As I was growing up, I wasn't really exposed to any music barring the occasional Cliff Richard record that was given as a Christmas present by my Gran. My parents, big music fans in the late sixties and seventies, just didn't have the time to listen to it anymore once I came along in 1982, shortly followed by my Sister and four years later, my brother. I started listening to various records that lay around the house around the age of nine or ten. The Beach Boys 'Pet sounds
' and Adam & The Ants 'Stand & Deliver
' kept me occupied for hours, as did (and I'm ashamed to say it) a copy of Shakespear's Sister's 'Stay' in 1992. Eventually I tired of 'Stay
' and around the same time I started noticing the works of Freddie Mercury and Queen.... I was hooked, I didn't want to listen to anything else. Mercury had died before I knew what Queen were all about but every time I saw a tape of theirs, I had to snap it up quickly and listen to it as soon as possible.
The early nineties saw the rave scene explode in the UK. Far too young (at 12/13) to go to any of the raves, I didn't really get what it was all about. I liked the tracks that made it into the charts - this was my preferred genre to listen (and dance) to. Most other kids had got into Take That or East 17, who I absolutely despised. At this point I noticed kids at school splitting into groups according to the type of music they were in to. There were the usual Pop-tastic girlies, the rockers and the occasional cool-kid that had heard of a band called Green Day. 1995 however saw my interest in dance music grow even stronger and I seemed to be the only one in my year group heading in that direction. There were a few kids older than me that lent me CD's to listen to, but as a general social rule we didn't speak to the older kids as they were bigger than us.
Around 1996, I started listening to other types of music again. Mainly Steve Lamaq or John Peel on Radio One. One night, Lamaq played a track that changed my perspective on music completely, 'Susan's House
' by Eels. I remember thinking "Holy crap batman, there's a whole other world out there that I haven't even begun to scrape the surface of
" (I probably didn't say 'batman' in that sentence - but you get the idea right?). From that point on I listened religiously to the radio, borrowed CD's from as many friends as possible and even went to the lengths of getting my brother involved in music too - so I could then borrow his CD's. I ALWAYS
listened to the Top 40 singles chart on a Sunday too, just hoping that a song I liked appeared. I was usually able to recite the entire chart, from forty all the way down to number one.
At some point though, I stopped. I grew to loath the charts as they continued to fill with absolute pap such as the Spice Girls, Boyzone and Westlife. Discussions on the school bus with my buddy Vaughan usually went along the route of the new Idlewild, Stereophonics or Manic Street Preachers singles. By the time I'd reach the age of 18, even those became too 'mainstream' for me. It became a case of "Ah yeah, Idlewild - they're good, but have you heard this by (insert name of obscure band)
At 19, I went to Australia. I'd been abroad before and had been exposed to music in those countries, unfortunately those countries were France, the Netherlands and Germany - known better for Jean Michelle Jarre, 2 unlimited or Die Toten Hosen (the Bad Trousers). In Oz, I witnessed the massive beach culture they have over there - acts such as Powderfinger, Ben Harper and a then-unknown guy named Pete Murray provided an amazingly relaxed influence to my tastes. I even got into country for the first time, Kasey Chambers being the catalyst for that. Upon my arrival back home in the UK, I tried forcing these acts on my friends - none were interested. I realised that the music that I was interested in was my own, my own to discover and my own to enjoy. From that point on, whenever I was asked "So, what kind of music to you like
" I just replied "Oh.. you know... stuff
" (but at the same time thinking "Ha, I'm not going to tell you - because it's all mine
I continue to indulge myself in new music all the time, unfortunately this means that I rarely listen to any great musical acts of the past such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones etc.. Although I still completely love the oldies, I'm just driven by discovering more and more.
With a musical appetite including The Undertones, The Clash, Eva Cassidy, Idlewild, The Manics, Tennage Fanclub, Kasey Chambers, Radiohead, Nelly Furtado (new stuff is crud), Sublime, Bob Dylan, Groove Armada, Strip Squad, Tanita Tikaram, Q-Tip, Anti-flag, Fiona Apple, Ash, Dr.John, Robert Johnson, Sam Roberts, Armand van Helden, Ben Harper, Sigur Rós, Tom Jones and way more that I could possibly fit in here, my tastes are extremely varied... I have no friends that I could discuss the whole range with. I often find myself wound up with excitement about an up-coming single, album, gig or tour, followed by a deflated feeling as I find that no-one else seems to share the excitement too.
Obviously our musical journeys are completely different as we are brought up in different areas and at different times. Groups of friends share similar tastes, but I'm sure that in every group of Punks, there's one that likes All Saints - in every group of poptastic teeny boppers, there's one that listens to Guns N Roses and so on and so on.
But I was wondering, do you think there's anyone in the world with exactly the same tastes as you?
And to make this more interesting (for me, on a Friday). Is there any song or artist which you loved so much, they completely altered the type of music that you listened to? (Even Take That fans can join in)
(I've never written a post this long before - I started thinking about it while having a bit of a schmoke last weekend)