Death Punching

I know they’re not for everyone, but I love Five Finger Death Punch. What first drew me to them was Jason Hook’s guitar riff in My Nemesis. Jason is an awesome guy. After I watched him on Instagram giving guitars away to fans at meet and greets, and then I saw his other Instagram page with his cats, I became a true fan. When I watched his documentary, Hired Gun, I was totally sold.

Death Punch is a little rough around the edges. Most of their songs contain the “F” word. They’re loud. Ivan Moody alternates between a deep throated growl or surprisingly smooth and beautiful vocals. Their music is fun. A lot of it is tongue in cheek.  My hubby thinks this type of music makes people angry. I think the opposite. Yelling along with this type of music gets out my aggression – it’s kind-of like scream therapy for me.

Hubby asked me over the weekend about the second concert we were attending (beside Alice Cooper in September). I had no idea what he was talking about. He said “Death Punch”, and I just shrugged.

Monday, son #1 (age 27) pulled me aside and said son #2 (age 22) was telling everyone I was taking him to see Death Punch.  Uh-oh. I had said last year that if they ever came back this way, I’d take him, but nothing was definite.

Yesterday morning I went online and Googled Death Punch Tour.  Guess who’s coming to town – also in September? Guess who bought four tickets?

The family who sees Death Punch together stays together?

The four of us are going to see them on Labor Day at Darien Lake (a theme park where they have a concert venue).  That’s Monday.  Then Friday of that same week Hubby and I go to see Alice Cooper in another state (Pennsylvania). It’s going to be quite the week.This is a testament to how much my Hubby loves me. He doesn’t care for this type of music.

I can’t wait.

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Reclaiming the Wild Child

My hubby recently celebrated his sixtieth birthday. Yes, I’m married to a sexagenarian. Makes him sound like a pervert, doesn’t it? LOL. In our case, I think the pervert label fits me better than it does him, but I’ll never tell.

I’m sure everyone sees it anyway. I’m the one with the ink, the pink hair, the foul mouth, the preference for metal music, and the penchant for smutty romance novels. Hubby is so normal I often wonder just what it is he sees in me. He’s a trucker, and he’s the kinder, gentler half of this couple. I’m not sure even he knows what to make of me half the time, but this is who I really am. I stifled this for years; it had to come out sometime.

Hubby was the catalyst for releasing the inner wild child I hid so well for a quarter of a century. In my mid-20’s, I was attending metal concerts on a regular basis, and I had long, curly, blue-black hair. Then my cousin moved away and I lost my wild best friend, the one who attended concerts with me, and the one I laughed the longest and loudest with. I’d always been shy, but with her I was louder and more alive. I grieved her moving from New York to Texas to join the rest of her family. A short time after she moved, my father suddenly got sick and he passed away, and I suffered another crippling blow. I was twenty-eight, single, and still living at home.

Knowing I could lose my mother, too, at any time, I decided I needed to meet someone with whom I could possibly share a future so I dialed back who I was. I settled into normalcy. I cut my hair; I went back to my normal, boring brown. In essence, I grew up. I had a steady, decent paying job, and I was ready to settle down. Unfortunately, I altered who I was to fit in at work, as a partner and wife, as a mother, and in life. Giving up my wild side, I hated who I was, and I didn’t even know it. I thought it was just my natural reserve that always made me feel so damned inadequate.

I met hubby when I was twenty-nine. We married when I was thirty, and we had our first son when I was thirty-one. Life moved on fairly quickly.

Together hubby and I raised two wonderful, young men. We had our challenges with ADHD, Autism, Diabetes, Celiac disease, Asperger’s syndrome and way too much time spent with doctors, specialists, administrators, teachers and others who all thought they knew what was best for my sons. I stifled a lot over the years to see two young men through the nightmare and quagmire that was the public school system. I bit my tongue so many times when all I wanted to do was swear and lash out. As their advocate, I thought I had to hold my anger inside. I tried to put my boys first at all times. Having to deal with all these strangers who knew nothing about my sons but passed judgment anyway made me more outgoing but it also made me bury all that fury and anger deep inside.

I lost my mother when I was forty-six. Shortly after that my aged pets began to leave me, one by one; not their fault, of course. Everything dies. To get by, I buried my hurt and grief deep along with all that anger. I was probably clinically depressed and didn’t even know it at the time. I was hurting so badly I was barely functioning inside, but I made it through each day.

Something about turning fifty changed things. I hadn’t even realized that my sweet hubby knew deep down inside that I wasn’t a happy person. I was just going through the motions. He pushed. He pushed at me some more. Then he pushed even harder. Over the course of a year, he kept pushing at me. I had thought that we were happy and that we were complete. Being the saner, smarter half of this couple he knew differently. He knew I wasn’t happy, and since I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t either.

