"NO NO NO NO, ADAM WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
Jean "Genie", my beautiful mother exclaimed in horror as she walked into the garage. I was startled because I was only creating works of art with crayons and records. Really progressive stuff for the 80's, all about visual confirmation and the satisfaction I got from making the noise you create when moving back and forth on grooved surfaces. I had laid out all the records that were in the garage and just went to town. The first record she picked up and looked at it. She was so sad and just said "not the Beatles" I did not know why she was so upset about bugs but I did know she messed up my creative flow. My music repertoire was not too diverse at this stage in my life, Rafi was on constant rotation. Unfortunately as I got older I would learn that I destroyed my mom’s vinyl copy of Rubber Soul along with about 20 other records. I can only imagine how my mother felt as her childhood in Napa was reduced colorfully scratched plastic on a garage floor. It was probably her first time regretting having me, but not the last, kids are so stupid.
Music is amazing, it can explain feelings that I would not be able to articulate in a 50 page essay, condensed to one lyric. A song can change your entire mood and perception, when you hear it at the perfect moment. The first time I heard Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares to You" I was partying with friends, at the ever elusive Club Wilshire. I stopped mid party, something in the song hit my ear just right. I watched the video streaming through YouTube on the flat screen and just listened to the lyrics. I started tearing up, like a real man, everything combined to a beautiful illustration of her pain and it touched a chord. I wasn't even going through a break up, go figure.
Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, the Beatles;
No matter how many bands I list from the classic rock era, David Bowie impacted my life most. The bands that ruled that era are still top notch. Go ahead, put on 'Sympathy for the Devil' and just watch a room explode with bad Mick Jagger impressions. How about movie night, play the Wizard of Oz, match it with 'Dark Side of the moon', take those hits of Acid and ride down the road of "what the fuck, this is out of control".
Music helped me realize that I'm am not alone. It taught me that if someone with that level of fame, that can reach the masses, has had feelings or experienced situations similar to mine, chances are my life struggles are not so special.
Bowie was weird, strange, eccentric; qualities that I hold dear to myself. David Bowie was so much more then knowing I'm not alone. Yeah, there are some Floyd songs that helped me through rough times and what kind of So Cal kid would I be if the Beatles weren't bumping out of my car. Classic Rock for my generation, really bridged the gap between us and our parents. It made me realize my parents may not be as lame as I originally thought.
October 1980: Rock singer David Bowie takes a break from his current project; playing the title role in a broadway play based on the life of John Merrick, the hideously deformed ' Elephant Man'. Bowie uses mime to convey the character's deformity, rather than relying on elaborate make-up. The play has opened to critical acclaim, with Bowie's performance in particular receiving praise. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Riding around in Nathan Schade's white Jeep Grand Cherokee
On a sunny day after school, Nate pulls out the best of Bowie CD. He's boasting about how it's one of the best compilation of songs he has ever heard. Up until he put the CD in, I was whatever about Bowie. He had some tracks I liked, but overall was not really my style. Maybe he was a little too awesome, or flamboyant for a teenager growing up in the early 00's. But Bowie was transcendent, his flair was undeniable, his metaphors infectious, delivery of his message, masterful. Nathan popped that cd in his excellent 6 disc CD changer (that used to be a thing) and my mind was blown. Holly shit, from track 1 to 20, we blasted the whole CD.
Just cruising around Fullerton California slumping that Bowie realness. (Rocked that cd for months too)
I asked Nate "dude where did you get this" and he responded the same way we do today "Warehouse records" BOOOOOOM, we used to have to physically leave our house to buy CD's, how did we live?
I went home that night and started talking to my mom. I told her how great Bowie was and how I had to go get this CD. She had a smirk on her face, as she was finishing dinner. She was laughing because she used to play Bowie for me as a child. She had been to multiple Bowie concerts, my grandma and aunt still call her "Genie" to this day. She did not just see Bowie but most of the bands I grew up loving from that era. My dad and she had even seen Pink Floyd together before I was born, no answer if they took Acid.
I ran out the next day and bought 3 Best of Bowie Cd's. One for me and 2 for my parents, Jean and Khalifa. Yeah I could have burned one CD, but it was so much bigger than that. It was something my parents and I could have together. Something that they were interested in beyond their child's interest. That's so rare for parents, I feel that their lives are turned into their kids interests and that's how they relate; Jimmy loves to play soccer so we love to watch soccer, Sarah is into the piano now so that's what we talk about. Parent’s lives are their kids, when they are around them, but kids don't care about adult interests. This was an entire different aspect of my parents that I did not know was there.
David Bowie is more than just music,
He was so weird and different. Most importantly he was HIM, he made the music he wanted to make, dressed the way he wanted to dress and created some of the most beautiful, oddest performances in the process. He has inspired me to be who I wanted to be and taught me that if people don't like the art you put out, keep going because you are probably on the path of genius (barring your talent).
More importantly, Bowie opened up a window that made me view my parents in a different light. They were not just two people that created this awesome mess we call Adam or the dictators that were just trying to ruin my good times. They were people, with interests and passions outside of me and my sisters. I could see they were once teenagers without kids, just like me. Let’s be real, not as tight as "ya boy", But they did understand what I was going through, to an extent. I now had another view of my parents to make them more three dimensional to me. For them they could the see cultural influence they had on their child, this monster of energy they created. David Bowie is one of my favorite artists, his music shaped the way I view performing and he brought me closer to my parental units, which as a teenager is really hard. He taught me that songs about space travel are usually about heroin, that we could be Hero’s even for one day, but what he really did is make my parents actual people to me. RIP David Bowie, even though your body is not pumping blood, you will never die. Your consciousness will survive until this stupid blue ball in the universe explodes and even then maybe your music is traveling through space until it hits the next universe filled with "people". Thank you David Bowie and Fuck you Vanilla Ice.
Adam Shawesh - Comedian, Writer, and Overall Dope
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