Blasts from the past can crop up at the strangest of times and in the strangest of places.
Just last week, a local band that I hadn't thought of in years resurfaced in my head after I was introduced to a county official before the MAMA Awards.
When I say "after," I mean a good 30 minutes after -- while sitting inside the Gallo Center theater watching the show. It took that long for it to register in my wee mind that the mild-mannered government guy and the wild rock 'n' roll frontman of a band my friends and I used to watch at a Turlock nightclub, oh, 20 years ago, were one in the same.
(Did I just say 20 years ago? Could that be right?).
As blasts from the past go, that one nearly propelled me right out of my brand spanking new Gallo Center seat.
No way, I thought. Can't be. This is not the wild punk rocker from that nightclub stage lo those many years ago.
The questions spun in my head: How did he go from black leather to suit and tie? When did everyone else become an adult? How did we all get here? Why do other people my age look so different when I haven't changed a bit?
OK, that last one was obviously a joke. Or a sad venture into serious denial. But the other questions were valid.
Really, just how did we get here?
I decided to find out. After all, said county official is just a hop, skip and an e-mail away. So I e-mailed Keith Boggs, deputy CEO at Stanislaus County, to find out.
Turns out the one-time rocker who toured the country in an old school bus a la the "Partridge Family" with his band Stray Heart (which gave way to Collective Hands, which gave way to 2000 Rooms) ended up in a suit and tie for the same reason a lot of us make the transition from wild youth to taxpaying citizen: He wanted to provide for his family.
"I just got tired," he said of the traveling and the low pay. So he headed back to school as a re-entry student, went on to get his master's in public administration and was hired by the county.
"At some point, five or six years in, I came home from work one evening and someone from the Stray Heart days had landed in from the blue," Boggs said. "And I had a tie on. And he said 'Oh, my gosh, you're a tie head.' The nickname Tie Head stuck and all of a sudden it was on my license plate."
It's also his MySpace name and the name of a new band of old friends who again are making music and working on an EP.
Silly, but I was kind of surprised that Boggs still is making new music. I guess it was that tie that threw me. But I shouldn't really have been surprised. After all, it's my personal belief that no matter how many years pass, if you ever wanted to rock, you always will want to rock.
Heck, I still want to rock and I don't even sing. Where anyone can hear me, anyway.
Boggs fondly recalls the rocking stage days of his past and seems excited about the music of his present. And he doesn't regret moving off the stage and behind a desk.
"Music, for me, was a bridge. It wasn't the be all and end all. I spent my youth ... playing music and traveling the world. It groomed me to be the professional I am," he said.
"Things happen for a reason, it's not serendipity -- it's synchronicity."
Boggs reminded me that in the '80s, there were only two venues in the area for his band to play: The Vintage in Modesto and The Club in Turlock. Both are long gone, but I'll bet there are a lot of folks out there who recall crazy nights from their youth at both. No doubt some might rather forget a few of those nights.
(Not that I have any nights like that in my past. No, no, not me. Maybe you. But not me.)
Today, there are multiple venues scattered around the area to make up for those old nightspots, giving today's young bands plenty of places to play and giving their young fans plenty of places to listen and build memories of their own.
I hope they cherish it because those memories can be fabulous, even 20 years later.
Even when you least expect that past to blast back at you.
Scene editor Pat Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.