Some Scheduled, Controlled Weekend Time Travel

I’ve written about “time travel” before, covering the dangers of engaging in such an activity. The most dangerous time travel activity involves seeking out people from your past and engaging with them in a way where you’re picking up where you left off. That might literally be my Autism talking.

The least dangerous forms of time travel involve music and movies. I can pick any song or album from a time in my life, put it on, and be instantly transported back to that time. I can feel what it’s like. I can even SMELL certain things.

Whenever I listen to Fly By Night by Rush, for example, I am transported back in time to the winter of 1975, in my friend Mike’s living room.

I can smell his mother’s chili from the kitchen, and his sister’s perfume from her bedroom.

I can even smell the fat skunk weed joint that got passed around the kitchen table before eating. I was 11 years old. What a time.

Best of all, I can remember Mike teaching me how to play the intro to the title track. I can remember what it felt like to play those chords on an electric guitar for the very first time.

It might be due to my Autism, but I can invoke any memory and then become totally immersed in it, on command. If I play the song Island Girl by Elton John, I can smell Ms. Everly, my old 5th grade teacher. Put on 100,000 Years from Kiss Alive, and I can smell the stew made by Brian Brinker’s grandmother. Put on ANYTHING from the first weekend of MTV, and I can smell the converted cave my dad lived in, and feel the natural coldness of the stone walls.

Put on anything from Shake It Up by The Cars and I can imagine being in my bud Tom’s house.

Today’s time travel vehicle is the second and final film directed by Art Linson. The first was Where The Buffalo Roam, a movie about Hunter S. Thompson, starring Bill Murray.

The movie I will be seeing ia The Wild Life from 1984.

This movie stars a great number of people from the 80s, including Chris Penn, Lea Thompson, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Jenny Wright, Eric Stoltz, Rick Moranis, Hart Bochner, and Randy Quaid.

There is something about watching a movie from that time with any one of these performers. But seeing them all together has the feel of a reunion.

This film is considered to be a knock-off of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and I can definitely see that. I would dare suggest that those two films create their own genre. Chis Penn is expected, in a way, to be a knock-off Sean Penn. It kind of is like that, in a way.

“It’s casual.”

Visually and aesthetically, for me it captures what it felt like to live in the mid-80s.

1984 was quite the year. I had a few awesome girlfriends during that time. I got through the end of my first year of college, and started my second. I joined my first live performance band The Beertonez.

I also got to see Van Halen LIVE for their 1984 tour in Indianapolis at Market Square Arena [RIP].

We had some great times. Farewell.

If you missed that tour, or weren’t alive yet, know that it was an outrageous event.

This leads me to the BEST reason to watch The Wild Life, which is…

Of course! The soundtrack is by Eddie Van Halen and Donn Landee. You know Eddie already. Donn Landee engineered the early Van Halen albums, AND he helped build the iconic 5150 recording studio in 1983.

From 1986-2019, I lived only 5-10 miles from this studio and drove past it often, for inspiration. It was only 1 mile from the apartment where my band WHIPLADS would get together to write and prepare for rehearsal.

So, what is so special about this soundtrack?

The soundtrack is basically Eddie Van Halen noodling around on his guitar the entire time.

Sometimes you’ll hear general riffing. Other times, you’ll hear a riff and realize that what you are hearing might very well be the precursor to a Van Halen hit.

For example, this sounds a great deal like the track Good Enough. But it doesn’t sound like a finished song, so much as the possible moment that he came up with the song.

Other pieces from the soundtrack may sound like other songs or artists. For example, the track Donut City sounds a great deal like Turn Me Loose by Loverboy.

You CANNOT get more 80s than this!

There is a confluence of avatars that make this film a great time travel vehicle for me.

  1. Made in 1984
  2. Has the 80s feel and aesthetic
  3. Lots of iconic 80s actors
  4. Eddie Van Halen noodling on his guitar through most of it, as the soundtrack [you can stream the entire soundtrack HERE]

I will prepare the appropriate snack, which is cheese and crackers. I might even buy a beer and drink it. Only ONE beer, since I am diabetic, and more than one gives me a bloated feeling [I haven’t had a beer since January 3, 2020]. Preface all of that with a little “green bud,” and the fuse will be lit.

Then, pretend my mom, brother, and sister went out for the night, and I’m home alone.

No cell phone. No internet. I won’t even wear my smartwatch.

It takes a little bit of planning and effort, but it’s totally worth it. Please remember to time travel responsibly.

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Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

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