Monsters of Christmas past

I'm always nostalgic this time of year -- for big Italian holiday feasts, midnight mass at St. Monica's church, and punk rock.Let me explain.

The association between Christmas and punk rock started when I was 13, when my friends and I went to see a band play in the cafeteria of our high school.It was a punk rock band. A band called Shrapnel.

I was mesmerized.That night I fell for Shrapnel with the fervor only an 8th grade girl can summon. Down came my Shaun Cassidy poster and up went Shrapnel. I spent hours staring up at the lead singer, praying that somehow, someday I could know him.


I'll spare you the stories (for now, anyway) of me following Shrapnel around to legendary NYC music venues, like CBGBs; places that perhaps were not the most hospitable to a teenaged girl.But somehow it always worked out, sometimes with Shrapnel having to come to my rescue.

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My favorite Shrapnel show happened one cold Christmas night when I was 16. It was a midnight show.Now if going to a punk rock show at midnight doesn't sound like a traditional Christmas, keep in mind, the guys in the band were from our tiny hometown, making even our parents proud, so we were allowed to break with tradition.And, well, this was New Jersey.

That night dozens of us packed a club in Red Bank and sang along, our fists in the air. The show was magical, filled with electricity and friends and the promise of things to come. You know, just like Christmas should be. I wished it would last forever. But… spoiler alert…a couple years later, Shrapnel broke up.

The good news is the lead singer, Dave Wyndorf, formed a new band. A band called Monster Magnet. They're described as a "stoner rock band" (or "doom metal" or "psychedelic space rock" or whatever else they call the genre that involves "space-noir, tales of cosmic revenge, alienation and epic strangeness.")

Imagine my excitement when I heard that Monster Magnet would be on tour for the first time in a decade and playing at in NYC this month. It felt like a Christmas miracle.

Word spread like a fuse on a firecracker, my phone lighting up with old friends planning to go to the show.

I laid out my black leather jacket, combat green fatigues, and black studded boots (I'd kept them, you know, just in case).

I warned my husband not to wait up. Hey man, we were getting the gang back together!And yeah, I know we're older and not quite as spry as we were at 16. And some of our dearest friends aren't with us anymore. But for one night, I was going to time-travel back to the thrill of teenage rock and roll.

Of course, it was not to be. Dave Wyndorf got sick, the show got cancelled. A flurry of forlorn emails flew around, all of us bummed out and hoping that we'll still get another chance, another time. They say you can't go home again.But for a few brief moments, I got to feel that old excitement and anticipation.

So what did I do Saturday night instead? Had a cozy dinner with my husband and kids. We hung our stockings, lit a fire and listened to music.

There's a band my 8-year-old daughters really like. A band called One Direction. I hear the singers are dreamy.I get it. They're not exactly psychedelic space metal but this Christmas, they'll have to do.