I grew up in the ’80’s, listening to hair bands and monster guitar solos. The fancy, melodic guitar solos were why I decided to play guitar. I used to think that great guitar playing stopped with the Aqua Net era. Now, in 2010, solos seem to be coming back.
One of my favorite guitar players was Reb Beach, from the band Winger. The band’s biggest hit was “Seventeen.” Its solo was so fantastically awesome that I still can’t play it today. But like the quarterbacks of football teams, the only ones that ever received attention were lead singers. So, having said that, I wanted to be Kip Winger, the front man to which the band was named.
I figured, he played guitar (kind of), and that is what I held on to as justification purposes of getting, what I thought at the time, a kick ass Kip Winger perm. I remember cutting out a picture of Kip Winger from a “Metal Edge” magazine I had purchased at the local 7-11.
For a long time, like the scene in “Rocky IV,” where Rocky had a picture of Ivan Drago pinned up on his mirror as a reminder of what Drago did to his best friend Creed, I Scotch taped Kip Winger’s pic on my mirror, building up the courage to make an appointment at the local hair salon. My mother suggested a fancy one called Sears. So that is where I went.
Once I did, with Kip Winger’s perm picture in tow, I headed out to a clandestine meeting with Vera, the hair “stylist” who had worked at Penney’s for 3 years, as indicated by her badge. I thought, “Well, she IS a professional. I can see her credentials on her badge.”
So, I sat in the chair and let her do her magic. I say magic because hair “stylists” like to ACT like they are magicians. The entire time, your back is to the mirror while she dances around you with sticky fingers filled with gel of some sort, only to swing your chair around and say, TADA!” When you look up at yourself, the displayed satisfaction always comes to fruition in the form of a tip and a smile. Then, once you exit the premises, you bitch to yourself while fixing your hair in the rear view mirror, only to make an appointment with her again in 5 weeks.
During the perm debacle, I held on to this picture dreaming, hoping that I, too, would look like Kip Winger. I thought, “My guitar, my perm, that’s right, all the chicks would dig me.”
I should’ve known better of the result when I sat next to an elderly woman with rollers in her hair and a huge popcorn bowl on top of her head. But I was so mesmerized by what I would look like I didn’t even pay attention to what transpired up to this moment. Think Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” as he stared at the Red Ryder BB gun.
Rewinding back to when I first arrived, the stylist asked, “What can we do for you today?” I must say that my hair was long, almost down to my ribs. I handed her the picture and said, “I want to look like Kip Winger.” She said, “ALL RIGHT,” with fake enthusiasm knowing that she was going to squeeze out at least $40 dollars from me. In her mind, actually, was probably something similar to, “another perm.”
When I returned to the chair, positioned so my back would be to the mirror, my thoughts saying over and over, “This is it, this is it,” I could not wait until Kip Winger’s perm was a reality.
With excitement, the stylist said, “THIS is it,” in an overly enthusiastic feign in her voice.
Like a really bad magic trick, waiting for that TADA moment, she swung me around, so that I can see my Kip Winger perm. I looked up, a big smile on my face quickly turning to disgust, and said, “This is IT?”
“What do you think?” she asked.
I thought, “I look like Greg Brady.” My perm, keep in mind my hair was once down to my ribs, was so high and so thick, that when I turned my head, there was a 2 second delay for my hair to turn with me. While I was turning my head left, my perm was still looking straight for 2 seconds.
Needless to say, I never did get that Kip Winger perm, nor did I get any girls. And what made matters worse, it was right about the time of senior high school pictures. I was, forever stamped, as Greg Brady.