Sunday, November 19, 2006

middle school music tastes

i find middle school consists of many similar thematic components: baggy clothes, cliques, terrifying hairstyles and one of the broadest spectrums of music out of any of the primary schools. during the same period i was deceiving my father into purchasing cords sized 42 in the waist to cover my impressive size 24 waist, (maybe i contemplated smuggling gallons of milk in them?) i was discovering there were more musical tastes around me than jellybelly flavors.

to some of the less informed, (and the more ridiculed), children's music was still a staple; but i imagine they were forced to speak of it in dark corners during recess. being from a smaller town, we also had our share of country music fanatics, a group who was mainly girls and boys with gigantic cowboy boots and names like travis and justin. then there were the trendy kids. some picked up rap artists and pop, but i found myself sticking mainly to alternative music. yes, i do admit that i did buy some music which i would turn red in the cheeks to mention today, but it helped me find my taste today.

green day, weezer, soundgarden, (the) smashing pumpkins, nirvana and radiohead were just a few names which I became thoroughly aquainted with during middle school. nirvana had carried over from elementary school and was establishing it's presence as a motif through my lifetime and james had introduced me to most of the rest with the exception being radiohead.

my brother jay and i started playing the guitar halfway through our seventh grade careers, largely due to us winning a bet with our parents to not watch television for two years. the acquisition of the guitars led to us having a better understanding of what we listened to while providing a new found appreciation for the compositions themselves. through playing with friends, i also found out about new music learning different guitar parts.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

elementary tastes

between late elementary school and early middle school my musical tastes had begun to expand in ways that are considered to be pretty routine for a young male. during phooseball outings at james' house, we bathed in blaring music which just faintly masked our vulgar outbursts. (hey, i couldn't help it if my defenders never had enough pledge to respond in time.) through the aftermath which consisted of my twin and i hurling cheaply molded plastic spheres in our best budding pitcher forms, a slew of bands ravaged our pristine virgin ears.

these bands were formed from what could have been considered the depths of a new social movement which could be defined as "grunge". ah, the mere breath of the word or the bands names (which unwillingly were bound and gagged to the term) caused so much despair in parental units; it was always a favorite sight to behold. james had been enlightened by his older brother to the scene which had just bloomed (or decayed) in Seattle, a town seemingly light years away despite the 2 and a half hour commute, which seems to be nothing now that i'm here.

i still remember more about the first time i uttered the poster band's name than when i first heard them play. when I had mentioned that i listened to a band named nirvana, my mother really didn't understand what that meant, but her friend did. the color fell from my mother's friend's face and my mother looked as though she was trying to think of the solution to solving a calculus problem i wouldn't even fathom until high school. james had given me a rebel's outfit in many parent's eyes with the simple touch of a play button. the screeching guitar wails mimicked the piercing shrills of vocal chords strained past their limit seemed to cast a dark shadow over all the parents and their idea of how a small, isolated town should guide their children from the foul, angst filling which begets youth around middle school days.

my favorite by Nirvana was a song called "heart shaped box" which contained lyrics professing to wish to "eat your cancer, when you turn black". to me, for reasons i will most likely never understand, the song stood for romance. sure, freud could spit out a number of reasons for anyone to stretch a meaning so distant from all reason, but this was the element of music; definitions can vary as much as eskimo words for snow and can be as simple and caustic as "shit". i was shocked when many of my friends didn't know the beatles and equally shocked that every single one of them knew who tlc was. Coming up next: the middle (school) ages...

Monday, October 16, 2006

humble beginnings

i wanted to start my blog on music with a very small background on who i am and how i've begun my life listening to my own soundtrack.

memories pop into my mind as quickly as the melodies crowded my ears growing up. some of my first musical memories, (other than the absolute horror of children's records my mother felt the maternal urge to assault my eardrums with), came from pop harmonies, whether it was the beatles (some of my early and continuing favorites) or simon and garfunkle with soft, simple, yet poignant verses. aside from the beatles, most of the music i enjoyed purely on the level as a student learning a foreign language by immersion; one of the most elemental ways to indulge, because while listening, there can be no judging of content. of course i do remember countless evenings singing alongside mccartney to "rocky raccoon", one of my past and present favs; bouncing from vowel to vowel in a tone i'm sure would only attract the audience of a family of deaf coyotes.

as i grew older, as many of us do, i became enamored with what syllables escaped from my lips. it wasn't as much quality at times, but i tried to parrot every single word i took in during my thoughtless, childbabble youth. whether it was sculpting my lips to create the perfect "bungalow" or focusing on the maximum amount of saliva i could shoot while pittering "prudence" (who would know i am a fan of the white album); i was working on becoming one of the great contortionists with my mouth, engaging in some of what could be classified as jibberjabber onslaughts. words flew, bounced off walls, collided with companions and were shot right back at me through the force that was my twin brother. i swear to you, i am... i was just trying to give a background, only a simple background.

as i grew older my taste moved with my mother's, as i had been occasionally pierced through the middle by country music artists my dad professed to enjoy. i listened to a good deal of sting and phil collins, which piled on top of the beatles, did much to aid my obsession with british music. i will admit to listening to many albums which cause a great many of my friends to melt down and between laughing fits and controlling their bowels cast me a look which only begins to punish me for the absurdity i had just spit out. yes, "nothing like the sun" was a consistent favorite and surely, at that age i had been destined to follow up delilah, devoting love struck ballads to sappy 30 somethings as they admitted within their pathetic existence, the romantic ballad they shared with their loved one is "more than words". although i will admit today, i think the guitar part and vocal harmonies are timeless; the song is simply one of the most cliche and thoughtless songs a couple could dedicate to a love life, (obviously indicating they would be more accepted if they dressed in flowing gowns singing hari krishna and downing poison jello in the middle of the busiest street, which I would have believed Tieton to be at my age).

to be continued...