Sunday, September 22, 2013

Music? What's Dat?

When I was growing up in the 70's (born in '65 thus childhood was in the 70's), I had a major problem about listening to music. While I knew it was out there, I rarely listened to any of it. In fact, as a matter of record, the only time that I listened to any music for any length of time, was if I was traveling with my mother. As far as I could tell, my dad didn't listen to music while us kids were in the car, as he listen to mostly AM (I think until he passed away).

At home, I quickly grew to hate listening to music. As a kid, a good chunk of your down time (for me at leat) revolved around two distinct entities: reading and television. So whenever my dad had papers/quizzes/tests to grade, more often than not he would slap on an album of folk music or (real) country music, which in turn would require me to become bored out of my mind because I couldn't watch television in the living room.

If I wanted to watch television during those times, I had to watch it on a crappy B&W in the kitchen. But, I digress.

Having said that, I did learn to appreciate the music I did listen to, like the classical incidental music for WB Cartoons. And teeny bopper music (i.e. The Brady Bunch & Jimmy Osmond). And, as I got older, the pop music that is currently being murdered on radio, I listened o when it was FRESH AND NEW.

However, because I didn't know up from down when it came to music, I would do stupid things like request an Eddie Rabbit song on a rock station.

As I got older my exposure to other genres came along in fits and starts. For example, I didn't really get into Motorhead like normal people my age, which was exploring a particular sub-genre of music. Instead, I got interested in Motorhead by watching television.

Back in the early days of MTV ('83-'88), they would show the occasional comedy show from the U.K. Like a really warped show called "The Young Ones". Anyways, on one particular episode, they had the band Motorhead playing at a protest rally in their apartment. The song in question was The Ace of Spades, which completely blew me away.

Unfortunately, those exploratory moments were few and very far between, as I basically stumbled through my 20's and early 30's totally clueless about music beyond my parents era (notable exceptions were discovering the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys via non-music sources).

It wasn't until 1996 that I started discovering other types of music. The reason for that watershed moment had a lot to do with starting a brand new job with the state of CT prepping newspapers (see this tag) and in order to keep myself awake, I began listening to the radio.

However, it wasn't until a particular co-worker was added to my department a couple of years later that my musical education began in earnest. How so? He introduced me to college radio, and from that moment on, I started a musical exploration that some seventeen years later is still surprising me with all of the various exits, highways, byways and rural roads that I've grown to love.

Without college radio, I probably wouldn't gotten exposed to and learn to appreciate the following genres:

1} Folk
2} True country aka Americana
3} True alternative rock
4} True R&B
5} Soul
6} Heavy Metal in all of its glorious sub-genres
7} Hard Rock
8} Funk
9} Punk and its various sub-genres
10) Techno
11} Reggae
12} Bluegrass

And without exposure to those and many others, life would be pretty much a dull journey of ginormous proportions.

Don't you think?


  1. College/university radio is the best, you're right! So much terrific music is just simply not played on commercial stations.

  2. Debra: This is so very true. I actually have a couple of favorite programs that I make it a point of listening to every week. One them actually has a Facebook page in which he lists his entire show for the week.

  3. Ace of Spades was a revelation for me as well. Wow, played it to death when I first got the album.

  4. I keep WRAS-FM, aka Album 88, on my radio dial in the car. It's the college station of my alma mater, Georgia State University. Awesome music (most of the time.)

    p.s. My mom and I took my little sister and her friend to see the Osmond Brothers once and it was a great show. (Probably 1970 or so.)

  5. For a few years in HS, I worked at a Perkins where they played 50's music. So I didn't get exposed to new music until college as I was into the 50's stuff then. Now i hate 50's music

  6. I would never have guessed! I thought you were into all types of music since you were a little kid. Well, that's a nice surprise, to discover music later in life. Go college radio!

  7. Charles: I still don't have that particular album. I only have the song as a live cut on their album "No Sleep 'til Hammersmith". Definitely made my day when I'd first listened to it, and still does whenever I get the chance.

    Lynn: My sentimental favorite with always be WWUH (University of Hartford), since they were the first one that I got into. However, when politics started creeping in to some of the programming, I switched stations, WRTC (Trinity College) and WFCS (CCSU, where my dad taught).

    Strangest concert I went to had to be David Hasselhoff at the Big E in the early 90's. I took my wife there (her fave actor) and I was good for the rest of the year.

    Bearman: I really can't deal with 50's music for any length of time anymore. Having said that, there is a local doo-wop show that I enjoy quite a bit these days, simply because they don't play the commercial hits 99% of the time.

    S.R.: I was never really into music as a kid. Was more of a bookworm than a music geek. Some of the bands that people wax nostalgic about and/or are considered influential, were simply never on my radar. At all.

    So college radio really has been a godsend.

  8. That is quite the variety! Interesting that you got more exposure to different types of music later...I grew up with all kinds of music in the house and still love all kinds (except country, sorry.) Unless you count John Denver.

  9. M: Strange how our tastes can change when we get older, isn't it?

    Went to a few folk concerts because of what I've listened to when I was older as well.

  10. My mother hated music, still does really, so I spent my younger years listening to both my Dad's and older brother's music. I bought my first single when I was 11 and haven't stopped since!

  11. Joe: My music purchasing was very sporadic while I was a kid/teenager. I really didn't start building up my record collection until the late 80's/early 90's via a record catalog and a used record store. For the past 15 years or so, I've been beefing it up via donations from family (my brother who would find stuff while he was doing home improvement), friends and current/former co-workers.


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