Rebecca – Chapter 13 – Airport – Part 1

“As I step from the train and begin to make my way towards the terminal, the old feelings creep back in like black serpents.”

I met Rebecca 3 years ago on a date. Rebecca has recently made an appearance in my life so I thought I’d re-run this series so everyone won’t have to go back and search for her series to catch up. Enjoy!

Fall of 2016

I solemnly rode the train to Philadelphia International Airport. Rebecca was leaving for South America to work as a nurse overseas to assist in a third world country.

This sucks. I’m having anxiety about all of this. I try to think about the airport as a place and not think about what is about to happen to me. To us.

To most, it’s missed connections and frantic jogs through security. It’s fast food and no outlets. But to me, an airport is one of the most romantic of places. Yes, I will admit, I have a love affair with airports. The romance of an airport is unlike any relationship I’ve had with other places.

The magical lights of the departure airline lists. The scrolling list of the television, filled with exotic locations – so many of which remain unexplored by my own two feet. “Departing,” “boarding,” “delayed.” Three words that bring a rush of energy coursing through my veins, each specialized and unique than the next. The sorted lines at security that empty out into the faraway destinations, some a skip away and others thousands of miles away.

I look to the woman ahead of me in line and I wonder, to where is she going? To the family of four, I ask, are they vacationing or leaving for a new life? And to the quiet, elderly man, I question, is he saying hello or goodbye? The romance of an airport is the diversity of the people that encompass it. The ethnicities, the religions, the ages, the families, the solo travelers, the young, the old, the excited and the anxious. All of which must go through the same lines as myself, and all of which await their adventures. The romance of an airport is that it is a microcosm of civilization. It is a glimpse of the greater world.

Each airport I’ve visited all share the same quality, they are a place of transition. No one stays, everyone leaves. Just like me. I will corner myself in a comfortable seat, next to the husband and wife double checking their seat assignments. I will put on my headphones and anticipate my upcoming adventure. But I, like everyone else, will depart.

But to see each person, in their vivid, bold realities – whether living through a nightmarish layover or seeing the glimmer in their eyes as they look forward to beginning a new chapter – it’s romantic.

Remember…

The next time you enter the airport, remind yourself of these romantic notions. The romance of an airport is present when you look for it. Savor the (hopefully) short amount of time you have in a place as alluring, diverse and transitionary as this.

But as usual, I digress…

I’ve found that like my father, when I’m facing anxiety, I focus on something other than the current dilemma.

But as I step from the train and begin to make my way towards the terminal, the old feelings creep back in like black serpents.

I think about how before 9/11 one could walk all the way to the gate where the plane was boarding.

Now, you can get as far as the waiting area, and that’s it. No more can you embrace your friends and family and watch them walk through that little tunnel onto the awaiting jet.

The jet. That flying bus that takes your loved ones from you. That bad restaurant at 20,000 feet in the sky that serves tiny bags of pretzels and cups of soda.

I was always terrified of flying. Well, to be fair, I was always terrified of anything new and different my whole life. That’s the curse of having anxiety. But back in the early 2000’s I worked as a consultant and had to fly all over the country for work and became quite good at it all. It just goes to show, that if you have fear about something the best thing to do is to walk towards it over and over, and after awhile you’ll see it’s not so bad after all. Look at all of the idiots that fly all the time and nothing happens.

But today isn’t like those other times.

I text Rebecca.

She responds immediately.

She gives me her location and I approach. I see her across the busy waiting area. She’s sitting there with another girl who I assume is a nurse too. They’re chatting and looking at their phones.

Rebecca hasn’t seen me yet.

I pause.

I take a moment to think about who this woman is to me.

We met on a Tinder date. It was lovely. I see her and then I don’t see her. She drifts in and out of my life like the turning seasons. She’s so much younger than me. So what else is new? I always end up with these young beautiful women. It’s my curse. I fall in love with them and they with me. (Or, what I represent) But all of these stories end the same way. My own madness. They all grow out of me. They all move forward in their lives with what they perceive they should do and the learned choices they should make. They all eventually want to marry and have a family with a loving husband. I’m almost always that guy… but only almost. Almost honest. But never really.

I look upon her from a distance. She’s so beautiful. So alive. So full of hope and time.

