Friday, April 13, 2012

Old Flames XVI: To The Birth Of Rock 'N Roll

I remember someone telling me that, if they could time travel anywhere, they'd be there for the birth of rock 'n roll in the '50s. They'd miss the war, they'd miss America being handed off, they'd just be there for right between the nervous breakdowns of 20th Century Americana.

And who would he be sipping syrup with? Chuck Berry? Elvis? All the poodle skirt babes and their yokel boyfriends in the cardigans? Goddamnit, he had a point. Rock 'N Roll is one hell of a show, but, back then, it started in high school cafeterias at night. It started in brick buildings with ivy. It didn't start in some cool, hip spot. It may have landed there, but it stared in concrete buildings with no hope on the outside. It started on basketball courts where the jocks weren't allowed. It started in a band room with the cats that smoked. It came from the beating hearts of American teenagers, and somebody had to make a living that wasn't in "his daddy's shop."

This was the America that men have been searching for even before they sought women. But once they sought women, it became a hunt real fast. It's just one generation after another now of the sly and the wicked looking for a dive to maybe slip in. The backyard parties weren't enough and we needed something with ice, they'll say. You ever been to New York City, darling? They'll coo it until their sunglasses melt from the heat. That's what it'll be.

Get there before the doo-wop, get there before the glam, get there before they show you how they wreck the piano. Get there for the birth of rock 'n roll, son, or don't bother getting there at all.

And if you do...well, bring a guitar, my man. We've got a nation to shred.

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