It’s Halloween!! There’s so much to love about this time of year. The weather has turned cool and the leaves are changing and it’s almost perfect outside. I love seeing all of the little trick-or-treaters in their best scary (or not-so-scary) costumes walking around and begging for free candy. Heck, I still walk around the office begging for free candy (just not in a costume).
I’m a fan of scary movies, too. I’ve seen them all. The Exorcist, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Evil Dead 2, Friday the 13th, Psycho, Carrie, Paranormal Activity. They’re far more fun to me than scary and it’s definitely better to watch them now than any other time of year.
There’s not a lot that scares me these days (after all, I was married once). But there IS something from my childhood that not only scared the bejeezus out of me then, it still gives me the creeps today. You might want to sit down for this one because you’re not going to believe it.
Stop laughing!! I’m serious!!
In case you didn’t know, the music video for Thriller came out in December 1983 to much fanfare. It was an epic 13-minute video that was more like a movie and it changed the way music videos were made forever. It’s pretty much regarded as the greatest music video of all-time.
It’s been 30-years since I last watched it, so I’ll do my best here to summarize it for those who might not have seen it. Michael Jackson is walking in the woods with his girlfriend and he turns into a werewolf, or something. Turns out it wasn’t for real, but in a movie they were watching in a theater. His girlfriend runs out and he goes after her. They end up arguing whether or not she was scared and then the song starts. The video then features graveyards, dancing zombies and a chilling Vincent Price narration.
I was 6-years old when the video came out and was with my parents at my uncle’s house the first time I saw it. The werewolf, the dancing zombies, the undead rising from the grave…none of this scared me. What got me was the end.
Zombie MJ and the rest of his crew are about to get the girl at the end when she wakes up and realizes it was all just a bad dream. Michael is there to comfort her and offers to take her home. As they’re walking out of the house, Michael turns back with this evil smile and yellow eyes. The camera freezes on it as Vincent Price’s maniacal laugh closes out the video.
What follows is an absolute, 100% true story. I screamed and cried louder than I had ever screamed and cried before. Something about those eyes and that laugh freaked me out and I lost it. I ran over to my Mom and jumped in her lap, tears streaming down my face as my Dad just laughed at me.
The crazy part is that I am now 36-years old and not only have I never watched that video again, I can’t even listen to the song. If it comes on the radio or on TV, I immediately change it. I can’t listen to the duet with Paul McCartney that was on that record because I know that Thriller was the next song on the record. I couldn’t even look up pictures for the video to include in my blog. Crazy? Ridiculous? Yeah…maybe just a little.
The Florida Georgia Line concert went on-sale weeks ago, yet people are STILL buzzing about it and I can’t help but get excited too. I don’t know what it is that makes me romanticize going to concerts and everything about it. For me, it’s an experience like no other. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. Never have. Music and concerts have always given me a high that could never be matched.
I remember being a kid and listening to old 45s with my Mom all the time. She had the coolest record collection, too. Everyone from The Beatles to Kenny Rogers to The Eagles to Crystal Gayle to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. We’d sit on the floor with her record collection spread out everywhere and sing along for hours. It’s one of my most favorite memories growing up.
I must have asked a thousand questions about the artists, the lyrics, the album cover art…and she answered every single one of them. I got to hear stories about all the great concerts she went to when she was younger. I remember looking at old Polaroids she took at a Moody Blues concert where she was right up front. So close she could touch the band members. I think this was where my concert obsession started. I was crushed the couple times she went to WGAR’s Country Fest and didn’t take me because I was too little.
Starting at around age 3, I would put on these little concerts for my family. Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa (and sometimes Uncle Dave!) would be in attendance as I ran through the 1979 hit “Gold” by folk/alt country singer John Stewart, then followed it up with an encore of “Jesus Is Just Alright” by the Doobie Brothers while strumming my plastic Mickey Mouse guitar (which I later upgraded to a Dukes of Hazzard guitar).
The first real band I ever got to see play live was in 1992. First, let me clarify something. When I say “real” band, I don’t mean my Mom’s buddies in The Cleveland Beat that played in bars and at the County Fair. I’m talking the Oak Ridge Boys. It was during that year’s Presidential campaign. George H.W. Bush had a public rally on October 28th. Bruce Willis and the Oak Ridge Boys were there. My high school marching band was one of several that were invited to play as well and I got to see the Oak Ridge Boys perform a couple of songs. Not an actual concert, but it was still a pretty cool experience.
My first real concert was July 18th, 1995. Van Halen came to Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, OH with Skid Row and Our Lady Peace. I was absolutely blown away. The power and energy. The drums and bass thumping in my chest. The roar of the crowd and the sight of 20,000+ with their fists in the air singing along with every single word. To that point, it was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced and I wanted more.
