When You Were Young
As a child, I remember vivid memories of belting out the words of whatever thrilling song was playing out of my dad's dirty cassette player in our rusty old truck on the way to whatever destination we were off to. I still do this today to my own music, loudly and at the expense of my friends ear drums.
Being a music fan is an existence that I owe very much to my father and my uncle, who are themselves, the biggest music fans that I know. I think most music fans can relate to having a certain person in their life show them a certain album, or band, or someone who gave them a cd, or maybe took you to a show that really got your passion for music started. Although what music you listened to when you were young, so much of that has an effect on what music you end up liking. Maybe your parents listened to country music and now you can't stand it, which pushed you towards rock or maybe you loved whatever music that filled your ears and heart when you were younger and stuck with it.
The Beatles were a big one for me personally. My uncle has the biggest collection of Beatles memorabilia that you will ever see in one living room, especially in Wyoming. For years I sat around these photos and records of The Beatles and eventually learned all the words to the songs that I heard most. Rolling Stones records were being played almost as much, although as a kid, I didn't much connect with them but being put in the face of Rock n' Roll at a young age shaped my music taste substantially. We listened to Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks and my sister and I would jump up and down in the back seat and beg my dad to put in the Aerosmith tape. Whatever it was, it was electrifying and was one of the only things that excited me when I was young.
As I got a little older, I started discovering my own music, as most everyone does. Of course there were some small influences like watching Grosse Point Blank and hearing The Clash, The Jam and Violent Femmes. There was a cousins wedding that I attended and the reception was in a dark and dingy room lit up with rotating vibrant lights. Definitely not the setting for me, and I sat in my lone seat, eating whatever I could get my hands on. Although, I was listening to the music, as always. This is a moment that I always recall in my head, because without it, I think that I would be lacking in a certain niche area in my musical preference. This was the night that I first remember hearing The B-52's. Of course, it was Love Shack. I made them play the song three more times, no one really cared because all the adults were more than a few beers in and all the kids wanted to do was dance. At this point, we were to the age of very mediocre MP3's and I listened to that song on a device that was as big as my thumb for days and weeks on end after the wedding, religiously. Hearing Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson's heavenly harmonies against the punk but pop vocals of Fred Schneider was like a musical awakening. Now that I'm a bit older I have even more substantial appreciation for this band. After hearing Wild Planet and hearing something so different for the first time, that may have been what got me interested in a certain otherness in music. I'm afraid I wouldn't care for many bands today if I wouldn't have became so enamored with The B-52's that night.
I'm happy to that I really have music as a means to connect with people. There is nothing like meeting another music fan. Today I still have that same encouraging uncle who gave me most of the first records that I ever owned, including my first Talking Heads record. He also took me to see Joan Jett after I graduated high school and even now most of what we discuss is concerts we've been too. There is nothing like attending a concert and meeting a mutual fan and having an instant connection with them. If there's anything I love about being a music fan, it's the numerous ways that you can be introduced to music and the way you can be close to someone because of it.
Today, there is hardly a moment that I don't have something playing. I've started my own record collection and been able to have access to the wonder of my fathers as well. My other new favorite ways of descovering music is Spotify and of course, All Songs Considered on NPR.
Who was someone who first got you interested in music? What was an experience you had that opened you up to music? Answer in the comments!