When Skynyrd’s plane went down, my sister stayed home from school and cried all day. I wanted to do the same thing yesterday: stay home from work and weep. David Bowie died two short weeks after Lemmy Kilmister. From my perspective, it should have been a day of national mourning.
But we did work. Even at Sonos, we don’t take a day off when one of the greats like David Bowie passes away. And that’s okay, because we’re working as hard as we can every day to fill your home with music. This mission matters to me because of heroes like Bowie and Lemmy. Without them, our lives might be longer, but they would most certainly be a lot less wild and weird.
As a bass player, Geezer Butler was my inspiration. However, once I started singing, Lemmy became more interesting. You would think there are a million singing bass players to admire, but outside of Noel Redding on Axis: Bold as Love, Sting, Paul McCartney and Geddy Lee left me cold. So, yeah- Geezer, Lemmy, Kim Gordon …
Then I grew up. I went to work. And I almost forgot about Lemmy until my daughter was born and we named her Elsa. When she was a week old, my metalhead husband’s friend gave her a Motorhead shirt. It didn’t fit, but we stuck her in it anyway, and we’ve called her Elsaspades ever since. She’s 10 now, but she still proudly rocks it even though it stops about an inch above her belly button.
Why do we condone such naval-baring inappropriateness? Because we believe in Lemmy Kilmister, that’s why. And we don’t ever want to forget him. He more or less constitutionally refused to bow to the conventions of adulthood and now of mortality (egad! he smoked!), and that’s something to celebrate. We never want to acquiesce, and – even though we want her to get good grades and steer clear of illicit substances – we don’t want her to either.
Though I’ve never personally woken up bright and early for Saturday morning mom duty with a wicked hangover much less gone to work with one, IF I had I’d call that an homage to Lemmy. He never stopped raging. Overkill was part of his “technique.” He rocked ‘til the very end, and I’m old enough now to know that doing both requires the stamina of a God.
They say a baby changes everything, and in some ways it does. It has to. But in other, deeper ways, it doesn’t. Why in the hell am I writing about this on the occasion of David Bowie’s death? Because David Bowie made my husband who he is — a lover of all things deviant and strange in art, music and culture — and a baby didn’t change that. In fact, David Bowie made her who she is, too.
Kids, especially little girls, love glam rock. It’s all about glitter, face paint and cool hair. You can even let them wear high heels without ever having to feel like you’re betraying either your rock or feminist ideals. Admittedly it was a bit weird when we realized we all had the same a-symm hairdos, but there are worse things to inherit than good taste.
But then there is the parental reckoning – that dreaded day your kid wakes up and realizes for the first time that you’ve turned her into a “weirdo.” But Uncle Bowie has a fix for that, too. You know why? Because he made being weird infinitely cooler than being straight and narrow, and no one can dispute that. Ever.
This past Friday night, my husband was telling me about the beautiful and strange videos Bowie posted. “It’s awesome that he’s gone so dark and off the deep end. It’s really good and out there.” I hadn’t seen them yet, but today, I’m reminded that’s how it’s going to go for all of us: dark and off the deep end.
“As long as “growing up” represents the soul-destroying drudgery that’s inimical to art and love and life, then I’m proud to give it the finger on Lemmy’s behalf and a hard stare and bemused smirk on Bowie’s.”
Wild & Weird
Someday we’ll all be killed by death. As a cynical self-referential generation that never wants to grow up, we make fun of ourselves for being middle-aged adolescents. But as long as “growing up” represents the soul-destroying drudgery that’s inimical to art and love and life, then I’m proud to give it the finger on Lemmy’s behalf and a hard stare and bemused smirk on Bowie’s.