(Originally appeared in Mutant Renegade Zine #8,Spring 1998)
I have always been a music freak. My taste in music has never always been… ahem, refined as it is now. But I know that no matter how cheesy the journey was, the important thing is that I survived and am at a better place today because of it.
My very first record was the classic tune I Love Trash by Grouch of Sesame Street fame. It was a 45 (known nowadays as a 7-inch) and I was around six-years-old. I would play it constantly on my Fisher Price-esc turntable. I had many other such ‘kiddie’ 45′s, but that was my very first.
A couple of years later, my music taste started to develop a bit more. This was due to having an older brother and aunts, and getting to listen to their music. Mind you this was the mid-’70s, which meant only one thing, disco. I tried to like disco. During that period I managed to scrape up enough money to purchase my first album, The Bee Gee’s Greatest Hits. I soon learned that I hated disco. It was also about this time in my life where I lip-synched Heaven on the Seventh Floor at my elementary school talent show. Go ahead and laugh, I deserve it.
After my moment in the spotlight, my musical taste started getting more adventurous. The Bee Gee’s gave way to Meat Loaf, and from Meat Loaf I moved onto the first band that I would become a lifetime fan of, Styx. We all have had a band like this. I would spend hours copying the bands’ logo on anything and everything in sight. I knew all the words to their album, Pieces of Eight by heart, and would even stand in front of a mirror giving my own little personal concert as I sang into my Mr. Microphone.
Then suddenly my musical taste started getting dangerous. I have my brother to thank for this. This was the late ’70s, when feathered hair was the fashion and Satan in music was feared. I remember when my brother bought AC/DC’s Highway to Hell on 8-track. My parents flipped. But surprisingly enough they let him keep it.
From there it was Black Sabbath, Molly Hatchet, Nazareth, Led Zepplin and Ozzy Osbourne. This was a weird time in my life musically. Along with the heavy metal stuff, I was also listening to such bands as Cheap Trick, The Knack and Nick Lowe. I was also just starting to discover the Beatles. (My mother was a huge Elvis fan, so I have always grown up listening to his music, but was never really that much into it.)
It was also at this time in my life that two television shows started that would change my life forever, The Muppet Show and Solid Gold.
Now that I look back at it, The Muppet Show was killer. It was there that I got my first glimpses of Alice Cooper and Debra Harry of Blondie. And Solid Gold, was a beautiful island in a sea of shit. You see, about the only music programs on the air at that time dealt with country music. Solid Gold dealt with rock. This is the first time that I got to listen to bands such as Human League, Soft Cell and Loverboy. This was also a time in which I started reaching puberty and one more that one occasion I found myself having sexual fantasies about the Solid Gold Dancers.
The death of Solid Gold came about a few years later, due mostly to something that changed my life forever, MTV. I remember the first time I saw MTV. It was in Michigan in 1983. My aunt and uncle had just gotten cable, which was fairly new at the time. I was flipping through the channels and came across a funky looking guy being chased by a couple of new wave punk chicks dressed in garbage bags. It was the Flock of Seagulls and there video,” I ran”.
My father immediately came into the room and screamed at me “Turn that shit off!” And thus began the span on my life where I started to become defined by the music I listened to and when my parents thought I was a suicidal homosexual drug addict.
to be continued…