Kids, Come Look At This Dreadlock From My College Days

Jeff Newbrough
Jeff Newbrough

Hey, kids, look what I found! It was in an old trunk up in the attic, tucked away in a Ziploc bag under my Jane's Addiction T-shirt. Can you guess what it is? No, it's not a rancid old cigar. You're not even close. I'll give you a hint: It used to be growing out of my head. Give up? It's one of my old dreadlocks!

Bet you didn't know your old man used to be so cool, huh?

I don't mind if you touch it, but be careful. It's pretty brittle after all this time, especially since it hasn't been kept moisturized with fragrant oils like in its heyday. Go on, son. Touch it. Feel the weight of it in your hands. Gentle now!


Just smelling that mix of lemongrass oil and body odor takes me back. Boy, I must have cut this baby off 15 years ago at least. I sure had some times with this thing. We got crazy, me and this dreadlock. I was in college on the five-year plan, if you know what I mean. I studied hard, but I partied harder.

One time, during finals, I partied all night with your uncle Steve, dreadlocks and all, and we woke up the next morning in another town. I don't know how fast I was going in order to get back in time for my Econ 360 final, but I know I was still a little drunk and shouldn't have been driving!

Just to make sure we're straight, though, don't drink and drive. And I'm only paying for four years of college, so any longer than that and you're on your own.

Man, it's a lot smaller than I remembered. Of course, everything is bigger when you're young. You know, when I started this dreadlock, and all my other dreadlocks, I thought everyone in the world was looking at me and talking about the guy with dreadlocks. People were definitely a little freaked out at first, but that eventually wore off and then they were cool with it. You have to remember, dreadlocks were pretty radical back in 1991.


Let me hold it up to the light. Yeah, now you can really see the faded blue tint in there. I dyed a couple of my dreadlocks blue when I was in a band called Powerwasher. We did some wild stuff, I'm not going to lie, but it was always about the music. We were like a power pop trio, but noisier. If I had to describe it, I'd say we sounded like Cheap Trick meets Nirvana in a basement, and with dreadlocks.

Our local music scene was about to break, and we were right on the edge of it. We almost got signed. That's what they called it when a record label—a company that puts out music on a compact disc—agreed to support your band and release your album. If we got signed, this dreadlock and I would have toured the world together. I don't know what happened, though. I guess we all got a little older and wiser.


Don't turn away. This isn't just a 13-inch clump of matted hair. It's a piece of history.

I met your mother in this dreadlock. We lived in the same building for almost a year, but we never talked to each other. Then one night I heard a knock on the door, and we all got totally freaked out because we'd just taken a bunch of mushrooms. So we hid the bag under the couch cushion, which was a rookie move, but I was tripping balls and I thought it was the cops. Turned out it was just your mom. She was out of toilet paper and wanted to know if she could borrow a roll. Instead of going back to her place, she just hung out in that apartment with me for three days, playing with my dreadlocks.


She said that's what attracted her to me in the first place.

So here we are, 18 years later, and I don't have any regrets. Sure, I cut my dreadlocks off and got a "real" job after I graduated, but I still have a dreadlock inside my head that I'll never cut off. And each one of you kids is like a dreadlock to me. And you know what? Somewhere around here, I've got some other dreadlocks for you when you get married.


Now let's go to Chili's.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter