In my mid 20’s I had one of the most tempestuous relationships in my life. We fought like cats and dogs. She was beautiful, no doubt the most beautiful woman I have ever been with and quite honestly I really didn’t think I could ever date anyone so beautiful again. We didn’t always fight, in fact we shared a lot of common desires about careers and making the right decisions managing money and what we both wanted. One night as she was leaving to go home she stopped turned and put her hands on my chest the way she did and looked at me with those soft beautiful eyes and asked “Can I borrow your Loose Ends album?” She asked so sweetly and I looked her in the eyes and said, “Nope.” She turned on her heels and stormed away. I paid for that answer for the next two weeks until she finally talked to me about it and then asked again, “No,” I answered.
Rule # 1 Don’t loan an album any album, even Frank Zappa to any person man or woman, beautiful eyes or not. EVER.. (it is ok to burn Frank Zappa albums however.}
In 1977 I was a gangly awkward teenager with a crush on every single girl in the entire universe and some beyond. I was G-I-R-L crazy but terrified to talk to almost any of them. I probably still am. There were girls in my neighborhood I talked to everyday but somehow that seemed different. There was one girl though who went to my elementary. In 6th grade we had all gone through this phase where everyone needed or had to be partnered up and going steady with someone and having a girl wear your engraved bracelet that was the be all end all. Well I guess, I mean the thought of someone like me having any girl fall for me or want to go steady with me was ludicrous. I romanced someone though, gave it the old college try or elementary try. She was cute and lived in an adjoining neighborhood separated by a creek and if you hit that just right on your old 10 speed you could zoom down one side and glide up the other. Mess it up a little and you were pushing your bike up. Mess it up a lot and you were crashed and bleeding in a heap. I could hit that in the dark of night with my eyes closed. So in other words she didn’t live far away and she had an older sister by one year who was pretty hunky dory too, still is. Even though she rejected me to go steady with someone else and wear their silly bracelet we remained friends and it was not really that unusual to have her ring my doorbell or me ring hers. One day she came over and sat and listened to records and we were just being kids. She very nicely asked if she could borrow my Foreigner album, you know the first one with Feels Like the First Time and Cold as Ice. Having yet to learn any musical lessons I said yes, sure she could.
I have always liked Double Vision better than any other Foreigner album. I know what you are thinking, what the hell happened to the album you loaned. I am not off my rocker, well not exactly. I will come back to it. Double Vision was just a great album an album I had on fricking 8 track, one of a whole bunch of albums I had on 8 track that one day I just chunked in the trash. It took years for me to go back and buy Double Vision again. Then Head Games, my my, those were the albums of my high school years. I don’t know what it is about Foreigner. I really don’t know why that to me at least they were a good band that really had their place in my musical heart and then just faded. I like them today but it’s not like I felt about them at the time. I don’t know if it’s because I just don’t feel that music has held up. Not true, as in fact I think their music holds up very well. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that there isn’t anyone in that band that stood out to me. I don’t mean that harshly. Look I have written about the importance of Terry Kath and Benjamin Orr and for every band I really love there is that one guy I ride or die with except Foreigner just doesn’t have that guy and so they get lumped into a category of music I like with a lot of other bands who too are there because they fail that test of having that one person I can wrap myself around and say man oh man. Styx has Tommy Shaw. Journey had Steve Perry Aerosmith has, everything and everybody I love every one of them. Kiss had Ace, they are nothing without Ace. No Gene is better, nuh uh it’s all about Ace. See they all have that something unique but Foreigner doesn’t.
Would you like to know what Foreigner does have? Foreigner has the 1984 Agent Provocateur album. Now why is this a big deal you ask? For 2/3 of my college life I lived at home with my mom, the advantage of attending a commuter university. Between working and going to school I had a lot of driving some of it really exhausted and my mother was resolved that I would be leaving soon. I am sure of two things, all mothers go through these emotions and I was oblivious to it. I wasn’t leaving my mom I was just changing my circumstances becoming more independent, learning to fly. For her it was pure and simple loss, inevitable perhaps but loss all the same. She came home one day and I was playing Agent Provocateur and she said that she really liked that. Specifically she liked the songs That was Yesterday and I Want to Know What Love Is. I always think now how appropriate it was that she liked that song so much.
Do you want to know what love is, well let me tell you. Somewhere in a previous blog I told this story in a lot more detail and depth. My mother died June 30, 2012 just short of her 72nd birthday. My sister and I went to her bank where she had a locked box and in that box we found the deed to her house, some coins that were silver that had some value, my father’s class ring and an envelope with 20 one dollar bills. It was odd, these things of value. We asked the young banker if the bills had any known value to her as all the bills were worn and she said they were ordinary dollar bills and they only had one thing in common they were all issued in 1963 the year I was born. Now I don’t know why she saved them, what her purpose was, what her process for collecting them was as she never told anyone what she was doing. I was sure she saved them because of me and I still have them In the same envelope but it has meaning to me. Now I have a lot of regrets and recriminations over how I treated her at times all of which I know are useless because she is gone and all that is gone with her. My mom lived every day for her kids, for her grandkids and for her great grand kids. They were her entire world so listening to songs that I was playing was simply how she showed me that love. I think about her a lot when I am playing music and I always try to acknowledge when something is on that I know she really loved.
Now before this all turns to just pure sap what the hell happened to the album that I loaned? Well a couple of weeks went by and that album never showed up so one summer day I hopped on my bike and rode my happy ass over to the girl’s house. I wasn’t mad I just went to get my album back. The girl wasn’t home but her sister was and I hung out with her and she got my album for me and later I rode home. Not having heard the album in a couple of weeks I played it, skip. Try again, skip. She scratched my album.
That my friends is why you never loan out an album even if it starts a fight and even if she has big beautiful eyes and asks sweetly, your answer should always be NO.