This month marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. I grew up in a family of hippies and so the music of that generation was all around me. Not to glorify a day gone by, but my family has so many great stories of that era: everything from seeing the Beatles perform live to dropping acid with a then unknown poet named Jim Morrison. I had to pause and ponder the question: Have I been witness to any historical rock n' roll moments? If so, I'm sure it involved U2.
My parents were rather old when I was born, both in their 40's. All of my cousins were older than me and still dedicated to their hippie music and lifestyle. I remember at a young age seeing all of the long hair, fringe, and tie dye. My one cousin, Marilee, was living with a guy, David, who had a "devil dog" patch sewn to the crotch of his pants. (For those of you too young to know, Devil Dog was a cup cake brand popular in the 70's). I'm sure that at the young age of 5, I would not have made the connection of devil dog with this man's crotch if my parents had not made such a big deal about it.
Carol saw the Beatles perform live. She had nose bleed seats and couldn't see a thing. She said that they looked like ants. Still, she was there and a part of history.
Linda was the Elvis freak. Her claim to fame was that she once kissed Elvis. This was during his Las Vegas years and during that time getting a kiss from "The King" was not that hard to do. All you had to do was go see his Vegas act. Women were allowed to line up at the bottom of the stage. If they were lucky Elvis would bend down at some point and give them a kiss. Critics argue that Elvis was way past his prime by the time he reached Vegas. Linda will argue that those were still the lips of "Elvis the Pelvis".
My favorite story comes from Marilee and David. They hitchhiked across the U.S. Once they made it to California, they were determined to experience the LSD scene. They met some people that invited them to tag along to a local bar to see a new band called the Doors. They were unknown at this point, so it was no big deal to walk right up to the singer named Jim, who was sitting at the bar.
"What was he like," I asked.
"I don't remember much after that point," my cousin Marilee replied.
"How can you not remember Jim Morrison?" I asked.
"Well," she said, "we were ALL tripping on acid."
They left California and never gave a second thought to the Doors until about a year later, when their music hit the air waves.
So, what is my place, if any, in rock n' roll history?
I never saw the Beatles but I did see Zoo TV in JFK stadium. Just like Carol, I had nose bleed sheets. I wish I could say that U2 looked like ants, but I couldn't even see the stage. My entire view was blocked by a press box. I missed all of the cool graphics and everything, but at least I can say I was there.
I never kissed "The King", but I did get a peck on the cheek from Bono after a Jubilee press conference. Does that count?
I never hitchhiked or dropped acid with an unknown poet. I did, however, have a drunken binge in Dublin that ended in me being passed out in front of Bono's gate.
The rest of the story, as the saying goes, is rock n' roll history.