I recounted this particular tale some months back in my blog at Derfcity.com, my main website, but it's bizarre enough that I'll post it here as well, for those who missed it.
Dahmer has been adopted as an anti-hero by the Death Metal crowd, the outcast who was bullied and shunned and then lashed back at the society that had done these things. This is crap on a number of levels, of course. Dahmer was driven by insatiable sexual depravity, not by some metalhead revenge fantasy. Most of his victims were gay, black men. You'd be hard pressed to come up with a more shunned and bullied group than gay, black men!
Ah, but such logic doesn't stop the metalheads. There have been a number of groups "inspired" by Dahmer: Apartment 213, Trophies of Dahmer, a group simply named Dahmer and this one below, Macabre, that put out a 26-song Dahmer tribute album in 2000! This cut below, Do the Dahmer, is an ode to our high school antics. How many of you readers have a death metal anthem to your teenage goofballery?
There's been some conjecture in metal circles about Dahmer's musical tastes. metal in the 1970s was in it's infancy. A lot of it was kid stuff, like Kiss and Alice Cooper. Most seem to think Jeff was a Judas Priest fan, which is a rumor probably started by Priest's publicist! The truth about Dahmer's musical taste is far stranger.
This comes from friend Neil, one of the small group of band nerds who befriended Dahmer in high school and formed the Dahmer Fan Club to egg him on in his various acts of weirdness, "Doing the Dahmer" as the song says. You'll read all in the book. Neil contributed much material, through many emails and conversations, as I was putting together this book over the past several years. But he dropped this particular story on me just a few months ago, a painfully tardy contribution, since the book was already printed and steaming across the Pacific from the printing plant in China! Too late to add it, alas, so you readers get it as an added treat.
In the Summer of 1975, between freshman and sophomore years, Neil and Dahmer went to a concert together. The Cleveland area, which our town was on the far edge of, was known at that time as the Rock Capital of the World, due to several powerful and influential FM stations and a huge, rabid rock fandom. There were many venues in the area where legendary concerts were held, but none was more beloved than Blossom Music Center.
Blossom was WAY out in the boonies, in the rolling countryside far south of Cleveland (it's now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park). It was an outdoor amphitheater, surrounded by a vast, sloping lawn where concert-goers could spread out with blankets and picnic dinners and enjoy a live performance. It opened in 1968 to serve as the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra (which it still is). Looking for extra revenue, the following year Blossom began booking rock acts and immediately became THE place to see live music.
The official capacity was 8,000. But because of its rural setting, fans would simply abandon their cars on the berms of the surrounding, gridlocked country roads and hike through the woods to crash the gates. There was no fence or barrier, the local police force was comprised of Goober and Barney, and Blossom security was totally overwhelmed as kids poured in from every direction. A Blood, Sweat & Tears concert in 1969 drew a crowd of over 80,000! It was Woodstock every weekend! Concert-goers drank wine out of sheepskin jugs and passed joints and bongs. A giant fog of pot smoke hung over the throng, at times obliterating the amphitheater itself. Couples frolicked naked in the nearby woods. All over the lawn, lovers crawled into sleeping bags to hump, the bags moving in time to the beat, like giant caterpillars. I saw my first live music (and my first naked woman!) here. Tickets were so cheap, $4 a head, and it was so easy to sneak into a show, that it really didn't even matter who was playing. You went for the experience and to try to meet girls. Never had any success there, despite the frequent topless nymphs dancing through the crowd.
So in the Summer of 1975, just before the start of our Sophomore year, Neil and Dahmer decided to attend a Blossom concert. Neil suspects it was Dahmer's first show. It may well have been his ONLY concert. Neither teenager was driving yet, so Dahmer's dad drove them as close as he could to the Blossom entrance, until the traffic gridlocked and then the boys walked the rest of the way, probably a couple miles. Heck, the driveway into the grounds was a couple miles long, so it was likely a four-or-five-mile hike! Made a few of those myself. He picked them up at the same spot at a designated time after the show. Traffic leaving Blossom shows was just as bottlenecked as it was before events. Many kids just slept in their cars until the following day!
The headliner for this show? Neil Sedaka!! That's right, the chubby, little schlockmeister who penned some of the most vile Top 40 hits of the Seventies!!! Friend Neil recalls that Dahmer was quite taken with Sedaka's music at the time and pushed to attend the show. I had MY young guilty pleasures, too, before I discovered punk rock later in the Seventies and my tastes refined, but NEVER something THIS godawful!!
That's right, metalheads. Turns out Dahmer was, in fact, a Neil Sedaka fan!