I Love You All the Time
During Vice’s interview with Eagles of Death Metal (EODM) in the wake of the terrorist attacks at their show at Le Bataclan in Paris on November 13, 2015, frontman Jesse Hughes is quoted referencing something his mother and grandmother taught him: “Never give a shit what an asshole thinks.” I agree with him. He continued, “...I want to spend my life smiling with my friends and entertaining them.” This is me, too, pretty much anytime you find me with my friends.
Today is Thanksgiving. Half of the people on Facebook are posting what they’re thankful for, and that’s cool. The others are posting memes about the irony of those who disagree with opening our borders to Syrian refugees while yet are posting pictures of their full plates of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie - a “holiday” tradition originally rooted in the exact opposite of what they’re protesting about. Honestly, I don’t know if I even want to get in the middle of this silliness.
What I am thankful for is simple: being alive.
I had to watch that EODM interview with a box of tissues. My wife knew what I was watching, and she gave me quiet peace for all 26 minutes of it. I won’t even dare say I know what they felt or the degree of healing they’re probably still going through.
I’ve attended probably close to 500 or so concerts in my 37 years and have never been shot at, not once. The worst thing that ever happened to me was at a Clutch show at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit in the late ‘90s when some asshole sprayed pepper spray into the fans (the air-blowing device, not the attendees) mounted to the balcony that were pointed down onto the main floor. I was in the pit and in my late teens, and had no prior experience with the law so I didn’t know what it was like to inhale that shit. In what was like an out-of-body experience. I felt it numbingly difficult to breath. I looked around in the crowd and saw huge, ripped bald-headed white dudes coughing and tearing up all around me. And then I put 2 & 2 together, and tried not to panic. By that time 1000+ people were trying to evacuate through two narrow doorways. I was one of them, and I was at that show alone. I could’ve gotten trampled and no one would’ve known.
I watched that interview and reflected about that Clutch show - on all the shows I’ve been to. On my recent trip to Europe, my wife and I visited Paris. I thought about what it would’ve been like during any of those times when my only priority would have had to be to just get out alive. And my heart broke. I thought about every friend I’ve went to a show with. I thought about my brother, Justin, who I’ve taken to see so many “first” concerts with. I thought about the ex-girlfriends I influenced with music, and the shows I took them to and their parents I swore to that I’d bring them back safely. I thought about all the times I went to shows alone, when no one knew where I was. I thought about every time my wife has been by my side to see bands we’ve fallen in love with together. I thought about her and I at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and that we made it all the way up and all the way down safely, without having to dodge bullets. And, I wondered about all of those scenarios: Would I have ran and saved myself or would I have tried to do everything I could to ensure the safety of my friends and loved ones, even strangers?
At the end of their interview, Josh Homme challenged the entire music industry, regardless of artist or genre, to cover their track “I Love You All the Time.” With the support of their label, they’ve promised to donate all publishing royalties from that song to help anyone who was a victim of the Paris attacks, and are encouraging any cover artists and their respective labels to do the same.
I applaud them. I applaud every person who was at that show. I applaud their families and friends for the struggle they have to endure today and for the rest of their lives.
I will continue to go to shows by myself, with my brother, my wife and my friends. And, if anything remotely close to that ever happens to me, I vow to myself that I will do everything in my power to make sure we leave as safe as when we arrived. Or, I’ll die trying.
I’m thankful today for being alive, and can go out knowing I tried to do the right thing.
Be thankful today. Love each other, and love being alive.
Image: Alain Apaydin/SIPA/Associated Press