COLUMN - Band soothes pain, prompts cape wearing

I'm 14 again.

Angst-ridden, rebounding and considering the option of writing embarrassingly bad poetry, I instead began listening to different music in an effort to comfort myself. Unfortunately, I went too far and have regressed to the musical taste of my 14-year-old self. The music that was once there for me has finally returned. When I thought nobody understood and that life was a total bummer, I had rock. In fact, I still do.

Luckily, in this regression I have rediscovered a band that first blared from my GPX boom box when the world turned against me the first time. This band understands my plight. I can identify with their incisive lyrics about

restlessness, women, aggression, women, immaturity, women, rocking, women and the road.

I speak of AC/DC.

Pure and raw, the punishing power of rock produced by this certain band once propelled me through my abnormally long and uneventful pubescence and cast me (screaming most of the way, until I realized it felt kind of good) into adulthood. Now the band has returned to my music collection with a scorching onslaught of crunch and a wall of distortion that symbolized the emotion of my teen life. If only my friends understood as well as AC/DC. If only more of them knew of the awesome therapeutic power of "Whole Lotta Rosie."

Dissemble not, my children. You, by the door, sit down and listen. Let me tell you of Australia's most important export besides those low-pitched warbling things you twirl to attract bats.

AC/DC is a rumbling, thundering, juggernaut mastodon rock thing. In the legendary history of rock, it is the chief band I listen to in the privacy of my bedroom while wearing a bath towel as a cape.

Since the beginning of my pubescent years, this band has provided the soundtrack to which I rock the night away, bouncing around my bedroom, gesticulating to a teeming, imaginary crowd and singing into a flashlight. Flexing muscles I don't have in front of an unforgiving mirror, I pose and point and hear the imaginary crowd in my head.

I am a rock god.

I even went so far as to purchase the AC/DC boxed set, containing five discs of rare and unreleased material that would make a 14-year-old rocker salivate. This boxed set came with a sticker, a poster, an emblazoned guitar pick and a temporary tattoo.

This is for the discerning AC/DC fan. Supreme sophistication, I say. When I opened this delightful collection, I immediately had a taste for charred beef and skunk beer. For a moment, I had every intention of growing a mullet. I did not.

I cranked the little-known song, "Down Payment Blues" (from the "Powerage"album, available on Atlantic Records at finer record outlets near you) until my apartment windows trembled and my undergraduate degree from Ball State University vibrated and fell from its place on top of my speaker.

I even had the song on repeat, mainly because my neighbors love hearing the same song over and over and over and over and over again. I did this for several hours.

Yes, AC/DC shook me all night long. Once my foundations had been shaken and those about to rock had been saluted, I felt considerably better. In this, I realized others might benefit from the soothing power of rock as well.

So, when you're down, remember rock. As long as there are bands like AC/DC and as long as you have a towel to wear as a cape, you have a band that understands.

If you don't get help from AC/DC, please get help somewhere.

Write to John at


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