Saturday, February 27, 2010

Post #3 The Long Awaited Third Installment

I decided tonight I should start blogging. As fate would have it, I came to this site to sign up and learned to my surprise that I already had a blog going. My short term memory isn't what it used to be. I don't recall what I had for dinner last night -let alone what I was up to 37 months ago, which is when my last installment appeared. Friends and acquaintances have actually asked me if I had a blog, and I told them "no" forgetting what I had done back in 2006!

So...picking up where I left off...I plan on updating weekly from here on out and writing about whatever the hell enters my mind...which is normally music related.

There's a good reason why music is such a big deal to me. I grew up in a home where music was a big deal to my parents, and growing up, the Hi Fi (a stereo with only ONE speaker, for all you post-baby boomers out there) was being played as often as the TV. Both of my parents had phenomenal record collections.

My mom collected 45s as a young woman and had all the basics in her collection: Elvis, Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, Chubby Checkers, Chuck Berry, as well as novelty records like "The Witch Doctor" "Purple People Eater" "Beep Beep" and the Lawrence Welk parody, "Wonderful, Wonderful."

My dad had eclectic tastes ranging from classical recordings, to German beer drinking songs, to folk albums by The Chad Mitchell Trio -singing about the New Frontier.

The Hi-Fi resided in the basement of my childhood home, a part of the house that for whatever reason creeped me out as a small boy. Also in the basement was the washer and dryer, so my mom spent a lot of her days down there, folding and ironing clothes. As a toddler, I was always with her.

Perhaps what bothered me most about the basement was how quiet it seemed in comparison to the upstairs. It was the kind of eerie suspenseful silence that is usually the harbinger of something bad in a horror movie.

When my mom would pick out a stack of 45's and drop them on the spindle, it felt akin to lighting a furnace in a cold house. Music would flow through the massive speaker on the front of the blond cabinet, transforming the creepy silence into a sea of happy sound. Music seemed like a guardian angel against the encroaching quiet, warding off invisible agents of doom circling overhead. It seemed as if nothing bad could ever happen when music was playing.

And nothing bad ever did.

As I grew into adolescence, I began collecting music, as well as playing it on a guitar. Somehow, music seemed to define who you were and what you were all about. Those who aspired to Bad-Ass-ity listened to Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Alice Cooper. Those who wanted an "in" with the girls at dances, would listen to Soul music (which is what everyone danced to, and lord knows girls want to dance.) If you were a late bloomer in the 8th grade who was occasionally dwarfed by kids three years your junior...well you listened to any damned thing you wanted to, because all the music in the world wasn't going to win you any fights or get you anywhere with anyone on the dance floor.

So I had pretty eclectic tastes!

As my teen years turned to young adult years, music became the center of my social life. I attended concerts with family and friends, and the act of taking in a music show with those who were close to you became a kind of secular communion.

Meanwhile I gravitated to others who played guitar, and had friends I jammed with and played with in church groups. I met my wife Jacqui, playing guitar in a folk choir that we were both apart of. It's been 30 years since we met, and in the meantime, we've listened to a lot of music together, seen a lot of shows and raised three kids who are equally enamored by music.

Music has always been more to me than just an idle form of entertainment. It's a tether that keeps me connected to those I love. Its a symbol of individuality. Its a magic charm that wards off evil spirits.

And it's what my blog is about.

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