TRAVELING IN THE NAME OF METAL [AND OTHER MUSIC]
My family likes to travel. My first time on a plane was when I was 3 months old, and I’m told I had the decency to pass out and not make one peep on a trans-Atlantic flight. Traveling is fun in and of itself but traveling for music is a perfectly legitimate reason as far as we’re concerned. My mom and I set a record this summer as we took about four 24-hour trips to cities to see concerts, from Brussels (good beer) to Salzburg (good beer) to Istanbul (good beer. Unless it’s Turkish.) Various other friends and family participated in these trips here and there, but she and I did it all. They weren’t metal shows so I won’t elaborate too much except they ranged from Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, (oh like you need to wonder. I totally heckled them when they sang, “Layla.” I was the obnoxious loud one during a beautiful, melodic number, screeching, “THAT’S MEEEE!”) to a DJ that mixed traditional Anatolian sounds and dance paired with readings from a Turkish author, to a philharmonic orchestra. I did top off the summer by coming back from Europe in time to see KISS in Boston, though. Music is important to us and we’re pretty dedicated when it comes to showing our support.
As we speak, my parents are in Jodhpur, India for a friend’s birthday. How does this relate to music you ask? Well, apparently they met freakin’ Simon and Yasmin Le Bon. Of course, you don’t know who they are… but Simon Le Bon was very important to my childhood. My dad got his autograph. For my little sister. If I were still 12 I’d probably fight her for it, Gladiator style, but alas, Duran Duran no longer have the same hold over me. I am a mature adult now and no longer care if wild boys never lose it, if they never chose this way. I especially don’t care that wild boys always shine…
The eldest sibling always gets the short end of the stick, though.
Aaaaanyway, I have no problems traveling for music. It’s especially fun when music follows us. Last time we were in India, my parents had breakfast next to Sting and his wife. They are the best accidental stalkers.
When Hanoi Rocks released Street Poetry, I was so very happy because it was their comeback album and it was so good. And then I was sincerely pissed when they announced they were breaking up. I took it quite personally. It was 2007-08; I was having a bad couple years. So when they announced their tour and some Japan dates coincided with a school break, I wheedled my boyfriend to take a little trip with me. Not that I had to do much pleading… it’s freakin’ Japan! We had a blast. I met Michael Monroe on the street in the Harajuku district. It was quite amusing. He kind of stands out on a street of tiny Japanese girls and I just grabbed the boy and whispered so softly that the entire street heard, “THAT’S MICHAEL MONROE.” I have pictures. His eyes look like they’re about to eat me.
Japan is so lovely. And so weird. The show was at 5 pm. So we rock and rolled aaaall early evening, had dinner, and went to bed at a sensible hour. Then we went up Mount Nikko the next day and were too dumb to realize that a mountain top in early March would probably be freezing so we had no hats and gloves. But those glorious vending machines saved us. A hot coffee in each pocket and we were the creepy foreigners moaning in joy with both hands down our respective pants. It’s okay, I learned how to say “excuse me” which I said no less than a thousand times in those ten days there. I’m sorry, excuse me, oh God excuse me, excuse me for existing, just please forgive me, I am but a clueless gaijin. I said it probably two hundred more times after I bumped into a businessman on the train and interrupted his reading; a quite detailed account of the sexual escapades of a squid and his voluptuous female friend.
We also went to Athens, Greece with our good friend to see Iron Maiden. The show was 45 minutes out of the city and no one spoke English or knew how to get there. Once there we watched as the audience set themselves on fire, and then we missed the train back into the city. A nice Albanian boy gave us a ride back and took us to a café on an isolated mountain (it’s okay, I was with two burly boys, I had no visions of Hostage III: The Grecian Murders occurring) and bought us nice coffee drinks and then showed up the next day at our hotel on his canary-yellow Harley.
And so as the year winds up we come to that time again. Travel time. There isn’t any musical inspiration behind it, just travel and vacation time. I think we’re heading to Hong Kong (either in November or early December) because we’re quite interested in gorging ourselves stupid in one of the world’s foremost eating capitals. Or we might go back to Japan again. We’re really torn. But Hong Kong will probably win out because it’s somewhere new. So here’s your chance. Give us suggestions, places to go, bars to hang out at, and bands to see and check out. Have you been there? Gimme stories. We’re a metal-loving couple and will usually try to find local spots that cater to that (the boy discovered a bar in London, The Intrepid Fox, that’s pretty great). If you live there we’ll even take you out for a drink. We’re classy like that. And then I’ll write about it and we’ll all just feel so special.