A question has been passed around across my Facebook feed recently, jumping from friend to friend, asking to post 10 books that made an impression in your life. One of my DJ friends altered it and listed the 10 music albums that made an impression in her life and that got me thinking about my history with music. It’s been a long one, a strange one, and a fun one. While I played the violin as a kid and have been playing the sax since, lord, 5th grade, this is more about listening to music than playing it because my music tastes have changed drastically over the years and I feel I’m better for it.
I grew up on a steady diet of NPR and classic rock, not Nirvana classic rock, but golden oldies classic rock, standard baby boomer fare. The radio was always tuned to either station and I got a double earful of wholesome goodness. And I loved it. There was my music and everything else, which I didn’t care about because I didn’t think it was good. When I took a History of Rock class in college I learned that I was already well versed in the bedrock of modern music and that was pretty cool, but then I found the joys of classic rock through the Blimp.
WBLM is a classic rock station in my homeland of Maine. Apparently they started off in a trailer in the 70’s with some records and after a while they just stopped buying new music in the mid-80’s. They were a fun station to listen to with the stereotypical rock music that has populated the past 9 seasons of Supernatural. The station itself was pretty badass itself. As an example, one late summer they just started playing everything they had in the vaults from A to Z, non-stop, for weeks. There is one mixed version of Pink Flloyd’s Brick in the Wall that I heard once and probably will never hear again that was awesome and epic. I enjoyed listening to just WBLM and really nothing else. Lots of fun, but one day, after years of listening to the same station and the same songs again and again the radio dial landed on a different station and it never moved.
It was an alt rock station, pretty standard, but it showed me that my music tastes could change pretty quickly which was great because my eyes were opened up in high school. Every now and again I’d get a copy of an album and listen to it on repeat, but I never had a music collection. The closest I came was listening to a mix CD of Joy Division that got me through my first break up. I did have some help from my friend Lillian sitting me down and go through some classic Frank Zappa. Then I roomed with my good friend Jay who gave me what seemed like a crash course in music appreciation.
He had a large book of CDs and would talk a bit about the music group or particular album. He had a whole bunch of different music and it was all great. It wasn’t just noise anymore. Aesop Rock right after Steely Dan. The Clash combined with TV on the Radio. Interpol being drowned out by live banjo playing, it was fantastic. My own music collection grew and kept growing when I got a computer. Then I went off to college and expanded in pretty much every direction when I was a college radio DJ. What does the future hold in store for my musical tastes? Who knows, but I’m sure it’s going to be fun to listen to.