Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Not You, It's Me (Okay, It's Mostly You)

Familiarity breeds contempt, and I fear that this squealy fangirl just may have become too familiar.  But breaking up is hard to do, no?  I'm a sensitive chickadee - I can't just send a quick text and say, "this isn't working out for me anymore - have a nice life".  It hasn't been working for some time, but I haven't been able to admit it - even to myself.  Loving you is too easy - too familiar - as natural as breathing - I've loved you forever - how could I just - not?

Lea asked me in the car last week, "Who's your favorite band in the world?"

"The easiest answer would be Aerosmith.  That's the reflex answer.  But I'm not sure it's the true answer."

"I know what you mean.  I don't think I love My Chemical Romance anymore.  I try to keep loving them.  I want to keep loving them.  But I don't think I do."

"I don't think I love Aerosmith anymore, either."

"Their last album - I tried so hard to like it - but I just - don't."

"Chin up, sweet child of mine.  There will be other bands.  Lots of them.  MCR will always be special - but it's ok to move on."

"I know.  But it's weird."

"I know.  But you'll be ok."

I'll be ok, too.

For me - it wasn't the release of a new album that I spent months trying to like and couldn't.  My squealy fangirl history goes back far enough that I know you can forgive one or two albums (or books, or movies...).  Artists have a right to stretch and grow.  Sometimes we grow with them, sometimes they grow away from us, sometimes we grow away from them - it's a gamble.  Sometimes (Billy Joel and Steven King come to mind...) I hang in there long past the point where I've lost interest.  They grew away from me and I didn't like it - I tried to pretend it wasn't happening - I clung to every hint of what had made me love them in the first place - I started 'waiting for the paperback'... then getting it from the library... then forgetting all about it... it was slow and gradual and almost painless. (With Billy Joel I knew it was over when a new album came out and I'd only listened to the last one once.)  With Howard Stern?  I grew away from him.  One day I thought he was hilarious and the next day I thought he was insufferable.  He hadn't changed, I had.  I broke that one off clean.  I've never looked back.  I'm pretty sure his feelings weren't hurt.  

I feel bad for performing artists, sometimes.  If they never stray from their original style, they're accused of being stagnant - but if they play with their style too much, they're accused of trying to be someone that they're not.  (Van Halen?  I am glancing in your general direction... Kudos for returning to the form so many of us love, by the way...  Good boys.  Good band.  Sit.  Stay.)  We fans expect our idols to walk a pretty fine line.

Did I say idol?

That would be as good a place as any to start, I guess.

I know American Idol helped a lot of people fall in love with Steven Tyler - people who may not have thought that they would or could.  I don't want to play the hipster card and say that once the masses start liking something it can't possibly be cool anymore.  I don't want to say it stinks of sellout.  I don't want to say those things...  But when this becomes the primary public identity, well, it's difficult not to allow the thoughts to cross ones mind.  A few months back, I posted something on Facebook about seeing a magazine headline that mentioned Idol's Steven Tyler.  Idol's Steven Tyler?  He does still have that other little gig, doesn't he?  The band thingy?

Hey - I don't begrudge boyfriend mainstream success.  He's got to put food on the table like everyone else. But it's just - not for me.  

I stepped back a little bit.

But Steven Tyler wasn't the only Toxic Twin, now, was he?

No, ladies and gentlemen, Steven may have the voice, but Joe Perry has the face... Oh, what a face... You could cut a steak with those cheek bones.  (And why the hell can't my gray hairs have the good sense, discipline, and general awesomeness to corral themselves into one dead sexy shock?  Stupid my gray hairs.  Awesome Joe Perry gray hairs.)

Pardon me.

I was thinking about the face and I became distracted from my point.

Let me put it to you as succinctly as possible:  That awkward moment when you realize that the man you had a crush on before you even met your husband is a certifiable wackadoo.

Let me backtrack.

I follow Joe Perry on Twitter.  I don't follow a lot of celebrities, even though I'm a self-proclaimed squealy fangirl, but I do follow a few.  Since he has always been my number one favorite celebrity, he was number one on my list.

Oh my God, you guys.

First of all, grammar is not his friend.  I can forgive that.  Grudgingly.  You know - for that face.  Plus, many people get creative with grammar on Twitter.  It doesn't mean anything. Until he announced recently that he was working on his biography and when someone corrected him, telling him that if he was writing it about himself it was an autobiography and he responded with 'whatever' - yeah, I had a little problem with that.  I bet it will have pictures though.  As the J. Geils Band once said, "Oh no, I can't deny it.  Oh yeah - I guess I gotta buy it."  (I'm not proud of that, but it's probably true.)

Grammar - and general knowledge - aside, though - he subscribes to conspiracy theories and - oh yeah - is a staunch supporter of Ron Paul.  Also - I like a good sexual innuendo as much as the next guy, but his are without nuance.  Ok - I'll admit it.  Now I'm picking nits.  But that's what we do when we're gearing up for a break-up, isn't it? 

Aerosmith has a new album coming out and a tour to promote it.  Will I buy the tunes?  Probably.  Will I see the show?  Maybe.  But it won't be the same.  It will be like meeting an ex-lover for coffee when you know there's no possibility of things ever starting up again.  You reminisce about the good times - and there were some good times - the best - and you enjoy your time with them - genuinely - but when it's over you return to your life and they become just a tiny little warm spot in your heart.

Where will Aerosmith be premiering the first single from their new album, you ask?

On American Idol.

Don't you love it when they do something that makes breaking up with them just a little bit easier?

Like many women after a break-up, though, I do plan to retain their name.  


Bass Is Life said...

My love affair with KISS started in my early teens in the mid-70s. I was the right age at the right time. They could do no wrong. I didn't even mind the disco song.

But then the drummer left and they replaced him with someone in different make-up. I weathered that okay, but didn't care for it.

Then the lead guitarist left and they replaced him with someone in different make-up. That was just about more than I could take.

And then the make-up came off and they struggled A LOT with their identities. And I struggled A LOT with them.

I continued to buy their albums through yet two more guitarist changes, but it wasn't the same. I was finally able to break up with them. I would hear them on the radio and pretend not to notice, happy that they were doing fine but knowing I made the right choice.

When they brought back the original line-up and put the make-up back on, it was like sex with an ex - familiar, even maybe good, but not the same as it was. And when I found out they replaced the two outcasts with new players wearing THEIR make-up, it was like I didn't even know them anymore.

Sure, I still revisit the good times in my mind...even gaze longingly at the old album covers, remembering days gone past. But we both know it's over. And it's better that way.

Mommakin said...

That's beautiful, BIL. (*wipes away a tear)

Rosa said...

You two couldn't be any more Made For Each Other if you tried!

But Tam, even Joe Perry says I'm.....

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I never really had that kind of crush, but later I borrowed one from my daughter. Who ever needs to break up with Bon Jovi? Oh, and I heard that young people know Steven Tyler as Liv's dad. And yes, you should definitely keep the name. :-)

Joanna Jenkins said...

(Van Halen? I am glancing in your general direction... Kudos for returning to the form so many of us love, by the way... Good boys. Good band. Sit. Stay.)


And I hear you about the whole Idol's Steven Tyler thing.... Which got me thinking-- At least it's not "Project Runway's Steven Tyler"

xo jj

Anonymous said...

You are so funny with your bads and music!!!! :) BTW, we love Steven Tyler over here...Olivia is a huge fan...and sings "Walk This Way" all the time. Isn't it funny???