Monday, December 10, 2007

Music Monday - Born to be Wild

Like a true nature's child,
We were born, born to be wild,
We can climb so high,
I never wanna die

- Mars Bonfire

February 1973. I was in 8th grade and falling in love. This would cause major problems later that spring when I was a "guest of honor" (so to speak) at a particular Bar Mitzvah, which has been written about here.

I went to a very alternative school from preschool through 8th grade. In fact, it started out as John Dewey's original lab school.

We took off school for moratorium days during the Viet Nam War. We staged sit-ins. We could get science credit for petition drives. We transformed our 4th grade classroom into an African village. We created a speak-easy to show our parents what we'd learned about American history. And twice a week, we had electives.

We were on the trimester system, and so we got to choose three electives each year, from what I remember. Electives reflected our very diverse curriculum, and probably included such gems as basket weaving and the History of Basketball. But starting in February, one of the middle school electives was "Rock Band".

I have to backtrack here, and say that starting in sixth grade, I had fallen in love with the guitar. From the moment I learned "Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man" in school (during a guitar elective), I decided I had to have my own. And a year of babysitting jobs later, I proudly walked down to the myriad music stores on 54th St. and bought myself a simple yamaha, which served me well until about 10 years ago.

But to make Rock Band even better, M. was going to join it. And encouraged me to join, too. M. was a blue-eyed, blond drummer and the object of my very confused desires. A younger man (12, as opposed to my worldly 13) but more experienced in the ways of love than I, having already had a long-term girlfriend for 5th and 6th grades. M. and I were still just friends, but we managed to find time to run into each other at least 10 times per day and have short exchanges. Something was brewing, and I had no clue what was coming.

So I joined Rock Band to have more time with M. And the song we picked, was perfect for young, hormone-mad teens. In fact, there may be no more perfect song to express the pure exuberance that is youth on a natural high: "Born to Be Wild" as done originally by Steppenwolf, for that movie about youth insanity: Easy Rider.

No matter that I had an acoustic guitar and our bass player drowned me out. No matter that I'm not sure we ever got the beat, despite M.'s best efforts. No matter that our music teacher chugged aspirin through our rehearsals.

We were.... Born to be Wild!

Enjoy the mixed (movie and band) clip below and get the FULL-ON 60s experience.

SMID, over at Soccer Mom in Denial started Music Monday in this post, reflecting on her sons' learning history lessons from "Prof." Cash. Please join her, and others, for Music Monday


soccer mom in denial said...

I. LOVE. This. Story!!!!!!!!!!

And I bet the teacher was washing down the aspirin with something a bit stronger....

anno said...

Wonderful story! And I think SMID is onto something...

Carol said...

OMG -- we had the same childhood! War moratoriums and ALL! My brother went to The Walden School in Berkeley. Talk about "alternative..." If you wanna learn to read, you gotta ASK! My brother threw pots on the school's pottery wheel for an entire year. The NEXT year he learned to read in about a week.


Unknown said...

In these days when so much of education is conceived of as being, not a process but a race, it is indeed refreshing to read of your old alma mater! How could young love not have flourished in such an environment?

Flower Child said...

This is great! My friend taught at a magnet (sort of) school in upper Manhattan and offered an elective - "The History of Rock N'Roll". It was very popular!

painted maypole said...

sounds like a cool school!

CableGirl said...

Wow! You guys had a Rock Band elective? Man, we had a Jazz Band (of which I was 1st alto sax) with a totally stoner beat man conductor, but rock band would have been so much cooler.

I missed Monday again. *sigh* I'm so going to get my ass in gear and join in next week. No. really.

Jan said...

Sounds like you had quite a Heyday there...... Love that song !!!!


Leslie said...

When I was in junior high school, the high school kids had a VRB (volunteer rock band) elective class they could take. They'd work and practice all year and put on a concert at the end. It was WILD! I couldn't wait to get to high school to be in the VRB. But, my freshman year, the teacher and the driving force behind it left and the VRB was no more. I just missed it.

I am also in love with the guitar. Rather, I am in love with guitar players. The fact that my first husband played the guitar (and incredibly well) had a whole lot to do with me marrying him and not ending our marriage sooner than I did. That guitar. It's an aphrodisiac for me!

Luisa Perkins said...

This post ROCKS. I love it so.

Goofball said...

aaaaah that's why you are such a wild lady :p

Wholly Burble said...

Note dear lady, you've been "tagged" over on my site under "In Answer to Mariposa's Meme". Hope you'll take part, as I'd enjoy seeing your choices.

Also, my comment is under the YouTube player for Music Monday, hope you found it.

Liz Dwyer said...

That school sounds so amazing. If kids went to schools like that these days they wouldn't be so bored out of their minds.

I so remember those days when I was a teen and wanted so much to be around whoever I had a crush on. You really took me back for a second.