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Detroit Rock City After Dark

Sep 11, 2016
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def-leppardIt was the summer of 1984, and the day had finally arrived. My friend Tom, and I had waited months for this day, and we were geeked to the max. Tonight was the night of the Def Leppard concert in Detroit, and we had tickets to the show. At the time, Def Leppard was the hottest rock band on the planet. We both had scrounged up enough cash for gas, concert t-shirts, and some of the all important weed, with a little left over for incidentals such as food or cokes to drink. I was 17 years old, and my best friend Tom was just 16. We were going to be ripping it up that night, it would be an epic night to remember. How little did we know just how correct we were in our assumption of a memorable night. All these years later, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I haven’t spoken to my friend Tom in decades now, despite how close we once were, time has allowed us to drift apart, but no matter what I know in my heart he still remembers that night too.

I had a 69 Chevy Impala that was pea soup puke green, but had an interior that was indestructible. Dropped roaches weren’t an issue in my car like it was in other kids cars, as those seats wouldn’t burn. I could just about put a cigarette out on those things without leaving so much a dark spot. It was a beast of a car, and looking back on it today, I really under-appreciated the beauty, and the power of the car. I wish I still had it. However, like all things of this world, time had taken it’s toll on the Green Monster, and it was in constant danger of failing on me at any given time. A starter here, a rotor there, (serious foreshadowing here kids) I took care of it, but as we all know shit happens.

So we go to Detroit, have a great time at the show, get high as fuck. It was a great night. Awesome! We smoke a joint walking to my car, get in my car, and start heading home. We are coming up on a traffic light that has changed to red, and to my horror, I discover that my brakes are not working. I’m pumping like there is no tomorrow to no avail. My friend Tom is shitting himself, and yelling at me to stop because the light is red. I yell back at him, No shit? Really? Fuck you Tom, I know it’s red, the car won’t stop, the brakes are shit. We survive the intersection, and pull into a Shell station. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. After midnight in Detroit, broke down, and virtually broke. This could get interesting. I call my mom, and dad from a pay phone to let them know the situation. There is a flea bag, hooker infested, notorious motel right across the street from the gas station, and after I get off the phone with the parents, we head across the street to see about getting us a room for the night.

I take the lead in talking to the motel desk clerk who also has her daughter with her who looks to be around our age. I inform her of our situation, and that we really need a room for the night, and that my parents will be there first thing in the morning to settle up for it. At first the desk clerk told us that she couldn’t help us out, and besides you need to be 18 to rent a room. We must have looked forlorn as all fuck because that’s when her daughter spoke up in our defense, and after a phone call to my parents, she agreed to let us have a room for the night. Whew! That was a little too close for comfort. A small victory, we get to stay in a room at a motel that rents rooms by the hour, and is a notorious hangout for prostitutes. Still a victory in my book.

We go to our room, and my friend Tom can’t get in, and lock the door fast enough. The door had an extra security feature of a cable you could loop around the door handle which really did wonders at setting my mind at ease. As we chill out, I decide I want to go out, and check out the sights, see what’s shaking in the city. My friend Tom looks at me as if I’ve lost my fucking mind. I was raised in Wayne County, MI which is pretty diverse population, and my buddy was raised in the sticks out in a rural area that was actually notorious in it’s own right for having been the home base of a KKK Grand Wizard. I’m not saying he’s racist or anything, but clearly I was more comfortable in our surroundings than he was, or perhaps I was just more stupid as I was willing to go out walking around after midnight in a city notorious for it’s crime rate, and homicides. A question that will have to remain unanswered.

We roll up what weed we had between us, giving us a total of 9 joints. That gives us four apiece, and one we can smoke together we agree, and I head out the door after trying one last time to get Tom to go with me on this journey of discovery. Feeling a bit peckish I head towards the coney island place down the street, and around the corner. As I start to walk, a big, burly, tattooed biker comes out of his room, looks at me, and reaches out a hand to greet me, and introduce himself as “Six Pack”. I tell him our tale, and commiserates with me, that yeah it’s a bummer. He offers me a beer, I accept, and pull out a joint to smoke with him. I walk out of the room, and within 10 seconds I’ve made a new friend, meanwhile my friend Tom was sitting alone in the room wondering what might be happening to me. Six Pack, and I jack the jaw for about half hour as I finish off the beer. He’s off to do some club business, and I’m off to get a coney. He tells me if anyone fucks with me, tell them Six Pack said that would be a grave mistake. I thank him, and we part ways. I’ve got a nice buzz going, I went to the concert I’ve been eagerly awaiting, and I’m going to get a chili dog. Yeah, my car is broke down, but other than that, this ain’t so bad.

