Monday, October 19, 2009

Hurricane Stryper

Last night, I inexplicably and quite randomly got the 1988 "hit" (it did appear on the Top 40, but I think you'd have to be a pretty serious hair metal fan to remember it) "I'm On To You" by Hurricane stuck in my head. Mercifully, the track is available for purchase on Amazon, so I was able to almost instantly acquire and listen to it. This is the only song of theirs that I remember liking and I am almost 100% certain I never owned one of their albums, but hearing this song again did get me thinking about the first concert I ever saw. Why? Well, because they were the opener.

I got into metal in 6th grade. That was the year I bought Girls, Girls, Girls by Motley Crue and a life long love was born. My parents were never overly concerned about the fact that I loved metal music (with the exception of an interrogation or two by my mom because of a ridiculous write up in The Washington Post about how Metallica's music made people kill themselves and the other when I left cassette tapes by Obituary, Eyehategod and Suicidal Tendencies out on the kitchen counter), but my mom did have a lot of rules about what concerts I was allowed to attend. The Motley Crue's, Poison's, Iron Maiden's and Metallica's of the world all played at an arena that my mom deemed unsafe for a young teenager (for reasons still unknown to me, she was convinced I could be caught in the middle of gang warfare). There was a smaller arena closer to our house that I was allowed to attend concerts at, but that rule didn't go into affect until after I had finally convinced her to let me go to a concert at all. Technically I had been to concerts before, but seeing The Four Tops with your parents while on vacation at the beach doesn't really count. A kid who lived down the street from me was from a fairly religious Baptist family. He was into metal, but Whitesnake and the like were a big no no in his household. Stryper, on the other hand, was definitely allowed and he got me into their albums To Hell With The Devil and In God We Trust. Sure the whole "God" thing wasn't exactly "cool", but Stryper definitely had some chops and their singer Michael Sweet could wail with (if not better than a lot of) the best hair metal vocalists. Anyway, the kid down the street and a bunch of other people from his church were going to see Stryper at the venue that would eventually be deemed the "safe" one and I begged my mother to go. She decided it was ok because I was going to a concert with a church group and this band came out on stage and threw bibles in to the crowd, so how bad could it be? Well, I loved the concert and it was the first taste of something that would become a huge passion of mine. My mother and I continued to butt heads over the concert issue the next couple of years, but she relented more and more and more (there were still some pretty serious battles, but what teenager doesn't have heated exchanges with their parents) and we even wound up going to see a couple concerts together. This year I've seen 38 shows already and couldn't even begin to guess how many I've seen in my life thus far, but of all of them, that Stryper/Hurricane concert is one of the ones I will never, ever forget.


"Calling On You"

"To Hell With The Devil"


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