“All We Need Is Just A Little Patience…”

Have you ever had something unresolved in your life for many years, and you can’t quite shake it as long as it remains unresolved? Please allow me to tell you a quick story.

Back around Spring of ’91, when I was in high school, Guns N’ Roses got announced to play at my hometown arena (Richfield Coliseum) on June 4th, 1991. I was given the task of camping out to purchase four tickets for myself and 3 friends, which I was more than happy to do. I was lucky enough to get four 12th row seats on the floor, and we were good to go. Fast forward to just days before the concert, and my friend Shawn informed me that his parents were not going to allow him to go. Apparently, his parents did not think it would be a safe environment, and he was out of luck. Shawn was the only person I knew that was as big a fan of GN’R as I was, and I was devastated that he could not go. Obviously, he was not a fan of the decision either. I went to the show with other friends, had a great time, but I felt a cloud over the whole thing because Shawn wasn’t there. From that day forward, it became a mission of mine that if even a partial core of GN’R ever reformed, and came to our town, Shawn and I would be there, right up front, to make up for what we missed out on.

Fast forward to 2017, and the partial GN’R reunion. They were finally announced to play The Q Arena in Cleveland on October 26, 2017, and I sprung into action. Shawn and I are still in touch 26 years later, and we coordinated a plan to buy the elusive Pit tickets, to make sure we were up front together. Our plan worked, even though we spent more than we wanted to on the secondary market. We had to wait it out for longer than we ever imagined, but we finally get our chance in a few days.

Of course, I am more obsessed than ever to get us into the front row of the pit due to the extenuating circumstance, so I have been a nervous wreck. What if the ticket line we get into gets held up, and other lines go streaming down into the Pit before us? Scenarios like that have been flooding my brain, only because I want this to go right so we can have the best time possible. I do realize the frivolity of this compared to everything else going on in the world, but it is still very important to me. Patience is not my strong suit, but hopefully it will pay off this time.

 

RnFnR!

Mike

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Review: The Revolution @ House Of Blues Cleveland

Let me start by saying I knew this was not going to be an easy night for anyone involved. This transcended your typical concert experience for both the band and those in attendance. There was really no way to prepare for something like this. It was not a matter of whether or not it would be an emotional experience, but a matter of just how emotional it would get. And would The Revolution be able to successfully navigate this ship through rough waters? In their eyes, there was no choice. They were responsible for all of us present last night, and they took the utmost care to ensure they provided what we needed from them…a night of healing with a heavy dose of fun (and funk) thrown in.

The Revolution, consisting of Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Bobby Z., Dr. Fink, and bassist Brown Mark took the stage to the sounds of the mysterious ‘Computer Blue’ intro, and I lost my damn mind, headbanging, throwing the horns, and probably scaring Brown Mark a bit (although his smile said he may have been enjoying my antics). This was just the start of the emotional roller coaster for me. When they started off ‘Take Me With U,’ that was the first instance of my emotions getting the best of me. I always loved that song so much going back to age 10 in ’84, that I was picturing myself playing the record in my bedroom, happily singing along, and I just lost it. It wouldn’t be the last time either.

Guest singer Stokley Williams helped out with killer versions of Prince classics like ‘Uptown,’ ‘D.M.S.R.,’ and ‘1999.’ The great think about Stokley was that he never tried to duplicate, only celebrate. He came across very genuine, and immensely talented. I think it was a great decision to have someone of his caliber come out and do those vocals justice. Speaking of vocals, Brown Mark did an EXCELLENT job on lead vocals for some songs. The tension was mounting up to the next portion of the show that would prove to be unforgettable.

I am just going to come out right now and say that Wendy and Lisa’s duet version of ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’ utterly destroyed me. Like complete destruction. And I was not the only one, judging by people around me. Wendy’s gentle acoustic guitar work, along with her poignant and haunting lead vocal was something I will never forget. It took about a whole 20 seconds for me to break down. It was the kind of performance that sticks with you long term, and sneaks up on you when you least expect it. From there, they had the impossible task of getting the energy level back up, but they sure met the challenge with ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’

