We all have musical experiences at certain points in our lives that end up defining or at least influencing our musical taste. Here’s a summary of what impacted me. What were your influences?
I guess I started with audio at around 4 years old. In the 70’s record players were cheap and plentiful. My record collection at 4 consisted of an eclectic handful of 45s…there was the Disney haunted house, with scary ghost sounds, something from Olivia Newton John, a Cats in the Cradle disc and some song called Chicka Boom. My mom had a small, collection of 8-tracks that included Earth Wind & Fire, Cat Stevens, Billy Joel and my favorite, Frampton Comes Alive (lots of people’s favorite back then).
Third grade was the advent of my first LP. The thing to do at that time was to listen to the classroom hifi (which consisted of a record player and 10 sets of headphones). The boys in the class pretty much dominated the thing and Kiss albums were the fashion. I bought the Kiss Alive II double album. The album opened up to a panoramic view of the kiss stage, complete with fireballs on all sides, an then there was a cool pic of Gene Simmons on the back, with blood all over his face. Alive II was enough to make you a minor star for several weeks in a 3rd grade classroom.
By the 6th grade Back in Black came out. I didn’t know what AC/DC was, but my sister said everyone in her school was saying their song was the one to listen for on the radio. I asked a friend at school, who already had most of their records, which one I should buy and he suggested Dirty Deeds. I distinctly remember my first listen to this album, because after about 60 seconds I thought to myself…what the hell, I just spent my savings to listen to some guy with a really weird voice? Bonn Scott became one of my favorite singers, but I don’t know how I got there from my initial impression. Junior high was Hendrix, Ozzy and Black Sabbath and high school was Led Zeppelin. KISW, Seattle’s rock channel at that time, pretty much took everyone down that road.
College introduced me to Pink Floyd, which opened my eyes to the magic of great recordings. College was also a window on Seattle’s Grunge music scene. My roommate saw Nirvana play a short set at the U-District Tower Records store. I missed seeing most of the big names when they were still small, but through the early 90’s we had a lot of amazing talent here that few people ever knew about. Things were really crazy in the local music scene until the authorities put a lid on it. The standard protocol at a music venue was the volume on 11, a mosh pit in front of the stage and a constant stream of people jumping on stage and diving, transitioning to crowd surfing. A night in one of these clubs was like crossing the border into Mexico for three hours. Check out the Pearl Jam documentary called PJ20; the scenes from their early shows really give you a feel for the vibe at the time. I think it’s very reminiscent of the early Stones shows.
Somewhere along the line my tastes really broadened, into female vocals, Classical music, Jazz and a wide variety of other genres. I still love the sound of a loud over-driven guitar, but my overall interests are quite broad. If I find music interesting and the recording is high quality, I’m probably going to like it or at least appreciate something about it.