I started liking heavy metal when I was eight-years-old.
This was my mother's friends fault. My mother had two good friends, Maria and Kerri-Ann. Maria and Kerri-Ann were the most amazing and coolest couple you can know as an 8 years old. I mean, I loved them. I used to spend weekends over at their house watching horror films and eating all the best snacks. They used to show me a kind of love and affection that no one outside of my family had shown me. It was like I was one of theirs. It was a great feeling to know you were that loved and cared for. This was especially important to me because I had just moved to a new province and I was away from everything that was familiar to me. Thus, their protective nature over me was comforting as well as their love for me. They really had taken me into their family as their own and it felt great.
To tell you how loving and caring they were, when my mother needed to get major surgery, I stayed at Maria and Kerri-Ann's house for a few days and, you know as a child, sometimes you can get uncomfortable sleeping at other peoples houses. Well, not with Maria and Kerri-Ann—I felt right at home. I remember, they took me to see my mother in the hospital after she had woken up and it was heartbreaking. I mean, I know she would be okay but seeing her with a catheter and things plugged to herbody like that crushed me. But then, with the support and love of these two amazing women, I felt much better after my visit.
I mean, they would listen to the coolest music! They would take me to the coolest shops, These two women made my move to Ontario very smooth and, are in part, responsible for my deep love of music today. They simply were fantastic! I even had my surprise 13th Spongebob Squarepants pool birthday party at their home, a party which I will never forget.
But, let's get back to the music.
Kerri-Ann, a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed lady, listened to bands like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Hendrix, Joplin, Ozzy Osborne, well, basically all the cool shit! I, at 8 years old, listened to Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys (not complaining because they're both great but... you know... they're no Led Zeppelin!). Sometimes, when we'd drive around town in Maria's little yellow car, we would listen to those "cool" bands, and I got to liking them a lot. I would listen to my radio at home in hopes to hear those songs again and, hoping that I would eventually have some money to buy some CDs so I could listen to the songs over and over again.
On a few occasions, I started to sing along to some songs and Kerri-Ann must have noticed that I was liking this stuff because she started to give me CDs for me to listen at home (dream come true!). Ah! that's when my soul, my mind, my entire being decided to devote itself to the love of music. I remember she had given me the Led Zeppelin box set which I religiously listened to over and over and over and over again on my CD player. She also gave me some Ozzy Osborne CDs, Rod Stewart, The Beatles, The Doors... and, JIMI HENDRIX.
You see, by this time, I had developed a little crush on Jimi Hendrix, and by little I mean, huge! I was maybe around 11 or 12 by now. Hendrix had become this sort of rock god, first boyfriend, daydreaming fantasy to me. I loved this man. I loved his music. I loved his voice. I loved everything about him! And, one day, while we were on a day trip to Burlington, not very far away from where I lived in Cambridge, Ontario, with my two favorite friends, we walked into a music shop and there it was, a shiny, huge, black and white poster of the god himself! He had no shirt on, just a jacket which exposed his bare chest, his afro was marvelously combed, his face was even better and, I wanted it SO BAD!
I didn't have money and they told me they didn't either (what an easy lie to tell a child!) so, a little disappointed, we walked out and continued on with our day.
I hadn't forgotten about this poster, even as a child I had a sharp memory. My birthday rolled around, all my friends were enjoying their day at the pool, Tommy, Kurtis, Chantal, and Caroline were some of the many friends that had shown up to surprise me. It was a blast and, probably one of my favorite memories of my childhood. We jumped in the pool and swam all day long, eating snacks and cake and... the much anticipated moment came.
I got to open my presents.
The best part of any birthday party! I opened a few of my friends' gifts, and I remember getting a guitar-shaped CD holder which I loved, some clothes from mom (of course...) and then... came Kerri-Ann and Maria's gift. I opened it carefully and, there it was in all its glory, Jimi Hendrix. They had fooled me and bought me that gorgeous poster we had seen in the music shop! I was SO EXCITED! If I remember correctly, they had also bought me a Jimi Hendrix figure, a perfect replica of him at Woodstock '69 with the white fridge jacket, bare chest, his white guitar, and faded blue jeans. I was over the moon ecstatic!
I still own the poster after all these years (it's carefully stored away to avoid damaging it), the action figure and many of the CDs Kerri-Ann had given me. There will never be enough words in my vocabulary to express my gratitude towards these two fantastic women who guided me to find myself, find my passions and pursue them to the fullest. I am, and will love music forever and always because of them. Hendrix will always remain my music god, Led Zeppelin will always remind me of receiving the Led Zeppelin box set from Kerri-Ann, Ozzy Osbourne will always remind me of my step-dad telling me I was too young to listen to this sort of music, Metallica will always remind me how my step-dad took me to see them at the age of 12, and the Beatles will always remind me of that weird dream I had of John Lennon in 6th grade.
I have loved music beyond any other passion or interest in my life. Music has saved me from depression, anxiety, anger, and bad behavior. My eagerness to discover new artists and new bands has never faded and I'm as interested and as in love with it as I was when I was eight. I will, as mentioned above, forever be grateful for those two women who helped shape who I am today.