Date: Mon 28 May, 2001 at 00:00
Headline: Deep Inside We're All The Same
Greetings and Salutations!
I am 29 years old today.
Hang on, I'm actually going somewhere with this...
It's a bit hard to describe to anyone who isn't in my specific age range
(perhaps a few years older or younger) just how much of an impact the
Star Wars movies had on my life. For my friends
and I, they were not just cinematic entertainment, they were burned into us chemically. They shaped our view of the world in ways that
family, school and religion were meant to do. They were officially a Big Deal.
In the summer of 1983, long before the Internet as we know it, before
well-publicized spoilers and cynical fanboy filters would rule the day,
when only one family in our neighborhood had a VCR and we could not
conceive of ever owning these films in all of their
THX-remastered glory, we would speculate and fantasize endlessly about the
possibility of a theatre showing all three back-to-back. It would be the
ultimate experience, we said.
An older boy whose name escapes me at the moment once sat in on our
musings, and declared that he would rather have front-row tickets to a
STYX concert than see any of the films again, marathon or
not. To back up his claims, he presented us with a battered record
sleeve and dropped the needle on a well-worn LP called
Paradise Theatre - the "greatest rock album
ever", he assured us.
We all thought he was insane.
Fast-forward a few years later. At fourteen years of age, I have
officially been bitten by the music bug. My friends and I have formed a
band...of sorts...and Eddie Van Halen has replaced Luke Skywalker in our
pantheon. My friend Fozz practically forces a tape of
STYX's live album Caught In The
Act into my hands, insisting that if I want to hear
music that will inspire me I should give a serious listen to this band
that his older brother and sister loved so much back in the day. The
name of the band rings a bell, and I agree to check it out.
My friend never got that tape back. It was played endlessly and eventually
wore out, replaced by a factory tape that I bought myself - which also
wore out. I spent dollar after hard-earned dollar tracking down as many
STYX albums as I could find, and when CDs became the
medium du jour, my first purchase was their best of compilation called
A&M Classics. The band held a special place for
me because in 1988, there was literally NO information
on them. The band had been defunct for some years, and as far as the
music press was concerned, it was as if they never had existed. My passion
for their music was only surpassed by my curiousity about their story.
Fast-forward again, to the present day. I now make my living (such as it
is) as a musician. I have spent the last year and a half of my life
assembling a project that has been the most challenging and rewarding that I
have ever attempted. One that will take my career (again, such as it is) to
the next level. And though I have listened to thousands of albums and
discovered many new favorite bands in the interim, STYX
still holds a special, inspirational place in my heart. I have seen them
re-form and break apart again twice in the past decade, and finally come
out of the fog with a line-up that is working relentlessly to put the
band's name and music back on the map.
Do I care if other people recognize the greatness that I feel this band embodies?
Not really. They've been kicked around and disrespected by many the music community for a long time (and, let's face it, sometimes for understandable reasons)
and I'm not going to be able to change that. I am, however, excited at
the prospect that they are back, and that I have so many new opportunities
to experience their music and energy. And last Friday's concert at the E
Center in West Valley City was the best experience yet.
I won't bore the three of you still reading this by re-counting the
concert in detail, but it was wonderful. As a bonus, I was given the
opportunity to go backstage and meet the band. It's rare enough to meet
any of your heroes in this life, but rarer still for that meeting not
to be a disillusioning experience. They were personable, genuine, and
full of positive energy . Amazing, considering the uphill battle they've
faced over ther past few years. I couldn't ask for better role models in
my attempt to make a go of this music thing.
Thanks so much for the invitation, Glen. I'd love to do it again
Oh and by the way, I still think that guy was insane...for me
it's Pieces Of Eight all the way, with
Equinox a close second. :-)
bye for now,
your humble correspondent