Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The music of my life

I come from a fairly musical family, mainly my mom. She has played guitar since college. Her main musical outlet was playing in the church choir and playing and singing around the house. I remember going to her favorite guitar store, Stutzman's, to pick up or buy a new guitar. For quite some time, she had three guitars: a regular six string, a classical, and a 12-string. I tried teaching myself how to play, but didn't have the patience. When my mom wasn't playing or singing, she was playing her favorite albums: Neil Diamond, Jesus Christ Superstar, John Denver, just to name a few. I will always have a special place in my heart for Neil as I remember singing along to his songs with my mom on many occasions.

My father on the other hand, was all about the motown: The Four Tops, The Temptations, Aretha, and anything else from that era. It didn't take long for me to share in my dad's love for this music. We would also sing along to any of the song that came on the radio. There were no Butterfly Kisses at my wedding, it was My Girl all the way. From each of my parents, there is a certain genre of music that I have a deep fondness and love for.

For my brother and I, we picked up on all of these influences and turned them into our own. My brother picked up the bass and mastered that. Later, he also took to playing the drums. His music taste went from rock and roll, to heavy metal, to death metal. My love of metal came right from him. I think I was the only kid in elementary school wearing an Anthrax shirt (thanks to my brother). We listened to new music together and stayed up late on Saturday nights to watch Headbanger's Ball and record our favorite videos. For most of my life, my ears were filled with Scott Ian's guitar, James Hetfield's voice, Cliff Burton's bass, and Vinnie Paul's drums.

When I reached fifth grade, we had the choice to learn how to play an instrument. I managed to pick the least feminine instrument a girl could play: the trumpet. But, I loved it. I dare say, I was kinda good at it. Even though I received countless dirty looks on the bus when I had to sit with someone, band was worth it. We had fun at practices, concerts, and getting for our NYSSMA solos. I learned how to read music, how each instrument was crucial to one piece of music, and developed my appreciation for jazz (thanks to Mr. Rowe in elementary school). But, once the high school years came around, my interest in playing took a hard hit. After a fight with my parents and then with my band teacher, I packed away my trumpet and started the four most miserable years of my life.

I was still a metal head, thought I opted for jeans and a band shirt instead of the 80s/early 90s metal chick attire of skin tight jeans, a tattered t-shirt worn off the shoulder, sneakers, and over-processed hair. The grunge scene started up and I fell into the Soundgarden/Alice in Chains group. A bit more hard and noisy than Pearl Jam or Nirvana. I went to a lot of concerts in high school: Ozzy, Metallica, Aerosmith, Soundgarden, Megadeth, Biohazard/Sepulture/Panters (free tickets and backstage passes made this one of the best concerts I've ever been too), among many other club shows I can't remember.

Always sticking to my metal roots, bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys (though I always liked them growing up), Weezer, and Nine Inch Nails were catching my attention. A different kind of noise and a different kind of rock. NIN made its way into my regular cd rotation and I traveled to Buffalo to see them live for the first time. Almost getting crushed during March of the Pigs aside, it was one of the best best concerts I've been to. There has always been something in the way Trent wrote and composed his music that reached a part of me that no other music has. Struggling with my inner demons, NIN has given me an outlet like nothing else.

Many years later, in a new age bracket (plus being a wife and mom), NIN is still my number one. My iPod has every release they've done and barely has room for much else. Nowadays, I have strayed from the mainstream and have started delving more into indie music. Along with NIN, my iPod contains, just to list a few: Lacuna Coil, Jane's Addiction, The Twilight Singers, She & Him, Saul Williams, The Sounds, Reel Big Fish, and the most recent addition of Spiritualized. I saw NIN for the second time about two and a half years ago, right on my birthday. I hadn't realized it until Trent addressed the crowd, but it had been 10 years since they had been in western NY. NIN was just as good, if not better, than the first time I saw them. I took my usual concert stance: close to the stage, off to the side leaning against the barricade, singing/yelling along, and letting every single beat wash over me. It had been since that NIN show that I'd seen a band live when my friend Jason asked if I wanted to go see his favorite band in Buffalo, Spiritualized. It was just as good as either NIN show I had been to, and on a much smaller scale. I can very much see why they are Trent's favorite band, as they are creeping up into my current top five.

Where is all of this going? I don't know. I had been thinking about all of this as I was painting our bedroom and watching/listening to Beside You in Time. Yup, I will probably be 50 years old, still blasting my car radio and rocking out while the kids in the next car over laugh and say, "Ha ha, nice try grandma!" And I will smile and say, "You don't even know."

1 comment:

Jason said...

You'd like Ra Ra Riot from Syracuse. And Arcade Fire, and the Shins, and so many other ones. Or you should at least try them. Good stuff. Not as loud as NIN or Spiritualized, but good in a different way.