You know, you should really stop lying about your first concert. Everybody knows it wasn't REM's Murmur tour. If you're being honest, you tell the boring story of how it was actually the Little River Band in an Alabama barn. You were 12 and went where you were taken. And though you did see 'Til Tuesday at your second concert, the headliner was Hall and motherfucking Oates, with your mom. You know you didn't do jell-o shots with Biafra at 13—no band as cool as The Dead Kennedys came anywhere near 1980s Birmingham. And while we're at it, the first record you bought with your own money wasn't a copy of Never Mind the Bollocks covered in actual shit. You know damn well it was John Cougar's American Fool from the Family Dollar remainder bin while shopping with your grandmother. Sure, in your bedroom after school, you were a screaming ersatz Exene until your mom made you to turn it down—your punk stardom all in your teenage head. Now you've seen Flogging Molly 10 times, but the Pistols blew out before you hit fourth grade, dooming your podunk ass from the jump. Honestly, ain't nothing awesome about coming up in evangelical Alabama, where your church says even Duran Duran will send you to hell. So you listen to Prince go crazy (you're already there), flashing back to the time you were 15 and hit the Waffle House at 3 a.m. with The Revolution.
Gina K. Armstrong is a queer tattooed archivist/librarian who loves books, punk, and the New Orleans Saints. She generally writes about unhappy and tawdry lesbian love, but ventures out every now and then into happier or more political territory. She lost big on JEOPARDY! She lives happily with her wife and three cats overlooking a branch of the Cahaba River outside Birmingham, Alabama.More by Gina Armstrong