- MJ Carter
While I'm still behind that opening gate of getting known, I consider myself a writer. Last night, however, I questioned my own abilities.
It all began when I learned that Gregg Rolie had taken the stage again with Journey last month in Austin Texas. Rolie was a founding member of the group in 1973. It was the summer of 1979 when I heard my first Journey song. I'd just been dumped by a longtime boyfriend. Like the jilted mess I was, I followed my old love and his new flame around town two or three times. It wasn't high or even mid-level stalking. I never went into the restaurant they were at, causing an Academy Award winning scene at their table. No, I was more the 'sit in the car and imagine doing that' kind of gal. So it was that, one night while I watched 'those two' take off in her baby blue Mustang, a new song called 'Lovin', Touchin' Squeezin' came on the radio. I was instantly mesmerized. This singer, whoever he was, knew exactly what I was going through.
When I'm alone all by myself
You're out with someone else
My mind was screaming wow. I was too busy listening to this spellbinding vocalist for my mind to consider much of anything else. His line, 'You're tearing me apart' was sung with such soulful conviction that it made the two of us instant comrades in heartache.
I never did follow my ex and his new love in her classic Mustang that night. (The Mustang, by the by, was one of my ex's top reasons for dating her.) No, I remained in my own 'far from cool' vehicle, glued to this singer's message that it wouldn't be long until his cheating girlfriend found herself alone, because her lover is out there lovin', touchin' squeezin' another. When he triumphantly sang, 'Now it's your turn girl to cry', I remember cheering. I honestly did. The na, na, na, na, nas at the end became my battle cry.
Luckily, the DJ mentioned the singer and the group. Steve Perry and Journey. I went to their first nearby tour, and many, many, many after that. My friends and I watched Journey grow to megastar status. There's a history there that could take up an entire book on its own. That's all for another time. Or, maybe never. Instead, here's a circa 1980 Steve Perry looking all American, with the equally talented Mr. Gregg Rolie. Bonus points if you remember Rolie as the vocalist for an early Santana.
Back to the present, and Gregg Rolie's recent performance with the current lineup of Journey. I believe I wasn't thirty seconds into that video when I started bawling my eyes out. Were these tears of remembering youthful joy, or torrents of pain for all of life's moments that had gone terribly wrong? Nostalgia can seem lovely and wistful. Nostalgia can also be wrought with suffering. As Dante once said, "There is no greater sorrow than to recall a happy time when miserable." All I know is that when I asked myself what I was crying over, I ended up laughing and smiling. It's no wonder emotions, especially when they're your own, can be difficult to pin words on. All I can say on this quiet 'morning after' is that I'm grateful for memories that are also too good, and some even too precious, to describe.