I’ve had a pretty strong relationship with music for as long as I remember and, as much as my memory may not serve me as well as it probably should nowadays, this is quite a long time. Don’t get me wrong, Music and I have had our ups and downs, our misunderstandings (Post-Ixnay Offspring, anything country, Nickelback, 30 Seconds to Mars etc.) and resulting bouts of silent treatment (you like that? Silent treatment… that’s funny shit right there), but we’ve always come through relatively unscathed. As I write this (on the bus from Valencia to Madrid) I’m re-hashing my pre-teen years with a blast of Everclear’s “Sparkle & Fade” album (don’t judge). This got me thinking about how music has helped kept me sane through testing times (11 hour bus rides, puberty, teen years etc) and how my appreciation has evolved as I’ve grown.
My Dad told me the first song I ever sung was my own version of a Stevie Wonder hit which I must have mis-interpreted as “I jazz cord to say I Ludgoo”. To be fair, that incident of lyrical confusion was not an isolated case (As much as I HATE to admit it I was once confused why Mr Eddie Vedder was singing about his/someone elses inability to find a “pyramid” – “Better Man” for all you Pearl Jam ignoramous’s). Thanks then go to Mr Wonder for inspiring my love of singing and enjoying good lyrics and melody.
My musical appreciation “course” through life continued on via my Uncle Tom’s rock ‘n roll albums, which were always on high rotation in the car, and Dad’s LP and cassette collection which included awesome albums by Led Zeppelin, The Police, Elton John (sorry Dad, everyone knows now), The Rolling Stones, Genesis and a whole bunch of others. Then, along with a squeeky voice, inappropriately-placed body hair and a sudden realisation that the female race actually existed and were confusing – but gorgeous – creatures, came my sudden liking for “teen angst” grunge and rock (I say sudden because it was a huge u-turn from blindly buying the Lion King soundtrack in Form 1 based purely on the fact that a cute girl said it was great… turns out it was actually pretty good). From here the rock genre was destined to dominate any self-created mix-tape, which were often made by directly dubbing from a radio station to a cassette tape (remember those?). You had to put up with a few intros being cut out (through my mad rush to press the record button) and some annoying DJ cutting into the end of certain songs, but the end result was always worth it. Well, mostly.
Then in high school I found hard rock, metal and hip hop. I ended up joining a band and, if but only for a moment, thought we might possibly conquer the world with rough covers of Rage Against the Machine, Blink 182, Nirvana, Limp Bizkit, Metallica and Red Hot Chilli Pepper songs. We even had a fanbase of groupies and wrote a few originals – which got us through to the Rockquest Bay of Plenty regional finals! But, apart from a few jam nights and a couple of gigs at Krazy Jacks (we were paid in drinks), my musical career was always going to be mediocre at best.
So, back to the present. All this bussing, training and flying about and the only constants seem to be my better-half (Amber is a frickin’ legend), my trusty pack of personal belongings and my music collection (which has definitely expanded from my earlier rock focus). Certain albums and songs have struck various chords along the way and, as much as I could list them and attempt to explain why… I won’t bore you. I’ll leave you with this quote – “Music is awesome.”. You know who said that? Me. Just then.