My neighbors are a very odd collection of people. The neighborhood is a combo of people who built these houses as their dream houses almost 40 years ago and still reside here, and the people who have filled in the spaces when someone has died or moved to a Boca. I often describe our neighborhood as a retirement community without the benefits of water aerobics classes and a shuffleboard court. It’s not a bad place to live, really. I can’t say I love it, but it’s perfectly adequate. It is, however, strange. People here aren’t very open or friendly. We’ve lived in our house for almost six years, and I have only actually directly spoken to maybe five of my neighbors.
So, I decided every once in awhile, I’d fill you in on some of the characters who live near us.
Today, I’ll tell you about The Aging 80’s Hair Band Family.
The Hairbanders, as I like to call them, live a few houses down. I believe the family consists of an older son living with his parents, but I’m not entirely sure. Argo and I have walked past their house while they are outside. I’ve been smiley and polite, but they have never even once looked in our direction while we passed, leaving me to wonder briefly if my dog and I have the ability to become temporarily invisible.
The son appears to be constantly on call to stand in for the lead singer of Europe, and has probably been since at least 1986. He’s got the lion’s mane hair, and I’ve never seen him wearing anything other than faded Zubaz and decaying concert t-shirts with cracked decals. His friends, who are many, all ascribe to a similar aesthetic.
I like to think there’s a club or local message board where people who believe it’s still the mid-80’s congregate. Perhaps if we had cable I would find a public access show on the topic. And the thing is, I have to admit that I have this sense of awe and almost envy of that fact that they have found a genre, an era, a look that works for them, that makes them happy, and they have the courage (or maybe blinders) that allows them to stick with it. I love people who march to the beat of their own drummer, even if that drummer is Tommy Aldridge.
When I was a bartender, one of the cooks proudly told me that 80’s hair band music was the greatest popular music genre ever for it’s ability to consistently pack massive arenas with fans. I always wanted to ask him how hair bands died then. I mean if people consistently showed up, why aren’t we still listening to Winger or Warrant without any hint of irony. And when it started dying, weren’t the arenas spotty in attendance? Weren’t hair bands something of a flash in the pan, really?
But I’m starting to realize for him, it never died. Maybe, like the Hairband family, it’s still going on in his mind. And maybe Mr. Hairbander can’t see Argo and I because he’s been blinded by imaginary stagelights.
Update: Apparently, the cook and Mr. Hairbander aren’t alone. Check out the masterpiece that is Rocklahoma! Excuse me while I go eat crow. I don’t believe there’s anything being done ironically at Rocklahoma. Perhaps hair bands never die.