a fan of this band, The Dirt is a must read. And if you don’t like the song Home Sweet Home, shame on you…

Monday, September 5, 2011

Van Halen (c. 1984)

A friend gave me this on the last day of school one year (1984 or ’85?), so I brought it up to PEI and hung it by my bed.

Van Halen was huge when I was in the 4th grade, and that was just when I was starting to add “rock” to my musical preferences (I had mostly just listened to The Beatles up to that point).

I remember signing their songs, loving their videos, and not wanting to believe it when they broke up.

I finally saw them play live in 2007 when they toured with David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang, but I will write more about that and VH later…