I lived some prime years of my life through the decadent age of hard rock and heavy metal that dominated the music landscape in the 1980's. It was an incredible time. The music was loud, the clothing was loud and the hair went all the way to 11. Anything worth doing was worth overdoing.
I followed those bands with the big hair and the black leather and the flashy guitars like they were a religion. I bought the rock magazines and studied the articles. I tore the glossy photos from the rags and plastered the walls of my bedroom with them. I bought cheap mall knockoff rock star clothing and frequented every local music store dreaming of the day I would be able to afford a sexy looking $700 guitar that would make women melt without even playing a single note.
My dedication to the music, the bands and the scene led me on many great adventures. I frequently sought out the bands when they were in town. I would stalk their tour buses and wait for the opportunity to hang out with anyone from the band.
It worked many, many times and I have these stories to tell. Like this one time when I hung out with Twisted Sister:
It was 1984. Twisted Sister was the biggest thing in rock and roll coming off the strength of their hits We're Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. The Sisters were doing this big homecoming show at the Nassau Collesium out on Long Island. It was a small venue as arena's go and the place was going to be packed.
Everyone who owned a pair of acid wash denims, a bandanna and either black motorcycle boots or well-worn Converse were going to be there. I had to get in but I couldn't scrape up enough money for a ticket before the show sold out.
I was determined to be there to see Dee, Jay Jay, Eddie and AJ in all their drag queen-on-acid glory. I scraped enough money together by the day of the show and prayed it would be enough to buy a scalped ticket.
I ran into several people trying to scalp tickets. I wasn't just going to buy from just anyone, there was an art to this. You had to know what you were doing or you were going to pay too much money, buy a fake ticket or just flat out get robbed.
I ignored several shady guys asking if I had an extra ticket. They were definitely scalpers but I could tell they were working the crowd as a team. One guy distracts you haggling over ticket prices while another stands out of view. The decoy gets you to show which pocket your money is in and then, BAM, the pickpocket is gone with your money and you can't even feel it. They are good, I'll give them credit.
I found a small group of people all huddled together. They looked harmless and were asking the requisite scalper question, "Do you have any extra tickets?" They looked very innocent, like good church going people. I approached them.
"I don't have an extra ticket," I said, "I was hoping maybe one of you do?"
I couldn't have known this was a trap. One I was not prepared for. They began attacking me, their weapon: guilt.
"Don't you know scalping perpetuates impoverished people!?" One of the group barked at me.
"Scalping is degrading to women! You're a chauvinistic pig!" another cried.
"You're promoting a capitalist agenda. The rich are getting richer and the poor get left behind!" Yet another chided.
I was blindsided. The last thing I was expecting in this transaction was to be pummeled with political and social agendas. I didn't even give a shit, I just wanted to see Twisted fucking Sister rock.
They kept laying into me with their accusations and judgments. My head swirled. People were starting to look are me with disgust as they walked by the scene.
I heard a group of really hot girls all dressed in the tightest and shortest mini skirts and stiletto heels call me a xenophobe. I had no idea what that even was and I wasn't sure they did either. It still cut my ego just the same.
I could feel myself changing. I felt myself growing socially progressive views on feminism, race relations and the absurdities of a trickle-down economy. Only moments ago I only wanted to rock, not caring a thing for my fellow man and their plight on this Earth. Now I wanted to grab someone by the collar and browbeat them with my feminist agenda.
I was ready to promote my new social awareness when I was pleasantly surprised to find myself surrounded by five large women. I felt proud that these women who were taller and uglier than the social norms would dictate felt comfortable enough in their femininity to cast off the hateful stares of bigoted men and proudly strut their beautiful bodies for the world to see.
And then I realized the five women were Twisted Sister.
Dee Snider slapped me hard across the face, "You're not an SJW!"
Then the rest of the band shouted, "You're an SMF!" in unison.
Jay Jay French tore off my jeans and ripped open my shirt. AJ Piero lifted me up and Jay Jay slid me into a pair of skin tight spandex with pink leopard print. My bulge stood our prominently in them. Eddie Ojeda came up from behind me and tied a feather boa around my neck and some pink and neon green scarves around my waist.
Then the five of them jumped me, pinning me to the ground. They were all attacking my face. Finally the attack stopped and they picked me up. Dee held up a mirror to my face. I looked like a street walking whore. I had heavy blue eye shadow, black eye liner, fire engine red lipstick on and beaming cherry blush rouge on my cheeks.
I never felt so manly in my entire life. I looked like one of The Sisters. They made me a rock star! They made me a sexy mother fucker. I was an S-M-F!
They gave me tickets to the show. I got to see them from the third row. There was also a backstage pass laminate and I go to go hang out with them after the show. Dee Snider is a really cool guy, smart as hell. We talked about male pattern baldness, the rate of fluorocarbons getting into our ozone layer from the heavy use of AquaNet and we even discussed feminism and how much he loved and supported women in his own special way.
I didn't know what a social justice warrior was in 1984. Nobody did. I came face to face with a monster that nobody realized existed. Fortunately Dee Snider and Twisted Sister were there to fight them off and teach us what was really important... Rock N' Roll.
It was a magical night hanging out with a bunch of dudes dressed up like a bunch of women. Nobody slapped a label on it or cast any judgement other than it was a good time. I miss those days.