24 December, 2011

That Guy's origin story

One of my earliest memories - not the earliest, but pretty early - was watching MTV with one of my much older cousins. The video for Another One Bites The Dust came on (at one time, MTV was not the cesspit that it currently is, and was pretty exclusively all about music), and this was probably 1989/90. This memory is patchy but I distinctly remember seeing Freddie on TV.

Then in 1992, I saw the movie Wayne's World, and my life was changed for the better. Seriously, if Mike Myers or Dana Carvey ever read this: thank you for helping create what's probably the most significant moment of my life. It was unapologetic love at first listen! I'm sure at one point my family found it endearing, their youngest child listening so attentively when those words poured in from my mother's stereo speakers before finally singing all the wrong words with unbridled passion.

Having been brought up on classic rock and heavy metal, I wasn't too aware of what music was actually trendy when I counted my age in the single digits. My musical diet ranged at that point from Metallica to Elton John to what grunge came on the radio to Counting Crows, Melissa Etheridge, Madonna, and Alanis Morrisette. Queen came on the radio, and my parents wouldn't ever switch the station, but until I took notice of them, they were just background noise.

By age 11, it was apparently really uncool to listen to classic rock. My friends had all been getting into the Spice Girls, Selena, and whoever the hell else by the time I'd finally gotten a cassette tape player of my own (these things that came before CDs and MP3s) and got to pick from my parents older tapes. I picked Appetite For Destruction by Guns N Roses, Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy, and Queen's Greatest Hits. I almost skipped over that because I'd never heard the name before, but then I saw that they were the ones who had done We Will Rock You and Another One Bites The Dust, so I absently put it in the pile. Then my mom told me that that tape had what I called "The Wayne's World Song" on it. For some reason, though, she didn't know the name of it (it was written on the tape) so it was up to me to play the whole tape through until I found it.

This was the US cassette release, so it had Keep Yourself Alive and Under Pressure on it as well. Anyway! Bohemian Rhapsody played immediately after the last note in Another One Bites The Dust and I was beside myself with joy. Very soon after that, I decided that Queen was my favorite band ever. Even if that wasn't cool.

Sadly, the tape suffered a tragic and painful death many months later by getting so horribly eaten that the only way to get it out was to rip the film apart. It was hard to cope with the loss until on my tenth birthday that a friend gave me Classic and News Of The World on CD. She was also a Queen fan, but not so much as me. But we bonded anyway as we learned who each band member was and who wrote which songs.

In September 1998 on a Sunday, a former family friend drove me and my mother two hours away to try to meet Brian May at a Guitar Center and get his autograph. That same former friend had also given me his old Queen polo shirt (official fan club merch, folks!!!). Sadly, I did not get Brian's autograph, but I did get to see him in person, and that was pretty fantastic!

Also in 1998, I met my counterpart online. I entered the QFC chatroom and we immediately bonded over Freddie. Finally I had someone on my level! You have to understand that the internet then wasn't what it is today. This was back when dial-up was the norm and DSL was becoming a thing. It's not like today where you can find Queen fans everywhere. You used to have to go to Queen-specific sites and hope that that person's email address was valid and that someone in your house didn't accidentally pick up the phone because that would kill your internet connection. ... That year I also learned that numbers like 10-10-220 dialed before a phone number didn't actually do shit to lessen the long distance phone bill... Kids, be glad Skype and text messaging exist!!

Since then, my collection and knowledge has continued to expand, and I've settled down a little bit. Unless I'm talking to Audrey, in which case I feel like we're both 12 again and being super excited for the premiere of VH1 Legends Presents: Queen (because Youtube and the like didn't exist) - only now we're losing our shit in anticipation of the Days Of Our Lives documentary coming to DVD and blu-ray.

I felt compelled to write this because Audrey got her story published in Bohemian Rhapsodies (click here for her story in all it's fabulous and unedited glory) and I missed the submission deadline.

No comments:

Post a Comment