If I had to blame somebody it would have to be Dave Mustaine. When I was a kid my family picked up and left for the summer like a pack of migrating hyenas. Literally, the whole summer. We would leave the day after school let out and wouldn’t return until a day or two before school started again. Upon returning I realized that I had a lot of catching up to do. Less in the “Gee, I sure missed you” kind of way and more in the “I have no idea who or what Slayer is” kind of way. The summer between 5th and 6th grade saw the most drastic change. In my future memoir it will be the chapter entitled “The Summer My Besties Discovered Death Metal”. While I spent the summer on a lake waterskiing, hanging out with my parents, mowing the lawn, playing chess against myself, drawing on yellow legal pads and watching fireworks from our deck my friends were growing out their hair, mastering the art of headbanging to power chords and memorizing lyrics like “Darkness imprisoning me, All that I see, Absolute horror, I cannot live, I cannot die, Trapped in myself, Body my holding cell.”
My best friend, Sam, showed up to school with a Mega Deth shirt. A very school appropriate one that had a guy, probably a skeleton, squeezing a bird. The birds feathers were all askew and I remember a lot of blood. Probably flowing out the birds eye sockets*. My other best friend, Scott, was wearing Slayer and Iron Maiden shirts.
While I was still rockin’ my Thrilla Gorilla shirt my friends were actually rockin’. In this case to music that scares parents and makes them wonder where they went wrong while they research local priests that have performed exorcisms.
Although I never fully got “death metal” I was totally down with pretending to, which is why I bought this shirt out of the sale bin at Boo Boo’s.
When I got home and showed my parents they were instantly furious. I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. It’s not like I was wearing the stuff my friends were promoting. You know, shirts like…
Anyway, my parents were pissed. They couldn’t believe a store would sell a shirt to a kid that said “Helloween” on it. And that’s when I realized my fatal mistake. The whole time I sat there soaking up their disappointment I kept wondering why they would be so mad about a shirt that said “Halloween” on it. That one letter makes a big difference. Then I felt like an idiot. Of course, my parents wouldn’t be on board with Helloween. At that point we drove downtown to the music shop where my mom made them give me a refund. I should have been more embarrassed by it, but really, all it meant was that now I could buy more Lemonheads (not the band, the candy) and sour licorice.
To this day I still have never even heard a song by Helloween. I may not have acquired an ear for the likes of Mega Deth, Iron Maiden or Slayer, but I did get obsessed with some pretty awesome hair bands that were a lot less hard and a lot more…I don’t know, into frizzy hair and make up. Oh, and wicked sweet guitar solos. I’m talking about Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, Warrant, White Snake and Skid Row to name a few.
Yeah, that’s four dudes.
So many bands to choose from, but I have decided to end this post with a Poison video that I almost can’t even watch myself, but couldn’t get enough of as a 12 year old.
* When I first wrote the description of the Mega Deth shirt I tried and tried to find a picture of it and it wasn’t until later, while searching Slayer shirts that I actually came across the “bird getting squeezed” graphic.
No wonder my 6th grade teacher pulled me aside one day and asked me what was going on with my friends.