After a few more classics like ‘Delirious,’ ‘Kiss,’ and ‘When Doves Cry,’ it was time for the final devastating blow of the evening. It literally took Wendy strumming the opening chords to ‘Purple Rain’ to turn me (and hundreds of others) into blubbering puddles. The performance was a thing of beauty. And again, the band was up to the challenge of picking everyone back up and carrying them to the finish line with ‘I Would Die 4 U’ and a frenetic ‘Baby I’m a Star.’ When the band began to come up to take their final bow, my night was made when Brown Mark came to the edge of the stage, slammed one of his picks into my hand, and held tight for a few seconds. Then Dr. Fink came running up to the edge of the stage to shake my hand. Moments like that make all the years of undying support 100% worth it. I truly hope The Revolution continues to stay together for years to come, and maybe even release some new music. As evidenced last night, they have a huge support system to back them up.
– Mike

One Year Gone: A Tribute To Prince

My connection to Prince goes way back to my childhood. For me, the one year anniversary of his untimely death is a time to look back on various experiences that involved him and his music. Internalizing this stuff does not feel right, so I will share some with you.

  • 1984 (age 10)- I rode my bike to the local record store with a pocket full of change to purchase Purple Rain on vinyl, as well as seeing the movie in the theater on a Saturday afternoon, are priceless early memories. That record and movie solidified the fact that I would be a Prince fan for the rest of my life.

 

  • 1987- Upon the release of Sign o’ the Times, I became so enthralled with that record, that I spent many hours in my darkened bedroom putting my own imagery to the sounds. Basically I was creating movies in my head based on the songs, complete with distinct characters, etc. Something about those songs kicked my 13 year old imagination into overdrive…and I couldn’t get enough.

 

  • 1997- Prince visited Cleveland for the first time since the Purple Rain tour, so this was my first opportunity to see him live. I was lucky enough to score a general admission ticket on the floor. I arrived at the venue extremely early, and when my ticket was taken, I proceeded to fly into the arena like a rocket, down the stairs, past the security guard that was trying to stop me from running, and I never stopped until I hit the barricade. When Prince hit the stage, I immediately started crying. There he was, close enough for me to reach out and touch him (I wouldn’t dare), after waiting for so many years to see him. Unforgettable.

 

  • 1998- He returned to Cleveland for another show at the same venue as the previous year, but this time, the after party would arguably be more memorable for me than the concert itself. After leaving the gig during the encore, I quickly made my way to the club that was hosting the party. I was one of the first people to arrive, and after forking over my $20, I was given a thorough pat-down and entered the club. After about a half hour, more concert-goers began to arrive. As I was watching people out on the dance floor, I turned to my right, and to my surprise, Chaka Khan was standing next to me. A short time later, I saw security guards scamper towards a door on the opposite side of the club from where I was. I quickly made my way across the dance floor to get a closer look, the door opened, and in walked Prince in his bedazzled glory, cane and all. Let me correct myself, it was much more of a glide than straight up walking. He moved right past me, no more than a few feet away, flanked by security. His presence was palpable and electrifying. He spent much of the night in an upstairs VIP area that overlooked the dance floor, occasionally reaching his cane down so people could jump up and touch it. Amazing night.

 

  • 2002- The One Nite Alone tour came to Cleveland, and I was lucky enough to get in to witness the astonishing soundcheck and Q&A session up close and personal. Prince was charming and unassuming, answering many questions about his guitars, lyrics, etc. This was one of the most surreal things I have ever experienced, and I distinctly remember not wanting it to end.

 

  • 2016- The day I wish I could forget. When I heard the news on the radio, I had the strangest sensation of my senses temporarily failing me. I felt as though I could not hear very well or see very well. I felt a sense of electrical shocks through my body. My first reaction was complete and utter denial…until I could not escape the news on every radio station, television network, and social media outlet. That feeling of shock, dread, and despair did not leave me for weeks, and I know I was not alone. What started to make me feel better was thinking about the years of personal memories I had, and how lucky I was to have shared 5 different evenings in the same building with him.

 

For quite a while after his passing, I was not hearing the music the same as I always had. The best way I could describe it is going from hearing the music in vibrant colors, to hearing it only in black and white. Something about the fact that I knew he was no longer here was making it not nearly as enjoyable to listen to. I have since broken through that, basically by coming to the realization that whether he is still with us or not, that music will ALWAYS be a part of me, and nobody can ever take that away.

Thank you, Prince…for everything.

