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A little less than a happy high
Hyde was my uncle
In my earliest rememberings, my uncle Bill1 used to get stoned in his room while listening to Led Zeppelin. Of course, I didn’t realize he was getting stoned until much later, and it took a mandatory class at St. Augustine’s about the evils of rock music2 before I realized that I had been listening to Zeppelin.3 The official story then was that Billy "burned incense" (his term) in his room while listening to his "BoomBoom music" (my grandmother’s).

It wasn’t long before Billy’s room became a place of exotic mystery for me. I caught quick glimpses of what was inside. I remember a shrunken head (a replica) hanging from the overhead lamp. I remember an ever-changing collage of album covers on the wall. I remember the black light lamp above his bed and the four speakers in the corners that were all bigger than me. 4 Shades were always drawn over sealed windows. It was a deep dank cave that screamed "Abandon all hope ye who enter" every time I walked by. Or at least, "You can never go back."

It took years and Billy growing up and moving to another state before I worked up the courage to go in. Everything was as I remembered. It was a room filled with untouched relics of a 1970’s teenager. It was kind of hokey in a way, but my sense of awe remained. I heard Golden Earring’s Radar Love through those walls. Sabbath’s Iron Man. Zeppelin... the endless Zeppelin.

Every once in a while, I’ll hear Zeppelin on the radio and I am transported back to the self who couldn’t understand the point of burning that very strange incense and wondered why the songs annoyed my grandmother so.

And that’s pretty groovy.4

1Bill’s about ten years my senior, and is the only person on record to have threatened me with a swirlie.
2This was offered shortly after the mandatory class about the evils of masturbation. Ah, Catholic school, how you tasked me.
3Afterwards, I gave Bill a call and asked if I could borrow some of his LPs. Then I totally rocked out.
4It’s entirely possible that they were bigger than me now. This was the era before Bose and miniaturization of audio components. Then, if it was big, it had to be good.
4It's also pretty groovy that I've a couple of friends who have started discovering just how geek Zeppelin was.

Current Music: Led Zeppelin, "Ramble On"

8 comments or Leave a comment
cinemama From: cinemama Date: December 17th, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Did you get the riff on backward masking? Memorable.
komos From: komos Date: December 17th, 2004 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hells yah... it was priceless.

I remember thinking that these folks had WAY too much time on their hands and a weirdly obsessive imagination. Still, it was more entertaining that the priest who told us to suppress our urges until we had to "get up and wash" and that "we'd know what that meant when it happened." :D
cinemama From: cinemama Date: December 18th, 2004 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear god, that's awful.

I still feel guilty when I listen to Stairway to Heaven. Bastards.
komos From: komos Date: December 21st, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was made worse by the role this man played in my parent's annulment. Oh, the stories I could tell...

Stairway to Heaven and Hotel California got such a bad rap from the Jebus People. Given their penchant for targeting very long rock ballads, I'm honestly surprised they had nothing to say about Freebird.

I mean, c'mon... it's Freebird!
riverbank From: riverbank Date: December 18th, 2004 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
aww blacklight posters
komos From: komos Date: December 21st, 2004 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like 'em when they come spinning off the wall at you.
sassyinkpen From: sassyinkpen Date: December 18th, 2004 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
while listening to his "BoomBoom music" (my grandmother’s).

That is exactly what my grandma calls it! I've heard that for two thirds of my life. And she's such a crank about it too. A couple of years ago my mom and I brought her across state to a family Thanksgiving and had to endure long car trips with her in both directions. Now, my mom has a fairly standard array of seasonal-type CD's of varying classical styles and we were playing some very calming and beautiful stuff...but everytime I changed the disc (generally to something I hoped was even more lovely and soothing than the last), I would hear a little sniff from the back seat and her terse, "Well. I can't say that I think much of that...."

She damn near got an earful of Alien Ant Farm.
komos From: komos Date: December 21st, 2004 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's weird is that since my uncles moved out, there has been no music in the house. My grandfather went through a bluegrass phase, but near as I can tell, he only played his tapes in the truck.

Heh. Truck.

8 comments or Leave a comment