Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sonic Evolution

What is it about music that makes us who we are? How has it so effectively inspired us in our lives and shaped our views and ideals? Or is it the other way around and conversely we find our music based on who we have already become? Do we find our music or does our music find us? Maybe it's a little bit of everything. I know I reflect my music and my music is definitely a reflection of me.

I've been a rebellious little bastard since I was a kid. I learned to read at a very young age and I always asked way too many questions. Come to think of it, I've been questioning religion since before I could ride a bike. That's just who I am. Moving on...

I can remember being caught up in the bullshit Vanilla Ice/MC Hammer shitwave of the early 90s, but I was six for fuck's sake. Also, who wasn't a V-ICE fan? Don't lie, you know you had that tape. At the same time, between the Haddaway and House of Pain spins on the local Top 40 station, I tuned my little boom box to KBPI (ROCKS THE ROCKIES!!!) and my eyes were opened to a brave new world of dissent. Willie B hooked it the fuck up on a nightly basis and I was introduced to the likes of Ozzy, Pantera, Judas Priest, Bad Religion, Metallica, Hendrix, and the list could go on forever.

I remember 1991 and hearing Alice in Chains' "Man in the Box" for the first time and having my mind split wide the fuck open. I was hooked. No more pop for me, although I do confess to being a loyal viewer of Yo! MTV Raps!. I was a little rocker. I was a Cowboy From Hell Breaking the Law with No More Tears in an Angry Chair with an Appetite for Destruction and a Recipe for Hate.

1994 hit and I got my first DiscMan. My mother asked me what CDs I wanted. The list went a little something like this: the Offspring, Danzig, Pantera, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden. I got rejected like Spudd Webb trying to dunk over Hakeem Olajuwon. My first four CDs my mother purchased for me were (and I remember this because all but one were fucking awful) as follows: Live - Throwing Copper (great album), Collective Soul - WhicheverAlbumHadThatAwfulSongAboutHeavenAndItsLight (piece of shit), Aerosmith - Greatest Hits (helped culture me, but piece of shit), and THE FUCKING ENCINO MAN SOUNDTRACK. Never fear, my dad came to the rescue.

Under the tree at my pops' house were the Ignition and Smash from the Offspring. Enter melancholy, in your face punk about global atrocity, drugs, women, and being yourself in the face of everyone who attempted to mold you into what society wanted. At ten years old, the title track from Smash changed my life. Watch the video below and pay close attention to the lyrics.

That was it. I was done trying to fit in and I was done with all of the bullshit. Regardless of where they went after that album, the Offspring's first three records were filled some of the rawest, motivational, "fuck you if you don't like it" punk records ever captured in the studio.

Throughout the years I've always gravitated towards the heavier things in music, but I've always been a punk at heart. Keep in mind that when I say 'heavy', I don't always mean that in a sonic sense. To quote Tom Morello, "You don't gotta be loud, son, to be heavy as shit." That holds true on so many levels. Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tori Amos, and others like them haven't been heavy in the conventional sense, but the pure emotion and feeling that they were/are able to convey in their music is nothing less than magical.

So yes, I'm a metalhead. I'm a rocker. I'm a country outlaw. I'm a man with the blues. I'm all of these things and so much more, but ideologically, I'm a punk. My politics, my anti-establishment, anti-theistic, fuck authority attitude has always been there. From the just out of diapers me that asked how Noah fit all of the animals on the Ark and why can't we see God, all the way up to the here and now, I have been everything that my music embodies. It just took certain musicians to give my visceral angst the words to express itself.

So what is it that draws us to be so passionately enthralled with the sonic delights we enjoy? I guess it just depends on the person. This is me. This is who I am. It's not about image or tattoos or whatever, it's about what's inside. It's about that feeling you get when you hear a certain riff or verse that connects with something deep inside you. The half euphoric, half nauseous gut feeling that gets even the most rhythmically challenged of us wanting to move to the beat and break shit. That good music that simultaneously attacks all five senses and overwhelms you until you can't take it anymore.

You know what I'm talking about. If you don't, you're missing out.

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