Hubby pushed hard, and he told me things needed to change. When it finally occurred to me that something was in fact “broken”, I began to get scared that maybe it was our marriage. He was the one who suggested I needed to do something really different to break out of this funk that I was stuck inside, a mid life crisis sort of gesture. So at age 51, I went back to school to start on my first college degree, and I got my first tattoo. The ink actually came first. It was something I’d always wanted to do but hadn’t because I didn’t want to disappoint my mother.

Gradually, the wild child began to find her way back. I finally opened my eyes and realized I no longer cared what others thought, and I didn’t have to fit into any molds of what I should be. I only have to do what makes me happy. I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

My marriage? It was never broken. I was. My sexagenarian hubby? He loves the wild child. Me? I’m happier than I’ve ever been, pink hair, ink, loud music, bad language and all. I wish I’d realized what was missing years ago. Me.

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I’ve always found music to be my solace and my refuge, and it’s odd because I don’t listen to quiet or calming music. Music soothes my soul even if I do like it loud. I prefer screaming guitars, pounding drums and lyrics I can scream or yell along with. I like to call it my scream therapy. When I feel stressed or unhappy, I crank the music up. My musical tastes are all over the place, but mostly I like it loud.

My first concert was a disaster. My cousin and I were both young and foolish, and apparently my parents were pretty naive, too. We tried to go see Rod Stewart and Blue Oyster Cult. It was the early 1970’s. What my parents were thinking, I have no idea, but they dropped us off at the arena and headed back home, assuming we were safe and we’d have a great time. They’d just gotten home when we called and asked them to come get us. We were so far in over our heads, we were terrified, and we’d walked out of the arena. When the lights went down, we were sitting in our reserved seats down on the floor in front of the stage, and there was this horrendous rumbling noise. The man next to us yelled at us to pick up our seats and “RUN!” We had no idea what was happening. The crowds in the nosebleed seats were rushing the stage. We had to pick up our seats and move them forward or they were going to stand in front of us. We had no clue that that kind of thing happened at big concerts. Blue Oyster Cult hit the stage. It was loud, it was scary, and the arena was suddenly awash in marijuana smoke. We got the hell out of Dodge. We walked down the street to a 24-hour diner and called my folks for a ride back home.

Needless to say, we didn’t try again for a while. Our next show was much smaller (a different arena) and much blander and safer. We saw Gilbert O’Sullivan, an Irish singer, right after he’d had a hit with “Alone Again (Naturally)”. There was nothing scary about his concert. It was cheesy but fun.

donna10-22-16We eventually worked our way back up again to rock bands. In the 1980’s we were all about metal, and I went to many concerts. I’ve seen Judas Priest (several times), Yes (several times), Trace Adkins (several times), Ozzy Osbourne (twice), Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Phil Collins, Meatloaf, the Moody Blues, the Fixx, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue, VanHalen, Kiss, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Eddie Money, Billy Idol, Huey Lewis & the News, the Scorpions, Journey, the Police, Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, Gilbert O’Sullivan, REO Speedwagon, Def Leppard, and Tesla. I’m sure I’m missing a few (it’s  difficult to remember some of the opening acts – especially if they never hit it big), but you get the idea. We went to a lot of shows.

I also went through a country music phase. I took my hubby and two sons to see Trace Adkins (three times). I did a meet and greet with him. I was the first one in line, and when he came in, I told him I’d seen him three times that year. His response? “Man, you must be getting bored.” Not really. He puts on a good show.

I saw Huey Lewis when he was just starting out. No one knew who he was. He played a tiny bar in town (the Penny Arcade), and my cousin and I were close enough to touch him. I sent him a fan letter, and I got a personally signed postcard back!

The loudest show I ever saw was the Scorpions. We stood right down on the floor, in front of the speakers for that one. My ears rang for days afterwards. It was awesome.

One of the best stage sets I ever saw was Ozzy Osbourne’s Ultimate Sin tour in 1986. My cousin had moved to Texas so I went with my brother. I was 27, and he was 35. Ozzy’s stage set was a huge sweeping staircase with huge statuary at the base of the stairs. It was shortly after the Ozzy/bat incident. To open the show, he came walking down the stairs, and when he reached the bottom, the statues came “alive”. They were giant bats with glowing red eyes, and they opened their huge, sweeping wings. So cool. Of course, the opening band was a mystery to my brother and me. It was Metallica! We weren’t fans. When the teenagers around us began to bang their heads to the music, we just looked at one another in confusion. My brother said, “I feel so old.”

I recently saw Def Leppard for the first time (in June). They were great. In another couple of weeks for our anniversary trip, hubby and I will see Keith Urban in Ohio. My hubby is good to me. He listens to lots of different music (he used to be a radio DJ), but he’s not the metalhead that I am. He likes jazz and oldies. I don’t. He’s more tolerant of my choices than I am of his. You’d think it would be the other way around.

I leave you with another favorite of mine. I have the lyrics ‘Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful‘ tattooed on my forearm.