I look over at my mother and notice that she is wearing my Pearl Jam concert t-shirt from 2003. She has discovered the baby doll t-shirt. "I look skinny when I wear this," she says.
Since I was going to be here and their two shows at Mercury Lounge are sold out. I got a ticket to see Ok Go while home. (I have a whole crush post devoted to Ok Go which I have not yet finished and will post very soon.)
My parents response to this was typical. My father asked several times if I knew how to get there, made sure that I had ear plugs, washed the pollen and dirt off the car saying, "You have to drive up in a nice looking car when you go to the rock show," and pressed more food on me than usual - solemnly saying, "you will need energy for the rock show." My mother instructed me to drive carefully, asked several times when the show started, out of concern that I was running late and that I would miss it, and most importantly, asked me repeatedly not to drink.
They stayed up until I got home and we gathered around the kitchen table and had a snack. All of this was expected.
What was not was this question from my mother, "Who did you see at the show? Was it the Dead Milkmen?"
The Dead Milkmen.
THE DEAD MILKMEN!
When I was a sophomore in high school, "Bitchin' Camero" was my favorite song on the entire planet. I somehow sweet talked my mother into buying me the "Big Lizard in My Backyard" album and even more miraculously, I talked her into letting me see The Dead Milkmen in concert at Mississippi Nights. I went with StK, who was probably the most musically advanced and alternative person in our entire high school. I think I wore an enormous kelly green checked flannel shirt, purple socks and lace-up black ankle boots. I was too chicken to go down into the pit. In those days, one did not mosh. It was slam dancing in the slam pit. And if you fell in the pit there was a very real danger that someone would stomp on your head with a steel-toed boot and give you a concussion. I just kinda sat at a table in the under 21 section and marveled that the coolest of bands consisted of three regular looking dudes who seemed so down to earth. They were punk without having to wear dog collars or eyeliner or mohawks. The punk ethos was more than a hairstyle and some song lyrics. I was to learn this way later in life but it was all there staring me in the face. StK, bless his anarchist heart, got down there and grabbed some kid by the shoulders, boosted himself with a combat boot on the kid's rear, and flung himself into the pit.
The part of this story that I forgot was - the show ran later than I had told my mother that it would. (These were the days before cell phones.) She talked her way into the venue. She walked up to the door guy and said, "My daughter is in there, let me in to find her." The door guy resisted saying that the show was almost over and I would be out soon. But my mother insisted. And the door guy relented. She describes walked into an ungodly and horrible loudness, almost like hell looking for me.
Despite walking into deafening Punk Rock Hell, to fetch her silly nerdy, teenage daughter, my mother drove me to other rock shows. And on occasion let me buy a record or two. I never thought that she paid much attention to what I was doing or thinking or listening to back then.
She remembers the Dead Milkmen. She thought they were horrible. But she does remember them.