When I was a young teenager, I started to get into alternative / progressive rock music. I owe my sister (5 years older than me) a lot of credit for turning me on to exceptional alternative ‘80s bands like the Smiths and New Order (bonus points if you ever listened to the band “Curiosity Killed the Cat”). That music had a huge impact on me during my teenage years and frankly, shaped who I am today.
As I got to be about 15, I started to dress the part more. I grew my bouncy bangs out and my dishwater brown hair started get to blonder and blonder until it was platinum blonde. Then I went maroon, and then Idiscovered Manic Panic and tried out “fire engine red” for a while. I discovered ripped tights, Jesus & Mary Chain t-shirts, big hoop earrings and the mother of all shoes….Doc Martens.
In 1989 you couldn’t find Docs in Columbus, Ohio so my rock star mom drove me and my friends to Cincinnati to Vine Street to get our first pair of docs. We got standard 3 eyelet ones, but as the popularity started to grow and the shoes became more available, we went nuts with knee high boots, purple ones, steel toed shoes and more than we could ever wear in our life. [Side story – when we got out of the car in Cincy, there was a guy on the street screaming and swearing at his girlfriend; it was awkward for us to listen to them scream obscenities, esp. with my mom there. Then my mom looked at me and asked me why the guy was calling the girl a “bucket of horse”…I had to explain to her he was actually saying “you blanking whore.”].
And while I’m giving my Mom credit, I also have to give props to my Dad who drove me and my 2 friends to Cleveland to go see the Cure on a school night. Rock on Dad!
The music I listened to filled my life – we went to concerts at the Newport almost every single weekend (back when shows were only $12) and as my interest grew, my eyeliner got heavier and my clothes got more creative.
My parents were so cool during my metamorphosis. I had other friends who parents were mortified by it all. I remember my parents saying once “As long as you put the chemicals on your head, and not in your head, we’re ok.”
There is one memorable moment from my teenage years that I really remember. I was at home and my brother, 2 years older than me and did not understand my point (he listened to Rush for goodness sake, how could he), said to me in a mocking, singing, high pitch voice “I love the Cure, I love the Cure!”.
I can’t remember what prompted him to do it, but I can still clearly hear him saying it. And you know, I do love the Cure. I guess I don’t listen to them much these days, but I still think Head on the Door is one of the best albums ever made.