May 31, 1975
“One of these nights, one of these crazy old nights… we’re gonna find out pretty mama, what turns on your lights… The full moon is calling, the fever is high and the wicked wind whispers and moans… You’ve got your demons, you got your desires, well, I’ve got a few of my own.”
Okay, I’d been 10 years old for fifteen days when this song was released and started playing on the radio and I’ll be honest: It scared the crap out of me. “The wicked wind whispers and moans?” Huh? Gulp.
It might have been that my oldest brother, Woody, turned 18 that day, which carried some weird and sinister overtones to it (I remember thinking five years earlier, the day he turned 13 and I was newly five, that he was going to beat the crap out of me because he was now a “teenager” and that’s just what teenagers did).
It could have been that because at 18, he was 6’7″ and 250 pounds. (Well, that’s what I would have guessed anyway, he was probably 6’1″, 185.) He had the long, 1975 hair and some weird, paisley, hippy shirts and gave off a “stay the hell away from me” vibe. To the 10-year old me, he was cool but certainly ominous. (The guy shared a birthday with Clint Eastwood and Joe Namath for god’s sake.)
He was the only one of my four brothers who had his own bedroom, and trust me, you did not go into Woody’s bedroom. At 10 years old I would have rather been forced to run naked through my dad’s home office singing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” while he was on the phone pitching a story idea to his boss than walk into Woody’s room while he was…. well, whatever the hell it was he did in there. (To my decade old brain everything was in play, he was an 18-year old and it was 1975 for frugs sake: drugs, booze, voodoo dolls, ouija boards, dirty magazines, Doors records, weed lined with acid, just everything man, GENERAL SIN, FILTH AND MACABRE lived in Woody’s room.
I had to stand in line to use the bathroom quite a bit at the Hubbell house when I was 10, and that line would put you about four feet away from the door to Woody’s room. Most of us were too scared to even look in there. If there was no bathroom line you would hurry by much like you would if you were passing an ally downtown and you knew a bunch of skinheads were about to brawl with a bunch of devil-worshippers. You wanted to look, you just couldn’t risk it.
Woody, much like one of those devil-worshippers, might catch your eye and call out, “WHAT THE F*%K ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” At which point you would literally fly into the bathroom, slam the door shut and wait for four days until you knew the coast was clear.
He was a scary dude in a scary room, and it was just a heady time to be a 10-year old in general. The country was in the grips of the “Energy Crisis”, so much so that daylight savings time had started two months early that year– in February. The President had resigned the previous summer and that winter the former Attorney General, John Mitchell, along with White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman had been sentenced to prison for their involvement in Watergate.
At the end of April the communists of North Vietnam had completely overrun South Vietnam and the war had ended with what was called, “The Fall of Saigon.” I didn’t really know what that meant, but it sure sounded important and dreadful.
Shamed Presidents, DC big-wigs getting jailed and crazy people in far away lands shooting each other from four inches away. And now the damn Eagles were singing about, “searching for the daughter of the devil himself.”
I made a decision that day to stop being such a wussy. Yeah there was a lot of bad stuff going on, but I was finishing up fifth grade now, so maybe it was high time I started to kick back at the world a little bit. Bolstered by my new fighting spirit, I listened to “One of These Nights” again, and I actually dug it. The radio began to inspire me as it seemed like all the songs were telling me it was time to man up: Kung Fu Fighting, Rhinestone Cowboy, The Hustle, Chevy Van. (Okay, Chevy Van didn’t really inspire me, but c’mon, I was 10, I knew there was some cool stuff going on in that song.)
That night we’re having Woody’s birthday party down in the kitchen and I find myself upstairs, headed to the bathroom. Everyone else is downstairs. Woody’s bedroom door is wide open and the light is on. It’s almost inviting me in. Instead of walking right by, I take a quick glance into the mysterious dungeon. Closer, closer…. next thing you know, I’m in the middle of his room looking at all his stuff.
A stack of Sport magazines. A book about Mickey Mantle. An empty bottle of Coke. A necklace with a saint on the head of it. A Hall and Oates record. A golf club. No voodoo dolls. No dirty mags. No acid weed. No riff-raff at all.
I walked into the bathroom a new man. I’d conquered a fear. I told myself that it really was silly the things that could wind up the nine and under set. Whatever, I was a man now and the summer of 1975 was coming on full steam ahead, nothing to be afraid of at all.
20 days later this came out: