Thursday, August 22, 2013

Raising Oscars With The Rooster

It should have been the worst summer of my life, the summer after Andy died. And I guess it was. Lots of bad stuff has happened since then, though, as well. There's still anger, numbness and stuff that doesn't go away. As I write this I'm listening to the new Stone Gossard solo album, Moonlander. It's growing on me. I love that he's singing and that he's branching off and as Pearl Jam has a spanking new album and tour coming up, I feel the excitement and am really proud of them and of Alice in Chains as well. 

 But listening to his lyrics, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has thoughts of the past and memories that tell me something's not put to rest yet. My hope is that writing will set my demons free, and maybe the last bad feelings will be let go, so I like telling these short, sweet and happy stories... I find it very healing. 

Back to the summer of 1990. I had been living with Kelly and Peggy Curtis and their newborn baby Jessica since the weekend of Andrew's overdose. Jerry Cantrell, lovingly referred to as "The Rooster" here on Xanaland, lived in their basement. If you don't know who Alice in Chains is, you're an idiot, you have no business reading this, and I should fire my publicist, but he's a monkey and a figment of my imagination, so "no can do"

Our fish most likely heard this song over 5000 times: 

Anyhow, one day Kelly suggested we take this huge empty tank he had and get some fish -- you know, like a summer project. I think there were some days they got a kick out of Jerry and I being there and kind of pretended we were their kids, sending us to the store to get videos and whatnot. It was a great house by Lake Washington. So we jumped right on Kelly's idea, like "okay, Dad, great idea" 

Casa de Rooster

I vaguely remember Jerry insisting on Oscars. I probably was looking at purple fish or frogs, and I remember being unenchanted with the ugly little guys. They were all the same looking -- small, dark brown and mean looking. Well by that winter they got huge. There were a few times the "parents" ha ha were out of town, and Jerry and I were there alone. Only then would we sleep upstairs together in the living room where the fish were, not to mention a fireplace. We'd listen to Elton John and of course Alice. We cooked some great meals, we barbecued often and walked to the lake to swim.

Now let me make this clear: The Rooster has always been nothing but a gentleman toward me and is like a brother in my eyes. So, no, we were not making mad love on the floor while they were out of town. We did spend all our free time in there, though, and we learned that the Oscars definitely had little personalities. Once I could have sworn they were even paying attention to the football game! I wish I could remember their names. 

I think it's one of the things that made that summer bearable, and I'm grateful to this day for the time we all spent together. Rock star or not, I have never really done that since then -- bought fish, raised them with someone like they were our babies, even showing them off when friends like Chris Cornell came over. Jerry's a really nice guy, don't let him fool you that he's some jerk -- that's just his cover. He spent lots of time with me that he didn't have to and was not doing it to get laid. I'd wake up with him holding me, and I and everyone around us knew and understood, especially the fish!

Fond memories are harder and harder to come by. I have precious few of Jerry and I never want to make light of our time together because it was a horrible time, losing Andy... but yet a wonderful time for Seattle, for music and for raising Oscars with a friend. 

So I am giving the new Gossard a thumbs up, it was fun writing music, and since my new goal in life is to have as much fun as Stoney every day, my job here is done! I hope more of my readers start contributing stories, and I have several that were sent to me that I will be sharing later today in honor of Layne's birthday. 

Stoney's new solo album: 

More Rooster stories coming soon!