Music, As I See It

by cunningstuff

Music is best when you are involved, in any way you feel.

Music is a complex beast, full of both originality and creativity, and stifled by ridiculous pandering. I do not claim my childhood as a beginning to understanding music, although I was lucky to have a little, and mind you very little, insight into the world of notes. When I was in fifth grade, everyone was taken hostage by Pink Floyd. I was not trying to be a rebel, but I found classical to be soothing and interesting, and I thought it had a much higher skill level than rock. I learned about Beethoven and Bach, Wagner and Vivaldi. When Electric Light Orchestra hit in the early 80’s big, I bought the Discovery album, and loved it.  I can’t really claim much until 1982, when I found Missing Persons. In the summer of 1984 I went to my first concert with them, at Astroworld, a Houston Texas theme park with and awesome wooden roller coaster. I saw two people with colored hair, and met them, and that began my life long love of punk.

I traded my 10th grade typewriting homework for the Dead Kennedy’s album In God We Trust. Holy crap, that damn near blew my eardrums out. I continued bugging my friend for tapes, and got amazing punk tapes from him. I don’t remember all the tunes, but damn good stuff. There was “Pablo Picasso” by The Modern Lovers, “Argh Fuck Kill” by the Dayglo Abortions, “Rat Patrol” by Naked Raygun, “TV Party” by Black Flag, and “Wankers” by The Exploited are the few I remember from those tapes. I sorta just fell right in with such velocity and happiness. There was a music that truly struck a chord with me, and let me be angry about the world and happy there were others like me out there.

Let me take a moment to talk about such things. One thing that is definitely missing is unity of energy these days. Now it is about trying to impress people with your amazing knowledge of music, instead of getting together and making some noise because we are all pissed off. I never see such unity, such energy these days. I mean, yeah, I love the new bands that are out there, there are many, and I will touch on new music soon enough, but to be honest, we were friends, we were united, and we walked around with chips on our shoulders. Speaking of unity, I learned about amazing dance music in the eighties as well, from two main sources. When I was still in high school and right after, Visions was the bomb place to meet up and get into trouble. It had a stainless steel dance floor, so it reflected every light with industrial gleem, and the DJ’s went on to spin at the infamous Numbers later on. New Order, Siouxie and the Banshees, Love and Rockets, that list is probably a lot longer than any other to be honest. I fell in love with the Cure, saw them at Astroworld and then at the Colosseum. I think the Colosseum show was Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me.

I found out about the industrial scene then as well. Ministry, Caberet Voltaire, RevCo, and a particular but shortlived favorite called The Sisterhood. I was tuned in to all these different musics, and they all seemed damned worthy, where everyone I knew from my youth was stuck listening to the same old music, and no expansion. Punkers stuck with punk, metal heads with metal, ad nauseum.  The best part of the whole Houston 80’s music scene however, had to be the almost monthly shows from the Butthole Surfers. Back before they went huge and got famous, they would tear up venues in Houston, with the longest craziest shows powered mostly by LSD, and the twin drummer set up that provided monstrous and tribalistic sound.My personal favorite though, was the introduction to the noise scene, very much courtesy of Chuck Roast from Vinyl Edge and his show on KPFT. I recently got a new tape (yes, cassette tape) from a Hospital Productions out of New York, courtesy a man called Boyd Rice, a friend of mine here in Denver, in 2012. All these bands came through Houston as well, giving us great shows, sometimes mind-blowing shows, that I would come to miss when I moved to Denver in the early 90’s.

Now don’t get me wrong, Denver actually does quite well when it comes to music. When I first moved here, I got to catch quite a few good shows from Crash Worship, and Carbon Dioxide Orchestra, and a few others, but my all time favorite in Denver will forever be Rainbow Sugar. Now we are getting down and dirty, and don’t get me wrong, almost all these bands are gone or out of the loop, but please understand, its MY music, not yours. I hope you enjoy the journey if you take it, but it’s still where I come from, not anyone else.

Moving on the the now and the future. I still love punk, I still listen to rock and metal, I love dubstep and DnB, and I have finally made peace with love songs. I found a few bands back in 2008 that are making good on the now, Temper Trap, LED Soundsystem, and Metric come to mind. My fiance is putting me to rights with both current and older Aussie rock, even if I knew about Hoodoo Gurus and Spiderbait for some time now, I really love hearing the currant and the old from her insightful point of view. It is one of the things we love about each other, a deep, loving, personal relation with music, even if my music is a bit tattered on the edges for her most of the time. Although I will never find replacements for… well, the Replacements, Curve, or LUXT, I will always hold them near and dear to my heart. Music is one of my best and most loved escapes, and I did learn to play bass, gratefully decently, thanks to all those artists and their unique takes on time, tempo, measure and notes.

Ultimately, I think I just want to say, have fun, don’t ever limit yourself. There is beauty in all music, all over the world.