I got my shuffle playing as I type this and White Lion’s “Wait” just came on. Not sure if that’s a good omen for this blog. I think I have like 5 hair metal songs out of a couple thousand songs on there and that’s one of them. High Enough by Damn Yankees and House of Pain by Faster Pussycat are the only other two I can think of, but I’m sure there’s a couple others.
I actually talked with a friend earlier today about music and they said something to the effect of “I don’t know how there are people who don’t really ‘feel’ when they listen to music.” I kind of agree as whenever I actively listen to music I want to have some sort of emotional release and connection from it. Sure sometimes you might just be passing time and music is on in the background. Or you’re at a bar and there’s some band playing originals and it’s fine, but you don’t care. But any time I’m in the car alone or listening to music at home, or at a concert, I really want to feel the music. I want to delve more into the emotional experience that it gives me. I want that little knot in my stomach when a sad lyric hits just write.
I do tend to gravitate towards sad music and I almost always have. I think to me that’s the emotion that I most connect with in music. As a kid my mom would make us listen to country music in the car all the time and it was always the sad ballads that I liked most. Feels So Right by Alabama, Almost Goodbye by Mark Chestnutt, stuff like that. Country and pop were kind of all I knew as a kid and my transformation into a rock guy was very slow and gradual. It started with oldies and eventually I had a really big Creedence phase when I was like 14. Then I remember really liking Bob Seger for a while. 95.7 KJR was all 70s on the radio and that was the station that was my number one when I got a car at age 16. I remember coming home once and asking my dad “Have you ever heard of Led Zeppelin?” He looked at me even more dismissively than he normally did. High school was almost all classic rock for me. However at some assembly early in my senior year I remember someone played the song Master of Puppets by Metallica. I was floored by it. I had heard Enter Sandman and stuff like that, but holy shit did hearing Master of Puppets hit me. I bought a guitar like a week later. I started and stopped learning guitar a lot that first year and when I left for college, I really started to play a lot. I learned every Metallica song I could play (which wasn’t many at first). My tastes started to go more towards the Seattle bands and early 90s rock as it seemed like I was generally 10 to 20 years behind the times in my music education.
I liked all the Seattle bands, but Alice in Chains became my favorite. I loved everything about Layne Staley’s voice and lyrics and just everything about them. I remember seeing Layne in the video for Would? and he had those bug sunglasses on and to me there was never going to be anyone in the world cooler than that guy. Sophomore year me and two friends from high school were all at UW for college started a band. We were fans of the show Growing Pains as kids so we named the band after Mike Seaver’s best buddy Boner Stabone. Stabone started out just us playing cover songs but eventually I started writing originals. All throughout our junior and senior years we’d play house parties and we actually kind of got a little following going at school. We’d usually get 100 or 150 people to show up to these parties to come and see us. Maybe they came for the beer, but I’m going to assume it was for us. We recorded a 6 song album that summer after college graduation and while it only took us three days, it was so much fun and I still have some great memories of that time. And I still consider both guys good friends.
- Side note, when I made these videos I didn’t know how to video edit, so I literally just took photos from my computer and put them on there to fill up the time needed for the song. I realize they’re cringe AF.
I loved the process of writing song and I’ve always gone in spurts of writing songs since Stabone. Mostly just for myself and my own enjoyment. I posted some of them on youtube and will include a couple of those below. They’re just demos and I never thought that I was any good at songwriting or music, but I did love the process of it. I haven’t really played guitar in a few years and other than singing in the car, I don’t know if I could hit notes that I did before in these old songs.
Last things I want to say about music. I remember in high school I started getting real judgy and snobbish about music. And for no reasons because it’s not like my tastes were ever that hip. But as I’ve gotten older, I hate music snobs and I hate that I ever gave someone crap because they liked Dave Matthews. Like just let people listen to what they like without shitting on it. Don’t yuck someone else’s yum. So don’t let someone else poo poo a song or artist you like. Keep on rockin!