My music listening and gig going has been dominated over the last couple of years by the UK country scene but this afternoon I’ve found myself going back in time 14 or so years (yikes!) to listen to some Good Charlotte. I can’t even remember the last time I listened to their self-titled debut album but it would seem I’m still word perfect.
And, of course, listening to the music brings back memories. Both good and bad. Thinking about all the people I know, all the people in my life because of this band. The people I met on LJ, through fandom, through chat rooms and message boards. The people I met in queues. A few people I wish I could forget but at the same time were an important part of my life. The people I’ve lost touch with but who I still find myself remembering and wondering what they’re doing.
Good Charlotte were the first band I ever road-tripped for. The first band I ever followed around the country for a week to go to every date on a tour for. The first band I was ever front row centre on the barrier for.
My car – Lotte – yup, she’s named after Good Charlotte. Fuck, she’s actually signed by them – and that tour in 2007 getting her signed was so much ridiculous fun. It started as a joke, first night of the tour before the gig, all the emo kids were getting stupid shit like shoes and towels signed and I jokingly asked Joel to sign my car. He just laughed. But Benji grinned and hopped over the security bar (freaking their security guy out) and signed her. Inside of my door, ‘drive safe’ and a big heart. And then getting the rest of the band to sign her too. Deano and Paul both just… wandering away from the venue to where I’d parked (which was usually like just the other side of the tourbus – but still!)
I’m trying to find words to make sense of some of these gig memories but it’s… it’s so hard to describe the awesome of the interaction I used to get from Joel on stage. Feeling so overwhelmed the first time I met them that I sat on the curb and CRIED. How amazing it feels like when Billy’s incredulous that you’re at another gig. Deano’s hugs. The way Benji would make sure I was still on my feet at the end of each gig – and he’d always check with Chel and not just met. Paul failing to throw a pick at me and instead just… giving it to me after the gig. I’ve got guitar picks and drumsticks and set lists and signed tickets and pictures and pictures and pictures.
I’m wondering where the pictures are.
I remember winning tickets for the launch party for Chronicles Of Life & Death at Alton Towers. I found out the night before and literally called my boss from the road ‘Hi, John, remember that Good Charlotte competition I was talking about in work yesterday? Well, I won and I’m on my way up the M1 to Staffordshire and I’ll be back in work tomorrow!’
I hate that my body doesn’t let me do this anymore. I used to be able to drive between cities for a week, getting just a few hours kip, then being front row, centre, on the barrier. Crutches at my feet, enough strength in my upper body to hold myself up on the barrier. Then repeating it every night.
Their gigs aren’t the same anymore. I tried. But – and it sounds stupid – I wasn’t enjoying myself when I couldn’t be on the barrier. Being a good disabled llama and sitting on the balcony… All I could think was how much fun it used to be down there.
This trip down memory lane is making me grin like crazy. And there’s tears – happy and sad. And I had forgotten how much love. HOW MUCH LOVE I have for these boys from Maryland and their pop punk music. It didn’t save my life by any means, but it certainly changed it in ways I never imagined possible.