I’m old enough now to realize how fortunate I was to grow up in a house that valued art as much as it did. My parents will be the first to deride their own tastes as ‘trash,’ ‘filth,’ or ‘junk,’ but the truth is, whatever the perceived quality of what they were into, I still grew up in a music-filled house that consistently valued reading, with parents who left me alone to be a weird little kid who holed up in his room playing out his petty private dramas, only rarely shoving me out into the sunshine and never enrolling me in organized sports. I can never thank them enough for that.
I’ve frequently written about the moment when you first become aware of art,when you first claim it for yourself, when you realize that it pleases you on an aesthetic level, and all of us experience that moment through the prism of our parents’ tastes. As much as I would like to say we were grooving to the soul and RnB of the 70’s in the Ferguson household, we were a classic rock through and through. My parents would go to shows in Detroit all the time, and they always brought me back a t-shirt: John Mellencamp, Hall and Oates, Huey Lewis and the News…how cool would I be if I still had these?But there were few bands my mom loved more than Journey.
Journey might be going through a post-irony renaissance right now thanks to ‘Glee’ and ‘The Sopranos’ but what some of you young’uns might not realize is in the ’80s, Journey was fircking huge. Like, filled stadiums, lighters in the air during ‘Faithfully,’ the works. And my mom had a serious love for Steve Perry. Who wouldn’t, the man sings like an angel. Not the pretty ones, the ones with the flaming swords coming to chop you in half. If Steve Perry and Bruce Dickinson sang at each other, reality would collapse in on itself. The space-time continuum couldn’t handle that much awesome centralized in one place.
It’s kind of wonderful to see enough time pass that Journey can be appreciated as gifted pop-rock songwriters and not just schlock merchants [though they never lacked for schlock]. I feel like this song will be my next karaoke anthem. I may even do it on a stage.
Honourable Mention: So, my one cat will do this thing where she inexplicably runs from the bedroom, through the living room, to the kitchen, leaps at the wall, then runs back to the bedroom at full tilt. When I was something like three or four I would do the exact same thing whenever this song came on the radio. No reason, just felt like it was a song you should run around to. Probably the first example of me taking notice of a beat, that swing shuffle in the transitions, which I loved, then got bored during the actual verses and choruses. But when that transition hit again, I took off like a shot. Plus, I think it made my mom laugh, so I did it for her as much as me.