Opinion Columns & Blogs

Go ahead, Mr. Hendrix

I had one of those “life is good” moments the other day on the way home from a Sunday afternoon concert in the Arroyo Grande Village.

In fact, I was a bit verklempt as I thought about my good fortune. We live in an amazingly beautiful place and, Walmarts notwithstanding, our environment is just about perfect.

This area has so much to offer, and one of the recent trends that I adore is the summer concerts. Seems like in every burg, from Santa Maria to Paso Robles, you can find free, outdoor live music.

Not only do these fests get my rock star husband out of the house, but they also bring people together as a community. And, according to one of my adult sons, there is nothing that is more entertaining than watching old, white people dance. It’s true, although you do see folks dancing from all cultural persuasions. Kids and dogs, babies and wobbly toddlers, ironic teenagers, old guys in Hawaiian shirts and Indiana Jones hats, “mature” women in visors and capris — all rockin’ to the strains of Green River.

Of course, it’s not all vintage geezer — there’s lots of new stuff out there, too — but I don’t know any of the words to those songs. Fun in the sun (or the fog if you’re in Pismo). It just doesn’t get much better.

As I’ve previously reported, I have a personal music connection. I’ve been living with a rockand-roller for nigh-on-50 years, and while there has been a metamorphosis in venues — sock hops to fair stages — the basic elements of a gig remain the same: adoring female fans flocking to touch his shoulder; male rocker wannabes ogling his guitars.

I don’t go to as many gigs as I used to. Really, how many times can a girl listen to her husband soulfully sing, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” and not begin to take it personally?

So, I enjoy my quiet evenings at home while he plays rock star. I’m fine with that. Who wouldn’t be? He’s out schlepping heavy equipment in and out of parks, bars and wedding venues, and I’m at home on the couch bonding with my Internet friends.

I admit, though, when I do manage to get out the front door, I’m never disappointed. I love the people watching, and let’s face it, rock ‘n’ roll lyrics can be especially entertaining from a geezer perspective. One of my favorites is from a Rolling Stones song, “Spider and the Fly.”

It’s a sexy, bluesy number with the line, “She was common, flirty, she looked about 30.”

You remember 30? The age after which no one could be trusted, let alone qualify as serious relationship material?

And that got me to thinking about oldies rock lyrics in general. Remember how we all had at least one song with which we joyously vocalized every time it came on the radio, and then years later found out that what we’d been singing was nowhere close to the original words?

Just out of curiosity I did one of my unbiased, scientific texting research polls, whereby I sent a message to everyone on my contact list asking what song lyrics they used to fracture. I love texting questions because, in just a few minutes, my phone begins to beep like crazy, and it makes me sound like one of the popular girls (“common, flirty, looks about 30”).

I got scads of replies. My cute nephew-in-law Dustin used to think that Elton John was crooning (well, alright, he didn’t exactly use that word), “Hold me closer, Tony Danza.”

And the former boyfriend of a friend thought the Bee Gees sang, “Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, stayin’ the night, stayin’ the night.” In my view, that was probably wishful thinking on his part.

My contacts were on a roll:

From the Everly Brothers’ 1958 hit, “All I Have to Do is Dream”: “ only trouble is, Cheez Whiz, I’m dreamin’ my life away.”

Johnny River’s “Secret Asian Man.”

Creedence Clearwater’s “Bad Moon Rising”: “There’s a bathroom on the right.”

And one of my personal favorites by Crystal Gayle, “Doughnuts Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”

And of course we couldn’t leave out The Beach Boys and “Little Deuce Coup.”

Years ago, my first-grade nephew thought he heard, “She’s my little loose tooth, you don’t know what I’ve got ”

The bottom line: Music is a whole lot of fun. If I can get off the couch, so can you! Ride a bike, drive a car, scoot a scooter, throw in some munchies and enjoy the fun available along the Central Coast.

Get out there and dance! Feel free to sing along, too — original lyrics optional.

Well, gig time is about done — guess I’d better get ready to meet my rocker at the door. As Jimi would say “ ’Scuse me while I kiss this guy.”

Suzanne Davis is happily retired and living in the South County with her husband and their three dogs.