Monday, December 3, 2012

TURNING THE BIG 5-0!

Yeah, they're earplugs!
Although I still look really good - at 50,
I can't take too much loud music anymore.
I DJ'd a 50th birthday bash
for a guy many years ago —
I was about 30. I recall the
guest of honor appearing
very old and seeming less
than enthusiastic about
celebrating the auspicious event. Given my daily
J├Ągermeister consumption
in those days, I truly doubted
that I personally would ever
reach 50 — but if I did, I
certainly didn't want to
become that guy. Well,
this week, I'm turning 50.
Apparently, I survived!
______________________________________________________________________  
 
I've experienced much of the good, the bad and the ugly that life has to offer. And although my recollections of some of those experiences have become a bit foggy over the years, I thought that I'd use the occasion of my "Big 5-0" at least to try and reflect on the last half century. A half century? Yikes!
 
I was very young in those days, yet I can recall  the psychedelic  '60s with great clarity — the civil rights movement, The Summer of Love, window fans, The Green Hornet and home milk delivery. The world was so big to me then. But I feared nothing. Once, when I was three years old,  I rode my tricycle half a mile to the ol' Five and dime. Of course my mom had no idea that I had escaped. But I split, arrived at my destination and then returned home safely. It was 1966 — kids  could do  that type of moronic stuff back then. I also can recall being the first family in the neighborhood to get color TV in 1968. That was HUGE!

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
Then came the arrival of the glorious '70s — in Sensurround! Ah yeah, the "C'mon, Get Happy" decade of platforms, polyester and Pet Rocks — The Bad News Bears and banana seats disco, Duncan and Dark Shadows Watergate and Wacky Packagesmood rings, motorcycles, Manilow and Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!  I slept with Brad Pitt (twice) during the '70s (it's a long story), but that wasn't the highlight of the decade.  There was also  Evel Knievel, Chevy Novas  AND Freakies! I feel sorry for the often emotionally bankrupt kids of today who missed out on that magical era — a simpler time before pre-pube souls were systematically sucked dry by Microsoft, Sony and Apple. And it was during my naive early teenage days while living in Orlando, Florida in  the mid '70s  that my more experienced cohorts began educating me in the ways of the world (i.e. sex, drugs & rock and roll).
 
                
This is an insert to what us old-timers
know as an audio cassette tape. 
I graduated from high school in the early '80s. I still don't know how I managed to pull that one off. Three months later I already had enrolled in and dropped out of college. Before I knew it, I  was married and fully consumed  by promoting my band — the outrageous, award-winning hard rock combo, Dead Serios. By the end of the decade I was becoming a frequent flyer, jet setting from Florida to the hair band Mecca of Hollywood, California — in steadfast pursuit of rock and roll fame and fortune. The '80s was an incredible time — especially to be a young aspiring rock dude. And although for the most part, the decade now has become a blurry entry in my memory bank, I'm pretty sure that I loved everything about it.
 

 
The '90s sucked — plain and simple. It was a decade-long nightmare. In fact, with the exception of the birth of my son Jesse in '93, the KISS reunion tour in '96 and The Wedding Singer in '98, it was an era that I'd much rather forget — but can't. Thanks to the short-lived grunge movement, my good-time rock and roll dream had been dashed in the early '90s. I was still socializing with some show biz high rollers in the mid-'90s, but by the the end of the decade, my life was in total ruins. My marriage had imploded. As a result, I lost my home, my money, my security — everything. The most traumatic aspect of my divorce was dealing with a now "compromised" relationship with my son. Professionally, I had gone from performing with Dead Serios — opening for such  platinum-selling acts  as Anthrax, Hootie & the Blowfish and Marilyn Manson to bartending and DJing in a local tavern. And it was in 1999 when my mother lost her battle with cancer at age 57. In short, I couldn't wait for the new millennium.

