By now, it’s no secret what an impact the art of music has made on my life. I can look back at any moment of my life and immediately associate a song or band with that time – it often drives my wife crazy!
I would have to say that music really opened up the world for me starting in high school. Sure, as a kid, our family listened to the original WDRQ in Detroit, hearing songs like Parliament Funkadelic’s “Tear the Roof Off”, or War’s “Low Rider”, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”, and “Cisco Kid”, or Bachman Turner Overdrive and the like, but it was really in high school when the walls came down.
I would get lost in record stores, often buying albums solely because of their covers. Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” was one of those for sure. But it was in those record stores that I waged war on musical knowledge. I began seeing musicians appear on different albums, and it would bounce back and forth as the rabbit hole of musical knowledge beckoned me.
For instance, Ozzy Osbourne had recently become a solo artist. “I Don’t Know” and “Crazy Train” had just come out, and they hooked me. Bad. Going into the record store, I could look at Ozzy’s solo albums, then I’d be curious about that other band of his, Black Sabbath. There, I’d see that Ronnie James Dio was in Black Sabbath, too. But Dio had also been in Rainbow with Richie Blackmore, who had also been in Deep Purple – whoa!
The radio was always on at this stage of my life. Music swallowed me whole. WRIF and WLLZ were always competing for my time, and poor WABX was gasping its last breath as it swirled down towards its painful death.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the time consisted of music. Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen” became my tune much like it was for others who were near that age, and who could resist Van Halen – well, at least their first few records…?
When I first heard “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, I was blown away. I immediately bought the album, and was transfixed. I’ll admit, I have always been on the fence with Rush – not committing to fandom in any way. But they’ve got some songs that absolutely give me chills.
In the early 1980s, though, there was one band that I totally jumped on board with. It was a band that I never – or at best, extremely rarely – heard on the radio. They had THE BEST albums covers, too, magnets for adolescent boys.
When I dropped the needle on Side One of the “Killers” album by Iron Maiden, my jaw gaped. Hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Like a hungry fish, I was hooked.
When it came to records, I was a passionate collector. I had what I consider the Iron Maiden holy trinity – Killers, Piece of Mind, and Powerslave. But through my record collecting years, I had also gathered all of the Kiss albums through Lick It Up, and all the Pink Floyd albums, Van Halen albums through Diver Down, a bunch of Cheap Trick albums, Black Sabbath albums, AC/DC albums… my voracious appetite couldn’t be satisfied.
My compact disc collection was even worse! When I lived in Texas, I had a lot of expendable income and no forethought of retirement. So I regularly went to Best Buy and bought CDs of absolutely no significance.
In the early 2010s, as my wife and I prepared to move out of state, I loaded my CDs and many of my albums on my computer. I gave away all but a handful of CDs and bequeathed my record collection and turntable to my cousin.
These days, I don’t have a lot of time for music, and to be honest, I much prefer quiet over noise. I still download music for no reason, and try filling in some musical blanks. I still find myself getting lost checking out videos on youtube, and wasting time in the iTunes library, but for the most part, my musical diet has been lean. And that’s okay, because when I have the time, I can appreciate music even more, and relish the memories that come with it.