Monday, July 19, 2010

Roots Radical

Just past 50 posts for the year, not too shabby...
Anyways...
I had been reading an article on musical influences and it struck me how almost no matter what kind of music you liked as a kid you go through a hip hop appreciation phase. And then usually you move on to building on the roots of your musical tastes.
Its the strangest thing.
Makes me wonder if B-Boys and B-Girls go through a brief metal or lounge music phase? Nah probably just they end up listening to terrible techno for a few years.
The first song I remember hearing was my mom playing Beastie Boys " You Gotta Fight" now this is tricky since they were on Def Jam at the time and were somewhat considered in the hip hop world BUT what I loved about it was the organic live band sound, it was almost thrashy, the solo was like something that Anthrax woulda been playing.
I've been all over the radar with my musical tastes, my first vinyl 7 inch was Los Lobos' cover of "La Bamba". I was so obsessed with it that when we moved I am convinced my parents through it out as it didn't seem to make it to the new house mysteriously.
As a baby of the MTV generation, I had an eclectic taste right off the bat. Loving everything from Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Taking Head's "Burning Down the House", Pat Benatar's "Love Is A Battlefield" to being able to remember that Adam Curry looked retarded trying to host Headbanger's Ball (and i was very young and still understood that fact) while enjoying The Crue's "Dr. Feelgood" and getting rare viewings of Iron Maiden's "Run To The Hills".
Oh I had the embarrassment of knowing the "Hangin' Tough" dance and loving M.C. Hammer's "Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em" album because well, at the time i had no idea that there was an underground punk movement, MTV didn't cover that. Alternative Nation and later 120 Minutes just barely gave glimpsed into anything resembling that scene. Honestly the video clips shown in Bevis and Butthead were where I got to hear the raddest music. Unsane, Butthole Surfers, the Pixies, i got exposed to them all by that show.
Radio wasn't much better.
Though at night falling asleep I would be lulled into dreamland by the likes of Wax, The Cure, and what I would later realize as the early Paul Westerberg solo stuff. Otherwise it was G'n'R and Warrant and Ratt until mopey-dopey Nirvana hit the scene. Perfect for me because it let all these obscure bands float to the surface and then reading their liner notes in the "thank yous" section it turned me on to even greater bands. Well worth it even though thanks to Pearl Jam being put into heavy rotation, we much later got stuck with god-awful shit like Creed and Seether, much like watching the Simpsons on Fox saved the company and would one day give birth to that which is FoxNews.
Green Day opened me up to Rancid, Op Ivy, NoFx and the rest of the Epitaph roster.
Though of course I put all that away with the exception Sublime and Reel Big Fish when I started to get more into the hip hop music which i don't think is a coincidence that I also (stupidly) started to think that pot was cool, like a lot of late middle school age kids.
Thus is where I was really listening to Ice Cube, Too Short, Wu-tang Clan Tupac, Notorious BIG and whatever popular east coast vs. west coast rap was in fashion in the moment. These acts were the soundtrack to my high school party days mixed in a bit with a slowly deepening knowledge of punk. My metal listening was relegated to mostly Nine Inch Nails and marilyn manson, (sad as can be to admit) Limp Bizkit and other "edgy but really not" type music.
Since my friends and I had the derogatory nickname in high school of "Slayer-dogs" it took me years later to realize that Slayer was actually a fucking rad band. I gotta say thank god for one band: Glassjaw, not groundbreaking music by any means but they woke me up, it got me out of a musical rut and slowly returned me to the joys of discovering new and exciting bands. The way seeing live music can only do.
Music has always been my lifeblood but I've always been a slow learner when it comes to the really good stuff. The throwaway stuff always hit my ear right away but the stuff I actually love, it took second or third listens before I actually understood that I had more in common with those bands then what I was immediately exposed to. I heard the Replacements numerous times before I actually sat and paid attention and saw that they summarized most of my high school existence.
Even today I am the same way. I knew OF Dillinger Four back when Vs. God came out but I just started really getting them a few years ago.
I feel like I've come full circle in alot of ways. I loved that thrashy sound of " You Gotta Fight" oh so many years ago and now I am really appreciating bands like Baroness, Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan. Its not the only stuff I listen to, I'm a die-hard Willie Nelson and Van Morrison fan but I feel like have taken the roots of the music I loved as a child and expanded upon what the aspects I loved and sought out kindred bands.
It gives me immense pleasure to be able to recommend a band to someone and get them hooked on them. Since buying cds has become so few and far between and mp3s don't come with them, I like to think its my way of being a walking talking "thank yous" part of the liner notes.
I could go on and on about the crap music i listened to by default of MTV/the radio and the amazing music I've discovered through word of mouth or mixtapes ( <3 ) or seeing live.
Hell I could write a whole paragraph just about that I owned a Green Jelly cassette tape.
But I digress
If i had any one piece of advice, its "stay eclectic".

Edit: I've also found better hip hop as well, thanks Rhymesayers

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