Pedestrians walking downtown Colorado Springs may, on an occasional evening, hear what might sound like a nearby rock concert. Or perhaps a loud bar or house party.
They’d probably be surprised to find it’s likely just 72-year-old Marc Jones rocking out, alone, in his garage. The retired garbage collector has transformed the space into a temple of sorts, honoring who he sees as the gods of '80s rock and roll.
The red carpet and walls of the garage match his long, dyed-red goatee. A waist-high speaker with color-changing LEDs pumps out his favorite ballads from his music collection, all DVDs, that he watches from a flatscreen TV set up in the corner of the garage.
“I’m on my third and fourth DVD of some of them, because I’ve worn the other ones out, playing them so much,” he said.
Jones’s penchant for memorabilia extends beyond the garage; it’s throughout his whole two-bedroom home. It includes 14 electric guitars and two electric basses, though he doesn’t know how to play.
“I just can’t do it, my fingers don’t work that way,” he laughs. “But, they look good hanging on the walls.”
Over the past decade, Jones thinks he’s put well over 10,000 hours into “Marc’s Little Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” a constantly evolving collection of memorabilia, posters and handmade displays that brings him contentment in retirement and which he said will never be finished.
The collection, both in music and collectibles, honors bands from across his favorite decade of rock: KISS, Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses and above all his favorite band (“obviously”) Def Leppard.
His love for the “Pour Some Sugar On Me” stars is obvious looking around the garage. He says he immediately added the recently-released Def Leppard Funko Pop figurines to his large collection of the big-headed dolls. And he inked a tattoo of the band’s insignia on his forearm just a couple of months ago. Much of that passion stems from his respect from the band’s iconic one-armed drummer, Rick Allen.
“I would love to have him come here and see the stuff that I’ve made, you know, for him,” Jones said. “He’s my living mortal God, Rick Allen.”
The '80s rock temple is a passion project meant to be shared, but lately Jones has found fewer opportunities to do so
Jones had a long habit of opening the garage door facing North Cascade Avenue downtown and cranking the music loud. (The buildings around him are businesses that close in the evenings.)
“People used to stop by all the time. Not so much anymore,” Jones said. “I think after Coronavirus, people don't do it as much as they used to.”
He has a well-stocked refrigerator in the garage for any passers-by who might want to come look around.
A 2023 report from the U.S. Surgeon General found feelings of loneliness and social isolation were increasing among older Americans. Then during the pandemic, it spiked. For Jones, at his age, family and friends have become fewer and far between.
“During the week, I may not see anybody at all, except for if I go out to check my mail,” Jones said, “which is not my choice, but that’s just how it goes.”
Jones has a sort of stoic acceptance of his situation that comes without complaint. It fits, rather than contrasts, with his tearing up while watching Rick Allen on the garage TV — the legend pounding away on his modified drum kit.
Jones said he feels the loneliness, but the garage gives him purpose. Tinkering with it, switching items out and updating it essentially serves as his new full-time hobby.
“It’ll never be through. If it's done, then I got nothing to do. I'm done, you know?” he said. “It just keeps me going.”
While his body may feel worn out from decades of heaving trash bins, he said his heart feels young. And he can still rock and roll all night long.
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