Me on the other hand, I’m running out of time. I’ve had all of the love, relationships, sex, fun, laughs, break ups, and divorce. Who am I kidding? This could never work. This will never work. Rebecca will go the way of Alis, Michelle, Annabelle and probably Cherie. They all end the same. My madness drives me to make the same mistake over and over again.

But I’m addicted to the drug of love and romance. To me it’s better than sex. Romance is the best part of any relationship. At least for me. After that I lose interest. Like a lion after a kill. The hunt is everything.

Annabelle had cleared the cache for me to ever invest myself with anyone ever again. It all seemed a waste of time.

The tide rolls in full of life’s bounty, and then is ground into sand by the powerful waves of reality.

But with Cherie I was ready. I went into that relationship fully prepared with a safe exit strategy. I never did that before.

My father once told me that if I ever got into a relationship with a woman, I should always have a way to get out of it.

What an asshole.

But he was right. At least for me. I never believed his words, but I do now.

But Rebecca has a certain something that I find intriguing. There’s just something about this rare bird that’s simply different. She evokes a certain dark attraction unlike other women I’ve known. It’s not anything unusual… just different.

I’m old and experienced enough to know myself and my feelings. At my age, I know it’ll probably go down like the rest of my failed relationships. But in reality, I feel that in this moment, I may have lost an opportunity to do what I usually do and fail again.

Could the going of Rebecca be the thing that finally cures me from getting mixed up with all of these mixed up young girls?

She’ll get on a plane and leave the country and in a month or two forget all about me. She’ll be in a totally different place and time and I’ll be left back here in Philly. Just grinding away at what’s left of my life.

She’ll save me by leaving now instead of eventually leaving me later.

I’ve had all of the romance and courtship with her and now she’s decided to get away from me by leaving the country.

But that’s not entirely true. She’s young and has a wonderful opportunity to do some good in the world. I can’t make this about me. She’s not leaving me. She’s just going forward with her life. She has to do that. I did the same thing at her age. I went to California to play rock and roll.

I can’t stand here and agonize over this.

I have to go over to her and say goodbye.

 

 

Tales of Rock – Marianne Faithfull Ends Up Homeless

You’ve got to feel for Marianne Faithfull. At the age of 17, she was snapped up by the Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham merely for being “an angel with big tits” and shoved at the Stones. She churned out some blandly alluring pop records but was most famously Mick Jagger’s girlfriend and muse. When the police raided Keith Richards’ Redlands mansion in 1967 as its occupants concluded an epic acid trip, they claimed they found Faithfull wrapped in nothing but a rug with a candy bar inserted in her vagina (Richards debunked this myth in his 2010 book Life).

She co-wrote the tellingly titled “Sister Morphine,” only to see the Stones wrest control of the song and release it, without crediting her, on their 1971 album Sticky Fingers. By the end of the ’70s she was homeless, living in an abandoned building in London. It was a fate once unthinkable for a woman so beautiful and sexual that still images of her alone created a media sensation and who directly influenced one of the most significant bands of her generation and place.

But Faithfull got the last laugh.

Given the opportunity to cut another album, she turned in the raw, confessional Broken English; an unflinching narrative of what it was like for a glamour model and pop star to find herself an addict living on the street, all backed by understated yet fashionable musical accompaniment. The Stones of this era were singing about “Some Girls,” and this was first person reporting from one they’d cast off.

 

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Tales of Rock – Badfinger

Badfinger should’ve been a huge success story, but instead became a cautionary tale for the myriad ways the music industry exploits and throws away so many talented but naive artists.

Possibly the most heartbreaking story in rock and roll happens to have happened to one of the best bands in its history.

Badfinger should’ve been a huge success story, but instead became a cautionary tale for the myriad ways the music industry exploits and throws away so many talented but naive artists. After supporting major outfits including The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and the Who, the band — then named the Iveys — was picked up by manager Bill Collins in 1966. It was a move that would help them reach early stardom and contribute heavily to their downfall. Ray Davies of the Kinks recorded three early demos, which Collins managed to get to Apple Records; Badfinger signed with Apple in 1968, making them the first band that wasn’t the Beatles on the label. After a lineup and name change to Badfinger, Paul McCartney penned their first hit, the timeless power pop classic “Come and Get It.” (Written for the soundtrack of The Magic Christian, a loopy, cameo-filled British comedy starring Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers that’s worth watching for the sheer absurdity of it all.) The song became an international hit. The band’s two primary songwriters, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, also wrote “Without You,” a standard since covered by more than 180 artists, including Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and, perhaps most famously, Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey.

