Today on Slate.com, legendary wrestler Mick Foley publicly declared his unabashed fandom for Tori Amos. In an excerpt from his latest book, C ountdown to>"/>
Today on Slate.com, legendary wrestler Mick Foley publicly declared his unabashed fandom for Tori Amos. In an excerpt from his latest book, Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal, Foley describes hearing Little Earthquakes' "Winter" for the first time: "If there is such a thing as love at first listen, I fell helplessly, hopelessly in love from that very first lyric."
I'm not saying there's anything embarrassing about loving Tori Amos: hey, I sometimes tear up a little bit when I hear "Cornflake Girl." But there's a reason why Foley's declaration of love for Myra Ellen's music makes good copy. Any minor wrestling fan knows that Foley is a head-crushing bruiser of a human being. At 6-foot-2, his nickname is "The Hardcore Legend"; he's a three-time WWF Champion. No one expects him to get pumped up for matches by songs about the trials of womanhood. So, when Foley writes this about meeting Amos for the first time...
"Though I probably outweigh her by 200 pounds, I felt like an innocent child in the arms of an angel. Laugh if you want, but this is how I remember it--I was a child, and she was an angel."...he's on par with the manager of record store in which I worked as a teenager. That manager had an entire bedroom wall plastered with Amos photos, dyed her hair red, and wore fairy wings to work in celebration on the day Strange Little Girls was released.
Taking this even further, Foley has proven his fandom with actions: he donated the proceeds from this book (his fourth) to RAINN, the anti-sexual assault group Amos founded. Honestly, I can't say his devotion seems unusual to me. In honor of Foley's confessions, I will now reveal three bands and/or musicians to whom I am hopelessly devoted and how I have demonstrated (sometimes foolishly) my commitment.
1. The Clash. When I was 16, Joe Strummer was still alive, kicking, and just started touring with the Mescaleros. I bought tickets to see him the second I heard the show was happening, even though it cost me about $40 and was at a venue 20 miles from my parents' house. It's important to understand that the last album Strummer had released was 1989's Earthquake Weather, which, if you asked me, was downright awful. (The Mescaleros' much betterRock Art and the X-Ray Style had yet to be released). I went anyway, knowing full well I wouldn't like any of Strummer's new songs, but hoping that he would play something--anything--by the Clash. He did (including "Spanish Bombs" and "Rudy Can't Fail") and it was awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I waited outside the stage door for 30 minutes for Strummer to sign my shirt. He never showed, and it didn't tamper my fandom one bit.
2. Songs: Ohia. Back before Jason Molina started this whole Magnolia Electric Company thing, he was just one dude, playing a guitar and singing sad, sad songs under the name Songs: Ohia. I owned two of his albums--The Lioness and Ghost Tropic--and thought he was a genius. During my first year of college in Portland, Songs: Ohia toured but was only playing a 21-and-over bar in the Rose City. He was, however, playing the old all-ages Paradox Theatre in Seattle. On a school night, I drove all the way from Portland to Seattle to see him play (then all the way back home the same night), and it was worth every ounce of fossil fuels I burned. I ran into Molina outside the venue and mumbled and stuttered my way through a compliment, revealing how I'd driven from Portland just to see him. (Did I mention Molina was the opener for Low and I only stayed for his set?) He told me I could have rode up with him, if only he'd known what I fan I was. I almost passed out.
3. Sleater-Kinney. Once, when I was working in gelato shop in Portland, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss came in, together, as customers. I almost cried. (As the only girl in my high school who loved Riot Grrrl, I reasonably thought the members of Sleater-Kinney should be my best friends.) Instead, I held my composure until they approached the counter, at which point I blurted out to Tucker, "I seriously love your band more than anything in the world." I then stuck out my hand to shake hers, in the process, knocked a bowl of chocolate candies all over the floor. Then I had to pick them up. In front of Tucker and Weiss. While wearing an apron.