Saturday, October 22, 2016

nightly rock star

My great ambition as a child was to become a rock and roll star. This has been true for as long as I can remember.

Among the many expectations levied on Perry children, there were two music requirements: you must learn the piano, with lessons beginning around age seven. You must, then, also learn a second instrument starting a few years later. I chose the guitar for obvious reasons (see above), and for obvious reasons, my mom put me into classical guitar training, where I was regularly humiliated due to extreme incompetence over the course of the next eight or so years of training.

I must here inject, though it has no bearing on the story but allows me to brag, that I learned THREE instruments, the upright bass as my third, though four if you count the electric bass as a separate instrument, which I of course do. Interestingly, I am known as the most musically inept and untalented Perry, and the family psychology involved there I leave to the reader to interpret.

I was in many bands as both guitar and bass player, and in none of them did I particularly distinguish myself. My cousin John Huff, on the other hand, attained a lot of local renown as the best member (an unbiased opinion of course) of an a cappella group, Voice Male. I'd watch him and dream of glorious grandeur as lead singer/guitarist of The Chris Perry Band.

Alas, it was not to be. Lack of talent? Ambition? Maybe. I think the true culprit is debilitating social anxiety that I have very slowly beaten back over the past thirty five years. Maybe if American Idol existed when I was in high school I'd be able to point to failed audition instead.

In a different life I'd be writing this from my golden bed in a suite in the Bellagio, instead of a dirty couch I got second hand surrounded by molding socks, tufts of cotton, and an unopened spoon rest (I can explain). But every night I put my two year old to bed and sing him all of the songs I wished I could cover in my other life. I pull out the guitar and belt out Hotel California, More Than a Feeling, then put him in bed and stroke his hair and sing him what I believe is the best rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight that has ever been heard on our planet. He knows the words to all of our songs, and tonight we crooned together "more than a feeling!", and "oooooooooweeeeeeeeee oh wim-oh-weh"

I never made it big. Not as a pianist, not as a guitarist, not as a bassist, and definitely not as a rock star.

But I've done my best performances for the people I love the most. Performances that may never be eclipsed, and will certainly never be known outside a little boy's crib. That which I wanted the most I cannot have, but for a few moments every night I am a Rock Star to an adoring fan.

And that's enough for me.