Without any authentic identity bestowed, I set out at 12 to determine one on my own. The heavy metal tract I chose meant an experiential quiver containing weed, a drum kit, and some not well thought through long hair (think Nigel Tufnel from "Spinal Tap"). My awkward teen years are strangely devoid of photos or I'd offer one here. I went to a lot of concerts. The concert arena in Corpus Christi was completely general admission...we always skipped school to stand in line all day to secure our early entry and place directly in front of the stage. Skipping school just added to the danger and rebellious spirit of the experience.
The year 1979 was the sweet spot of this enterprise. I remember thinking about the 11 trampled to death at a "Who" concert in Cincinnati that year as I sometimes lost my footing or got crushed against the glass doors of the coliseum by an angry crowd waiting to get inside. One of my favorite shows, "WKRP in Cincinnati", had dedicated a special show to the incident. (I had an adolescent fixation on Lonnie Anderson, whose blouse buttons were the hardest working in show business at the time.)
A good friend of mine from college has travelled the world playing keyboards for Tim McGraw. Though I am not much of a fan of Tim, I am a big fan of my friend Jeff. It is a very glamorous life in the ways you might imagine and way less glamorous in some ways you may not think. Moving "behind the ropes" with Jeff always gives that feeling of being "with the band"...a part of things in a way that others aren't.
Watching Cameron Crowe's affectionate tribute to 70's arena rock, "Almost Famous", I reflected fondly on that season of my adolescence (the cowboy/ranger stage of the masculine journey as Eldredge calls it). There was something about being with the band...feeling a part of something larger. The experience was transcendent...a sense of belonging...identity providing. It was all really important at the time because it was really important at the time.
It was also the stuff of "less wild lovers". Desperate for identity, adventure, battle, purpose, and a beauty, I found them in pretty pathetic places. Finding men (& a band of men, in particular) to walk with, has redeemed and fulfilled that entire experience. Following God with abandon has brought true freedom, healing, adventure, mission, and identity. I'm with the band and that is precisely what I have been after since I was 12.
Who would you consider to be in “your band”? Are you walking alone? What are you prepared to do about it?