Feeling Fifteen Again – the story behind the song

The questions most often asked about the album ‘Feeling Fifteen Again’ and the title song is ‘Why Fifteen? What so special about 15?’. 

My answer is simple; That’s when I first got hooked on performing music. Being naturally long-winded, here’s further explanation.

When I was 15 years old, I was in a band without a name. We ‘borrowed’ a name from a band we’d read about in the Chicago Tribune Sunday section. That band was called ‘Saturday’s Children’ – which is a great name. We borrowed it to play a show at the Momence Gladiolus Festival in 1965. The Glad Fest was a big deal – especially for a young band who didn’t even have a name to call their own.

The festival organizers were serious; we had to audition, await a call-back and then audition again. Very grueling, I can tell you. For the second audition, we played Bob Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women 12 & 35’ from his landmark album, ‘Blonde on Blonde’. (Dylan devotees will know that this album was his ‘electric album’ which the die-hard folkies of the day detested as an abomination; a sell-out to corporate music. Very radical. Quite the controversy.)

The gig itself was before about 1000 people sitting in the grandstand set up for the glorious reviewing of flower-bedecked floats and grand displays of (what else?) gladiolus. The stage was not a stage at all but a tarpaulin stretched across the ground in front of the stands upon which sat all the electrical equipment; amps, drums, mike, PA stuff, etc.
Now, somebody must have thought that the tarpaulin would somehow remove the chance of electrocution. They were wrong.

As soon as we took up our electric guitars we were acting grounding agents and inviting electrical shocks. As the lead singer, singing into the only microphone – a huge cast aluminum, potato-masher of a thing – I got a fist full of shocks. Each time my mouth got within about an inch of the mike, the juice would arc and blast me with a mind-numbing shock.  The first time was when I greeted the crowd and offered thanks.
Blam!
I was sent reeling back-wards several stumbled feet. I fought to come to my senses as my fellow band-mates stood questioning my odd behavior before the gladiolus crowd.

I approached the mike again more cautiously but suffered the shocking blue arc as I grounded the whole system. Another stumble and the drummer counted off the Rolling Stones’ ballad, ‘As Tears Go By’.

Ouch! We made it through the song. Somehow, I managed to remember the words, the arrangement and was able to play the correct chords on my red Kingston faux-Stratocaster.

Maybe it was the electrical jolts that reinforced the imprinted of that day on my brain. It was a real ‘rush’ performing in front of so many people and that experience was burned into my psyche by the faulty electrical set-up.

Feeling Fifteen Again
DC Rapier ©2018

Back when giants roamed the land, there was a battle of the bands
Our band competed with a borrowed name
We were minnows in a pond, but music was our magic wand
and if we waved it, it would bring us fame

Yeah, I’m feeling fifteen again  Wish I had the energy I had back then
But I’m feeling fifteen again  Every time I hit the stage, no matter when
I’m feeling fifteen again

That boy who sang his all, he  grew up big and tall  While the universe made other plans
But flip the power on, a new day starts to dawn That boy of fifteen takes control of the man

I blame John Lennon for my misspent youth  All of his yeah, yeah, yeah and goo-goo-ga-choo
But I wouldn’t trade it for diamonds or gold  Cuz it’s music that’s enriched my soul

Now, I strap on a guitar in a neighborhood bar  When the sunset’s a recent memory
The music strikes a spark; illuminates the dark  A flame burns brightly for all to see

Yeah, I’m feeling fifteen again  Wish I had the energy I had back then
But I’m feeling   fifteen again  Every time I hit the stage, no matter when
I’m feeling fifteen again

*Nota bene: The first line of the song ‘Back when giants roamed the land’ refers to the giants of the music biz when I has a lad; the Beatles, Elvis, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and all the others of that incredible era.

[ 中文歌詞翻譯 ]

在那個巨人們*漫遊這塊土地上的時代
有個比賽叫做樂團之戰
我們的樂團用借來的名字來參加
我們如同在池塘裡的小魚, 但是音樂就像是我們手上的魔杖
好像我們一揮就會讓我們成名

是的, 我覺得我還是十五歲… 再一次
真希望我能擁有那時的活力
但是, 我覺得我還是十五歲
每當我登上舞台, 無論何時
是的, 我覺得我還是十五歲… 再一次

喔, 那個男孩花盡所有的力氣在音樂上, 他長得又高又壯
正當宇宙有其他計畫時
就像電源被打開了; 黎明開始了新的一天
那個十五歲的男孩又再次掌管了那個男人

我責備約翰·藍儂使我浪費了青春
他所有的yeah, yeah, yeah and goo-goo-ga-choo *
但是我不會把這些時間跟鑽石或黃金交換
因為音樂豐富了我的靈魂

現在,我背著吉他在鄰近的酒吧裡
看著夕陽是最近的回憶
音樂引起了火花, 照亮了黑暗
而火焰明亮地燃燒著,讓所有人都可以感受到

是的, 我覺得我還是十五歲… 再一次
真希望我能擁有那時的活力
但是, 我覺得我還是十五歲
每當我登上舞台, 無論何時
是的, 我覺得我還是十五歲… 再一次

[ 備註 ]

*那個時代音樂界的巨人; 披頭四, 貓王, 鮑勃·迪倫, 滾石樂隊以及那個不可思議的時代中的所有其他人.
*yeah, yeah, yeah and goo-goo-ga-choo – 約翰·藍儂歌曲中的歌詞

[ 此首歌的背景及故事 ]

這首歌是關於男主角的樂團第一次參加比賽的心情以及對音樂的熱愛. 當他慢慢成為一個男人時, 因為現實的生活讓他年輕時的夢想沒有繼續實現, 或許是上天注定或許是因緣際會, 那個十五歲的男孩又再一次掌控了這個男人,他現在更熱情地做他的音樂表演並實現他15歲時的夢想,而每次上台他都會想起最初表演時的感覺,彷彿又再次把他帶回到那個時空.

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