I became a concert-going junkie. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve seen hundreds of shows in many different cities and states (and Canada!) and made many priceless memories. I’ve waited in line at 5am for tickets to go on-sale. I’ve gone to shows by myself, knowing that I’d run into 1 or 12 friends before the end of the night. The lights would go out and I’d hit the crowd and just get lost until the lights came back up again.
I finally got to see a concert with my Mom! Billy Joel and Elton John’s Face to Face tour came to Cleveland on April 15, 2003. The joy on her face that night took me right back to the living room floor with all of her records. I think that might be my favorite all-time concert.
The farthest I’ve ever traveled for a show was to see Pearl Jam in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. The date was September 11th, 2005 and I skipped out on my 10-year high school reunion to go.
The best seat I’ve ever had was for Sammy Hagar in Columbus, OH on June 25th, 2006. I was ON THE STAGE. It was the most I’ve ever paid for a ticket and it was worth every penny.
It’s been a few years since I actively attended concerts. I’ve mellowed out a bit in my old age, but I do miss it sometimes. Thankfully, my job has given me a chance to make some cool new memories.
Being a lifelong radio fan and now a DJ, finally experiencing the Grand Ole Opry was something I’d dreamed about for a long time. It’s the show that made Country Music famous! I got to take my girlfriend for her first Opry show on her birthday this year and it made me happy to see her smile. Old Crow Medicine Show absolutely tore the house down.
Last weekend, I also got to take my son to his first concert when we went to the Big O Music Fest in Owensboro. Parking and walking through the field at Reid’s Orchard to the front gate reminded me of my first long walk to the front gate at Blossom almost 20 years ago. It was kinda like coming full circle, I suppose.
So…yeah, I’m excited for FGL on October 10th!! I hope you are too and I hope you’re able to make some memories like I’ve been lucky enough to do over the years. Heck, we’ll be making them together that night, won’t we? I may even get lost in the crowd one more time.
Froggyland is absolutely buzzing since the big announcement that Florida Georgia Line is coming to the CFSB Center on October 10th. In the days leading up to the announcement, Davey Croakett and I were talking about the show and the opening acts, Colt Ford and Dallas Smith. It went something like this:
DC: “Hey, did you hear who the openers are for the show?”
Me: “I heard Colt Ford. Who’s the other?”
DC: “Dallas Smith.”
Me: “Um…who’s Dallas Smith?”
DC: “Let’s learn together!”
Davey searches Google and the second I saw his picture, I freaked.
Me: “Wait…THAT DALLAS SMITH?!”
Me: “THE GUY FROM DEFAULT?!”
DC: “Surely, that can’t be the same Dallas Smith.”
After a little detective work, we realized that it was indeed the same Dallas Smith.
ANYWAY...Before becoming a Canadian Country sensation, Dallas Smith was the singer for the rock band Default. The band released their debut record The Fallout in 2001 (which quickly sold over a million copies) and their first single off the record was “Wasting My Time”. In the summer of 2001, for about 2 months, this was the greatest song ever recorded. I loved that song. I’m serious. I wore that CD out.
In August of 2002, I got to see Default play live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in beautiful Cleveland, OH. From 2001 to 2002, MTV would film weekly concerts in the summer at the Rock Hall and play them on TV. Tickets were only $5 and they had some pretty epic shows there. It was awesome. Rock bands, pop singers, R&B artists…it seemed like they brought everyone to town and I think I went to almost every single one of them.
ANYWAY, Default absolutely tore the house down which you’ll see in the clip below. (1,000,000 bonus internets to anyone who can spot a young Jumpin’ Jack in the crowd)
As I sit here typing away, I’m listening to that record and I feel like I’m 25 years old again. It serves as a reminder of a great time in my life and will always hold a special place in my heart.
You can check Dallas Smith and his music out here at his website. Time will tell as to what his legacy as a country artist will be. All I know is that, while I’m stoked to see FGL and Colt Ford on October 10th, I’ll be geeking out when Dallas hits the stage to kick off the show.
And Dallas, if you’re reading this, October 10th will be a #ThrowbackThursday. So if you don’t mind, please play “Wasting My Time” when you finish your set. The kid in the back with the yellow Froggy shirt sure would appreciate it.
With the release of Man of Steel just days away, I thought it’d be appropriate to blog today about Superman and what he means to me. Regular listeners of the show and Facebook friends know that I am a HUGE geek and am completely unapologetic for it. Comics, superheroes…I never grew out of that phase. I was always a fan of Spidey, the Hulk, Batman and others.