George Harrison had them play on his 1970 album All Things Must Pass and featured them as part of his backing band at The Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. The point is, Badfinger should’ve been rolling in dough, their names solidified among rock’s most important acts. But taking manager Collins’s advice, the band trusted their money to an American businessman named Stan Polley who absconded with their funds, leaving the band in contractual binds that made it virtually impossible to continue on their own.

Lead singer Ham — by all accounts, an incredibly sensitive, sweet man who believed to the very end in Polley’s honesty despite all indications otherwise — hanged himself shortly thereafter. (Polley, in a move that even most scumbags would be disgusted by, tried to cash in on Ham’s life insurance.) Inconsolable and unable to restart his own career in music, Tom Evans — who reportedly said numerous times over the ensuing years that he wanted to be “where [Pete] is” — also hanged himself eight years later. Badfinger finally got a sliver of the rediscovery they deserve when their 1972 song “Baby Blue” was used in the series finale of Breaking Bad. The nod helped the song’s Spotify streams jump an astounding 9,000 percent in the hours after the show ended, and to sell 5,000 copies of the single on iTunes in a single night.

 

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Tales of Rock: Chris Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave Frontman, Dies at 52

So sad…

I was going to publish a piece today about Sly Stone ending up living in a van.

But not now.

Wednesday I was home, writing the epilogue of another lost girlfriend, and listening to Soundgarden and the solo work of Chris Cornell. I never do that. I was actually listening to Badmotorfinger, the full album on You Tube, while I wrote my blog. The irony has struck me hard, and I am still trying to understand what is happening. I love the song “You Know My Name” from the James Bond film, Casino Royale. I always think of it as my theme song.

I woke up Thursday to a text from my buddy, Church that Chris had passed. I was shocked and saddened. It comes with a heavy heart that I publish today’s blog.

Chris Cornell, the powerful, dynamic singer whose band Soundgarden was one of the architects of grunge music, has died at 52.

The death of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has been ruled a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The Medical Examiner has completed the autopsy on 52-year-old Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden musician who died last night in Detroit. The cause of death has been determined as hanging by suicide. A full autopsy report has not yet been completed. There is no additional information at this time.”

Spokesman Brian Bumbery told the Associated Press that Cornell was found in his hotel room at the MGM Grand Detroit following a tour date at Detroit’s Fox Theatre with the reunited Soundgarden, the band he’d fronted for over 30 years

Dontae Freeman, media relations manager for the Detroit Police Department, later told the newspaper, “He was found in his room with a band around his neck, but (the report) doesn’t say if it was attempted suicide or not.”

Cornell had appeared to be in good spirits Wednesday when he tweeted, “Finally back to Rock City” before the show. However, Freeman noted that the singer’s wife, Vicky Karayiannis, asked a family friend and asked him to check on Cornell after the show later that evening. The friend forced open his hotel room door and found Cornell unresponsive on the bathroom floor.

Bumbery called Cornell’s death “sudden and unexpected” and said his wife and family are in shock. The statement said the family would be working closely with the Wayne County medical examiner to determine the cause and have asked for privacy.

Chris was born in 1964 in Seattle and helped form Soundgarden 20 years later. Sub Pop, then a fledgling record label, released the group’s first single, “Hunted Down,” in 1987, as well as two subsequent EPs. The group’s debut album, “Ultramega OK,” came a year later.

“Badmotorfinger,” released in 1991, benefited from the swell of attention that was beginning to surround the Seattle scene, where Soundgarden, along with Nirvana and Pearl Jam, were playing a high-octane, high-angst brand of rock ’n’ roll. Soundgarden’s musical journeys tended toward the knotty and dark, plunging into off-kilter meters and punctuated by Mr. Cornell’s voice, which could quickly shift from a soulful howl to a gritty growl.

Three of Soundgarden’s studio albums have been certified platinum, including “Superunknown,” from 1994, which featured “Black Hole Sun,” “Fell on Black Days,” “Spoonman” and “My Wave.”

