Do you have things that make you smile, no matter what mood you are in? Maybe it’s your child’s outtie belly button. Maybe it’s the song “Soldier of Love” by Donnie Osmond.
For me, it’s this:
A couple of times a week, I go for a walk around my neighborhood and when I hit the corner of 34th and Franklin Avenue I see that Slayer logo and smile.
Who wrote it? It’s not like the Beaverdale neighborhood in Des Moines is what you think of when you think of “thrash metal.” It’s more like “adult contemporary.”
My best guess is it was just a bored suburban kid out looking for a few kicks. There was some fresh concrete and a stick nearby. Opportunity was knocking (or rocking, depending on how you look at it). A few carefully placed scratches later, and boom, Slayer was immortalized in pavement, much to my glee and the homeowners’ annoyance.
I know where that kid is coming from. There was a time in my life when I was so into a band or artist that I would have carved their name into any available surface. Rick Astley comes to mind.
I like to imagine that kid is now a 40-year-old balding lawyer, longing for the days when he would rock out. He tells his wife he’s going out for a gallon of milk, but ends up driving past that corner. He pops in “Reign in Blood” and thrashes his head back and forth inside his BMW while the song “Angel of Death” kicks the shit out of his eardrums. The song ends. He gives the rock ‘n roll salute, fist held high, and then turns his Beemer toward Price Chopper to pick up the milk.
You want to know something funny? I thought this band:
Was this band:
My husband thinks it’s hilarious that I mix them up, and looking at them now, I can see why. There are obvious differences. The biggest one being the pink background behind Slaughter.
I’m pretty sure that picture was featured in Teen Beat. It was the type of thing us girls would hang up in our lockers before shellacking hair with Aqua Net and putting on some Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers.
Or, to put it another way, Slaughter was like New Kids on the Block with guitars.
Don’t be angry with me, Slaughter fans. At least they aren’t this guy:
Slayer would never be in Teen Beat. They were more like Circus magazine.
I should have known the difference. My older brother Curt read Circus. I would flip through it from time to time, mostly hoping to find bands that looked more like Slaughter. I was more likely to find men spitting, sweating and licking the necks of the guitars. It was a little aggressive for my tastes. I wanted butt-hugging denim, white smiles and songs that featured nice, if not-so-thinly-veiled sexual lyrics.
I don’t remember if Curt liked Slayer or Slaughter. I think he was more of an equal-opportunity rocker. What I remember is riding around in Curt’s car, listening to bands like Faster Pussycat while gas fumes and his cigarette smoke filled the car. (If I ever write a book, I think I should call it “Riding in Cars with My Siblings Smoking Cigarettes.”)
I didn’t really like the music that much, but I liked hanging out with my brother. We would talk about movies and music. It was probably the first time in my life that someone treated me like something other than a little kid.
Sure, he may have given me tinnitus and indirectly caused me to start smoking at the age of 19 (him and Winona Ryder), but he also gave me something far more valuable. He gave me something to talk to boys about. So, thanks, Curt!
You know, the closer I look inside that car driving by the corner of 34th and Franklin, the more the driver looks a little like Curt. This one’s for you, bro!