I feel a bit like Pandora today.
Over the weekend, I retrieved a tub of music memorabilia from my childhood home. The purple Rubbermaid tub was simply labeled "Aerosmith Collection" in cursive writing. This isn't surprising, after all, Aerosmith is my favorite band and I horded anything and everything that had any mention of the Boston-based band.
When I finally dug into the box a day ago, I found so much more than just Aerosmith memorabilia. Inside, there were classic editions of Metal Edge, Hit Parader, Circus and Rolling Stone. My (cassette) box set of Led Zeppelin, tons of vinyl, cassettes and CDs, posters...and a random Snoopy bird house.
Most of the vinyl is all Aerosmith. I own every release from Aerosmith to Get a Grip on vinyl.
Most interesting, though, are the magazines. They represent a classic snapshot of uniquely American pop culture. As the dates of the magazines progress from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the cover images change from glam metal gods to misery loving grunge heroes.
Sitting beside me right now is a March 1990 issue of Hit Parader. Nikki Sixx is on the cover, promoting the feature story about Motley Crue. Also listed on the cover are Lita Ford, White Lion, Tora Tora, Great White, Skid Row, Dio and L.A. Guns.
I re-read the magazine last night. After all, I purchased the rag when I was 11, needless to say I didn't remember the articles. Taking the journey down memory lane, I was both amused and surprised at the content of the some of the articles. Back in the day, Hit Parader had a completely different vibe, and the writers reflected this. A big hunk of the magazine is dedicated to reader comments, some of which blew me away. The brazen readers seemed to say anything to defend their favorite bands, even at the expense of the Hit Parader editors. The cover story, "Motley Crue: Hard Lessons" talked about their new album Dr. Feelgood and the band's struggle to get sober after a decade of excess.
The passage in time was also shocking, reading about marriages that have long since dissolved (as with Lita Ford and Chris Holmes) and reading quotes from my favorite rock stars who lost their battles with addiction, as in the case with Def Leppard guitarist Steve Clark. In fact, the magazine featured a lengthy feature on Def Leppard and their upcoming follow-up to the multi-platinum Hysteria. The interview seemed to portray a group of guys that were keeping it together; in under two years their beloved band mate would be dead, they'd hire a new guitarist and the music scene would completely change.
Most humorous are the ads for "rock" wear. Leather bustiers, silver stud jewelry and band t-shirts are peddled on every other page. I doubt any of these "companies" are still in business, but there's an ad for a Hanoi Rocks shirt that I would love to own!
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Legend says she opened a container releasing all the miseries of mankind: greed, vanity, slander,envy, pining. Pandora left hope inside her box.
This is the way I think of my box of treasures.