Rocking Out For The Kiddies (My First Live Music)

I grew up in Indiana. My school, Swanson Elementary, was just like any other school. I rode my bike there when I was old enough and I have a few really explicit memories of school. I had 1 good friend, Paul C. and the academic highlights were being Lochinvar in a classroom play and writing a story “The Fantastic Cave” that got some notice from my teachers. This was the school in which the music class I had in one of the portables. We sang songs, old and contemporary, and some rock songs of the time. I recall we listened to Kiss – Detroit Rock City. One of my classmates told me that the screams in the song were recorded at the time of a roller coaster accident. I totally bought it. This was also the same class where the teacher allowed us to bring in a 45 to play and sing with the class. I painstakingly played and played and played the Wings song “Band On The Run” until I had transcribed all the lyrics. My teacher copied the lyrics to a overhead projector sheet and we all sang along to it. It was magical.

It was at Swanson where I saw my first live music. Very much like this rapt audience.

This audience is signing their school song. Cool.

The layout is the same though for that first musical event in my life. We came into the lunchroom/gym/assembly room and were ushered to our spots where we sat cross legged. Hands to ourselves obviously. The whole school was there and it was a sea of kids. There was a speaker, a presentation (about something positive no doubt) but then they lowered the lights and a band played.

I remember I knew that they were not adults, so I’m guessing they were high school kids. They turned on some flashing lights and some strobes and tore into 2 songs that I recall to this day.

First they did Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”. They were good as I recall and I remember thinking… “This is cool!” I was just getting into music, waiting and listening to the radio to hear my favorites, sometimes recording it on my portable tape recorder. This was something altogether new. Live music.

The band could have been terrible, but for me, the experience was all that mattered. It fundamentally changed something in me. It was like I was shown behind the curtain. You mean this is how they played ALL the songs I hear on the radio?! Oh man, this is awesome.

The music was loud (for playing to grade school kids) and the lights and music 100% worked on me.

The second song that they played was Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business”.  I think this is the song that they were pushing. It rocked out and that kid singer belted it out and growled the lyrics like he was trying to prove something. Incidentally, this whole thing is what I think of every time I hear that song.

Who knows, that band may have gone on to become famous.

It’s unlikely of course, but either way, those guys whomever they were or where they ended up, made a huge impression on me.

For that… I thank you.

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