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It's All About the Music

Music has always played a huge part of my life.

I’ve always been jealous of people who could just instantaneously look back at life and remember specific moments.

My life has been defined by music. Every moment I store in my memory could not be recalled if it weren’t tied to a specific song. I could go years without hearing one song—then it plays, and I’m eight years old again, in a horrific blue van, with my mother and brother, on my way to swim practice, and I’m watching the world pass by outside, and all I can think about is I hope my dad is there to see me.

And now, one minute, I’ll be laughing with the family in the car, while compulsively hitting the “seek” button on the radio and on comes Aerosmith, “Angel,” and my entire body tingles remembering how that was the wifey and our “song” back in the day.

Or Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” will hit and I’ll instantly be 17 and laughing, laying in the wifey’s trampoline out-back of her mom’s house, teaching her the lyrics while chuckling inside knowing it’s a song about masturbation.

I’ll always remember how fucking rad I thought my Uncle was when he gave me Iron Maiden “Piece of Mind” for Christmas one year.

The walls in my room during my high school days were covered in 60s & 70s posters. Janis Joplin, The Beatles, The Who, Cat Stevens, and Bob Dylan.

When I was 11, our family had driven to New York City to be with my father’s family. My cousin, a few years older, handed me his Walkman. I’m pretty sure my ears came at least five times that day as I was introduced to Led Zeppelin for the very first time of my life. That night my god-father died and we drove from New York to South Carolina non-stop, while I listened to Led Zeppelin I, II, III, & IV which my cousin gave me cause he felt bad we were on our way to bury my mother’s brother.

The very first CD I owned was the double album Led Zeppelin “Song Remains the Same Live.” John Bonham will always, in my mind, go down in history as the best drummer ever.

The introduction of Led Zeppelin was an incredible breakthrough musically for me. One I’ll never forget. And, the only thing comparable, was in 1992. I’ll never forget, sitting at the kitchen table alone, watching MTV (back when they fucking played music) and Pearl Jam “Alive” came on. The spoon fell from my hand. I was mesmerized. I later said to my good friend at the time “it’s the sound I’ve been dying to hear!” I wrote “Pearl Jam Ten” on a sheet of paper after watching the video, and owned the cassette by the end of the day.

Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam these days, but for me…it knocked down the wall to my musical boundaries and I never looked back. I even grew my hair out to live the part!

I obsess over lyrics. I can hear the drum line of every song and see it like Rain Man counting tooth picks. I remember:

The girl I dreamt about in middle school finally noticed me and we started dating. And Phil Collins “Groovy Kind of Love” was our song.

I got laid off from my job and I blared Rage Against the Machine “Wake Up” on my headphones and walked a straight line down the Chicago sidewalk daring anyone to bump my arm, look at me wrong, or even smile.

On the way home to grab some stuff from our house after our son was born, I’ll never forget playing John Lennon “Beautiful Boy,” despite the fact I blame Yoko for everything evil on this planet.

The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down”Cold War Kids “We Used To Vacation”Iron & Wine “Trapeze Swinger”Dave Matthews Band “Say Goodbye”Bare Naked Ladies “Blame It On Me”Train “Drops of Jupiter”Temple of the Dog “Hunger Strike”Van Morrison “And It Stoned Me” (which this link is to the Great Jerry Garcia, because I could find a damn original Van Morrison version and who better to cover than Jerry!)

I could do this for hours.

I play music as much as I can for the kids. I name the bands. I try to explain the lyrics. I pound out the drum line on my steering wheel, knee, couch….in the hopes they get an understanding. I play my guitar, I long to own a piano again, and the boy and I are nagging the wifey to let us own a drum kit.

For me – the easiest answer to, “so tell me about yourself,” will always be to hand that person a CD and slowly walk out.

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Reader Comments (20)

Wow. I can't even express how much I love this post. This is EXACTLY how I feel about music, it has been and always be what makes me, ME. I can remember the song I had playing on my ipod when my daughter was born, the song that played when my husband asked me to marry him, or the song that started the roadtrip of my whole family moving from New Hampshire to Nebraska. One day we will need to get together and swap music libraries and jam on our guitars.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrazysahm


i recently wrote up a quick recap of music releases from '88 that mattered to me... though i'd share...

The Church - Starfish
Morrissey – Viva Hate
Pixies – Surfer Rosa
The Jesus and Mary Chain – Barbed Wire Kisses
The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane
Public Enemy – It Take a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Slayer – South of Heaven
Joy Division – Substance
Salt n Pepa – A Salt with a Deadly Pepa
NWA – Straight Outta Compton
Danzig – Danzig
Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
Siouxsie & the Banshees – Peepshow
Skinny Puppy – VIVIsectVI
Bad Religion – Suffer
Fishbone – Truth and Soul
Suicidal Tendencies – How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
U2 – Rattle and Hum
Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session
My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything

been slammed this week. but let me know if you want to catch up sometime next week.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercd

Fantastic! I love that music helps define who you are! Great lyrics are so under-appreciated these days! Xo thx for this post!

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterallconsoffun

"Music makes the people come together. Music mix the bourgeoisie and the rebel."

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLady of the House

Yes, yes, yes! A someone who had always had problems expressing my thoughts into words music has always been my salvation. I mourn the loss of mix tapes because it was so much easier for me to help a friend through broken heart or tell a guy how I felt about him through music. Lyrics are poetry and scrapbooks for me. I love them for their ability to take me to a moment, let me in the moment, or remember who I am. However in my mommy world I just don't listen to it enough. You have inspired me though, I am making a itunes playlist of all the "ME!" songs and blasting it today!

