As a Rhode Islander, you can't help being hit hard by the tragedy, even if you didn't lose someone. There are barely over a million of us... the people we lost were our family. People who sat with you in the stands at McCoy, or stood in line with you at Rocky Point, or went to concerts with you at the Civic Center. Did you ever listen to Dr Metal's Saturday night show on WHJY? I know I did, back in my high school metalhead days. And now he is gone, one of the one hundred.
Chuck Klosterman has written:
"This was not a bunch of hipsters trying to be seen by other hipsters; these were blue-collar people all trying to unironically experience music that honestly meant something to them when they were teenagers.
I remember everyone gossiping about the Station fire the day after it happened; people would concede that it was tragic, but no one could discuss it without a fraction of a smirk...
Somehow, it was socially acceptable to condescendingly chuckle at the death of the overtly uncool people in Rhode Island, sort of how you can immediately make a joke about a massive earthquake, as long as it happens in some distant place like Iran or China."
Anyway, these people are in my overtly uncool thoughts today...
One less un-nutmeggy state away at the time, I also remember everyone (okay, including myself) literally making the same joke the next day: "Great White still draws 100 people?"
But having since moved to and aft, here and fro, fore and afar, and meeting a girl who came from the part of Rhode Island called "New Bedford, Mass.," I have learned more about your area. So it wasn't until recently that I had any idea that, basically, metal never died in Rhode Island. Or something. And there's something to be said for that. While I spent the 90s "pretending" I didn't like Skid Row anymore, I guess you all were like, "You know, I just like this stuff. I won't be told it's not cool anymore." Are there other areas like this? Bismarck? Boise? I guess the possibilities are endless.
I remember in 2001 or so, talking to a progressive-type former punk/hardcore dude who lived in Seattle, about what I called "my last metal summer" (1991--remember Jet City Woman?), almost afraid to admit it at all, assuming he was into Echo & the Bunnymen while I was buying fucking Trixter tapes. He surprised me by responding "just tap back into it, dude," and proceeded to tell me to go listen to Slave to the Grind at full blast.
It took me a good what I think will be about a fourth of a lifetime, but I realized that you either like a tune or you don't, and that's all that matters. Same with every other aspect of society. The second you start worrying about "what's cool," you're done. It's quite liberating to be comfortable in being unique in a room full of people who all are supposed to be unique, yet all look the same.
I guess what I'm tryin' to say is, I didn't know how rock 'n' roll burned, so I bought a candle and I lived and I learned.
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