I just went to a local memorial day celebration, got a lot of dirty looks from the soldiers and firemen as I was all decked out in my Monday best dumpster diving attire, 60 day beard and my dirty straw cowboy/migrant worker hat. i must have forgotten to show them my "These colors don't run" tattoo on my left calf....
I love you guys anyway for what you've sacrificed which allows me able to walk to my local park with my boy on a national holiday, drink alarmingly light beer out of a tap attached to a truck with NASCAR icons on it, watch rotund Augustus Gloop lookin' 8 year old boys knock my son around the inflatable Moon Bounce like he was a mark in a WWF tag team champion bout, and buy that raffle ticket in hopes of winning a ticket to the Daughtry/Three Doors Down show at the closest summer shed. I got there without having to maneuver around any bombs under a burka or snipers in the suburbs...so thank you.
There was music at the park and that is what motivated me to write before i float away in a beer belly balloon full of Miller genuine Draft towards the land called Drinktoforget....5th Dimension break..."Up, up and away in my beer belly, my beer belly ballooooooooonnnnnnn!" On one hill under a tent was a band called "The Flower Power Band" playing every moldy, corroded rusty chestnut in the classic rock songbook, sloppily and not without every exasperating ounce of effort a sextogenarian could muster. BorntoBebadTotheBoneZiggystarDustin theWindwoolybullyOldtimeRockandRollbland in full effect..lots of bandanas around bald heads, half blind men sitting on stools singing lyrics from a music stand, bad state highway worker tan skin and smoke wrinkles......like fucking surgery sans anesthesia, like shrapnel shooting through a shin bone........
But down the hill was the local sect of the Paul Green School of Rock. This i found out by standing uphill engulfing a meat by product hot dog and hearing the strange and wonderful sounds of Frank Zappa's "Cosmik Debris" coming from a cover band. Hmmmm...that's never happened in my life time!Cover bands are too pussy to try anything with more than four chords. Interest piqued tenfold! How colorful! Follow the sound, Seano, you rockologist! Mine that source.! The feeling i got when i reached the faraway tent and saw a cluster of mere pre- teens tearing this song up was akin to skipping church on sunday to drink tallboys in the park while the girls showed up in their high hair and half shirts in hand me down Hondas! Wow.
I have never really thought much of Paul Green's School of Rock. i saw the movie, loved it...and have wanted to be that overbearing stage father who forces his son to do paradiddles and mixolydian scales before he can bust out of the prison that is training wheels. But as i sat there and watched these pimply Pete Townshends and bony Tony Iommis blaze thru Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, The Police's Next To You, Bowie's Moonage Daydream, Blondie's Call Me, and a plethora of deep classic cuts that those creaky geezers up the hill might burst a colostomy bag trying to do, I was transformed.
You see, on any given day, I tend to give up on humanity. We've got greedy BP fucking up our ecology in the gulf for centuries, we've got religious shit stains wanting to picket at a Ronnie James Dio memorial, we've got tea baggers, birthers, trepanners, treehuggers, juggalos and people actually on "Team Big" or "Team Aidan". Before you throw stones at me, and please do, sometimes pain is a beautiful test that breaks up the static, know that I am a card carrying member of The Scions of Self Deprecation, so go OD on your chill pill somewhere while nobody important or influential is watching.
As much as i have criticized the youth here at COF for their gaming, their scant attention spans and their lemming like existence, I always held out hope. The youth, no matter what curmudgeons like moi tend to toss at them from our easy chairs, are the future. the future of Politics, Culture,Education, Leadership, Awareness, and Influence. That would include art and music as well.
Paul Green's School of Rock is obviously teaching these kids how to play, and play well. When those finger muscles and memory bust out of puberty and meld with the rebellious mind, virtuosos will be made. But I was more impressed with the obvious APPRECIATION that these pre teens must have been taught. Stop look and listen to where your music derived from, kids. Without history, there can be no future. Connect the dots..build your maps. Big Mama Thornton to Loretta to Patsy to Aretha to Janis to Joni to Stevie to Chrissy to Siouxie to Joan to Debbie to Madonna to Bjork to Joanna to MIA. These kids get it. My kid is gonna get it too.
Here's to The School of Rock and soldiers, and teachers and protectors and those parents and caregivers who do the right thing for their kids every day. I got all soft at the end here, big marshmallow of memories and music and the meaning of life, but remember everything from the Alamo to Afghanistan too. The sacrifices will allowed our kids to grow and contribute with minds and hands more than we ever will. The persistence of protection and the preservation of freedom that has been fought for all of these years allowed me to be able to sit down on a Memorial Day, safe in my home, after getting a light shined on me by the freaking School of Rock and surrounded by a halo of Miller cans ....to write this blog post.