I tried to touch on what you are saying in this blog post
but couldn't get it out like you could. If only I was a songwrite.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate, aka guavalicious

Love this. Music is background to me. It is a mood and a feeling, but it has never been tied to particular events for me. I have my lists for when I am sad, mad ... yearning. Happy, I can listen to anything.
That is one thing that Twitter has brought me is a wider range of music appreciation. I don't always like what y'all throw my way, but I enjoyevery second of it.
Hope you get those drums soon. Great way to bang out some agression.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercjaxon

Love this post! I feel the same way. I am amazed everyday how songs I haven't heard in forever will tigger not only the memories, but the feelings I experienced in those moments. One of my favorites is Every Breath You Take by The Police, it sends me straight back into childhood, when my dad and I would be tinkering around in the garage on Sat. Those Saturdays meant everything to me!! Thanks for sharing your memories!

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa aka mvaughnrn

Great blog as always!! Yes music played many a song in my life as well. I think I should have a soundtrack for my life too. AC/DC would be there Kiss and Van Halen for sure. Metallica Genesis even MJ!! As a teenager of the 80's I grew up with everything and love most of it too. Yes I like Toby Keith!! I love drums too!! Peter Criss of Kiss fame was an idol. Good luck convincing the wifey on the drum kit!!

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAvionicsMan

I completely agree with your viewpoint here. I was raised by two music loving hippies (who, ironically, met on tour with Led dad was a wannabe roadie, my mom was a groupie [side note:jealous!]), hence the name of my blog, In Through The Out Door. Thanks to them, every great memory of my childhood corresponds with a great song they introduced me to. Thanks for a great post that definitely has me reminiscing!

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKisha Floren

Another great post Daddy - music defines the moment and the mood. Then takes us back there like it was yesterday. Keep the music going and your kids will follow.
Too bad there's not a site where everyone can share their "where they were/what they were doing/what they were feeling" moments to each song. Hey...if you build it they might come.....

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisaJanPA

Love this! Music is awesome. <---What an understatement. I use music to recall life, too. I don't remember things otherwise.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie (@GoodByeGracie)

I'm the same way. Every memory has a song tied to it—I could fill up your comments page ten times over. But I'll just say great post instead. Also? Nice to hear someone appreciating Zeppelin, which I was introduced to by the coolest babysitter ever when I was about 8 or 9.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Caffeinatrix

I've been dancing since I was 2, so music has always been a huge part of my life. It's what moves me, quite literally.

Music is like smells, you catch a note or a sniff and it takes you back in time.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

This is exactly how I feel about music too my man. Music for me is a party pal, a coping mechanism, an inspiration and as close as anything I have to religion. Just about any band that matters from the past 30 years, I can tell you EXACTLY where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard them. Music is LIFE itself! Great post as usual!

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersleepndad

Let's see.... The song my hubby played right after we got engaged - Tainted Love. We played 'Another One Bites the Dust' briefly during our ceremony (just enough for everyone to look around at each other as if to say.. "did they just do that?"). On our honeymoon, the most played song on the radio was 'When It's Over'. :)

I immediately go back to moments in time, too. Play Depeche Mode's Violator and I'm back in a tent on a hot, sticky, sweaty summer night - and yes it was the album, not just a song ;)

Home for a Rest by Spirit of the West takes me right back to jumping around like a fool in BC on a student council conference in college.

I hear Thriller and I'm 11 again, watching his video premiere in a trailer park I was visiting with a friend. And on and on...

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJacki (JackiYo)

You know it.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAna

Songs always instantly take me back.

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

*Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer - Voting for it on the top 8 at 8 on Kiss FM
*Beastie Boys - License to Ill - My brother arguing with my brother telling him they were NOT a rap group, then I i listened to it
*Pink Floyd - The Wall - My high school spent being dropped off at the library every night in hopes that it would improve my grades.....then i would walk to the used CD store in the same mall.(BB's CDs)
*Guns n Roses - Use Your illusion 1&2 - waiting in line for the midnight release with my brother and his girlfriend at east coast music in Greenville (ECU), I was a little on the tipsy side and told her that she had big tits.
*Dead and Bloated - STP - we had one hour during exams in college in the dorms that we could make as much noise as we wanted....needless to say I spun the volume to 11 and made the dorm floor ROCK.
*The Police Greatest Hits - lost my virginity (never was and still am not a fan, she was playing it)

January 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNORM

I feel this incredible Thing for The Beatles, John Lennon to be more exact... (shutup about Yoko, he loved her.... Love is the most important thing in the world. Paul McCartney broke up The Beatles) ... A local Canadian artist named Matthew Good, and I'm starting to consider adding Dan Mangan to the list, but he's only had one album so I'll have to wait and see...
I don't know if you've seen Almost Famous... Music people tend to like it, so if you haven't you may want to. It refers to being a fan, a true fan and loving "some silly little piece of music so much that it hurts". And I've always found that to be a great way to describe it. It can completely transport you, and I CAN'T UNDERSTAND a person who, when you say, "what music do you like?" they can't list or name any!!

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindsaydianne

I am one of those people who uses tweets about what I am listening to. Almost once a week I'll put up a post that is nothing but links to what I am listening to.

One of my favorite posts was about Songs you Have to Sing Along with. If you'll forgive, I'll share the link.

January 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

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