Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rant: The Times, They Are A Changin' (Part 2)

In last week's edition of The Times, They Are A Changin', I went into my foundations of music, both my father's love for classic rock and metal, as well as my mother's love of folk and more pop-oriented rock. Each half made up who I was to become. Here is part two:

I remember my first CD purchase, not the first album I had, or was given, but the first one I actually saved up money for, and went out and got myself. I was twelve or thirteen (hard to remember exactly), the year was 1998 (or 1999, again, hard to recall), and the album was Americana by The Offspring. At the time (sixth grade), it was the popular thing going around school, "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get a Job?" were all that people were talking about. I had just changed schools (I don't mean from elementary to middle, but schools across the city) and I didn't have much in the way of friends, so I jumped on the bandwagon in the failed attempt to get some. I know, I know, a heart-throb story, but the truth nonetheless.

So I got Americana, and rocked out to it for weeks. I was riding my bike to school at the time, a whole two miles, so with my Walkman handy (old enough for that archaic piece of tech) I blared it over and over again. This was my first real intro into the world of punk rock, my dad had Green Day's Nimrod, but other then that: nothing. The reckless abandon of the music and lyrics, as well as the blatant use of words like 'bitch' and 'fuck,' led me into a new era. Although it didn't gain me any merit at school, amongst my friends around the block, I was king. I was the only person who's parent's didn't force me to listen to edited material, so every swear was there and it was glorious!

This was also the time I played around with hip-hop/rap, and my foray into the world of nu-metal. My best friend down the street, Alex, had the internet and the world of downloading music at his fingertips (again, I'm old enough to have lived in a time before the web), and so he introduced me to a lot of new acts and bands. Rap like Cypress Hill, Nelly and Eminem, nu-metal acts such as KoRn, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, and a few random bands like Rage Against The Machine and Weezer. I didn't like all of it (could not get into Cypress Hill or RATM - don't worry, I like them now), but as I said I was desperate for friends and so I gravitated to what he liked. Some of these groups I still listen to, others have become guilty pleasures (KoRn, I'm looking at you), while most I have never picked up again. It's still the foundations, and it's still worth mentioning.

Then highschool came, and by this point I had decided on my persona, and had gathered enough friends that I could do what I please without worrying about political fallout. I dropped the rap/hip-hop, and moved more and more into the heavy (I still kept the nu-metal for this period, it was still popular at the time). I discovered (or re-discovered if you will) acts that I grew up with; Metallica, Iron Maiden, Type O Negative, Manowar, none of which any of my friends had ever heard of. I was in marching band, playing drums/percussion, and so we talked about new and old music quite a bit, and with my history of the classics embedded into my soul I could easily keep up with any conversation.

This was the middle period; I had begun my personal musical development (my dad never listened to KoRn), but somehow had ventured back into my historical background. All the while my Dad kept me on my toes, showing me acts like Disturbed and The Union Underground way before anyone else had heard of them (The Union Underground were really big for like 6 months in the early 2000s). I guess I never really got out from my Dad's shadow (at least at this point), as he always has had his finger on the pulse of modern, popular rock and metal. Even now he calls me with some new act I need to follow, although now-a-days I already know about whatever band his is trying to show me. Still, I like it, and I know he does as well.

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