The Music of My Life Pt.1

The first part of the evolution of my musical taste
May 06, 2008
Heads Up!: An article spanning my musical taste/how music affected my life/clothing choices over the years would be far too long and vast. Instead, I'm separating it into a few articles focusing on different aspects of my musical interests. This first article doesn't focus on one main aspect, and is merely here to set the tone and story for the future articles. With that in mind, please enjoy!

Growing up, I was very lucky. Music was everywhere in my childhood; be it the toy piano from Playmate, the video games I'd play for hours, the soundtracks to my favorite movies, or the guitar my Poppa would play all the time. Music became a part of me, and as this picture shows it still is well into my adult years.

Although I had a love for music, I never was exposed to much radio aside from the Christian Pop radio stations my Mom was so into. I had an appreciation for movie soundtracks (especially the Star Wars movies, and The Back to the Future Trilogy). I knew from the kids at school that Rock 'N' Roll and Metal were the best kind of music for boys, but I was never exposed to any on the playground...just a lot of talk about how loud and fast it all was. I really took notice to popular music because of one movie I happened to watch in the theaters as a kid.

The first "rock" song that made me "rock" fan was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. The scene in the movie where they were driving was not only hilarious, it also paved the way for me to be a head-banging Kindergarten Kid. I'm sure I listened to other "rock" songs, but that was the moment that stuck with me.

After we got out of the theater, my mind fresh with the distorted electric guitar and an obsession with all that is Alice Cooper, I begged my Mom to let me grow my hair out long like Garth. My Mom thought I meant Wayne, and so the embarrassing mullet look began.

It lasted until the ALMOST as embarrassing Flat-top look began. Thank God I didn't get my name or lightning bolts shaved in somewhere.
Anyway, with my sad lack of radio, I only had my memory of Wayne's World. I didn't know any bands (except Alice Cooper) but I knew I was all about Heavy Metal music. My Babysitters' Son was a few years older than me. His favorite band was The Smashing Pumpkins. He wanted to buy a "The World is a Vampire" t-shirt, but his Mom was a bit reserved about it. Since this guy was my hero, and the coolest Nintendo Pro/ Star Wars Know-it-all I knew, I fell in love with The Smashing Pumpkins. When kids would ask me what I like, I'd tell them "The Smashing Pumpkins and Alice Cooper." That's all I knew. I hadn't listened to any of The Smashing Pumpkins music until a while later. Billy Corgan's voice scared me, and it definately wasn't the 80's type Hair Band that all the songs on Wayne's World were. This was new to me, and frightening. That didn't matter, I was afraid if I didn't like The Smashing Pumpkins, my Babysitters Son wouldn't like me. Gradually over time I grew a strong appreciation for it. My Mom even bought me the Siamese Dream album, and my favorite song was Cherub Rock.

When my Mom married, our united family moved to a nice neighborhood in Bakersfield, Ca. Our next door neighbors had three kids; two boys, and one girl. They listened to a lot of hip-hop and gangster rap. We used to ride with them to school/the batting cages/the roller-rinks, etc. and so I got familiar with Warren G, NWA, and oddly enough, Prince. It really wasn't my thing, but I wanted to look cool to everyone, so I learned to love it.

In 3rd Grade, my Step-Brother's Best friend invited us to spend the night at his house. This night marked two huge events that would change my life forever; he showed us Duke Nukem, and his CD collection. Charlie had Oasis, Green Day, Kiss, and Weird Al. Looking back, it was a modest collection, but back then everyone only had tape players and cassettes, CD's were growing in popularity, but my family wasn't quite there yet so the fact that this kid had not only his own CD Player, but that number of CD's blew my fragile mind. I didn't latch onto Oasis, or Kiss...but Green Day and Weird Al to me were completely the bee's knees.

Back then, the term "Punk-Rock" was foreign to our playgrounds. It was simply known as Alternative. By watching MTV (mainly Beavis and Butthead) I got my Alt. Rock fill, and learned about new bands. I got into Nirvana, Rancid, Pearl Jam, and so many more. I begged my Mom to buy Dookie on cassette, and when she did I listened to that tape non-stop. I was in love with Basket Case. Nirvana's Kurt Cobain had died earlier in the year (1994 if you're keeping track) and all I had of them was a sampler tape featuring some songs off of Nevermind.

An older kid at school often wore a camouflage shirt with the word "Bush" on it. I thought he was a fan of the former President, but I soon learned it was a new band from England. Glycerine was the first song I heard from them, and I loved it.

A few years later, my family moved to Arkansas. The region we lived in could barely get a solid radio signal. The only one we could find that was clear enough was a Pop-Music radio station called KISR. Between hosting scavenger hunts for golden bones, they played a wide assortment of music...a little too wide for me. This was the year where the BackStreet Boys, and later 'N Sync were just releasing their first albums. It seemed like for every good song KISR played, a really awful one would follow. Case in point, I once noticed them playing Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and directly following that with 'N Sync's "I Want You Back". However, the record shops in Arkansas were boss, and I found myself buying Bush's Sixteen Stones album, Green Day's 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour and Kerplunk, as well as The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness double-disc and The Beavis and Butthead experience.

Due to the KISR station not being to my liking, I really lost touch with modern music, and just engulfed myself in what I knew in loved. I missed out Sugar Ray, OMC, The Verve Pipe, Chumbawamba, and Korn.

In 1998 we moved to Gardnerville Nv. My first day of 7th grade at PWLMS was awkward and confusing. I was sat next to a girl who had never heard of Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins, or even Kiss. I did my Gene Simmons impression for her, and instead of thinking it was cool, her and her friends laughed at me.

I ended up leaving PWLMS and being home schooled for the rest of my 7th grade year, and onto nearly most of 8th grade. In 8th grade, I met a girl who loved Green Day as much as I did. I had a crush on her, so I went back to Public School. I came to the conclusion that I wouldn't be accepted, so I took that idea and ran with it. I dressed in all black, bleached my hair, and avoided social functions. This actually made me even MORE popular, oddly enough. Napster became the BIG thing at school, and it opened the floodgates of my musical knowledge. I started with Green Day and searched out other "Punk bands." Before I knew it, I was a teenage punk-rocker who was significantly knowledgeable on all the punk bands I liked. I knew the members, I knew the songs, and I for all intents and purposes had become punk.

Now, there were other punk kids at that school. Unfortunately we were all caught up in the "Punker than thou" mindset, and we were too busy outdoing ourselves than hanging out. This all changed when a kid named Dan stole my CD case in computer class, and realized we had a lot of the same musical interests. He invited himself over to my house, and eventually ended up spending the night. I hated Dan, and the only reason he ended up spending the night was because my Mom didn't say "No" like I told her to. Dan came over and it was all sorts of awkward silence. One of us pitched the idea of walking to 7-11, and we walked their saying nothing to eachother. We both went for the slurpee machine, and when we both professed our love for the sugary icy ambrosia, an eternal friendship was forged.

From then on out, the punk rock kids came together in harmony. We'd hang out at our friend's house, downloading new music. If we liked it, we'd seek out their albums, if we didn't we'd delete and forget we ever listened. From Anti-Flag, Goldfinger, Sick of it All, AFI, Guttermouth, Millencolin, The Mighty-Mighty Bosstones, Operation Ivy,Pennywise, etc. we fell in love with various different sub genres and sounds. Everyone had their own style of music/dress, but we were all great friends.

To be continued...
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