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Story of my life.

December 9, 2008

This is going to be a little bit of a different kind of post than usual, mainly because I’m exhausted and don’t feel like trying too hard. Plus, I don’t really have that much to say…most of my energy is concentrated on getting my new site up and running.

So, I like to poke my nose around the internet and see what other people are up to, and today was reading someone’s blog post about how they developed their musical tastes, what their influences were, etc. I thought it was an interesting read because I like understanding people, and a lot of what he said mirrored my experience. So, I decided to write my own, just for fun. You don’t really have to read it. I know it is a lot of writing. I guess this is mostly just something I want to do for myself.

I was born in the 1980’s which means that I wasn’t old enough to enjoy most of the music I like while it was still on top of the world. Growing up, I never cared much for music-my mom forced me to take piano lessons and she signed me up for kindermusik, and even as a young kid I distinctly remember hating it. I don’t really remember my parents playing any music around me except Amy Grant and some old cassette tapes of hymns and worship songs we had, and even then we only listened to it in the car. I think my mom especially was especially intent on “shielding” me from all the other stuff that was going on.

I remember the first music I ever owned, I got two cassette tapes for Christmas and I thought I was “all that” and then some because now I owned my own tapes. One of them was an Amy Grant tape, and the other one was Leann Rimes. I liked them ok, but I think it was mainly the thrill of owning my own tape rather than the music itself. I have no idea where those things are now, but I kind of wish they’d turn up. I’d like to hear them again.

I was never big into trends, and I’m still not. All that boyband and pop stuff prettymuch passed me by. I have pictures of all my friends dressed up as Spice Girls, but I don’t think I could tell you a single Spice Girls song, now or then. I think I’ve always had a really rebellious heart, and when I seem to be pretty typical, I think once you get to know me you might find that the things I like aren’t really what you expected. At least, thats what people have told me before. I’ve always done my own thing. In fact, I distinctly remember telling my friends one time that I wasn’t going to be a fan of Hanson (or whoever it was that day, who knows…) because he was just going to go out of style anyway and someone else would get famous in his place, so I was going to bypass the whole thing and find the good stuff that lasts. She got mad at me and swore that whoever it was was going to be around forever. psh. Where are they now? I don’t know how I knew all that at the age of 10, but I did. And ever since then it has just been one long journey to find my niche.

So, like I said, I started with Amy Grant, the first tape ever given to me. I think the first tape I ever bought myself was Creed. I’d heard them on the radio and I was pretty sure they’d scare my parents. So I brought it home and put in in the CD player in the kitchen while washing dishes. And I blasted it. It didn’t go over well. I think that was the moment my parents decided they’d lost me. That, and the time I asked them if they’d give me some tape by one of the Van Zants and my mom looked at me as if she’d just seen the devil. I still don’t know what is wrong with Van Zant, but whatever. Looking back Creed doesn’t seem like much to speak of, but at that point it was prettymuch the heaviest music I’d ever heard and I thought I was some sort of rockstar for listening to it. I listened to it every day on the bus coming home from school until this punk chick with pink hair who used to sit in front of me not so kindly informed me one day that Creed was not metal and I needed to go look around some more. I knew a lot of bands like Guns and Roses and the Crue and whoever else, but as a kid I was always scared to get too close to them because I was pretty sure my mom would have an ulcer (whenever I do anything she doesn’t like she tells me shes getting an ulcer and it is my fault) and I didn’t know what an ulcer was but I envisioned it leading to extreme pain or death and I really didn’t want to be responsible for inflicting that upon my mother.

Through middle school I did whatever…I started playing trumpet in band in 6th grade and then in 8th grade I randomly decided I was going to play saxophone too. So I did. I was fairly good at it, but I don’t practice like I should. That was the first time I got really interested in music, and how songs are put together. About 7th grade I even got my mom to re-sign me up for the piano lessons that I had been begging for years for her to let me quit. I was all over the board in middle school. I can’t even begin to tell you what I was listening to. A little of everything, I guess. Middle school was definitely a time of self discovery, to say the least.