Review: John 5 and the Creatures @ Cleveland Agora

Many times, a concert is just a concert. Other times, you get more than you bargained for. That was the case last night as John 5 brought his insanely talented Creatures to the Cleveland Agora, and proceeded to give the near capacity crowd a show they won’t soon forget. More on that in a moment…

I have attended many, many shows over the last 30+ years, and I can only recall 2 times where I stood just feet away from a person playing a musical instrument and was legitimately emotionally moved by their playing. The first was Billy Sheehan absolutely destroying his bass with Mr. Big. Second was Prince, making sounds come out of a guitar that did not seem at all humanly possible. After last night, I can officially add John 5 to that esteemed list. After pondering for a while what the common thread was between these three experiences, I finally figured it out. All three individuals had not only the highest level of talent imaginable, but also the greatest amount of passion for their instrument. That combination is something magical, and John 5 squeezed every ounce of talent and passion he had, and left it on the Agora stage last night.

They tore through a set made up primarily of songs from 2014’s ‘Careful With That Axe,’ as well as the new release ‘Season Of The Witch.’ John 5 is well-known for switching styles at the drop of a hat, but in a live setting, it is even more stunning to behold. To witness him tear through a straight metal song with fingers flying at the speed of light, to deftly picking a banjo a few minutes later, is truly something to behold. Plus we got the whole bag of tricks, including the lava lamp guitar, the LED lit guitar, his guitar being handed to the crowd to play, really something for everyone. I even got a fantastic personal experience when during ‘Making Monsters,’ John 5 came to the front of the stage, grabbed me around my head, and proceeded to still crush the song being head to head with me. Oh, and the medley to close out the show? Mind blowing. There were homages to Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Alice In Chains, White Zombie, KISS, The Police, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Marilyn Manson, and many more.

So I mentioned earlier about it being “more than a concert.” To expand on that a bit, what I mean was I walked away inspired…inspired to really nail down what it is that I am passionate about and commit myself to it. When you watch John 5 play, you are seeing someone who never wakes up in the morning and begrudgingly forces himself to play guitar. He probably dreams about guitars (in between dreams about KISS, Mad Monster Party, Planet of the Apes, etc.). His passion and joy that he exudes while being on stage and playing for people is undoubtedly contagious, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

SETLIST

Guitars, Tits and Monsters

Flight of the Vulcan Kelly

666 Pickers

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

This Is My Rifle

Jiffy Jam

Hell Haw

Season of the Witch

Portrait of Sydney Sloan

First Victim

(solo)

Black Grass Plague

Behind the Nut Love

Making Monsters

Beat It (Michael Jackson cover)

Now Fear This

(Medley)

 

 

Review: Gene Simmons (Cleveland Agora- 3/18/17)

This was a historic night for the KISS Army. Cleveland was the site of the very first full Gene Simmons solo concert (not counting the corporate gig a few weeks back). In addition, the Cleveland Agora became the first venue to ever host a solo show by both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley (who played there on 3/2/89). But did Gene deliver the goods? You bet your ass he did!

Backed by an insanely talented group of musicians otherwise known for playing regular gigs in Nashville under the moniker ‘Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency’, Gene and his band tore through a mix of classic KISS gems, Gene solo songs, and a tribute to the late Chuck Berry, who passed away earlier in the day. It is widely known that the band members are huge KISS fans. They played these songs with reverence, but also with an intensity that made the crowd feel that they were truly witnessing something special. I truly believe the band gave Gene confidence to take a few chances with the setlist, and it sure paid off.

The set kicked off with a raucous version of ‘Radioactive,’ off the Gene Simmons 1978 solo album, and the energy kicked into a higher gear with the KISS classic, ‘Deuce.’ For the fans who wanted KISS deep cuts, Gene did not disappoint, as the crowd was treated to ‘Almost Human’ early in the set, as well as a one-two punch of ‘Plaster Caster’ and ‘Charisma.’ Another huge surprise of the night was the inclusion of ‘Got Love For Sale.’

A poignant moment in the show came when Gene preached about the importance of Chuck Berry to rock n’ roll music, and the band tore into an impromptu cover of ‘Johnny B. Goode.’ He also made it clear that he wanted the crowd to have fun, and he was clearly having fun himself. The show ended with KISS staples ‘Let Me Go, Rock and Roll’ and ‘Rock and Roll All Nite,’ in which Gene invited female members of the audience on stage to sing the chorus.