I walk up to the corner, and out of nowhere I’m accosted by a lady of the evening that wants to know if I want a blow job. I tell her I’d love a blow job, who wouldn’t, but I’m broke, and to leave me be as I keep walking. She attempts to get me to reconsider when a few bikers that had been standing outside the coney island I was walking to stepped up, told her to take a walk, and that I wasn’t interested in no (insert well known racial slur here) pussy. I didn’t sense that was the right time to tell them that I personally, had no bias against African-American pussy. That I like pussy, all kinds of pussy. That if you are kind enough to sleep with me, I really didn’t give a shit what color your skin is, but like I said, the timing just didn’t feel right for such a debate. She walks away, the bikers ask me if I’m OK as if I’d been somehow traumatized by being asked if I wanted a blow job by a black woman. I’m cool, I just want a chili dog dudes…..

I go in, get my chili dog, fries, and a coke. All is right in the world. The diner is full of people at this late hour which is kind of cool. It’s around 2 am now, and a lot of them are drunk which isn’t so cool. I eat my meal, and leave. I’m walking back when I run across a dude a bit older than me, mid 20’s I’d say, and he’s smoking a joint, and wants to bum a smoke off of me. I give him a smoke, and we start to chat as I light up a cowboy killer, and we smoke the rest of his doobie together. He’s watching a woman across the street that is obviously a hooker. After about 10 minutes of us bullshitting he yells at her to come over to us. She’s not unattractive, but not smoking hot either. I’d do her, but I wouldn’t pay for the pleasure. She’s wasn’t stupid either, but tragically she is addicted to heroin, as is her boyfriend/pimp/my new friend. We chat for a bit, and I invite them back to the room to smoke some more weed, and meet my friend Tom. We get to the room, I open the door with my key, and BAM, the door won’t go more than 3 inches. Tom has put the cable loop around the door handle…..

Tom opens the door, we come in, and I introduce him to the couple. I lied earlier when I said I remember this like it was yesterday, because for the life of me, I can’t remember their names. My bad. We spend a couple of hours smoking, and bullshitting, they leave, after which Tom, and I go to bed/pass out. The next thing I remember is being kicked in the ribs by my friend Tom who is telling me that my mom, and dad are here at the door. I tell him to fucking let them in instead of kicking me in the ribs. He says no way, you answer the door, it’s your mom. Tom, you fucking pussy. What the fuck. I get up, open the door, and my mother comes rushing in the room in a panic. She repeatedly asks us where the girl is at. What girl, we reply, totally fucking confused as to why she is hunting for some girl. The lady at the front desk said that you had a man, and a woman in here last night. Oh, that girl. She left about 4 we say. Get your shit together, and get in the car we are told. We get our shit together, I talk to my dad who isn’t the least bit upset, find there was a leak in the line, and he pinched it off, and hopefully that would get it back home where it could then be repaired. As I’m walking to the drivers door of my car, my new friend Six Pack walks out of his room, and waves good morning at me, and asks if the car is fixed. I tell him it’s all good, and it was good to meet him. My mother is freaking out, asking me who is Six Pack, and why are we friends? What the fuck is going on? I tell her I met him last night, he’s cool, and it’s all good, she needs to relax. She glares at me, and stalks back to her car where dad is waiting.

It’s been 32 years since that night. Mom has been gone for almost three years. I have no idea where the t-shirt I got from the concert or my friend Tom might be these days. All that’s left is the memory of the night, and I’m telling you, it was indeed an epic night.

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    • Here’s the main lyrics. You get some exposition of why all this, in the middle. I’ll post that ASAP.

      Impala… Drive. Crash. Burn.
      Impala… Go straight, don’t turn.
      Impala… Run into a telephone pole.
      Impala… Don’t know where to go.

      My Impala is so big, so blue, it’s the fucking beast.
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  • Shohanna

    That was awesome! Def Leppard, Damn, I also went to one of their concerts at the River Bend in Cincinnati. I don’t remember much, it wasn’t as memorable as it should have been. I try not to remember things when I was with my first husband.

    It was just before they released Slang. (One of my favorite and ruined albums.) It’s hard for me to listen to them anymore. I have their entire collection. I _loved_ Def Leppard. We listened to them all the time. So every song will bring some memory of my ex. What he did, and how he hurt me. The one album I am missing? X. I couldn’t bring myself to even listen to it.

    My favorite of theirs? Vault. Blood runs cold. **lost in memories** Sometimes, on those lonely nights. I remember talking late into the night with my best friend in the whole world and realizing how much I gave up for it. I still can’t understand why I did that for someone I didn’t love. Why would you give everything of your soul to someone you had to “convince” yourself this is all you are worthy of?

    Oki enough of that heart felt bs. Good post. Love to read more.

    • SmotPoker

      It was on their Slang tour that I met them, had a couple of beers, got some pics, and autographs for my kid brother (I had already moved on in my musical taste) when they were staying at the same hotel I was at in Singapore. High dollar place too. I didn’t know they were there until the desk clerk asked me when I was checking in if I was with the band. Never one to pass up an opportunity I asked which band, and was informed Def Leppard. It briefly crossed my mind to say why yes, yes I was, but I’m too honest….

      • Shohanna

        That’s awesome! You got to meet them?! **JEALOUS**

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