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Entry date: 5-11-2024 – Love Is In The Air – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


Nothing like a wedding to brighten things up.

 

It’s certainly nice to get out of dodge and let the old consciousness expand out into the universe and take things in while breathing out. You should try it sometime. I’m kinda living for later next month when I can do this in Maine, but I’ll do it in Prescott today.

 

*****

 

Because of this, I’m going to keep it brief today. I’ll have a lot to say about this weekend on Monday, I’m sure, although if last night is any indication of how things are going to go, I think it will be all positive stuff.

 

*****

 

I used to come up here a lot for summer camps that I would work at. That whole situation got muddied by some bad decisions I made regarding romantic choices. I think I covered that in 2022, but if not, I probably should process it at some point.

 

Either way, though, I let personal stuff that I went through kind of ruin my perspective on Prescott for a long time. I’m letting that go, though, today and being present in the moment and taking it in for what it is now.

 

Breathing in and out. Focused on the joy of the day.

 

*****

 

One thing is for certain, though, as I think about two people deciding to take the marriage plunge, marrying Rhondi is among the best things I’ve ever done. I also couldn’t be happier with my family. I’m a very, very lucky man and I love you all.

 

*****

 

Teenage boys love a good guitar riff. This is a theory I have after revisiting a lot of the albums that made my teenage years what they were. When you are almost 14 years old, though, you have to be careful about professing your love for a song or record or band.

 

You might not know this, but teenagers question the loyalty of everything and everyone. You have to be as genuine as you can be, or at the very least, able to fake it well to gain any kind of even fleeting acceptance. Teenage life is hard. With musical taste, gaining acceptance was even tougher.

 

In September of 1983, Motley Crue released Shout at the Devil. I was alone in a sea of metalheads, it seemed, as a freshman at Deer Valley High School and everyone was talking about how great this record was. I wanted to make friends, so I got myself a copy.

 

As I mentioned a few days ago in my thoughts on Iron Maiden’s Number of the Beast, I was entranced and also a little repelled by the satanic imagery of these two records. Shout at the Devil had a pentagram on the cover and the band was made to look a little sinister in their publicity shots.

 

Obviously, this was not really the case, but to the then early teenage me, it seemed plausible that this band might be dangerous. I wanted to embrace the danger, I suppose, and unlike Iron Maiden, Motley Crue never made me think I might be tampering with opening a door to hell. Motley Crue was more like what I had always wished KISS would be.

 

You know, if you think about it, the sound that Motley Crue had going for them on this record and their previous one, Too Fast for Love, is what KISS might have wanted to be. The Crue’s songs were rockin’ and more metal, although as I listen now with a more refined critical ear, Shout at the Devil is more of a suped up rock and roll record than a purely metal record like Number of the Beast.

 

 

But there I was, I was struggling to make friends in a huge new school, and I quickly found out that just having the new Crue record was not enough to really get people to take me seriously. Looking back, I dodged something of a bullet. I’m sure I could have fallen in with a group of open-minded metalheads, which were called “Hessians” at DVHS, but most likely, when I found out who I really was, they would have not been so keen on me.

 

Either way, though, I have always enjoyed the first two Crue records a lot. They lost me after Shout at the Devil for two reasons. The first was that I was not into mainstream hair metal at all, and the other was Metallica. I discovered Ride The Lightning and after that, I liked my metal a LOT heavier.

 

Shout at the Devil starts off with a bang, that’s for sure. The album is vey lopsided in my opinion. Side A is pretty damn good and side B kinda sucks. If I never heard it again, I don’t think I would miss it. I probably haven’t listened past their cover of “Helter Skelter” in thirty or more years. I’m fairly certain I felt this way all along.

 

“In the Beginning” is fun. The voiceover sets up “Shout at the Devil” perfectly and it thrilled me when I was a teenager. Now it just makes me giggle, although I still like the “Shout at the Devil” riff. The great two-three punch of “Shout at the Devil” and “Looks That Kill” is strong. Both songs are fun, rock and roll that really show off Nikki Sixx’s songwriting ability. The guy can certainly write a hook.

 

Even “Bastard” is a pretty fun song to listen to as well. It is a strong(ish) reminder that you can’t take this stuff too seriously at all. I’m pretty sure I never did. I think I saw it as an opportunity to understand some of my fellow students and found that I liked about five songs on the record a lot.

 

“Bastard” is full barroom bluster when it comes to the guitar parts. That chorus is kinda ridiculous. It’s weird, though, that Sixx wrote most of these but didn’t really ever give himself much of a bass riff to work with. Listening back now, the two best things Motley Crue had going for them were Mick Mars and Vince Neil. I feel like they did the most interesting stuff on this particular record.

 

“God Bless the Children of the Beast” is the token song on the record to give Mars, kind of like how the Beatles would give George Harrison and Ringo Starr a track here and there. It’s cheesy, sure, but I liked it then and still do now. Speaking of the Beatles, “Helter Skelter” is pretty rocking.

 

After that, though, there isn’t much to latch onto and maybe I never really loved this record. I do love, though, that it reminds me of a time in my life where I was miserable but pulled through as freshman year turned into sophomore year.

 

I guess I do kind of like “Red Hot” and “Too Young to Fall in Love” if I’m being honest. They are both super formulaic, but I don’t hate them and I’m not turning them off as I type. It stops, though, as will this piece, with the onset of “Knock ‘Em Dead.” That song blows.

 

The last two tracks, “Ten Seconds to Love” and “Danger” are also straight up trash, as the kids would say. Speaking of kids, my son, Liam, was pretty obsessed with that Dirt film that came out a few years back. I watched it with him and laughed my ass off, except for the part where Neil kills the guy from Hanoi Rocks. That is still a bummer.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



AI is too funny today. I asked for Motley Crue as the punchline of a typical dad joke.

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