Podzilla 1985

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Bands I Never Cared About Until I Wasn't A Douche

So you know how you have that older relative that tells you to listen to something he grew up with but you tell him to fuck off because you know better and he's probably an alcoholic?

We've all been there. We know what real music is because we grew up with it, and we're going to keep on rockin' forever.

Oh, if only, dear readers.

I was one of those people. I grew up in a very urban area with very old fashioned parents. They listened to Merle Haggard while I had my headphones on listening to Bone Thugs N Harmony. I knew what real music was, and it was pouring through my CD player thanks to the edited E.1999 album I bought from Wal Mart, which as a kid was the only store my parents would shop because those Rollback commercials really sucked them in. That and because we were pretty trashy. Did I mention I grew up in a trailer?

I digress.

My father tried to instill a respect for country music, but as a child of the 90's I wasn't hearin' that noise. Real music was about the struggle and the rebellion. In my impressionable ears I couldn't take it seriously unless it had at least 20 F-words per song. To me, every song should have been produced by Quentin Tarantino.My parents eventually gave up on trying to convert me from the streets. It wasn't until I was nearing the end of my teens that I even gave rock a chance, and I became a fan of both. My playtime was balanced between 2pac and Three Doors Down.

At this point I considered myself a goddamn music expert.

My ego was escalated when I added video game music and Japanese rock/pop to my playlists. Holy shit, I was cultured like you wouldn't believe! I was the man, and I prided myself on it because my parents had no idea what I was talking about. Gackt was as foreign to them as having money, or not living in a trailer.

My half brother, who I no longer speak to, moved in with us in my late teens and early twenties. He was a child of the 60's and 70's, so on top of my parents old country I now had to deal with hair bands and leather pants. Also, still no F-words.

At the time the only thing his dinosaur music brought to my life was a chance encounter with a beautiful girl at a Kansas concert. We walked past each other, I looked back and she looked back at the same time. Of course I freaked out and kept walking, but when I looked back she looked back again and we smiled at each other. I had no course of action though, as I was deeply involved with a girl at the time and far more moral than I am now. I walked away. Still, it was a cute memory. I don't remember anything else about the concert except for how when the lead singer for Kansas took the stage he said with a straight face - "Cape Girardeau, welcome to KANSAS!"

Ridiculous. And I kept this bias against this ancient music into my late 20's because I had no more influences. I wasn't living at home, and I was so over the anime music my girlfriend listened to. Wouldn't even give it a chance.

I think the turning point in my life was the television show Supernatural. Fantastic show, by the way. Anyone who has seen this amazing program will know that the show is infused with classic rock that enhances to show in fantastic ways. Without the music it's a good show, but when you put bands like Kansas and Blue Oyster Cult to it, it becomes a cultural phenomenon. "The Road So Far" recaps set to "Carry On Our Wayward Son" alone is the single greatest piece of television produced since The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. My obsession with Supernatural, and the handsome devil Dean Winchester, finally opened that door in my mind that had been boarded up when I was a youth.

Then it hit me. I started thinking back to other things I loved and how much they were influenced by this classic music I refused to give a chance to. "An American Werewolf in London" is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. Who can forget hearing CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" before the main character transforms into a werewolf? Remember the scene in Futurama where Fry plays Space Invaders while Rush's epic "Tom Sawyer" plays in the background? How about Will Ferrel needing more cowbell?

Hell, what about that commercial with the band doing a play off of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger?" You know the one I mean, don't be so coy.

When I finally started giving the classics a chance I realized why they're called classics. You know who is awesome? Here's a short list - Creedence Clearwater Revival, Kansas, Blue Oyster Cult, Dio, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, Journey, Queen, and the list could go on and on and on and on and on and on and I would still be gushing over these bands that make today's music sound like the studio created piles of rancor vomit that it really is.

Yes, I'm THAT GUY now! I'm ragging on today's music and Beiber can suck it long and suck it hard!

Look, I'm not saying that what you like is irrelevant. I'm just saying it's irrelevant compared to what I like.

And it's not just classic rock. You know what else is awesome? Motown. Country music like my pappy used to listen to. Basically, the stuff that came before, when chances were taken and liberties were given. It was back during a simpler time, when entertainment wasn't always about sales and market research and demographics. It was back when more effort was put into a chorus than into wardrobes and websites like TMZ weren't chasing down celebrities like lawyers after an ambulance.

I don't know if the freedom and atmosphere of the times gave rise to such powerful music. If real music is a product of its environment, then the last real music was the gangster rap of the early 90's with groups like N.W.A. The most recent thing we've had to mainstream success on a politically chaotic album was Green Day's "American Idiot."

Is that bad music? No way. But will the next forty years look back on what we cherish right now and hold Lady Gaga in the same light as we hold Johnny Cash?

I don't think so. But, I was wrong before and it took me a long time to catch up on decades of music that speak to my very soul. Maybe in a few years I'll be blogging about how much "Poker Face" influenced my life.

Shortly before I blow my own brains out.

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