I don’t have a womb but some music, certain songs in particular hit me right where I imagine it could be. You know, the ones that make you stop whatever you were doing, forget what you were thinking about and put you right there in that delicious moment. Some of us shake our asses and some of us sit and contemplate. Some of us sing along as loud as we can. Some of us require certain music for certain times because it puts us in a particular frame of mind but sometimes songs just spring up on us, like unearthing a time capsule. Shazam!! And you’re there, willfully caught in the beautiful bubble of wherever that song chooses to take you. For me, one of these songs is ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Motley Crue.
The other night, watching television with a bowlful of Buffalo wings, I alternated between the Crue’s ‘Carnival Of Sins’ concert on VHI Classic and an episode of the Chappelle show on Comedy Central (the one where Yoda, played by Chapelle of course, holds a press conference to field questions regarding his alleged coked –up abuse of young Jedi boys. A real gem). Anyway, following the skit Dave promised he would back with Killer Mike after the break. ‘So don’t go anywhere’. I mean Killer Mike had his moments but that was in 2003. So I quit channel hopping and I stuck with the Crue, easily my favorite band growing up. I mean, I stopped talking to people because they said they didn’t like them.
I wasn’t totally sold on the ‘Carnival of Sins’ sideshow malarkey; it felt a little contrived to me but ‘Man these guys can rock’ I thought. They really did sound better than ever. Mick, barely able to stand and still shredding away, Tommy, Nikki and Vince, having grown to a point where maybe now I might actually win one of the arguments I used to have with my friends 20 years ago about how awesome a singer he was.
They pummeled through the hits – ‘Louder Than Hell’, ‘Girls’, ‘Wildside’, ‘Don’t Go Away Mad, Just go Away’. And then it happened. Tommy turned from the drum to kit to keyboard behind him -they started playing ‘Home Sweet Home’, even with that little trill that Tommy puts in on the record (Theatre of Pain 1985):
You know I’m a dreamer
But my hearts of Goldddd
I had to run away high
So that I wouldn’t come low
Just when things went right
Doesn’t mean they were always wrong
Just take this song and you’ll never feel left all alone…
And without any explanation I found myself choked up. Just like that. Shazam!
That song, for all its simplicity made me think about where I’ve come from and what I’ve come through, where I am now and the endless possibilities that my future holds. Man, I’ve done some shit, been some places, had some enviably great and some totally terrible times; cried, laughed, fathered, fostered, created – me. Me who didn’t really expect to amount to nothing. And odd as it seems, Motley Crue, one of the most notorious rock bands ever,were there through a lot of it, providing a map through music and the promise of adventure that I so desperately needed in order to lasso and analyse the seemingly endless queries and ideas which buzzed about me. My emotional reaction was also motivated by seeing four guys just grow through death and divorce, through being stoned and sobriety, through life’s inevitable ups and downs and continue to be carried along in the passion and intensity of what they loved to do. I tell you, If I hadn’t been turned onto music in my teenage years the way I was, my life would have been a lot different. If I would have had a life…but enough speculation. Let’s talk about home for a second.
I believe that your life is clearly defined by the people you come into contact with. Your friends, your colleagues, your job are all physical manifestations of your mental energy output. You ask a Barbadian about Barbados and the first thing they’ll say is, ‘My navel string buried right here’. I have had the opportunity to travel fairly extensively, lived in New York in the early nineties for a while and ended up back in Barbados on a hiatus that managed to eek itself into almost two decades. Now I know that I had to be on that island because my daughters needed to be born. I just got back from a Christmas holiday there and I had a really wonderful time, soaking up every minute that I could with the people who mattered most. But clearly now I recognise that aside from my daughters, my family and a smattering of friends, I really don’t have any business there anymore. It is no longer and maybe never was, my ‘home’. I don’t need to strive to sustain notions and relationships and ways of being that have quite simply run their course. It was time to move on.
Coming into 2012 I decided to more fully respect and embrace the love and camaraderie that I have unwittingly received since moving once again to the United States and to close the door gently on the life that I once had in the old anti-paradise. The only ‘home’ that really mattered was the one in my heart; in the smile of my mum, the eyes of my daughters, my friends, my memories; the places I felt most comfortable and safe and most like myself.
Finding yourself on the outskirts of a society and not being able to pursue your god given passions is like a foreclosure on your home before you even build it. Your heart can’t take it and I thank the country where I was born for teaching me that. And through all these epiphanies, there were the Crue once again, in the best form of their careers, giving it another solid run and, while I was no longer a die hard fan, having evolved into a bit of an esoteric music snob inspired by the likes of TV on The Radio, the Black Keys and Beach House, their relevance in having some say in the direction of my life was crystalline.What the Crue taught me (and later Radio Head, Warhol and Jim Morrison) was that it was okay to be…ME. So let me be the best, most explosive me I can be; find that home, the palace with my name on it and rest well there because at the end of the day, that’s all there is….and all there ever will be. There is no Plan B.
Just take this song and you’ll never feel left all alone….
Thanks for tuning me in guys (and by guys I mean everyone who matters – you know who you are)
Long live the Crue!