Lately I have been listening to the KCRW Guest DJ Project podcasts where they invite famous or influential people on to choose five songs and talk about them. It’s interesting to hear what different people pick and their reasons why. So I thought I would do the same today with my Friday Five; it would fulfill the usual FF format and at the same time allow me to write a little bit.
My brother once blogged about how a lot of his musical tastes can be traced back, or “bottlenecked through” as he put it, a short list of other artists. I’m not sure I can do that, but I can trace my musical tastes back to certain people or specific times in my life.
The first of which is Kiss.
I will forever trace my love for Kiss back to my brother. It was the first band that I can recall being crazy about. In 1979 our parents took us to Evansville, IN to see them live in concert. It was the first real concert I had ever attended. I was a month away from being 8 years old, but I can still remember quite a bit of it. I picked the song Love Gun because somewhere around that time I called into a local radio station and won that album, completely oblivious to the not-so-subtle double entendre (if you can even call it that).
It was actually more difficult to narrow down my second choice because I wanted one that would exemplify just how influential my father has been on my musical tastes over the years. To put it as simply as possible, Dad loved music. He exposed us to a wide range of great stuff that we both still listen to today; Blues, Country, Soul, Doo-Wop, Rockabilly… I picked Miss Etta James’ Stop the Wedding because first of all no singer in history can match the level of emotion Etta could convey with just her voice, but most of all because of how Dad’s face would light up when she belted “WAIT – WAIT…”
Next we have John Cougar Mellencamp.
JCM’s Scarecrow Tour was the first concert I went to without parental supervision. Technically they drove me to the arena, but they didn’t go in with us since I wasn’t quite old enough to drive. But I still see it as a major step not only in my musical history, but also in my life. To me John represented what I referred to in my youthful ignorance as “denim rock”, which included basically just the music I liked at the time like Springsteen, Tom Petty, and stuff like that because most of the bands that other people my age were listening to at the time wore a lot of spandex.
Tori Amos represents another time of transition in my life. In the 90’s I had to try to find myself again after having a baby girl too young, getting married and divorced, and moving away to finish college and do something with my fife. I discovered her by accident along with my close friend and classmate Chris. It may seem odd that two college guys would get into Tori Amos, but she was so different; beautiful and chaotic. Her voice fulfilled some unknown need in our psyches.
And now I can’t see or listen to Tori without thinking about Chris and that time in my life.
My final choice is an odd one, but one that I will always associate with another transitional moment for me as well as with my beautiful wife. During the time that we were dating, before I had even asked her to marry me, she absolutely loved the band Savage Garden. One day she needed to borrow my truck for some reason, so I drove her little red Pontiac Firebird to work. This cassette was in the player and I listened to it because it made me think of her. I remember vividly that the song To The Moon & Back was playing when I found myself in a five-car accident, busting-up that pretty Firebird real good.
And she married me anyway!