Clearly there was a very loose, fun vibe to this show. This is exactly the kind of show fans wanted, and Gene pulled out all the stops to make it a good time for all involved. This could be a stepping stone to more shows of this nature during KISS’ downtime, and I don’t think the KISS Army would mind one bit.

Setlist:

Radioactive

Deuce

Nothin’ To Lose

Calling Dr. Love

Almost Human

Cold Gin

I Love It Loud

Got Love For Sale

Parasite

Plaster Caster

 Charisma

See You Tonight

Christine Sixteen

Johnny B. Goode

War Machine

Let Me Go, Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll All Nite

Review: John 5 and the Creatures- Season of the Witch

From the opening track, ‘Book of Spells,’ which sounds like the score to a sinister horror flick, John 5 and The Creatures take the listener on a trip through hell and back, with many interesting stops along the way. The band, rounded out by drummer Rodger Carter and bassist Ian Ross, is about a tight a trio as you will ever come across. There is a freakishly strong chemistry here that even at its most manic moments, ties this record together as a cohesive piece.

Things immediately kick into high gear with ‘The Black Grass Plague,’ showcasing each band members’ insane proficiency on their respective instruments. On this track, we get a drum solo, bass solo, and John 5 doing things no human should EVER be able to do on guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Trust me, you will need many, many spins to have a prayer of taking it all in. There are literally zero clunkers on this record, so it is pointless to list standout tracks. However a few of my other personal favorites are ‘Making Monsters,’ complete with intro provided by one of my favorite childhood movies ‘Mad Monster Party?,’ and ‘Hell Haw’ where John gets to show off his country roots. In addition, the incredibly emotional piece ‘Ode to Jasper,’ dedicated to John’s beloved dog who passed away recently, is enough to extract tears from any animal lover.

There is literally something for everyone here, from searing metal to country/bluegrass. I can’t imagine a record with more variety and crossed-genres than this one. The lack of vocals really allows you to focus on the mayhem unfolding. Make no mistake, this is a true labor of love. You can hear it in every note. There is not a ton of money to be made with a record like this (although there should be, in a perfect world). This is the work of a man who wakes up every day happy to have earned this level of musical talent, has achieved a standard of virtuosity most people can only dream of, yet still looks for ways to improve his playing. As avid music fans, we are the lucky ones who benefit when an artist of this magnitude shares their work with us. We need to do our part to support it. This is a record that you will marvel at for a long time to come.

 

5 of 5 Devil Horns:

\m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

 

Mike

I Finally Found My Missing ‘Cats’

I’m sure that everyone reading this has many examples of a certain band, song, or record that they immediately equate to a certain time in their lives. Something that is probably a little less common is completely blocking out one of those important connections due to a traumatic life event. That is what happened to me, and this is a story of re-connection after many years.

Somewhere around mid-1982, when I was 8 years old, my mother suddenly became sick. But what I thought was a physical illness was really the effects of her self-medicating due to her failing relationship with my father (not her fault in the least, but that is another story for another time). With what my mother was going through came lots of strange symptoms that were quite scary…things like hallucinations. My brain could not quite process this, and the other adults in my life were too self-absorbed to realize what was happening. My escape was music, as it had been for years already, but I needed a new connection to help me get through this. That connection was made through an unlikely source. All of this came back to me recently after nearly 35 years of it being in “mental hibernation.”

My new neighbors who had recently moved in to the tiny house next door were a couple in their mid-twenties, named Anthony and Debbie. They were very friendly, and always said hello to me, which at this time in my life meant a great deal. At some point during this time period, Debbie came over to my house, possibly to check on my mom due to the fact that I was acting worried. She could see that there was something pretty major happening, and I remember her telling me that since I liked music, I could come over and play her records any time I wanted to. So I began to take her up on the offer as another small way to escape the stress of what was happening at home.

As I looked through her records for the first time, the Stray Cats immediately caught my eye. Aesthetically, they probably reminded me of the TV show ‘Happy Days,’ but when I dropped the needle on the record, I was immediately mesmerized by the sheer energy of the music. Every time I went back to their house, I immediately went for the Stray Cats records. The strange thing was, I could have bought the records myself, but there was something about going to that house and playing those records that was cathartic for me. 

