I got my first real boom box when in 1986. I was psyched. Previously, I had been listening to music on a crappy clock radio and crappier single-speaker tape deck. Sometimes, when both my parents were gone, I could use my dad's stereo and listen to music the way it was meant to be listened. But I finally had my own deck. My 12-year-old self was in heaven.
The problem was that I didn't have much music to listen to. I'd record songs off the classic rock radio station. I joined that damn monkey-on-the-back Columbia music 12 tapes for the price of one, bend over here it comes program. But 12 tapes only kept you going for so long. 12 tapes from Columbia house. 12 tapes from their crappy collection. I did get AC/DC's Who Made Who. And I got the Beastie Boy's Licensed to Ill. Funny that I can't remember what any of the others were.
But I was proud of the music I had. I would take my box, loaded up with what had to be 20 D-size batteries, and crank up my AC/DC while walking around my quaint little military subdivision.
And I learned a hard lesson. In an age where people who carried around boom boxes were cranking out stuff by Run DMC and the Beastie Boys (which I owned and probably should have carried also), walking around blasting "Who made who, who made you ..." was not exactly healthy.
It took only one incident for me to reconsider my new pastime. Walking to the small park in our subdivision, cranking out my normal stuff, I was approached by some guys who were obviously not pleased with what I was playing. They decided that it would be best to mess with me a little.
I was a naive kid. And being naive, I thought that if someone messed with you, you could mess back. And, further, that if it escalated and you got into a fight, you'd only fight one person, or one person at a time at least.
At least they only hit me and not my boom box.
Fortunately isn't wasn't long after that that I met a guy who lived just down the street from me. We shared a lot of musical interests and through him I discovered Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden and many others. Through him I met other guys who introduced me to The Misfits and The Sex Pistols and the punk music that became my passion.
We didn't have the resources that kids in California and New York had. We didn't have the internet. We didn't have clubs. Discovering new music took meeting somebody who already knew about it.
Thank God, 'cause after that ass kicking I might have gone country.