Hair Nation


steve150I used to have long hair. It was all one length, like Eddie Vedder back in the day, and when I let it down I was told a lot that I looked like Jesus.

Perhaps it was the 12 friends that followed me wherever I went. Or that time that I walked on the water. (It was Canada in February, but technically I still think that should count.)

However, with all hippie-grunge-Nazarene appearances aside, I was a rocker at heart. Thankfully, there is not much photographic evidence of my pseudo-mullet days that predated my saviour-esque coiffe of 1995, but I was always into hair rock.

I was like a frosted mini-wheat. The inside of me was saying “I love listening to heavily distorted guitars and power ballads”, while my outward look said “I don’t like to shower and why can’t I find a girlfriend?”

So today when a coworker suggested that we listen to a station called “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM, I said “Aaaaaoooooooooooooooooooooowoooooooooooooaaahhhhhh” which any metalhead would know loosely translates to “F*ck Yeah!”.

They were all there – just as I remembered them.

Lita Ford. Nuno Bettencourt. C.C. DeVille. Mick Mars, Phil Colen, Carlos Cavazo, Randy Rhoads…

Song after song welcomed me back to a more innocent time in my life. A time where I didn’t have hair growing out of the top of my ears (Which is pointless unless you plan on entering an insect look-alike contest). A time where people would have said “Well yes that’s a good song, Nirvana, but where the hell is the guitar solo?”

What a great question…where are the guitar solos now? Why did they go? Am I the only one that misses them? I’m sure that I’m not the only person that air guitar played the back of a girl while dancing to Cinderella singing “You don’t know what you’ve got (‘Til it’s gone)”, while praying that the girl in question couldn’t feel just how much I was enjoying the dance. (Boing!)

(Give me a break, I was in grade school. Or high school. Or university. Shut up.)

OK, this unsavoury look into my past isn’t without a point. I heard an old man once say that he didn’t regret anything in his past, because it was all part of his history, which made him who he is today. I realized as I was listening to the station that these songs for the most part were the soundtrack to a chapter of my life. As such, they are still reflected in my playing to this day, because they’re part of me.

It’s amazing how much you remember from songs that were in your past. I found myself recognizing the words – and the solos – note for note, often before I could name the song or even the artist. All of this information is stored somewhere deep in our brains filed in some weird way that waits for a song to play before the file springs open and makes you say “In the name of love” when someone tells you to pour some sugar on them.

Remember the Scorpions song “Wind of Change”? Can you whistle the beginning part? Try it. I dare you.

Did you do it? If so, you’ll be thinking about me all day, because it will be stuck in your head. It’s one of those ‘brain worm’ songs. (You’re welcome!)

Once you start thinking about it, it’s tough to stop whistling it. But why stop? Why not embrace the music that you liked back then, and try to build on it.

There is some cheese in there for sure, as there is in any genre of music, but sometimes if you’re looking for inspiration or for something new to play, it’s good to look back before you try to move forward. You may hear a riff that sets off something in your head. A lyric may prompt a new song. You may feel the urge to wear spandex.

Don’t. Ever.  

Heck, you may even figure out what the heck an “Unskinny Bop” is.

Oh wait. I think I just figured it out.


(Shut up.)


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