Let’s Get Triggered!

by Bobby Rock

Environmental Triggers: Key items and/or specific decor choices we include in our living/work space that inspire creativity, nostalgia, sentiment, or inspiration. 

I have a bunch of Environmental Triggers (ETs) around my crib and practice room: candles, records, shelves of books, stone and ceramic buddhas, art, religious tapestries, and a vintage drum. But perhaps the most unusual one is what I wanted to mention here: blacklight posters.

Yes, kids, I have inextricably linked the electric glow of old-school blacklight posters to my earliest days of drumming and music. I was one of those kids who had a drum set near my bed, blacklight posters all over my walls, and Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and Deep Purple records constantly spinning on the turntable. Of course, there would be marijuana and bourbon involved around this time, as well, but still: the joy of listening to ParanoidSchool's Out, or Made in Japan while surrounded by that wall-to-wall explosion of color, was all somehow foundational to my experience.

Probably 10-years old here...

And so, about 12 years ago, during a period of relative disillusionment, I ran across a photo on eBay of one of the exact posters I had on my wall as a kid, and it all came hurtling back to me: the roots; the beginnings; the impetus… as initially experienced through a filter of innocence and pure desire—a lethal combination, to be sure. I kept staring at the poster. It stirred something in me… a primal exhilaration, I suppose. I liked the feeling. And then I thought, “Why stare at a poster on a screen? Why not just buy the motherfucker?” So I did.

When the cardboard tube showed up a week later, I got such a rush out of unrolling the poster and seeing it in person, that an unexpected quest was initiated: I would search high and low, on eBay and elsewhere, for any and every blacklight poster I ever owned as a kid. And so it would be.

Over the next couple years, I managed to track down and purchase many of the posters I grew up with. Most of them wound up on the walls of a spare “work room” of sorts, but two of them would be prominently displayed in my bedroom, complete with a blacklight mounted above them for full effect. 

Notice that these two posters are in the early drumming pic above.
I would eventually find every poster in that photo...

Juvenile and tacky? Perhaps. But to my larger point here, these are real triggers for me. They burn in the corner like visual incense, setting a tone, creating a vibe, and taking me back to the beginning, reminding me of why I ever got involved in this crazy-ass business. They are a direct connection to those early epiphanies, and that enviable fire-trail of ambition. Sometimes I still just sit and stare at them.

Three Questions to Contemplate:

  • What are some of your preferred Environmental Triggers?
  • What are the general feelings they conjure up in you?
  • Do any go back to your childhood? 

(PS. Photos would be an obvious ET for most people but, with rare exception, not so much for me.)

Just some shit to think about….

PS. Here are just a few of my faves: