Saturday, August 31st, 1985. Concert day. My FIRST concert. I was fifteen and dumber than a box of sticks. But I had a boyfriend named Kevin, a best friend named Dawn and tickets to see Metallica. I was dumb, but invincible.
We'd arranged to meet our boyfriends at the BART station in Hayward around 9am, and from there we'd take the train into Oakland. Except Dawn and I somehow managed to miss the bus from our tiny town that morning and there wouldn't be another one until noon. Already the Fates were conspiring against me. I would not be stopped from seeing my favorite band! I'd gotten up especially early to don my tightest pair of jeans and a blue leopard print shirt. I'd feathered my hair into a gravity defying helmet and applied enough makeup to last for a week. I wore glittery gold earrings that brushed my shoulders and a white leatherette purse with fringe and a bandana tied to the strap. I was M-E-T-A-L. Fuck the bus, I was not going to wait around for three hours in my shitty little cowpoke town while thousands of metalhead were thrashing in the stadium parking lot without me. I stepped out into the street and stuck my thumb out.
I think Dawn was shocked. She put up a limp argument about the dangers of hitchhiking. I didn't give a shit. I had tickets to my first concert and a boyfriend waiting for me. I was going to get there if I had to shove a bottle rocket up my ass and hope for a clear trajectory.
A car pulled over. A station wagon, driven by an oldish guy who looked like he'd peaked in 1973 and stayed there. He asked where we were going. I told him. He told us to get in. We did. He warned us about the dangers of hitchhiking. I put on my most innocent face (which was no easy feat with the pounds of whore makeup caked onto it) and told him "Gosh sir, we wouldn't DREAM of it normally! But we missed our bus and blahblahblah!" He asked for our names. We gave him fake ones. I believe I offered up the improbable moniker of Misty, or Stacy, or something just as stupid. A short time later, he pulled up to the curb of the Hayward BART station and I saw our boyfriends, sitting on the ground, faces turned skywards with identical expressions of impatience and frustration. I made sure to thank Mr. 73 profusely before tumbling out of the car. I was a running glitter bomb; this was going to be the best day ever. Boyfriends met, friends collected, we boarded the next train to Oakland, a city that even then was not a place that any naive teenager should wander about alone. But we were a group of seven, fearless and tough in our metal gear, reeking of cool.
Yeah. Right. Seven scabby, zit-encrusted geeks with godawful hair and no social filter, being obnoxious and abrasive all over the place. I cringe at the memory. I see fourteen year old kids nowadays and I want to slap the skin off of their faces. Please god, don't be like me! Don't make that mistake!
Have you ever seen the documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years" ? The opening scene was exactly what we walked into that morning: a cacophony of partying, drunken, lost teenagers from all over the Bay Area, dressed in rock shirts, in black jeans, in spandex and bleach, in huge heavy boots and spiked heels, denim jackets and lace gloves, chains and spikes, all manner of animal print. The smell of pot was almost thick enough to combat the usual stench of diesel fumes coming in off of the nearby highway. Just underneath that warm smell of Colitas (rising up through the air) was the sour stench of booze-puke. The party was in full swing. No one was sober. No one wanted to be. This was Apocalypse. We were living in a world that didn't want us, a world that was burning out like a last, lonely hunk of charcoal on the grill. This was a wake for the funeral of life. That's what we wanted to believe. That's how we justified our recklessness. Within five minutes of joining the party, Kevin had scored four fat joints and a bottle of Jack and we set about destroying ourselves.
TO BE CONTINUED...