Last week my dear daughter Carissa was telling me a story that reminded me of myself at her age. The names and places are different but the feelings were the same. I was a hippie in the early seventies following in the footsteps of one of the coolest hippies I knew at the time…my older brother. I would do anything for that guy….well pretty much anything. I was always trying to impress him. He had the coolest friends, cars, connections and to top it all off he was in a rock band and they practiced in the basement of my parents house. I listened upstairs to them practice songs like Summertime. There was a female singer by the name of Dee Dyer. The bluesy Janis Joplin version of that song just rolled off her lips and it was magic. I daydreamed about the day I would be able to sing like that. My brother eventually had a “hippie pad” down there complete with a king size waterbed, a funky plastic smiling sun on the wall, Mateus wine bottles filled with half burned candles that had drippings all over the bottles, and cool looking bedding he got from the local head shop in Portland. It was the place to be when you wanted to escape the parents.
That was where my love for a different kind of music began. Before then, it was mostly my parents 1940’s lyrics that drew me in. Now, I had many eight tracks and albums of music to listen to I didn’t know where to begin. He had Cat Stevens, America, Harry Chapin, Eric Clapton, Credence, Jethro Tull and more. I was mesmerized by it all. Every once in a while my parents (off on a gig of their own) would leave my brother there to babysit my little brother and I. There was ALWAYS a party if they went somewhere overnight. One night I was in bed and the party was going strong and I was almost asleep. Someone rolled into bed beside me. In shock I just laid still. After a few moments I heard…. “ Oh Shit!! I just climbed in bed with Arthurs little sister!! Oh shit!” He got up fast and left! That was kind of spooky for me at that age but I got over it……I told my parents!!! Oh my brother hated me for that. I was called a tattle tale for a long time and he didn’t trust me after that. I still snuck downstairs though, when he wasn’t around.
The music drew me in. I went to as many concerts as I could get to as a teen, from Portland to Boston. I saw Alice Cooper live and during the Dead Babies song, he tore the fake bloody head off the doll and it came flying at me! Okay I wasn’t ready for that one. I saw Bob Seger in concert, James Taylor and so many cool bands I can’t remember. My daughter is a lot like me. She does the same things……loves music…..loves concerts…..plays guitar….worships song writers. So….when she started telling me she went to see Ray Lamontagne in Portland recently, and asked me if I knew him, I did what any 50 something former cool mom would do….I lied. Oh yes of course I know who he is! I came right home and googled him. And guess what?….I love the guy. Here’s a clip of a song he does called Trouble that I am already addicted to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrZkaj37kA0 . I do that, by the way, if I really love a song I play it to death, incessantly until I can’t stand it. Just one of my many obsessions. So, after the Lamontagne concert, Carissa had heard rumor that Ray might make an appearance at one of the local clubs in town. She went there, had a few drinks….well….a lot apparently, and waited. She was with a bunch of friends and she was being her sassy self and carrying on about how Ray would NEVER show up there and it was all a big scam when someone motioned to her that he was standing right behind her. By the time she was done talking to him, she had made fun of the way he danced on stage, the type of music he said he liked (cowboy) and a few other annoying inferences. Basically, she ripped him a new one. Her friends brought the whole scene to her attention and they all had a good laugh about it. She thought Ray got plenty of back rubbing in this business and maybe it was a breath of fresh for him to not get the usual drooling from a fan. Yah…..maybe…..maybe NOT. God did that remind me of myself at her age! I went to many a bar in Portland waiting for many a rock star to show and some did. It did take me back and I am happy for my little hippie daughter that she is having fun….like her mom did. Here’s a picture of her and my 50 something hippie brother when he was home from Nashville last summer. He played on the wharf of a bar called The Port Hole and his two biggest fans were there….her and I. That was Port Hole 2008……I was just told there will be a Port Hole 2009 in July! I am already excited!
I think I’ll get out my incense and my tie dye and put on an old Bob Dylan album…..oh that’s right….it’s called vinyl now. Who can keep up?