Going into 1983, my mom’s condition worsened, and by May of that year, she was gone. While I still communicated with my neighbors, I don’t recall going back there to play records after she passed away. In fact, I don’t recall much of the rest of that year. I do know that those records helped me power through that time period, but after my mother’s death, I never went back to them. In fact, I never was able to remember anything about this even when Stray Cats songs were played on the radio. This all just came flooding back to me within the past year. When I hear those songs now, I have a strong appreciation for what they did for me, and I have many years of fandom to catch up on now. With the news of an impending reunion in 2017, who knows, maybe I will actually get to see them live for the first time. You already know this, but remember, never underestimate the power of music!

Your friend,

Mike

25 Years Of Lollapalooza

At 17 years old, I was searching for my identity like many kids that age. I felt insecure, misunderstood, and lacked a sense of belonging. I was having trouble comprehending where I fit in. All that began to change on August 5th, 1991, 25 years ago today.

Going into the Lollapalooza show, I recall thinking of it as “just another concert,” although the lineup boasted three of my favorite bands/artists at the time in Jane’s Addiction, Living Colour, and Ice-T. Rounding out the eclectic lineup was Siouxsie and the Banshees, Rollins Band, Butthole Surfers, and the up and coming Nine Inch Nails. As the day went on, and the more I soaked in the atmosphere, I slowly came to the realization that this was EXACTLY where I belonged. I truly feel in my heart that Perry Farrell helped create this festival not for financial reasons, but to give people like me a day where they could learn about themselves while being surrounded by beautiful art of all forms.

I recall the performances by all artists being passionate and heavy, but most of all, I recall feeling happy and fulfilled by the end of the night. Lollapalooza taught me that music, especially in a live setting, was the most beautiful art form in the world. I felt a sense of community that I was not feeling at Poison shows, or Guns N’ Roses shows. This was emphatically different. That day shaped me for many years to come, up to the present day. It affected the way I dressed, the way I heard music, and the overall confidence I had. I am forever grateful for that experience, and I will always carry with me the feeling I had walking to the parking lot that night. The feeling of knowing I was part of something special, a cultural movement. Days like that sometimes only come once in a lifetime, and I only hope my children experience a day like that in their lifetime. Thank you to everyone who performed, and who made that day possible for me and many others.

Horns Up!

Mike

Prince: My Tribute to a Legend

A little part of myself died when Prince left us, and I would like to explain why. In the past few days, I have been reading various articles about why we mourn famous people that we didn’t even know. This is a valid question, and perhaps I can shed some light on this, at least from my personal experience.

While I became aware of Prince around 1982, it wasn’t until a bit later that his music became an integral part of my life and happiness. In 1983, my mother passed away suddenly. I was 9 years old, and I was lost. While I turned to music long before this for comfort and fulfillment, this was a time in my life where music would be more important than ever to get me through. 

In the summer of 1984, I begged my father to take me to see Purple Rain. He begrudgingly obliged, and while I may not have completely understood all the subject matter, the concert sequences alone provided me a jolt of energy that would singlehandedly make me a Prince addict. That same week, I rode my bike to my local record store and plunked down envy penny I had to buy the Purple Rain soundtrack on vinyl (when I say every penny, I mean it…there were lots of pennies on that counter). Those songs brought me to a place that I needed to be. They made me feel alive, happy, and helped heal my broken spirit. The amount of times I played air guitar in my mirror to ‘Let’s Go  Crazy’ defied reality. For the first time in a while, I started to feel myself again, and Prince’s music was partially responsible.

There were Prince eras that I identify with stronger than others, and chronologically, the Sign O’ The Times era was the next one that I strongly connected with. That double album had absolutely zero filler, just one powerful track after another. It was this era that made me realize the strength of Prince as a storyteller. I was mesmerized by the lyrics of ‘The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker’ and ‘I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man.’ I spent hours analyzing those songs, and I had entire scenarios built in my head for these songs, including vivid representations of what the characters looked like, etc. In late 1987 into early 1988, I developed a habit of listening to SOTT in its entirety while staring out into the desolate darkness of the Ohio winter. I found this very comforting and calming, and I did this nearly every night, letting the beauty of those songs engulf me like a warm blanket just out of the dryer.

My first opportunity to see Prince live is another experience I would cherish forever. In 1997, it was announced that he would be playing in Cleveland for the first time in many years. I was lucky enough to score a general admission floor ticket, so the day of the show, I arrived at the venue many hours before the show. Once the doors opened, I bolted down the stairs of the arena to the floor where a security guard tried to slow me down, I blasted right past him and didn’t stop running until I hit the barricade in front of the stage. My poor friend that came with me struggled to keep up with me, and thoughtI was insane at that point. But where he really questioned my sanity was when the show started, Prince came out, and he was right in front of us. Within the first minute, I was overcome with emotion and started to cry. I will never forget my friend noticing out of the corner of his eye, leaning over to me and yelling into my ear “you are a strange bird.” I fully accepted that.

