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Monday, December 12, 2005  

My co-worker Carl just posed the question of what was the first album that you remember listening to. He had memories of his dad listening to the Magical Mystery Tour, and I had to think about mine for a while before coming up with two possibilities. Men at Work’s “Business as Usual” and Don Henley’s first solo album “I Can’t Stand Still” were both released on 1982 putting me between 3&4 years old. I LOVED the singe from the Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry” and even had a little dance I would do along-with it. I think this is very odd, because Don Henley was the poster-boy for wuss-rock and as a teen I developed a seething hatred for the Eagles, and yet I love New Wave and the Nuevo Wave of recent years. Why would these two albums, so central in the formation of musical tastes, now have diverged so much? I’m always intrigued at how I got to my current sensibilities. Could I, looking back over my personal history, pull-out moments or incidents that directly correlate to what I like today?

How much did my parents influence my taste? IN my early youth, my father was always an old-school Rock-and-Roll guy, mixed with blues and 60s-psychedellia while my mom was all-over the map, including country (back in the day before country meant jack-asses in $6,000 hats) and Rock and Roll (Springstein and the Eagles) and whatever sub-genre Fleatwood Mac created (not to mention more easy-listening staples like Enya and –gasp- Yani.) I’ve hung-onto the blues-rock and psychedelia from my dad and some of the more synth-driven instrumentation of my mom’s eclectic tape-collection. I also have a soft-spot for Roots and traditional early-American instrumentation. Maybe that is a legacy of my inutero Country and Honky-tonk listening?

The very first Band that I claimed as “My Own,” the first fan-club I belonged to and the first act I felt any connection to was, of course, They Might Be Giants. I had seen the video for either “Hotel Detective” or “Don’t Lets Start” on the Saturday-morning music-video program on Nickelodeon, “Nick Rocks!” This initial influx of non-parental music happened sometime between 1986 and 1989 with the purchase of the “Don’t Lets Start” EP (on cassette of course.) I believe that this laid a foundation for my love of “alt-rock” post-punk, and art-rock that continues to this day.

After the discovery of TMBG there was a top-40 radio driven foray into bubble-gum “hip-hop” (C&C Music Factory, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, etc etc.) While this phase was, for the most part, regrettable it did lay the ground-work for my later appreciation of Hip-Hop on a deeper level in college. This puts me into the 90s and in Jr. High where my next major aesthetic shift happened. It is a constant in my life that when new people are introduced into my life my musical tastes are forever changed and the onset of the tumultuous time of middle-school was the first time I really experienced this.

posted by JMV | 12/12/2005 11:31:00 AM
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