By the time I entered high school I was pretty sure I wanted to be some sort of goth/punk/badass, which failed miserably because I’m really not any of those things. There is a picture of me in my freshman year yearbook wearing these black and blue plaid pants, a long black jacket, and some sort of steel toed combat boots. If my mom would have allowed me to deck myself out in chains and bandanas I probably would have. Luckily, I was actually standing behind someone when that picture was taken so you can’t really see, but I remember that outfit distinctly and I know thats what I was wearing. Thankfully I outgrew that. Sort of. At school there was rap everywhere, and on the bus I would sit with one of my friends who would try to get me to listen to Eminem tapes with her. I liked Nelly, mostly because we played Shake Ya Tailfeather and Delimma in band and I liked those, but otherwise I never liked rap and I still don’t. I was also never a fan of Weezer or any of those alt bands that everyone listened to, or the wanna-be punk bands that really aren’t punk but tried to coerce naive kids into believing they are. I listened to a lot of mix tapes I made, they’d have everything from old-school country and R&B to the Beatles to Michael Jackson and everything in between. I was always into my music being harder and heavier, and I would pick songs like Dirty Diana over say, The Girl is Mine. I still think that song could have been a great metal song had someone other than Michael Jackson done it. So I always knew what I liked, I just don’t think I knew where to look for it. Music was a big part of my life in High School, but it was mostly music peformance that I focused on. I listened to everything I could get my hands on, but it didn’t define me so much then. I doubt even my close friends really had a clue what I was listening to.

It really wasn’t until college when I took advantage of legal downloading programs such as ruckus that I started to get really obsessed with actually listening to music and expanding my knowledge. Sure, I could have named every song on Appetite for Destruction before coming to college, but suddenly having a huge library of music at my fingertips gave me the chance to find other Gun N Roses songs I wasn’t so familiar with, not to mention side projects such as Slash’s Snakepit or Adler’s Appetite. I guess since then my awareness has just ballooned. And of course, one thing leads to another…now I’m listening to bands like Vains of Jenna, which i personally consider to be the Guns n Roses for 2008 (no, there really isn’t a comparison,but its all we got at the moment). And through VOJ I discovered the rest of the new Swedish sleaze scene.

And here I am.

rock on.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. dokken1 permalink
    December 10, 2008 12:08 am

    Dream Theater is in the studio again, and I can’t wait to see what magic they produce!

  2. holepuncher permalink
    December 10, 2008 9:30 am

    Good story. Glad you were saved from Creed, ha. In a way I envy you and in other ways I don’t. I was born in ’77 so my middle school experience was all about hair metal – which was at the peak of its popularity and everywhere on MTV and the radio. I got to see Motley and Guns and Poison and Skid Row and Warrant and so many of those bands live and in stadiums and with all their hair and no plastic surgery. And then I was a freshman in high school when Nirvana broke, which was exactly when I was starting to get bored with a lot of what I had been listening to. It was perfect timing and really exciting to have another genre explode like alternative music did in the 90s.

    On the other hand, you have ruckus which I had never even heard of until I read this and now I’m quite jealous. I think the internet has opened up a floodgate of subgenres that make it less and less likely we’ll see another band break as big as Guns or Nirvana. We’re so niche oriented in regards to music right now that it’s hard to imagine how one band can pull enough people from those niches to be really, really HUGE, you know? But the internet also makes it so easy to find something you like and find others who like it. And that’s a very good thing.

    My point is, don’t be too hard on Weezer. Rivers used to be in a metal band, after all:

    http://www.myspace.com/avantgarde88

  3. December 11, 2008 2:40 am

    Its interesting to hear your perspective on grunge. Most people I know are so hardcore against it and always talking about how it “ruined” everything. Sure, it changed a lot…but it’s good to put it in context. I personally am also kind of glad it came out, most of hair metal was just getting too manufactured by that point…

    and you’re right about the internet. It is kind of overwhelming sometimes. But now I have it, I wonder how I ever found out about anything when I didn’t have it! It has given lots of bands a chance to get their name out, but at the same time, it means that there are just too many bands now…imo.

    haha, I’ll give Weezer a chance, then 😉 I don’t really have a reason not to like them. Its just that everyone else was listening to them and I had to be the stubborn one. haha

  4. holepuncher permalink
    December 11, 2008 9:49 am

    Grunge didn’t really ruin anything. It’s all cyclical. If it hadn’t been grunge it would have been something else. The music got stale in the late 80s and there were too many bands that all sounded and looked the same. And you know what? The same thing happened with alternative rock in the mid 90s. Or look at all those Nu Metal bands who have seen their popularity drastically diminish since 2002 or so. What’s popular is constantly changing and a lot of it’s dictated by marketing, unfortunately. But the plus side is that usually the ones who survive these cycles are the bands that are the most talented and the most creative. Sometimes trends help cut out the lame.

    But seriously – some of the early grunge stuff is really, really good. Forget everything Chris Cornell has done this decade. The first three Soundgarden albums are heavy as shit. And Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff will make you want to start a band in your bathroom. It’s a classic.

  5. December 11, 2008 9:56 am

    can’t argue with that!!
    I’ve got a little bit of grunge stuff. I think I do have a Soundgarden album but I don’t listen to it a whole lot. I like Pearl Jam, though.

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