Another special memory I have of Prince in a live setting took place in 1998. He came back to play Cleveland at the same arena. Earlier in the day, I heard rumblings of an after show party at a local club. My plan was to leave the arena as soon as the encore started and try to be the first person at the club. That part of the plan worked to perfection. I got to the club, paid my $20, and got frisked by an extremely intimidating person at the door. Once I was in the club, it was just me and a couple regulars at the bar who looked rather surprised and bewildered about why I was there. I sat at the bar and ordered a drink, while Boyz ‘N The Hood played on the big screen television behind me. I finished my drink and made my way upstairs to the dance floor area. People started to trickle in, and I started thinking “Is HE really going to show up here?” As I was starting to lose hope, I looked over to my right, and Chaka Khan (who opened the show) was standing next to me! A few minutes later, I noticed a bit of commotion near a door across the room. I made my way over there, the door opened, and there HE was, right in front of me, in all his bedazzled, high-heeled glory. He was flanked by huge bodyguards, so I kept a little distance. I watched him walk past me, and everything turned to slow motion. He was escorted to an upstairs VIP area that overlooked the dance floor. He seemed very entertained by looking down at people dancing, and every once in a while, he would reach his cane down so people could jump up and try to touch it. It was an absolutely unforgettable night.

One of the things that hurts the most about Prince being gone is the prospect of never seeing him make people happy in person ever again. However, I am so grateful for the opportunities I had. Nobody can ever take those nights from me. And the music? That will be with us forever. Generations after us will have the opportunity to discover his musical genius and share it with their friends, just like many of us have done. All I can hope for right now is that he is somewhere where he can see all of us celebrating his life and art. I, for one, will never stop celebrating him. Neither should you.

Jane’s Addiction: 25 Years of ‘Ritual De Lo Habitual’

In 1990, I was 16 years old, and music was the center of my universe. For the most part, music was a way for me to have fun, to escape, to live vicariously through someone else. Up until a few years earlier, when Living Colour’s ‘Vivid’ introduced me to “music with a message,” I never thought too deeply about music. I just went with it. That all changed with the release of ‘Ritual De Lo Habitual.’

On August 21st, 1990, I went to the local mall to get my copy of the disc. After my purchase, I walked outside and sat on the top step that led down to the parking lot outside one of the department stores. I opened the box, then the case, and I pulled out the little “Novena” booklet that included a very poignant passage from singer Perry Farrell, as well as the lyrics of the songs on the record. I have no idea how much time went by, but as I finished reading the booklet, I immediately started reading it over again. I fell in love with the record before even hearing it.

Upon listening to it when I got home, it literally changed me. For the very first time, I thought of music as art, where before, I thought of art as only something you could hang on a wall. Perry’s words painted a picture of a world I could only dream of. His voice transported me directly to Los Angeles, to a world that was just as frightening as it was beautiful. Stephen Perkins’ drumming is just unparalleled, swinging wildly from tribal, to metal, to the tightest groove imaginable. Eric Avery’s bass tone/sound is as unique as it gets, navigating some of the tracks like a beacon in the night. And where do I even begin with Dave Navarro’s guitar heroics? I can only tell you to listen closely to the soloing in “Three Days,” and if you aren’t moved by what you hear, you may not be among the living. The more I listened to this record, the more I wanted to discover who I really was as a person. It made me want to expand my musical horizons even more, because I thought if there was something this astonishing out there, what else is out there that I am missing?

I have an amazing memory of having this record be the first I played in my crappy hand-me-down car, right after I got my driver’s license. I saved up enough money to have a CD player installed in it, which was not very common back then. I pulled out of the installation shop, popped the disc in, rolled the windows down, and just as I got to a red light, Dave’s guitar kicked in on “Stop!,” Perry screamed his signature “Here we go!,” and the mortified look on the elderly couple’s faces in the car next to me is stuck in my brain forever. I was so proud at that moment. Now at 41, I get the EXACT same feeling when I hear that intro, and I still completely lose myself in the record 25 years later.