“…life ain’t so bad at all, if you live it off the wall”. – Michael Jackson
It’s 1983 and while most kids my age were outside playing with G.I. Joe and Matchbox cars, I was listening to Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. It was an excellent era in which to be discovering music, especially at such a young age. In an attempt to keep my older sister out of trouble, my parents subscribed (yes, you had to subscribe at first) to MTV. While that didn’t seem to do anything for her at all, it changed my life. The television became my muse as I searched for anything musical that piqued my interest. Michael Jackson was a given. How could you not like him? If anything, the dancing alone was worth watching. I had the jacket and the signature white glove, and I wore ‘em well. While his actions later in life may seem questionable, I implore anyone who has not seriously listened to Off the Wall to do so immediately.
So thus began my musical quest. I would say that I liked more music at the time than I disliked. When you’re a young child, you are not as skeptical about music. It didn’t matter if the band wasn’t cool, or if they had sold out. If I could bop my head to it, I liked it. Aside from Michael Jackson, I was a huge fan of Styx. What five-year-old is rocking out to Styx? Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. Domo indeed.
As I entered my early teen years I delved into various musical genres. Now, this was in a day when you actually had to search out music. No mp3 downloads, no Myspace pages, no stealing music from your friend’s iTunes collection. You had to work to find a new band, and when you found something that you just absolutely loved, you treasured it. I discovered The Doors, Faith No More, Metallica, Jefferson Airplane, The Hair Soundtrack, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I ordered 12 cassettes for the price of 1 from Columbia House and BMG, and how many fake names I used. By this time it was the early 1990’s and the music scene was flooding itself with genres. Grunge was on its way to my ears and I had no idea. I was just an innocent eighth grader at a Catholic school getting yelled at for wearing a Ministry shirt (I couldn’t pass it off as religious music?).
Entering a large high school from a junior high graduating class of ten was difficult. But the plethora of new people and their musical tastes made it actually somewhat enjoyable to go to class - this is where my love for metal really started to expand beyond the bands I had seen and heard on TV and radio. I wanted my music heavier, faster, darker, and damn it, I was going to find it. I recall a trip to a store that sold used just about anything you can think of. Some poor sap unfortunately sold off his metal cassette collection, maybe because he was interested in this new ‘compact disc’ technology, or perhaps he had given up on the sweet sounds of Carcass, Bathory, Celtic Frost & Deicide. I would gladly shake this person’s hand if I were to meet him today. Had he not sold off his collection (and I assume it was a he), I would be a totally different person than I am today.
As I got older the music I had spent the last few years infatuated with had started to grow stale. I sought out every sub-genre of metal I could find, and my interest in each was shorter than the one before it. It all started to sound the same. Every new band was just a combination of sounds from three other bands and only sounded half as good. With Napster and Audiogalaxy, music was at my fingertips and I began to listen to styles that I would never have bought. Suddenly I found it more interesting to find that one gem that no one had ever heard of, rather than a great band that everyone knew. The music snob in me had started to form.
While I’ve left many gaps in my musical experiences for the sake of not boring you to death, and because I am not trying to write my first book, I just can’t narrow my musical tastes down to one style. I pretty much just love music. Sure, I hate country and most pop and rap, but that’s not really music now, is it? Ok, I’m kidding - I can rock out to Kurtis Blow or the latest song to make it on The Hills soundtrack just like the rest of ‘em. I can tell you that if it’s good, I’ll listen to it. But nowadays, it has to be extremely good to garner even more than one listen from me anymore. With the amount of music at my fingertips, why would I bother with anything less? If you can’t hold my attention for one album, I can easily find another one that can.
On that note, I will leave you with a few bands that have been worthy of my musical attention span for more than fifteen minutes. Do with these bands what you will, but please, at least check them out. If you find at least one song you like from any of these bands, I’ve done what I’ve set out to do. Enjoy!!!
Ra Ra Riot
Land of Talk
- ► 2010 (21)
- ▼ October (8)