There was a discussion amongst the (((o))) writers not too long ago about musical histories. Meaning: what was YOUR musical background? How did you get to the musical tastes you have today? So here’s my story. I will do my very best to keep this short….. but I’m not promising anything.
My first recollection of music was my Dad playing his records from the 50s and 60s. Growing up I heard (and loved) Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry, The Shadows. A lot of guitar based music which really paved the way for my choices later in life.
My first taste of metal came in the form of Iron Maiden. My cousin had the Live After Death album and the cover caught my eye in a big way. It was so cool (still is). I asked if I could borrow it and he told me I could keep it. The fool. I think this must have been somewhere around 1987 or so. At the same time there was about 4/5 kids who formed part of my social circle. Two of them had older brothers who were into metal. When your 7/8 yoiu want to be like the cool oder brothers!! So I started pestering them for tapes of music. Anything. Didn’t matter to me.
The first single I ever bought was ‘Crazy Nights’ by Kiss. 99p in Asda. Bargain. The reason that I had even heard of Kiss was down to (again) my mate’s older brother. He has a copy of the Animalize: LIve and Uncensored video and I either managed to watch it as his house or borrow it either way I thought it was the most exciting thing I had seen. Until I saw the video for Live After Death……
Anywho, I spent my time trying to get new music. Then in 1988 I got a tape. A band I’d never heard before. The album: ….And Justice For All. Wow. What the hell is this. Aggressive, fast, intricate. It was a world away from Maiden and Kiss. I liked it. In fact, I LOVED it. Again, Asda was my dealer as I purchased the 7” single of ‘One’. The b-side was a live version of ‘Seek and Destroy’, I’d never heard such raw aggression before. And the audience were going nuts…. I was hooked. (Fun fact: One night after I came home from playing in the field with my friends, my Mum told me to press play n the video in the machine. I did and bless her, she had recorded the 2 minute clip of the ‘One’ video shown on that evening’s Top Of The Pops. What a star.)
Things progressed from there really. I used my local and central library to loan out cassettes so I could get the back catalogue of bands I liked. I bought albums of my friend’s older brothers (Somewhere in Time, £3.50). I went with my Mum to HMV Cardiff to buy Seventh Son of a Seventh Son for my birthday….. Kind Diamond, ‘Them’ for Xmas…. all through my teens my obsession was Metallica. Sharing bootlegs, reading (and then cutting out and saving) magazine articles. Watching and re-watching live videos… starting a band because of them. In fact, to this day, they are my fav. band of all time. And probably always will be.
At some point during the mid-90s I became aware of Genesis. I have a feeling it was the ‘We Can’t Dance’ album…. I procured a tape of their live album ‘The Way We Walk Col. 2: the Longs’ (which features the lengthier proggy tracks) and just fell in love with it. I dived into their back catalogue with glee. I am truly and all eras fans. I was lucky enough to go see them play live in Stuttgart in 2007 and I am not ashamed to say that as the closing strains of ‘Carpet Crawlers’ rang out in the stadium, I wept with a mixture of joy and sadness. One of the best nights of my life.
In fact the 90s were a key period for me and music. I had hit my teens and was absorbing music from my friends, and the world around me. A buddy of mine was into hip hop so I had (and still do) discovered Gravediggaz, Jeru The Damaja, Wu Tang and later Eminem. Through another friends I discovered The Police, Slayer, Korn, Dire Straits, Radiohead, Sarah McLachlan, Pop Will Eat Itself, Dub War, Living Colour…. and on and on and on…..
It was an ex-girlfriend that first introduced me to Pink Floyd. I knew of them, had heard ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ but had never explored their work. WOW! Much like Genesis, there was this huge back catalogue to explore. The albums from Meddle through to The Wall are the best as far as I’m concerned. This lead to my passion for prog. Which is probably now just as dominant (if not more so) in my listening as metal.
I think as we get older we mature in many different ways. For me, one of the biggest ways was musically. I explored genres I had previously ignored (Gospel, Jazz, Soul, Reggae) and found lots of unbelievable music. I can appreciate a good pop song (for example I think ‘Hero’ by Enrique Iglesias and ‘I’m With You’ by Avril Lavigne are 2 of the most well constructed and sung ballads of all time…. yeah bring it) and I like to think that I can appreciate most styles of music.
Although I’m still having trouble with Death metal.