The group — which includes the guitarist Kim Thayil, the bassist Ben Shepherd and the drummer Matt Cameron — disbanded in 1997, but it reunited in 2010 and performed regularly since then. In a review of a 2011 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, The New York Times chief pop critic Jon Pareles called Soundgarden “one reunited band that can pick up right where it left off.” In 2012, it released “King Animal,” its first album in 16 years, which Mr. Pareles said “sounds like four musicians live in a room, making music that clenches and unclenches like a fist.”

The group played at the Fox Theater in Detroit on Wednesday night, and it had been scheduled to perform in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday at the Rock on the Range festival.

Chris appeared to be active on social media in the hours before his death. A post on his Twitter account on Wednesday announced that the group had arrived in Detroit, and a clip of the group’s 2012 release “By Crooked Steps” was posted to his official Facebook page hours before his death.

Chris had admitted in interviews to struggling with drug use throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13,” who had quit by the time he turned 14.

After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, he told The Guardian in a 2009 interview, describing himself as a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin, and saying that he had gone to rehab.

Chris released five solo albums during and after his time with Soundgarden, starting with the 1999 LP “Euphoria Morning.” His 2007 album “Carry On” featured an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that served as the inspiration for a well-received version of the song on “American Idol.” He contributed the song “Seasons” to the soundtrack of “Singles,” Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the Seattle music scene, and performed alongside other members of Soundgarden in the film.

In 2001, after Rage Against the Machine’s lead singer, Zack de la Rocha, left the group, Mr. Cornell and members of the band formed Audioslave. The group released three albums before announcing its split in 2007.

In November 2016, Chris hit the road for the first time with another supergroup of sorts, Temple of the Dog, which features a blend of members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The group was formed a quarter-century ago as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the Seattle bands Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone, who died in March 1990 of a heroin overdose.

Speaking to The New York Times, Chris said the group had decided to finally bring its songs to life to honor Mr. Wood. “I thought, well, this is one thing that I can do to remind myself and maybe other people of who this guy is and was and keep his story and in a way his life with us,” he said.

Incidentally, in a final footnote, I just learned that Chris was taking Antivan for depression. Two of the side effects of that drug can be “More Depression” and “Suicidal Thoughts.”

And in a final grim note, the final song of the show he played in Detroit that night. The final song Chris would ever play, was Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time of Dying.”

Thanks to everyone for following phicklephilly right up to my 100th blog post. It just sucks that it had to be about this. The Cornell family are in our thoughts and prayers.

 

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Tales of Rock – Scott Weiland Buys Heroin While Dressed as a Pimp

While on probation, he moved into a hotel room next to Courtney Love, and claims the two began doing drugs together.

Stone Temple Pilots might have been initially seen as a contrived grunge act by critics, but their frontman, Scott Weiland, sure matched Seattle’s finest in drug consumption. (To me they always seemed like Alice in Chains-Lite)

Scott began using heroin with singer Gibby Haynes while STP was on tour with the Butthole Surfers in 1994. The following year he was arrested while buying crack cocaine.

While on probation, he moved into a hotel room next to Courtney Love, and claims the two began doing drugs together. In 1998, he was arrested buying heroin, reportedly while dressed as a pimp. In 2003, he got in a car crash while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but charges were dismissed after he successfully completed rehab. Thereafter, Weiland transitioned to DUIs with arrests in ’07 and ’08, the latter incident involving jail time.

During all this, he was in and out of STP, launched a solo career and, in 2003, joined Velvet Revolver, a supergroup comprised of himself and three former members of Guns N’ Roses, definitely great guys to hang around while trying to kick a drug habit. In 2011, he cut a Christmas album—go figure.

Though derided by critics early in his career, Weiland’s onstage persona was known as being flamboyant and chaotic; he was also known for constantly changing his appearance and vocal style, his use of a megaphone in concert for vocal effect, as well as his battles with substance abuse. Now widely viewed as a talented and versatile vocalist, Weiland has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader.

In 2012, shortly before his departure from Stone Temple Pilots, Weiland formed Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, receiving mixed reviews: some critics and fans noted Weiland’s apparently failing health and dwindling energy. While touring for his 2015 album, Blaster, Weiland died of a drug overdose on his tour bus in Minnesota at the age of 48. Upon his death, many critics and peers offered re-evaluation of Weiland’s life and career, including David Fricke of Rolling Stone and Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, the latter calling Weiland one of three “voices of the generation” alongside Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/scott-weiland-cause-of-death-accidental-overdose-20151218

 

 

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