On March 22nd the band Motley Crue released their long-awaited biography The Dirt. Being a big fan of 80’s rock I was interested in seeing how this all came out. I watched several interviews with members of the band who recalled their crazy days and everything they went through. Nikki Sixx, the bass player, admits he is shocked they were still alive.
As many of you know I was a singer in a band myself for many years. On a phone call with my bass player/co-writer/best friend Russ, we recalled some of the crazy stuff that went on with us. These events contained, but were not limited to – almost setting his garage on fire while, ironically, playing the song Live wire by Motley Crue, being arrested while jamming at a house party hosted by our friend Nick (I still maintain for us this was more of a wrong place/wrong time situation) crazy nights that included way too much rum and kicking flaming balls down city streets. There was many other events that should probably remain in conversation between the two of us.
What was the point of all this insanity? Maybe it is something that you do when in a rock band? Maybe it is the blatant disregard for common sense that is so prevalent in youth? Regardless of what it was, we both came to the same conclusion – we were lucky to be alive and for all purposes unscathed. For all the various band members there were stints in rehab, failed jobs and relationships and health scares. Looking back on some of the things we did, words like insane and foolish come to mind. One word stands out and that is grateful. Quite easily, one of us could have spend a prolonged time in jail or ended up killing ourselves or someone else.
Another thing we were grateful for was our friendship. It has been roughly 30 years since we first met and we still talk at least once a week even though we live in different states. He has become a terrific funeral director, helping people in what is often the roughest periods of their lives. Myself, I have become an author and motivational speaker doing my best to do the same.
In our last conversation, recalling all of our band craziness, we were inspired. Realizing that despite some of the unnecessary distractions we invited into our lives, we created some amazing music, lyrics and memories. Much like Motley Crue, who did some of their best work when all of the members of their band were sober, we began talks of working together on a new creative project.
Neither of us are sure exactly what that will be, but we are sure of one thing, we wasted a good amount of our time together. In the middle of having fun we never realized what great creative potential we had as a team. Our band also included a very talented guitar player named Karl. It was a shame that we did not stick together long enough to make a bigger impact on both each other and the world around us.
The one redeeming factor is after everything we have been through we have learned and came out on top. He has moved to further his career in a state he loves (Arizona), I have met the love of my life Margie, who supports and honestly pushes me to share my talent. Without all that we put ourselves and each other through we may not appreciate what we have now as much.
I am sure each one of us can look back on our lives and think of some points that we would call “Wasted Youth” but if you learn the lessons it is never a waste. Our mistakes have instilled us with not only a sense of gratitude, but one of determination to make the most of our creative talents going forward. I am eternally grateful to be at a point in my life where I have a friend and brother of 30 years to remind me of what is important as well as a loving lady who will push me to make sure I put it to use.
As you look back on your own life be grateful for the lessons and those who have stuck by you. Do not live in your past, but learn from it and use it to drive you forward.