I have stated many times that I like all types of music except any country\western that was released after 1978ish and I doubt that many who have heard me say it take it quite as literally as it is meant. A quick peek at my iPod might convince them of how true it is. Currently my playlists includes, but is not limited to, the following:
-Oklahoma-Original Movie Soundtrack
-The Dead Kennedy’s
-Siberian Tuva Throat Singing
-Ray Charles and Betty Carter Duets
-Nine Inch Nails
-Wizard of Oz-Original Movie Soundtrack
-Buffy’s Once More with Feeling Soundtrack
A little nutty sound just for fun
Well, you get the picture. I like a lot of flavors in my party mix. While I may not like everything that Britney Spears has done, I think that there is a lot of merit to be found in the average pop song. I use these songs either as time killers, mood pacifiers or mood setters. That music makes most things in life a little better has been a point proven everywhere from the high school prom to the trying-on-dresses-for-the-high-school-prom montage scene from any 80’s film. Many of my best memories are associated with specific songs, genres and bands.
Best. Music break. Ever.
I have already written about how music helped me to escape small town doldrums in my youth, but it also helped me to embrace life there. I was involved in the school choirs from elementary school through graduation and after. My appreciation for choral harmonies lead to an appreciation for Opera to an appreciation for Musicals to and appreciation for a-tonal melodies such as found in Tuva Throat Singing, etc, etc, etc….
However, the most compelling influence that music has had on my life is the friendships that have come out of a common interest in a song, band, genre, et al. There are many yarns I could spin on this topic, but the one that stands foremost in my memory is from my first week at college.
The week before I was to leave for college my sister was killed in a car accident leaving behind a one year old son and a devastated family. The week was filled with angst and teeth gnashing and eventually, with the funeral. I went to college a week late and with a soul full of venom against the world for the injustices it held.
When finally left to my own devices I made my way around the campus trying to figure out where I was going and what I was doing. The usual existential crap that we all go through at that time. I had no friends on the campus and knew no one that was there. I felt more lost at that time in my life than I have ever felt since. On my second day there the college had an event of some sort, and I honestly don’t remember what it was. A play? A concert? Something. I do remember that it was an outdoor event and as I made my way through the throng of students trying to figure out where to sit, or if I even wanted to stay I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with a Husker Du logo on it. (Husker Du, um, band, er….. if you don’t know, just google it.) While they had never been my favorite band, I had listened to enough of their music to know that that I had spied a kindred-spirit, so I went over and sat with him and that began one of the best friendships I have in my life. Believe me when I say that music had EVERYTHING to do with it. Had I not branched out musically and listened to all the music that had come my way I would have never known who Husker Du was. Had Matt not been wearing that shirt I have no doubt that I would have wandered a bit more, and then made my way back to my dorm room. I also have no doubt that I would not have lasted more than a month at school. That friendship that began with a simple band logo carried me through my freshman year.
To top it off, Matt introduced me to what are now some of my favorite bands. Highest on the list is The Pogues. Hell, if nothing else I owe him in scads for that.
Playing live like they oughta'
I continued to study music in college and since have always had my hand in it. Matt and I still play music together whenever we can find the time and he remains the one person I have played with who can understand what I am going for without me having to draw it out for him. I think, and I am sure that he will agree with me, that music is not only our common bond, but what has always kept our friendship vital even when we have long stretches in which we don’t see each other.
All music deserves at least a little listen. Even if you can’t find anything about it that you like initially, if you really listen closely you can find something of worth within it. If nothing else, like the music or not, being aware of it can make for a good talking point when you meet someone new. If you are very lucky it can change your life.
Go on, give it a try