The new Hardee's/MoS commercial is one of my favorites right now
But, it was the Last Son of Krypton that really captured my imagination. Here was a guy that was everything I wanted to be as a kid; tall, handsome, virtuous, with super speed and strength. He could fly and bend steel and he was bulletproof. You couldn’t really hurt him.
Coming from a broken home as a child, it was that last one that really stuck with me. You couldn’t hurt him and he always beat the bad guys. Man…if I could be Superman, I’d never have to hurt again. Cartoons and comics were a vehicle for escape that I still kinda use to this day.
The very first time I saw a real-life Superman was with Christopher Reeve’s iconic portrayal in the 1978 movie. I was only about 3 when I saw it and I was captivated. In fact, I was so emotionally invested that in the scene where Lois Lane falls from the helicopter, I actually dove off my couch to try to save her!! I’m pretty sure that when my Mom was alive, she told that story to every girl I ever dated.
I’ll never forget the way that movie made me feel and, as an adult, that’s the way I look at superhero movies. I don’t care about how it matches the comic or how they changed the outfit or anything like that. I just want to get lost for a little while. I want them to make me feel like a kid again.
"I totally tried to save you this one time..."
Compiling and reading the news everyday, I see all kinds of death, destruction and all-around bad news. This is exactly why it’s the perfect time to be reintroduced to the Man of Steel. Clearly, the world still needs a Superman. He may not always be the coolest or the edgiest. He may not be snarky and witty or an anti-hero. I’m okay with that. He’s still MY hero and “truth, justice & the American way” will never go out of style.
Now, if only I could find some adult-sized Superman footie pajamas…
“…on my soul, I swear that until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice are the reality we all share, I'll never stop fighting. Ever.” - Superman
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual Hickman County Spring Chicken Fest in Clinton, KY. It was my first year going and I was REALLY excited after hearing how much fun Windy Waters had the last 2 years out there. The poster says it’s, “A Feather Rufflin’ Good Time,” and I was ready for it!
When Windy was there last year she competed (and did really well) in the Chicken Dance Contest. Given my past as a professional Chicken Dancer, I knew I could do at least as well as she did. Maybe even a little better. I embarked on an intense 3-week training regimen to get ready and felt I was well prepared. More on that later.
(Flashback pic: Windy last year)
We made the hour long trek to Clinton and I was pretty nervous. It rained cats and dogs pretty much the whole drive there. I was afraid we’d get there only to find out the event had been rained out. Much to my relief, things were going forward as scheduled when we got there and we got right to setting up.
Something pretty incredible happened after we got our tent up. Mr. Froggy was a little upset about all the rain and decided to do something about it. He chicken danced. This was no ordinary chicken dance, though. It stopped raining as soon as he was done.
It didn’t rain a single drop the rest of the time we were out there. I don’t know if there was something mystical about the way he did it and I wasn’t about to dwell on it. It was time to have some fun!
And a fun time we had. Considering the weather, there was a great amount of people there checking out the booths of arts & crafts, the games for kids and the chicken. Oof. There were food vendors cooking a million kinds of chicken and it smelled sooooooo good. It was pretty yummy, too! It was hard not to spend all of my money on all that tasty chicken.
Shortly before noon, they held the first of many events that day: the kids chicken clucking contest! Willie Cluckin’ Nelson kicked off the contest and the kids had a pretty good time. After that, I started warming up for the Chicken Dance contest. I double-knotted my Adidas and got my “wings” a flappin’. My confidence was at an all-time high. Little did I know, I was about to come crashing back down to earth.
I was approached by a representative of the southeast division of the APCD (Association of Professional Chicken Dancers). She proceeded to tell me that I had been disqualified from that afternoon’s competition and had been suspended indefinitely.
I know what you’re thinking. “What? This is a travesty of justice!” Well, in the spirit of “National Honesty Day,” I have to come clean and say that I got busted for cheating. Yep. Banned substances.
Whilst in the middle of my training regimen I realized that I’m no spring chicken and my days of competitive chicken dancing were long behind me. That, combined with the pressure of trying to compete with Windy Waters, led me to use PEDs. You know: Performance Enhancing Drumsticks. I was also caught with pine tar under my wings…er…arms for a more smooth flap. I’d like to extend my sincerest apologies to my fans, my family and the APCD for my actions.
Still, a good time was had by all and I hope to be invited back next year too!
(*Okay…being that this is “85% of a true story,” it’s clear that part of this story is made up. I’d like to set the record straight on that now. I wore Asics that day, not Adidas.)