The 2000s brought   fantastic new opportunities. I began moving forward in music journalism — interviewing a host of acknowledged rock stars on a frequent basis for various print and online publications. In 2006, I was hired to work as an assistant for a famous arena rock band. At 43, I finally was experiencing life in the big league — traveling on a luxury tour bus, staying in swanky hotels and benefiting from  the band's various "leftovers." But my  "dream" gig proved to be a mixed bag and I recounted many of those personal experiences in (unfiltered) detail via my 2010 debut book. I soon found myself on a national tour promoting my salacious, behind-the-scenes tell-all, and it was pretty surreal. I remain somewhat ambivalent regarding my first book, but I learned a lot and I was extremely eager to dive into my next writing project, PRONTO!  Hence, I was thrilled to release my second book, C'MON! - My Story of Rock, Ruin and Revelation on January 17, 2012.

With my friends Kevin and Chuck in Nicaragua.
It's funny, with  so many  years now behind me, my best days seemingly are ahead of me. Some of  the greatest  people I've  ever known have entered my life in just the last year or two. I'm back in school — Bible College to be exact. I chaperoned an amazing Christian youth camp conference in Daytona Beach this past summer and just  last month, I  went on  a weeklong missionary trip to Nicaragua. I also was brought on recently as an official staff member at East Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island, Florida, where I'm also involved with the church's TNT youth ministry program — I even scrub the toilets and mop the floors too. Praise Jesus!

When I was 20, I merely hoped to make it to 30 — with my hearing and hairline intact. At 50, I can claim proudly that I still have both (albeit minimal amounts). I've also surpassed my perceived expiration date. HOORAY! As the legendary Waylon Jennings once said, "If I'd known I was gonna live this long I would have taken better care of myself."

So, here it is — "The Big 5-0." Fortunately, I'm still "rockin' like Dokken 'til the break of dawn" (I think),  and regardless of my age, I hope that I never become the guy who I described earlier in this story.
 
Looking  back  as  I  recall  some  of  the awesome birthday gifts that I've received over the years, I must admit that the greatest  gift of all  has been  having  a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, it took  me my  first  47 years to figure that out. I'm not talking about a religion —  I'm talking about a relationship — and there IS a BIG difference. And given the (now) closeness of our relationship, it's His upcoming birthday on December 25th that I really want us all to acknowledge. In sum, Jesus Christ is The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords and THE reason for the season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

-Christopher Long
(December 2012)

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7 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday.
    Hey, if the mood strikes, can you tell the tale of Serious Sounds?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, my short-lived record store, Serious Sounds. If I wrote a book about that experience it would be titled, "FAILURE TO PREPARE: 18 Ways to Blow a Fortune in 18 Months." Had I known the book of Proverbs back then, the title would be, "SUPER SUCCESS: 18 Ways to Make a Fortune in 18 Months." Thanks for the birthday greeting!

      -Chris

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  2. Happy Birthday Chris! and a Merry Christmas to you too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Mr. Charles,

      Thanks for the holiday well-wishes! Are you still up north? Snowing yet? Keep in touch, my friend.

      Merry Christmas,
      Chris

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    2. Chris,

      Yep, still here in Kansas. And not even a hint of snow to be seen. The weather here is very odd, just last week it was down in the 30s and I was scraping the windows on my car before going to work, and today.....it made it up to 72 degrees. The weather report tonight claims that we MIGHT see flurries by the end of the weekend.
      I definitely miss the weather back home. I hope to take a trip down there in the near future with my daughter, but, I just started a new job, so it may be a while.
      Back in June, I joined the worship band at my church, we play in the Sunday evening services. We are also preparing to participate in the Christmas concert, this will be the first year that the worship band will be included.. Add us to your prayers!
      Again, Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday! Hope to hear from you again soon!
      Vince

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  3. And all this time I thought the only college that would accept you would have the words "beauty" or "clown" in its name.

    Happy birthday, freak boy...

    ReplyDelete