Saturday, September 24, 2016

September 24, 1991

Two albums that have been pivotal to my life came out on the very same day, my ninth birthday, 25 years ago today. While it's true that I would not discover them for maybe a few more years, they eventually became pivotal in my life, both as an appreciator of music and a wannabe musician/songwriter. Probably even as a writer, too.

I was always kind of into music anyways, because I was always sort of just surrounded by it, and I loved Disney and Don Bluth movies. When dad wasn't home, I would sometimes run around the house and sing the songs from the movies, sometimes at the top of my lungs, to the detriment of my siblings and my mom. However, both of my parents and my older brother all listened to music a lot, too. While we also watched plenty of TV, the stereo, on average, was on way more often.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Nirvana's Nevermind, as it was to many, was a revelation. For one thing, I was a geeky, overly sensitive kid, and, finally, after years of taking shit from assholes, I had found an outlet for my angst. There was also this sudden injection of testosterone and whatever other hormones that probably also made it necessary, and this album, and soon this genre of music, seemed to fulfill my need on a level that I had not previously experienced with any other music, or anything else, to that point in my life.

It may not have been the first album or the first band that drew my attention, but when it hit me, when I really listened to it the first time, it became one of the most important in life. Soon, others would join it.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I was older yet when I discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magic. I had heard songs from it many times as my brother listened to it and the radio played "Give It Away" and "Under the Bridge" on heavy rotation, but it was another one that suddenly just made sense to me one day, and in a language I was just beginning to understand: as a bass guitarist.

At the age of 13, with money saved from my allowance from recycling pop and beer cans, I bought a 3/4 scale Kramer bass guitar from my brother. He had bought it and owned it for a while but never really played it, and decided to sell it, and I was the only one willing to pay what he was asking for it. It was cherry red all over, including the neck and the head stock, shiny, and cheaply-yet-sturdily made, and not until I had the vocabulary from playing it did the Red Hot Chili Peppers make sense to me.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

As far as I was concerned, Flea was just the greatest musician on the planet. It would take a few years before I was able to play anything remotely resembling anything by him, but I eventually taught myself how to play "Give It Away" pretty adequately.

Now, however many years later, when I listen to these two albums, although I don't get the same rush that I once did, I still sort of experience the memory of the rush. I can only image what it must have been like for those people in those bands, and how great it must have felt when they were making that music at that time, and I wonder if maybe they had gone through similar sorts of things to create these sounds, songs, albums that I have so identified with over my life.

Created by Gabe Gott.

As an artist, I appreciate the difficulty, and really, luck, that it sometimes takes to find the thing that others identify with about you. It is something that I have sought through my writing for years. and I finally feel like I might be getting close, but only time will tell. That's probably why I listen to music by bands like Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I write, because it helps me find and convert, then focus that energy in a way that makes my writing more powerful.

Maybe, if I am lucky, I can help even just one other person go through a difficult period in his/her life the way those bands and those albums did for me. That's why I do this, and why I will continue to do this. That, and my ego, of course.

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