Since Tuesdays are traditionally the day that new albums are released I’ll make them my dedicated music days. I’m sure most other days will end up being music related also, but Tuesdays for sure and I’ll try to keep the focus on New Music.
Since I think it helps to know the background of a reviewer let me tell you a little bit about my musical history. The first records (yes vinyl) I remember playing were a bunch of 7″ singles given to me by an uncle. I listened to all of them in one sitting at the age of 8 or 9 and made a pile of the songs I liked. Not surprisingly the pile was mainly Beatles and Beach Boys songs with the addition of “Wipeout” and The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” From that point on I was hooked on music.
Next up I started hearing songs on the radio (and at roller rinks, yeah) and would beg my parents to let me buy the album they were on. My Mom was ahead of her time and pointed out that I probably wouldn’t like anything else on the album so I should stick to singles. One day at a friend’s house I heard the J. Geils Band album Freeze Frame…I had to have it and ran ought to buy my very own copy.
This was circa 1981 and I remember listening to Aerosmith, Styx and a few other 70’s bands that were stretching things into the 80’s. Keep in mind this was an era before music videos so imagine my surprise when I saw what some of these bands looked like. I vividly remember seeing The Rolling Stones on TV and my Mom saying, ‘this is what being on drugs looks like.’ Thanks Mom.
As I got a little older vinyl was starting to go out of fashion and I started buying cassettes by Van Halen (1984), Def Leppard (Pyromania), The Police (Synchronicity) and ZZ Top (Eliminator). I played them loud on my little boom box in my room until one day I heard a band on the radio called Motley Crue playing a song called “Looks That Kill.”
I hit Record on my tape deck, sat listening in rapture then popped the tape out and rode 2 miles to my best friend’s house. I thrust the tape into his hand gasping for breath and managed to make him understand that he needed to listen to it right away.
Thus began the first real musical movement in my life, 80’s Metal. While Motley Crue introduced me it was the next band that I became obsessed with, Iron Maiden. Not long after devouring their two most recent albums Powerslave and Piece of Mind I went with the aforementioned friend, his older sister (also smitten with Metal) and his Dad to see them live. It was a life changing experience for me which was made even more important a year and a half later when my friend died unexpectedly of a heart defect. As an aside I’m still in contact with his Dad and have been to see (and interview) Iron Maiden with his sister…we always share a good cry at these shows.
There was no internet back in the 80’s so we learned about music through magazines (often from the UK), college radio metal shows at 2AM on the weekends and word of mouth. We’d also scan cassette liner notes (no wonder I got glasses around this time) to see if we could find any other bands that we should check out. There was no (or very little) listening to a band before you bought their music so you had to rely on reviews or gut instinct. To this day nothing excites me like discovering a new band to become obsessed with.
Fast forward to college in the early 90’s and while Metal was still high on my list the so-called Alternative bands started to dominate the ‘airwaves’ and my CD player. Soundgarden, Nirvana, Fishbone, Pearl Jam and a trio from Texas named King’s X. I’m not sure I knew it then but King’s X would become my next love and to this day I will travel insane distances to see them live for the 25th, 26th 27th time. King’s X would also be the first Rock band that I’d take one of my kids to see, he was 6 at the time (more on that at a later date).
To be continued…