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Grateful for my babysitter

I’ve been reminiscing a lot about discovering Pearl Jam lately. I posted this on my Facebook group Pearl Jammers, and thought I’d chuck it here too.

Back in 1993 (when I was 12), my babysitter, Peter, gave me a tape of Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion II. He warned me to never let my parents hear it cause they’d take it off me. It was like nothing I’d heard before. I loved it, it moved me like nothing had before. Those guitar licks. Those solos. That snake-like screech.

I asked Pete if there were any other tapes he could give me, so, the next time he visited, I got shitty old dubs of Pearl Jam’s Ten and Vs. I listened to Vs. first and I can’t even begin to describe how it felt – like my life had instantly been rebooted. It’s like all my senses were washed clean and I was experiencing emotions like never before.

I instantly started playing along to both albums on my drumkit, pretty much on a daily basis. Then I got my mum’s old giant Yamaha acoustic guitar and started working out how to play chords and riffs.

Later I discovered that a mate’s older brother had been to the US and had brought back this elusive thing called The Hallucinogenic Recipes. Like a pandoras box of mystery and naughty lyrics.

I lived to track down new people who loved this band; to trade tapes and live boots. Eventually I made contact with a girl from from Engadine who hooked me up with MTV Unplugged and Pinkpop 92 on VHS. I made 2 copies of that tape, and watched them every morning before school. When the first copy died I’d start the next one. I still have the original VHS with “Do not ever erase or I WILL KILL YOU” scratched angrily all over it.

I’ll always be eternal to my amazing babysitter. Thanks to him I found this band that has changed my soul.

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