Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blood Sugar Baby, She's Magic

Everyone remembers that pinnacle album from their youth. The one that made their parents freak out just a little. For me, it was Red Hot Chili Pepper's Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

The day I turned 16, I walked down to the House of Guitars after school on my way to the DMV so I could buy myself a couple CDs with birthday money. I picked up the latest Chili Peppers' disc and Metallica's Black album.

I did all the paperwork for my learner's permit, called my mom for a ride, and tore off the plastic so I could start reading the liner notes. I heard someone say, "Those are some pretty good albums." I looked up and saw an older, but kind of cute, guy hanging out in the hallway outside the DMV. I smiled and asked him what tracks he liked.

"'Suck My Kiss' is pretty good," he answered after thinking for a moment. "My name is Steve. What's your's?"

I told him, but didn't add anymore information in that teenage way of avoiding telling someone how old, or how young, you actually were. We chatted for a little bit about the two albums, and it eventually came out that I was only 16. I think he laughed. It didn't matter, really.

Later that night, I passed by my dad as he hung out in the family room listening to music on his headphones. He stopped me and said, "I was listening to that one new disc of yours. The Chili Peppers? I don't think you'll be playing that at your birthday party. I'm surprised you even bought that!" My reaction was one of eye-rolling and a shoulder shrug. And in typical fashion, I played that album at my party, but on low-volume. Over the next few months, my friend, Julie, and I committed one of the saucier tunes to memory and took great pleasure in singing it loudly in the cafeteria.

I'm thankful, after hearing "If You Have To Ask" on my way home from doing the news, that the Peppers still have the ability 15 years later to shock just a little with Anthony Kiedis' lyrics.


NickDean said...

This is a great post. And were it not 2:36 a.m., I'd blather on at greater length than I'm going to...

First off, House of Guitars! Fuck yeah! So many memorable CDs were purchased there! As well as guitars. And other assorted etceteras. And other memories associated with just going to that area of the city to escape the Walworth/Gananda boredom.

But, I'm posting because of your "pinnacle youth albums" comment. I'm sure I have a few of the type you described, but yr post brought back a great memory about buying CDs the day after my 16th birthday... while waiting for my first pair of glasses so I could pass the DMV vision test. My mom bought me Radiohead's "OK Computer" out of pity because we had just found out I was blind. But it was one of those pinnacle CDs in my life. Didn't alienate her or anything, though I had plenty of those. But it's a memory and a story I've retold often... And thought I'd blather about it here.

Steve said...

Great Post!

For me it was "Welcome to the Jungle" and "...And Justice For All".

I still listen to both of those albums. :^)

Galoot said...

My Catholic high school, being in Northern Kentucky, predominantly white and between the years of 1986 and 1990 was ruled by metal. Over 80% of the guys in my class wore some form of mullet in the class picture. I stuck mostly with a steady diet of classic rock, but my eyes opened a bit when I heard "Like The Weather" from our hometown heroes. I didn't buy the disc, but it affected me. I branched out a bit, picking up Mary's Danish, the first Lenny Kravitz, Living Colour and Lou Reed (MTV still played some off the wall stuff then). Finally, in my first year of college, I shook off corporate music with the help of Uncle Tupelo's song, Graveyard Shift.

gasaholic said...

Well, for me, there were 2 periods of mucial awakening. the first is when "Quadrophenia" came out in 1974. I was 15, and it spoke to me like nothing had ever done before. I was always a who fan, but this album turned me into a bona fide Pete Townshend fanatic.

The second period was in 1977. Two albums came out that year that turned my musical world on its ear. Weather Report's "Heavy Weather," and Steely Dan's "Aja." Jazz was now opened to me in a way I never knew before......Great post, btw

princess slea said...

i worked at a video store and the owner started selling old record albums for some strange reason. i flipped through them and two caught my eye. i had never heard of either artist and the albums were several years old but one of them was The Envoy:

written by Warren Zevon
1980 Zevon Music BMI

Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel is attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad does whatever she please
Looks like another threat to world peace
For the envoy

Things got hot in El Salvador
CIA got caught and couldn't do no more
He's got diplomatic immunity
He's got a lethal weapon that nobody sees
Looks like another threat to world peace
For the envoy
Send the envoy
Send the envoy

Whenever there's a crisis
The President sends his envoy in
Guns in Damascus
Woa, Jerusalem

Nuclear arms in the Middle East
Israel is attacking the Iraqis
The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
And Baghdad do whatever she please
Looks like another threat to world peace
For the envoy
Send the envoy . . .
Send for me

I still LOVE Warren Zevon (sniffle sniffle).

btw, the other album was Grace Jones (Nipple to the Bottle).

also, RHCP played at Respectable Street Cafe in Boca right when Mother's Milk came out. They were not mainstream yet and my friends lived over the bar. We partied upstairs and the band was in the room next to us with the door open. We waved but how stoopid that we didn't go in and party with them?!

TM said...

Slightly OT, but Roch's Teddy Geiger covers "Soul to Squeeze" on yahoo music

Julia said...

Nick - I bought my first record at the HOG (Cindy Lauper - She's So Unusual).

Galoot - I've found that the Maniacs have managed to permeate much of my life even though I've always just been a casual fan.

Princess - I'd shake my head disapprovingly, but considering the lifestyle RHCP were living back then you probably were better off just waving to them. Respectable Street.. nice XTC reference.

Galoot said...

Respectable is in West Palm Beach (might as well have been in Boca). In the nineties, it was one of 3 or 4 venues that would book independent/college/alternative acts in South Florida. I managed to see: Son Volt, Blue Mountain (with Ed Crawford of Firehose selling merchandise) and Southern Culture on the Skids there. Across the street was Ray's Downtown Blues where PGirl and I saw Mike Watt play. Nels Cline of Wilco was playing with him then. Ah, memories!

Makkaio said...

I turned my comment into a whole blog post. I can't believe I'm admitting to this...

Makkaio's Blog

princess slea said...

oh yeah yea, galoot you are right, west palm..how did i forget that? wellll, i was drunk for most of that year.

julia, probably best that i did NOT party with RHCPs at that time because I was definitely in "experiment" mode.

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