I'm a music geek, plain and simple. I listen to just about every genre, and the ones that I don't listen to I can still respect. If you took a look at my CD collection, you'd be surprised at the mixture - jazz, classic rock, new age, punk, Christian rock, death metal, techno, and on and on. So how did it start?

One person started me off down the path of music loving - Alfred Matthew Yankovic, otherwise known as "Weird Al" Yankovic.


Handsome fella, huh?


My parents brought me up on mostly classic rock. When I was with my mom it was Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, The Beatles, and John Cougar Melloncamp. When I was with my dad it was Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Jethro Tull. That was my foundation, but I still wasn't at the point where I felt the need to own any albums by those people.

However, when my friend got Weird Al's In 3D album, I fell in love. Music that sounded good AND was funny? Sign me up! I wasn't a class clown or anything, but I was always a big goof with a love of comedies. And Weird Al was funny. Before long, I had just about every album on cassette tape. Lord knows what happened to them all.


Al was on board the 3D craze before anyone else!


What I didn't realize at the time was that because of Weird Al's wide range of parodies, I was being exposed to multiple genres of music. It was almost like a crash course in rock music, with a bunch of polka thrown in. Then, in eighth grade, one song in particular changed my life - "Smells Like Nirvana" from the Off the Deep End album.


Can't say I was particularly proud to own an album with a naked man on the front


In a conversation with a friend of mine, I mentioned how I liked that song, and he mentioned that he was a huge Nirvana fan and would lend me some of their music. Soon I had a copy of In Utero in my hands. It was almost like a religious experience. Something about the music pulled me in, and I had to hear more.


The gateway drug


Around this time I had received my first CD player (a sony Discman, if I recall) as a gift, and with it a copy of - what else? - Weird Al's Greatest Hits volume II. But I also received a gift card, and with that gift card I bought Nirvana's Nevermind album. After listening to it once, my life was never the same. I listened to it everywhere I went, no matter how short the trip was. Rarely was I ever seen without my headphones on. But as much as I loved the album, I needed more music.


Can't say I was proud to have an album with a naked BABY on it, either


This was back in the day before CD burning could be done, so I started acquiring music on blank cassette tapes. I would listen to the local modern rock station and hit record when a good song would play. I would borrow other people's albums and tape those. Before I knew it I had a good mixture of radio songs, as well as Offspring's Smash, Soundgarden's Superunknown, Metallica's black album, Megadeth's So Far, So Good... So What?, and the aforementioned Nirvana's In Utero.


The original lineup


The next album I received as a gift was Greenday's Dookie, a CD that everyone at that time had to have. But my first ever purchase with my own money was for an album that not many had, and to this day not many people have heard - Sponge's Rotting Pinata. I loved their two singles at the time, "Plowed" and "Molly" and knew I had to have the whole album. I wasn't wrong. To this day it's one of my favorite albums, and I still listen to it frequently. Unfortunately, their subsequent albums went downhill, but I'll always have Rotting Pinata to enjoy.


Mmm, candy corn


I never forgot about the classic rock I was brought up on, though. In fact, my newfound appreciation of music made me more of a fan of some of those bands than my parents. And I'm a big fan of bands from their era that even they didn't listen to much, like Chicago, AC/DC, and Van Halen.

I've gone through phases - heavy metal at the beginning of high school, ska/punk/hardcore towards the end of high school, early emo/indie (before it got crappy) at the beginning of college, jazz towards the end of college - and with each phase I find more bands to listen to and fall in love with. But I will never forget that year in eighth grade where everything fell into place and reshaped my life.

So thanks Nirvana, to the friend who let me borrow that tape, and to Weird Al Yankovic for giving me fuel to prepare for lift-off.


Thanks, buddy