It occurs to me that music is a very important part of my life. It also occurs to me that most of the music I listen to and like was introduced to me by someone I know. In the interests of disclosure and acknowledgement, I’d like to share some of my musical tastes and who introduced me to the artist(s) in question. So, without further ado, here’s the riff:
I was introduced to my favorite band of all time, Rush, by my mother. I have some very clear memories as a child listening to “Tom Sawyer” in the car and at home on the stereo. My mom had Moving Pictures on cassette. That tape was listened to so many times that the last time I heard it, there were noticeable pops and crackles on almost every song. I “borrowed” the Moving Pictures cassette for quite a long time. It didn’t occur to me until I was about 16 that the record I loved was released the year I was born. Pretty amazing longevity, don’t you think? Thanks, mom: I owe you big time for holding on to that tape even after Rush stopped being popular.
I’ve never been into what’s popular. I’m sure that’s part of why I hated Nine Inch Nails when I first heard “Closer.” To me it sounded like some strange white-boy rap. At the time, I was into grunge rock still, listening to a lot of Nirvana and Soundgarden. Then my friend, Toy Cesar, made me a tape of some Nirvana B-sides. To fill up the blank space on the cassette, he included some tracks from NIN’s Broken EP. I heard “Last” and I was hooked. Thanks for not being wasteful with cassette tape, Toy: The Downward Spiral was my salvation when I broke up with my first true love a year later.
Speaking of my first true love, Mary Richards (née Watson) introduced me to Tori Amos (quite literally, I was completely star-struck and speechless when we met Tori backstage outside the Coronado). Little Earthquakes remains one of my favorite albums of all time and every time I hear the song with the same name, I’m reminded of one of my first messy and awkward teenage romances. Thanks, Mary, for introducing me to one of the most beautiful artists ever.
My wife, Tiffanie, is also a beautiful artist, albeit of a different sort than Tori Amos. Tiff has gotten me listening to quite a few musicians I probably wouldn’t have found without her intervention. Marilyn Manson, Deftones, and Orgy are just a few of the groups that she’s introduced me to over the years. The most recent band to join my clique of acts I enjoy is Stabbing Westward. Their record, Wither Blister Burn and Peel, is emotionally disturbing industrial at its finest. Thanks, babe, for challenging me to push my boundaries, both in music and in life.
Some music challenges you. It’s like a sonic version of Citizen Kane. Other music is more like There’s Something About Mary: entertaining, but not very heavy on substance. Huey Lewis and the News is my favorite “light” band. I have my aunt, Lisa Hermanson, to thank for my love of Huey. I remember many fun times with her, driving around the back roads near Belvidere, Illinois, listening to “The Heart of Rock N’ Roll.” Thanks, Aunt Lisa, for giving me some lighthearted times to make my childhood a bit more bearable.
There are many more bands I like and people I could thank, but this post is getting pretty long as it is. I’ll finish up by thanking my friend Mike Diamond (and, indirectly, his brother Brian) for my bonding with Vic Rattlehead, Megadeth’s mascot extraordinaire. I had heard Megadeth before I met Mike, but it never really caught my interest. Then Mike let me borrow his (or his brother’s: I’m not really sure) copy of Youthanasia. With ferocious guitars and thoughtful lyrics, Youthanasia made me a die-hard Megadeth fan instantly. While Cryptic Writings is my favorite Megadeth record of all, I’d still like to thank Mike Diamond for getting me to “taste the high-speed dirt.”
So long, and thanks for all the music!