My childhood was an odd mixture of "normalcy" and complete “unstructured chaos”. The "normal" was strictly exterior: two parents, brother, dog and a house, everything seemed very "Brady Bunch". It was far from it.
My mother was never normal, even when she was trying to play the part of a Norman Rockwell family. I remember being alone a lot at home. I had friends and went out and played but when inside, my life was the record player, music and fantasy. Even after my brother was born and became my playmate, I would find myself at the end of the day sitting in front of the record player and fantasizing about another world, another family and another life. I would sit at the drums and play along when I was as young as 3 and 4 years old. In my mind, I was on stage and the living room was the theatre in which my band was playing.
By the time I was 8 or 9 years old, I was immersed in the world of music, whether that be in reality or fantasy. I was good enough on the drums to stay up during my parents’ parties and play alongside my mother. It was where I got approval - not just from my mother but from everyone. On stage, behind those drums, I was more than just me: I was talented. I garnered the attention and respect that otherwise in my life, I felt was not there.
These three songs encompass my childhood:
There were three songs that had the most impact on me before I was 10 years old. The first was from the movie musical Carousel, starring Shirley Jones. The song is called "Soliloquy" and is sung by Gordon MacRae. It's about a man who finds out he's going to be a dad. He sings about "my boy Bill" for the majority of the song, then it hits him that it might just be a girl. He doesn't know what to do with a girl, yet by the end he vows he will find, beg or steal the money he thinks is needed to take care of his little girl... or die trying. To me at 6 years old, it was how I hoped my dad felt about me, but honestly I was never sure.
I never knew how to get money,
But, I'll try, I'll try! I'll try!
I'll go out and make it or steal it
Or take it...
Anyone who knows me from my childhood knows the Osmond's were a huge influence on me. One thing they did for me was introduce me to a lot of songs I wouldn't have otherwise known. I can remember very vividly one day I was singing a song and my mom asked how I knew that song. I answered "The Donny and Marie show." I heard her say to herself, "Thank god for Donny and Marie."
She wanted her kids to have a wide range in musical taste, and the Donny and Marie show introduced young kids to a whole bunch of different musical styles and eras. It's the same as today: the show Glee brings 80's music to the minds and hearts of young teens. So, I guess in homage to my mom and the Osmond's I'll say, "Thank god for Glee."
This particular song was the first that I felt, deep inside. It was what I thought of the world and the people in it. It definitely made me think, and at the tender age of 9, it expressed my world view.
You speak of freedom as if it's just a word
Something you don't think of because you're so secure
Well I wonder what would happen
Do you think you might complain
If one day you woke up and found yourself in chains
Would it make you think, think about life
ARE YOU UP THERE by The Osmond Brothers // The Lyrics // TheVideo (They only sing a part of the song, then they go into "I Believe")
This song had the biggest influence on me spiritually. This was how I felt, almost exactly. When I first heard it I couldn't believe they were asking all my questions. Catholicism and I never really got along, so even by 8 or 9 years old, I was questioning everything - but only internally. The influence of my grandmother for some reason wouldn't allow me to voice those questions.
It could all end tomorrow,
and where would I be?
Does life go on
or will it be the end of me?
Finding people who were asking the same questions gave me a great sense of peace, like it was okay to question.