My dad the rocker.
He’s not really a rocker. Never in a band. He doesn’t even play an instrument. But if you saw him, you might think so, in a ZZ Top-ish way. He can, however, tell you everything there is to know about every rock band that ever mattered!
When I was a little girl he would pick me up on the weekends. We would listen to the radio in the car and play a game that was basically “name that tune”. Of course, he never even had to hear a vocal to guess the right song and band. I would eventually become that good to the awe and amazement of those who know me. I play this game in the car with my husband, and he has actually become quite good, too.
From the 1960’s to the mid 1990’s, my dad attended countless concerts. He saw legends play when a concert was only $7.99 and you got to see three bands. How does a three band show of The Who, James Taylor, and the James Gang W/ Joe Walsh on guitar sound?
Epic performers like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, New York Dolls, The Animals, Country Joe and the Fish, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, The Kinks, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, Nazareth, Canned Heat, Santana, The Talking Head’s, 3 Dog Night, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the original Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship, just to name a few of the really great ones. Impressed yet?
Riots would often break out, sometimes provoked by the band’s themselves. At one show in Cincinnati, Steven Tyler instigated the audience to tear down a fence that divided the band from the crowd, “I wanna be closer to all of you! This is bullshit to have a fence keeping us apart!” The police ensued, Tyler would get scolded, the spectators would get tear gassed….but eventually, the show would go on!
In 1972 at the Rubber Bowl, in Akron, Ohio, before The Rolling Stones came on stage, a bomb went off under it. It blew a hole in the middle of the stage. The concert still went on. Everything was ok– once the music started.
At an Animals reunion tour in Akron, Eric Burden gave my dad, and many audience members a high five, as the band ran up to the stage right through the middle of the crowd.
In Columbus, during the Mad Dogs and Englishman Tour, Joe Cocker’s first live album, led by Leon Russell, the stage was covered by kids, dogs, and the entire families of the band.
Imagine Santana opening for Jethro Tull, or Lou Reed so “F”-ed up on Heroine you could barely hear his voice. Six rows back from center stage– Bob Dylan. An all day concert with Canned Heat, or a three day music festival with bands like: Ten Years After, Mountain, Iggy and the Stooges, and free things like drugs (LSD), and love. Many concerts would end with talking people through a bad LSD trip, or driving everyone home because they were too messed up, or passed out.
It’s no surprise that this is the man that took me to my very first concert, and instilled in me a love and appreciation for legendary musicians, and music of a bygone era. An old soul left behind.