Friday, May 6, 2011

Ancient History

Sudden moment of Nostalgia; please forgive.
I was just thinking about the turning point to make me really like music.
My father, amoungst other things, is a bit of a musician,and my Mother, typical of preacher's wives, knew church choirs like other mothers know soap operas. So, I had exposure, but wasn't truly interested in music until much later. I was never really fond of rock and roll, in the seventies. Oh, sure, I got into Kiss, but that was much more a fashion thing than anything else; I thought they looked cool, more than I liked the music. Actually, I still cannot think of a Kiss song I really like. I much preferred Parliament/Funkadelic, and the O'Jays and Curtis Mayfield. I got into David Bowie because of the Young Americans Album, moreso than Ziggy Stardust. Around 1978-1979 that started to change as I started to hear what I called then "New Wave" music. Oh, like most kids, I got it wrong, at first- figuring bands like Australia's Angels, and Chicago's Cheap Trick to be real New Wave. But, then, in 1979 I heard what would become my first favorite record, and the gateway drug to the musical addiction I have now: The Clash. No, I didn't get into The Ramones or the Sex Pistols, like everybody else. The Clash was the big one for me. Of course, I went back and forth- I was still just a kid. So, I'd be listening to The Gap band with one set of friends, then, listen to Blondie with another. In late 1980, I finally got really turned on to what I liked, but didn't know it, yet: Punk Rock. I got invited to a punk Rock show, and found my tribe. Oh sure, I was never really accepted, and remain a poseur, even now, 30 years later; but the shows at the Vex, and the Fleetwood, and Fender's ballroom and Safari Sam's- that was the real connection. I knew from that what I liked, and who I wanted to be. Records were just a maintenance- a way of keeping that connection to those shows. Eventually, I could get into records on their own, but the real hook for me- the thing that the Clash had, was that electrical connection of real people, right there, making music out of thin air, right in front of your eyes. That's why I never got into Rock and Roll prior to Punk Rock- it all sounded like some Television show, assembled by many hands into some kind of production. Going to a Punk Rock show you could see it, feel it, hear it, and connect with it. I still liked Dance/Disco/RnB- and still do, but it's a totally different thing- it's a soundtrack, a foundation for the action on the dance floor, or the gym. It's not like the connection I still feel from raw, direct rock- whether you call that rock "punk" or "new wave" or "Stoner" or "Alternative".
It's all ancient history, now. I'm a middle class guy, settling into middle age. I'm a father of a college kid, for crying out loud. But every once in awhile, I remember that raw spark of my teenage entry into being the beat fanatic that I still most obviously am.

1 comment:

  1. For me it was Gang of 4. A friend loaned me Songs Of The Free. The next day I put all my Journey and Foreigner records in the closet never to be listened to again and went out and bought the first Clash record, the first Go4 record, the first Joy Division Record, the Sex Pistols, the Talking Heads, the Specials, and the first Cure record. I was on my way. Never looked back. Starting playing guitar along to Gang of 4 and the rest, as they say...