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  • My first love was rock'n'roll. Before the obsession with pretty girls there were the Beatles and the Stones, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Bowie, Queen and many others. To quote Bruce Springsteen, "I learned more from a three-minute record than I ever did in school" except that by the late 70s those three minute records were twice as long.

    Could it have been 34 years ago? That seems like a long time yet hardly any time at all. I was a shaggy 17 year old standing in the J Compound of Tehran American School and feeling the boom of drums and the wail of electric guitars. We may have been half-way around the world from R_O_C_K in the USA but it wasn't left behind.

    Before the mullahs closed them down there were pirate music stores all over Tehran and rock geeks like me had boxes of their homemade cassette tapes. The cool Iranian guys who ran the stores knew what you liked, and if the LP didn't fill the cassette, they'd add something else: the Rolling Stones "Some Girls" with fours songs from KISS's "Destroyer" album. Persian courtesy at its finest.

    I never finished my senior year at Tehran American School. No one did. The revolution came and we were scattered to the winds. It wasn't until the advent of social media that we began to reconnect. It was like high school all over again except now the teenagers had crossed the half-century mark.

    This labor day weekend some of my former TAS classmates are getting together at a farm in Pennsylvania for a Reunion Jam. They're calling themselves "Shah Boy Slim and the Jumping Jube Dogs". Jubes are the deep concrete gutters that funnel the snowmelt from the Alborz mountains through the city of Tehran, and "jube dogs" were the feral canines that ran wild across the city, much as we expat teenagers did back in those crazy days.

    I'll be in Hawaii watching the live feed of the Jube Dogs on the internet, but a part of me will be time traveling back to Iran and to the reverberations of rock music drifting across that ancient land.

    "Too old to rock'n'roll, too young to die". I still don't know what that means, but I like it, like it, yes, I do.

    Rock on, you Jube Dogs! \m/

    * * * * *

    Image of "Ugly Ethel" at Tehran American School by Beth Lewis Cosgrove.
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