I met Rachel (*name changed to protect the innocent) during a long, hot summer. She was beautiful, that much was true, but it took some time for me to discover the person behind the beautiful face. Rachel was a mystery to me. I was in my thirties and single, coasting through life from party to party, bourbon glass secured. At the time my whole vibe was, as Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant sang, “It is the summer of my smiles, flee from me Keepers Of The Gloom,” which really has nothing to do with this story, I just like to prove that I can insert weird rock lyrics into anything I write.
During our first date, Rachel had piqued my interest when she commented on the shitty contemporary music scene. “Too many boy bands out there… Nirvana killed all the bands I loved…What happened to good ol’ fashion rock and roll…” I began to think, to myself, “I may be onto something here.”
Eventually during the course of getting to know each other, she invited me to go to the local music store. Going to the music store was something I always did with my friends. It was a “dude thing.” I had a roommate in college, Drew, and we spent many a wonderful afternoon in Aggieville’s best record store, flipping through stacks of glorious albums. I can almost smell the incense even now. (I still wonder where all the hippies went now that all the record stores are gone.) It was like a ritual we had. We’d walk in, rarely speaking to each other, except to point out an exceptional find, make our selections, check out and then only when we got back on the street, share our purchases with the other. If I had known you could get away with taking a chick to the record store I would have started doing it a long time ago. That afternoon with Rachel was eye-opening. I’m not a person who has a lot of restraint in a music store, but every time I hesitated over whether to purchase an album, there was Rachel, standing at my shoulder, prodding me on, “Come on you know you want it, go ahead and get it…” I couldn’t help but wonder if we were still talking about music.
She bought a stack of albums that day. They should have charged her by the pound. It was a great, varied selection of music. Amongst all the classic bands I liked, she had some newer music and music I wasn’t familiar with. She turned me onto The Cult, Green Day and Social Distortion that day. I couldn’t help but notice, tucked away in the stack was AC/DC’s then current new album, “Stiff Upper Lip”. I chuckled because I abandoned AC/DC after “For Those About to Rock”. I wrote them off as a band who’d hit the jackpot with “Back In Black”, an album I bought on vinyl the week it came out, and they just gave up. Sure, I went back and bought the Bon Scott-era classics like, “Dirty Deeds,” “High Voltage,” and the lost gem “Powerage” but they hadn’t done anything good in years. I barely knew this woman so I wasn’t about to give her a hard time.
We went back to her apartment, which I had not yet been fortunate enough to visit. Rachel had a daughter and she was very protective as good mothers are. And let’s face it, I was pretty sketchy in those days. 30’s, never married… Who could blame her. Up until our “record store day”, Rachel had always lived at an “undisclosed location”. To my, at the time chagrin, the first album she put on, while she cooked an outstanding dinner, was “Stiff Upper Lip”. I was amazed at what I heard. I hadn’t realized it but around the time of “Razor’s Edge” AC/DC had started to care again. They went through a bit of a renaissance that continues today. “Stiff Upper Lip” was a kick ass album. After dinner and a lot of wine, I found myself putting that album back on and dancing around the apartment with Rachel. Well, it was more staggering around while air-guitaring, but I’ll call it dancing.
As the evening wound down I found myself inviting Rachel to go to the upcoming AC/DC concert in support of “Stiff Upper Lip”. It was a full month out, so this was dicey. I usually avoided inviting women to concerts. I’ve had a few break-ups that go: “It’s not you, it’s me…”, “Are we still going to the Stones?”, “Uh, no…” Awkward. If I was going to take this woman to AC/DC I was gambling that this thing was going to last that long. The wine and rock and roll swept me away and I figured, what the hell…
The day of the show, we hung out at Rachel’s now disclosed location, er I mean, apartment. The pool was right behind her apartment and we laid out all day, prepping for the show with Absolut Citron and lemonade. It was a glorious late summer day. We met some friends of mine, another couple, and headed down to old Kemper Arena for the show. AC/DC killed that night. I’d seen them on the “Ballbreaker” tour and they were good but that night they killed. Brian Johnson came out during the opening, swinging from a rope tied to a giant bell, “Hells Bells”! At one point, Angus came out to an elevated stage at the back of the floor and melted everyone in the arena’s face off with one of the greatest guitar solos I’ve ever witnessed personally.
I had forgotten the primal effect AC/DC’s music had on women. There were several female fans who were gladly removing their shirt and letting their “freak flag fly” so to speak. To quote comic Steve Martin, “I must have seen 57 tits that night.” I couldn’t help but turn to Rachel with one raised eye-brow wondering if she was going to follow suit. She clearly read my mind and said, smiling, “Never gonna happen, Slick.” Oh, well… dare to dream I always say. It was a glorious evening, even though Rachel kept her shirt on. She was singing along, arms raised in the air. It was at that moment I realized I wasn’t just dating a “rock chick”, I was dating The Rock Chick, and that is a very, very good thing. I had been searching for a woman who liked music as much as me my whole life. I couldn’t help but think, “I may be onto something here…”
After the show, Rachel and my buddy helped direct us out of the crazy traffic. It’s always good to have a couple of Germans with you, highly organized people. I’m Italian, I’m a Lover not a Planner. As we finally drifted into the traffic flow I noticed we were behind a limousine. Without notice, a naked woman burst through the sun roof. I could hear the AC/DC playing from the limo through my open window. Again I found myself thinking, “We must explore this effect AC/DC’s music produces in women… if we could bottle this…” But, I digress.
When we got back to her apartment, where we were having a celebratory nightcap, Rachel turned on the local rock radio station. They were doing a concert “playback” and playing exclusively AC/DC music. After a few selections, Rachel began to complain that they never play “Who Made Who”. “Call the radio station and make a request.” I hadn’t called a radio station since I was a child. To my surprise, she got through. I quickly whispered, “Tell him you’re naked…that’ll work.” It wasn’t a complete lie, she had somehow removed all her clothing without me seeing anything and slipped into the AC/DC concert t-shirt I bought for myself, which I was quickly realizing that my ownership claim had expired on, somewhere around the time the bra dropped to the floor. She told the DJ she was naked, and faster than I could laugh, the current song cut off and he put her on live…”I have a Rachel here who is naked and wants to request a song….” Needless to say, “Who Made Who” was on the airwaves in short order. I think I fell in love, just a little bit, at that very moment.
The evening continued to rage on until, at one point, wildly dancing, while I watched from the bed (her stereo was fortunately in her bedroom), Rachel’s hair flew up in the air and suddenly I realized her feet were sailing past her head. I couldn’t help but think, “how do you pull off that David Lee Roth jump without falling…” Unfortunately Rachel had slipped on one of her pumps that she’d casually kicked off early and she crashed to floor with a resounding thud. Everything went quiet… I crept to the end of the bed and slowly peeked over the edge of the footboard and found she was lying on her back laughing hysterically. Hot chicks don’t usually react that nonchalantly to falling… but there was Rachel, in what was formerly my AC/DC t-shirt, laughing. I couldn’t help but think again, “I may be onto something here…”