“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams.
The 1980's were a decade that defied reason. The culture, the music, fueled by the contradicting excess/abstinence perpetrated by the Reagan Administration; was a place in time where it was perfectly acceptable to snort a few lines before delivering inspirational speeches at "Just Say No" rallies under the approving eyes of a clueless Nancy Reagan.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
The children of the eighties are coming of age and the crows feet are beginning to cackle. As the invitations to the 20 year reunions start to dry up in the wake of the blossoming 25 year reunions, their offspring bust out the old high school year books to see what mom and dad looked like in the "olden days"..... The first thing to catch the eye? The hair, oh sweet Mother of Mercy, the fucking ginormosity of the hair.This was an era funded by Aqua Net, where the romanticism of the hunky Man's Man was replaced by men in drag, wearing Italian suits colored like Easter Eggs. The hair of the eighties overshadowed any kind of foreign policy gaffe, political scandal, celebrity death, etc. Who the fuck cares who shot JR, did you see how high Sue Ellen's bangs were? Iran-Contra wha? Is that Ricki Rocket in a boys name? Or Ricki Rockett in a girl's name?
As the eighties wound up and the nineties began, Seattle started to brew the thunderstorm of grunge that would wash away the broken spirits of bankrupted drug addicts that were searching to find the tranquility that would replace the emptiness that their repossessed yellow Lamborghini and foreclosed beachfront condo left in their souls. The party was over and it was time to read poetry in the coffeehouse.
Only a select few of the ever-faithful followers of hair metal remained, as those more fickle minded shampooed out their teased tresses in favor of a more "now" appearance. Once the many, were now the few and they stuck out like a sore thumb. In any given town, especially in New Jersey, Kentucky and Southern Ohio, you would be able to find those steadfast in the their love for Kip Winger and Dingo boots, traveling in caravans of Monte Carlos and Camaros, to roadside bars to catch a Ratt tribute band.
In my Junior High School, we had our own tribe of Hair Metal Disciples roaming the halls. Our school was fairly divided as the majority of students either lived in a cluster of brand new, middle to upper middle class subdivisions; or they lived in a smaller, older, middle to lower-middle class, to downright impoverished, town that consisted of persons of Appalachian descent. The school district had separate elementary schools for the suburban kids and small town kids, yet made the genius decision to combine the schools into one junior high in the sixth grade.... Because pre-teens are known to function with high levels of tolerance and understanding for one another. Needless to say, junior high was a little tense.
The Tribe of Disciples seemed to all hail from the little Appalachian town, which combined with their fashion choices, kind of made life a tad hellish for them. My gang of stuck up, white bitches with weekly allowances to the Gap were unrelentingly bitchy towards the Disciples and the Disciples in turn, took great joy in beating the shit out of us. Those girls were fierce, there was no denying that.
As time traveled on for me, I replaced my Guess jeans with camo-pants, and my permed hair for shaved hair dyed with Manic Panic. My fashion choices exiled me to a status lower than that of the Disciples, but I really didn't seem to care. I found camaraderie with many of these young women and new found respect for someone willing to sit all day in a non-air conditioned classroom wearing Lycra, zebra-stripped pants and a ten pound hair-do.
As it usually does, time slipped away and the once awkward fashion rejects of Kings Junior High, grew up and moved on. The 90's turned into the new millennium, the Towers went down, and the Gulf War warped into Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the beat marched on, the notion that much money could be made from nostalgia started to surface. Metal Heads were soccer moms and Bret Michaels needed a nest egg to fund his European hair extensions. What once was a decade of songs, stories and life, has now made the strange transmutation from time to commodity, not unlike the decades that preceded it.
Now teenagers and twenty-somethings rock those Lycra, zebra print pants without even a hint of irony while they jam out to Cameo, much like how I rocked bell bottoms and kicked my heels out to Kung-Fu Fighting in 1995. Bands are reuniting and labeling their tours as the "Second Chance Concert Series" and marketing to the parents of today who were either grounded, or broke, the first time that tour came to town. Acts from Pat Benatar and Debbie Harry to Poison and Def Leopard are strapping on their youthful spandex, applying spray tans, and bleaching their teeth before hitting the road to relive the glory days with their graying, adoring fans. Steven Tyler was even hospitalized last week for taking a tumble off the stage, which would not be too out of the ordinary if weren't for the fact he was stone cold sober and the reason for the fall was because his hip went out.
People who had experienced the eighties firsthand now bask in the joy of what they loved being socially relevant again. In 2002, mother's were dragged onto talk shows, ostracized, and made over into Jenn Anniston look-a-likes for dressing like this:
This picture was taken a week ago.
Now these women have the social acceptance to break out their Limited Express fold over, frosted, denim, mini-skirts and banana hair clips! I envision The Disciples breaking out the old year books with pride replacing dread, and bragging about how cool they used to dress. The Eighties are fucking back man.
Which leads me to the inspiration for this post, my muse.
A few weeks ago, my town embraced the come back of the ever mighty, Hepatitis-ridden rockers, Motley Crue, hosting "Crue-Fest" at the local, outdoor arena. The energy in the air was palpable by 12:00 pm as mini-vans invaded the parking lots of nearby sports bars, their passengers donning denim mini skirts and half shirts, as they stood up straight trying to camouflauge the tell tale tummy of a recent, or not so recent, pregnancy. Lips that had denied themselves the sweet sensations of Southern Comfort for the past decade, in favor of something more socially acceptable for mothers, like Chardonay or Crystal Light, were reunited with the sweet elixir of their youths, and did it feel so good. So good. So good, that the alcoholic beverage became a catalyst for time travel. No longer were Breighdon, Kaileigh and Teegan waiting at home with a sitter for Mom in 2009; Tommy, Vince, and Nikki were primed for a lap dance at the after hours shin dig in 1985! The women had gone wild and chaos ensued.
In tabloid fashion, the buzz of chaos perked the media's ears and the headlines of the morning papers declared:
Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies arrested three woman Friday night during the Crue Fest 2 concert at Riverbend in three separate instances for crimes ranging from obstructing official business to assault.
The first arrest happened at 6 p.m. when a woman from Hamilton allegedly refused to leave. According to court records, it took several officers to remove 31-year-old Jessica Bryant from the concert. She told police she only consumed one pint of Captain Morgan. She is charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated.
Deputies arrested a second woman around 11:30 p.m. after she allegedly wouldn’t leave. Police say the woman was arrested but then got out of her handcuffs and tried to run from police. Deputies say she refused to give police her name, address, or date of birth. After arriving at the justice center, she claimed her name was Crystal Huff, guessed her date of birth, and she said she lived at the Drop Inn Center.
The third woman was arrested for assault just before Midnight. 40-year-old Barbara Evans from Centerville was allegedly thrown out of Riverbend because of her behavior, then punched a female employee in the right side of her face.
With headlines like this, who needs the weather?
Crystal Huff, here's to you bitch. Let's fucking party like it is 1985.