ALL THE MUSIC THAT INFLUENCED ME MOST IN LIFE IS MUSIC I CAN NO LONGER LISTEN TO

Originally posted by Soundcheck Magazine (2009)

All the music that influenced me most in life is music I can no longer listen to.  I don't really understand this phenomenon, but I'd be willing to hypothesize it has something to do with tastes, maturity, and my fad-based environment at any given point in my personal history.  

 

The first album I ever owned was "Welcome to the Real World" by Mr. Mister.  It was a Christmas present from my sister in 1987. The big hit off that album had some vague Catholic theme, so therefore the cassette was deemed worthy to be given to me in celebration of the birth of Christ.  

 

Three things that were not deemed worthy to be given to me that year were the following: 

 

1.  Jose Canseco's Rated Rookie baseball card issued by Donruss (too expensive - this card would eventually peak at a value of about $200, but by the time I finally acquired it, Jose was turning routine pop flies into home runs by bouncing them off his head and out of the park. The card now sits in my basement, in a giant Tupperware crate filled with thousands of other cards that I used to promise myself would eventually buy me a house. Last time I checked a Beckett Price Guide, the total value of the crate was somewhere in the $15.75 range, with good ol' Jose raking in about $1.75. Thankfully, I didn't specify the square footage of this dream mansion.  A tarp-roofed lean-to can still be a house, you know).

2.  A new skateboard (my current board was a neon-pink Nash Executioner. Nash was a brand that Toys "R" Us carried. This was awesome as a third-grader in 1985, but not so cool as a fifth grader in 1987. I wanted a Christian Hosoi by Skull Skates deck more than anything in the world, partially because of the sculpted "Hammerhead" shape, but mostly because his name was "Christian", and therefore seemingly easy to rationalize to my parents. They wouldn't budge. Ironically enough, they DID buy me a Natas Kaupas pro model several years later. Yes, his first name was "Natas". Re-read it while thinking about backmasking.

 

3.  A Nintendo Entertainment System (ditto for Christmas 1988. In 1989 I finally saved enough of my paper route money to buy one for myself. I've never fully recovered socially from that two-year lapse of uncoolness).  

 

So you won the battle, Mr. Mister, but you ultimately lost the war. The only thing you influenced me to do (well, at least consciously) was to acquire more music.  And fast. From that point on, every facet of my life has been frantically dictated by one new cassette, then CD, then LP, then MP3, then uh, quickly-pressed-play-button-on-a-streaming-link after another. Musical obsession isn't just about pleasing your own ears. More often than not, it's about staying ahead of the taste curve. Which, I've noticed, can lead to a very unhealthy - or at least ultimately unsatisfying - way to experience anything.

My whole adolescent life can be summed up by a dozen bands with a dozen albums. Even more psychologically revealing is the fact that It's incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for me to revisit these albums today. Just why exactly, I have no idea. Perhaps this ongoing residency project will show me the way. Cue the talk box solo, Peter Frampton.  

If nothing else, at least buy me a Albert Pujols rookie.  It's cold out here under this blue plastic.   

1. STRYPER IN GOD WE TRUST

2. METALLICA ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

3. N.W.A. STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

4. DE LA SOUL 3 FEET HIGH AND RISING

5. NOFX PUNK IN DRUBLIC

6. LIVE THROWING COPPER

7. POOR OLD LU SIN

8. SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE LP2

9. JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION ORANGE

10. SHUDDER TO THINK PONY EXPRESS RECORD

11. RADIOHEAD OK COMPUTER

12. THE FLAMING LIPS THE SOFT BULLETIN