I got turned on to ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ late one night in a haze of high school experimentation. We’d been listening to some of those prog-type bands, and someone had acquired this album after reading about it in an article about Robert Fripp and King Crimson. It had been released four or five years earlier, but things had a way of making it to Alabama a little late sometimes.
It was unlike anything we’d heard: crazy sounds and rhythms, simultaneously sinister and humorous, repetitive and chaotic, and surprisingly melodic. It was discordant, hypnotic, and beautiful. “Baby’s On Fire” became something of a weekend battle cry, but we perceived Eno as little more than the Jester in the Court of the Crimson King, not realizing he was actually more a Merlin whose sonic magic could prep our ears for the music in our future. He was duly noted, but not further pursued at that point. (more…)
I’d been staring at it for weeks, that first KISS record. I didn’t know anything about them, hadn’t heard a note or any description of the music. But I came back and looked at it every week in the department store record bin…because it was COOL, and a little bit scary. I finally got it and sat in front of our record player listening to it over and over when no one was home, feeling like part of a secret society when Paul sang, “I know a thing or two about her….”
Not much over a year later, they had already released two more studio albums, and their first live album was hot on the shelves when they announced a concert appearance in Montgomery. Excited by the news, I raced home to ask my mother if I could go (well, I was 13 you know, and it’s kind of what you had to do). She was sitting at the dinner table chatting with a friend when I came in with my request, and she asked what the music was like. (more…)
Day #2 JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR – WHAT’S THE BUZZ/STRANGE THING MYSTIFYING
My parents were involved in local theatre productions when I was growing up, and there was often a musical being played and sung to either in the car or in the house – most notably ‘Man of La Mancha,’ ‘My Fair Lady,’ ‘Camelot,’ and those first two Anthony Newley gems. And then there came ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ rolling down the hill in a VW bus, weed smoke billowing from its windows like puffy angels with LOVE patches on the thighs of their frayed bell-bottomed jeans. This was not your parents’ musical (or perhaps it was, if your parents had a hippie streak in them). (more…)
I’ve been tagged on Facebook to do the 7 Songs That Changed My Life game. Each day I’ll post a song that influenced me in some profound way, particularly in forming my musical taste buds because otherwise it would take far too long. Let me know if you want to play, and I can tag you. This is tough, but here we go….
Day #1 THE MONKEES – TAKE A GIANT STEP
Oh sure, it should have been the non-pre-Fab Four, but I had the Monkees’ first album on 8-track tape and listened to it constantly when I was tiny. Being a little too young to understand the Beatles, I latched onto these guys like so many others my age did at the time. They were silly, charming, and inspiring. You hear so many stories of people becoming musicians after seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but it was seeing the Monkees on TV that prompted me to ask for a guitar one Christmas. In fact, I dreamed of naming my first band The Monkees, Jr. because I was that enamored (and that uncreative), and I recall plucking a Sears electric guitar unamplified in the store and thinking its twang sounded just like them. I’m all about that treble, ’bout that treble, after all.