Saved by Rock ‘n Roll


There’s a particular passage in Andy Summers’ One Train Later where he muses, “Is there anything better than music?”  I’d have to say I have asked the same question a million times in my life.  It is no exaggeration that music is responsible for the best parts of my life.  Forget the concerts or the late night listenings to sacred albums that leave goosebumps down to the tops of your feet – I’m talking about people.

These are the memories etched in my brain:

Album hunting with my brother in the olden days, tape exchanges in the less-olden days, CD burning in the recent past and hard drive scavenging in the present.

Laughing with my dad and the “don’t needta discuss muuuuuuuuuch!!!” karaoke sessions to the Best of Paul Simon.

Hearing my mom say that she wanted to hear Pink Floyd’s “Learning to Fly” when we went to run errands in the Pontiac 6000.

Discovering a copy of the Police box set in a girlfriend’s car and not knowing whether to make out with her or blare “Roxanne” in celebration.  (For the record, we blared “Roxanne” and “Message in a Bottle” then made out – she later became my wife.)

My daughter now sings, “I got a submarine, you got gasoline, I don’t wanna talk about wars between nations!”  It must be a really dominant gene…

My friends.  All of them.  Each friend seemingly identified by their own band in my mind.  One that fits them.  One that I turned them on to or that they did for me.  Little stamps of record covers, passages of songs, the smell of freshly unwrapped CDs and hours of conversation in and about and around the music.  But ever present in each one – the music.  Always the music.

So, it is no wonder that I once again stare in awe of my life as I’m about to go meet a childhood friend that has traveled to Prague from Okla-freakin’-homa all because we grew up on U2 together.  A year or two ago, he dropped me a line that saying he’s never seen U2 and if he did he’d be willing to travel wherever I was to experience it with me.  (Do shared experiences of books tie people together like that?  Paintings?  Food – maybe.)  I took him at his word and he wasn’t bluffing.  To make things even better, we’re going with my wife and yet another friend from Prague.  (He and I hatched the plan to see U2 during a drive back from Berlin after an Oasis show.)

Music.  Always the music.

In answer to your question, Mr. Summers – no, there is nothing better.

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