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February 13, 2012


“Whoa, yeah –
Kickstart my heart, hope it never stops –
Whoa, yeah, baby … “

- Motley Crue, “Kickstart My Heart” (video after post)

The question took me by surprise a few weeks ago during a bike ride with my 13-year-old son:

Dad, who is Motley Crue?

Although he caught me somewhat off-guard, I had a pretty good idea where the question came from. One of the best decisions I ever made was to keep my stash of favorite cartoon treasuries from my childhood; once my own kids discovered them, they became transfixed by wild imagination of Calvin and Hobbes*, the absurd lunacy of The Far Side, or the pure emotion of Peanuts.

(*This is the unanimous favorite, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Calvin and Hobbes actually inspired each of my children to learn how to read. The wonderful drawings and the zany antics were absolutely mesmerizing, and my kids wanted nothing more than to figure out the words so they could follow along. Each child read the books multiple times over, and I’d even say the collection has helped shape their own personalities and sense of humor. And they say nothing important comes from the funny pages.)

Since I was also aware that my son had been making his way through my Bloom County archive in recent months, it only took me a few seconds to connect the dots to recall the source of his inquiry:

(click to enlarge)

Knowing the reason for the question didn’t make the answer any easier, though. I mean … how much do you really want to tell your kid about Motley Crue? Yes, I was a huge fan of theirs – but I was also a complete idiot back then. And as far as the band goes, there are a lot of things better left unsaid. So I decided to keep it simple:

They were a metal band that was super popular in the 1980s. They were pretty hardcore and did all kinds of wild, inappropriate stuff both on and off stage. Oh, they also wore makeup, skin-tight leather, and a ton of hair spray …

… they made some pretty killer music, though.

And for all I knew, that was the end of it. The bike ride ended, we climbed in the car and returned home, and I didn’t hear any mention of Motley Crue again.

Until Super Bowl Sunday, that is.

During the fourth quarter of the game, Kia’s A Dream Car for Real Life commercial came on, and about 20 seconds later I heard my son exclaim, “Hey Dad – it’s Motley Crue!” And sure enough, it was.

Screngrab from Kia commercial

Even though the band is something of a relic now, I stand by my earlier assertion: they made some pretty killer music. And when he heard the riffs to “Kickstart My Heart”, my son immediately agreed – and later that evening I found myself downloading some Motley Crue songs for his iPod.

As typically happens, though, I got carried away with things, and before I knew it, a few songs tuned into an entire 80s rock playlist. In my humble opinion, it’s a thing of hair metal beauty*, so of course I had to put the list on my own iPod as well – which explains why I spent most of last week punching the steering wheel to Back in Black, Livin’ After Midnight, and We’re Not Gonna Take It, (pretty classic 80s video on that last link) among other gems.

(*If there’s interest, I’ll publish the list here; I’m not above some self-inflicted ridicule every now and then.)

Yes, this kind of behavior is nostalgic and juvenile, with no tangible benefit to suggest any redeeming quality at first glance. And yet, there’s this …

Last Thursday morning I woke up at 1AM and couldn’t for the life of me fall back asleep. I got out of bed and did some work, then returned to lie under the covers for another 30 minutes or so. Finally, with the full moon shining through my window, and with a Motley Crue song bouncing around my head, I climbed out of bed, threw on some clothes and a hydration pack, and headed out into the moonlight. By the time I returned home at 6:30, I had covered 23 miles of road and trail, giving me the first 20-miler of the season on my way to my first 70-mile week in several months.

I don’t know if it was the full moon, or the mojo of Motley Crue, or simply one more idiotic thing in a long list of them I do on a regular basis - but whatever the cause, my training had definitely been kickstarted. All of a sudden, I feel like I’m in training mode again.

And hey – it’s Valentine’s Day!   Kickstart someone’s heart tonight.

Motley Crue, “Kickstart My Heart”, (click to play):

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John White 2/13/12, 7:57 PM  

Donald, very timely post for me. Please post that playlist! There are some fantastic, high energy 80's songs that are perfect for training and races.

I'm in my twenties and missed the entire 80's music scene. I only really heard Motley Crue, Styx, Def Leppard, and others in the past year or so when slightly older racers were talking about their playlists. It's influenced my playlist quite a bit now and I'm still discovering 'new' old songs.

John White 2/13/12, 8:02 PM  

Oh, and I completely agree about the comics. Saving my own Calvin and Hobbes books for future generations.

avenging angle (aka Stephanie Z) 2/13/12, 8:22 PM  

There is *definitely* an interest in seeing the extent of your 80s hair-metal playlist.

I'm just sayin'.

sramfl 2/14/12, 5:19 AM  

Having gone through the 80's, I was too much into Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Front 242, and Depeche Mode to listen to any metal bands....loved Def Leppard though. Most of this stuff is a little on the dour side to listen to when running, but I love to run to it nonetheless...instead of thinking about my huffing and puffing (oop acking? per Bill the Cat), I think about those times way back when.

momo 2/14/12, 8:31 AM  

i have a love/hate relationship with running with music (maybe because i only tend to listen to it when i'm running alone and then i tend to be nervous about running alone so i spend more time scouring the horizon for threats than i do listening to the music.) but - that was not what i wanted to talk about anyway... :)

a few years back, we took the littles to see the cirque du soleil production called beatles love in las vegas. they are both very into music and have a wide variety on their ipods, but for some reason the beatles had never been on either of their radars. after seeing the show in lv, however, we had some great conversation about the band, about the influence they've had on the music industry, and about how timely their messages are even still today. both of them wanted to download a few songs and little j even used some of their music in a school project a few months later. i believe, as you found out with motley crue, that music is a bridge for us as parents. it helps us to connect to our kids - especially as they get older.

Andy 2/14/12, 12:58 PM  

Hi Donald,

I think this is on of your most well written posts. This and the one about Ric Munoz, are two of my favorites.

Nicely done.

Peace and Love,


Lasiv 2/14/12, 4:01 PM  

Would love to see your playlist. We seem to have similar tastes in music.

Vote Meadow Party!

Gretchen 2/14/12, 4:51 PM  

Just verifying: You have seen Hot Tub Time Machine by now, yes? If not, please move it to the top of your queue. That is all.

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