So I find that I have the easiest time writing these blog posts when I’m simply sharing stories from my past. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I find these topics more interesting than others. Or maybe it’s because all I’m doing is telling a story of something that’s already happened, so it just kind of rolls off of my fingertips and on to the screen with a minimum of effort. Either way, this week I’m gonna put on my old man hat and ramble on at great length about the good ol’ days.
Music is something that is tremendously important to me, so perhaps I shall reminisce about music. I’ve always loved music, but when I was a kid, it was really just kind of a vague love. I enjoyed certain songs and artists that I happened to hear, but I never really sought out music to listen to. I pretty much just listened to whatever my parents listened to. My favorite artist (and really, the only artist I paid any attention to) was DC Talk. For most of the early to mid 90s, DC Talk was pretty much the only band I listened to.
When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time going to the youth group at my church. There was a group of guys who attended that youth group who were big into Christian punk and ska, and through them, I was able to get my first taste of the music that would change my life (or at least my taste in music) forever.
I remember the moment when the switch flipped for me. It was the summer after my freshman year of high school, and we went on a mission trip to a Sioux reservation in South Dakota. I felt a little left out because all the kids had these big collections of CDs that they brought with them and I didn’t have any. (I know I’m dating myself a little bit here. Nowadays I’m sure kids bring iPods with them on mission trips.) My family didn’t even own a CD player at this point. We spent a lot of time on this trip listening to various Christian punk and ska bands, and I found myself utterly fascinated by this music. It was so good, and it just spoke to me in a way that music never had before.
When I returned home, I was determined to flesh out my music collection (which at that point consisted of a couple of DC Talk tapes and a compilation tape of various Christian hip hop artists, none of whom I ever heard about again. Yes, tapes. Remember we didn’t own a CD player.). My first order of business was to buy… another DC Talk album. Then I bought the self-titled album by Jars of Clay. I know, I was really starting to get into the punk here, wasn’t I? But then, finally, I bought “The Adventures of the O.C. Supertones”.
This album was significant for me for a couple of reasons. First, it was the last album I bought before I was finally able to get a CD player. Second, it was the first album I ever bought that was released by Tooth & Nail Records, a Christian punk label that had been founded a couple years before. It was the beginning of a love affair that helped get me through my teen years and continues on to this day.
As I just mentioned, that Supertones album was the last album I bought before I got a CD player. CDs had been around for a long time at this point, and I felt like it was just ridiculous that I had to rewind and fast forward my tapes all the time to get to a certain song. Plus, if I was laying in bed and listening to music, I had to like, get up and walk across the room if I wanted to change something. But CD players had remotes, and if I had one I could indulge my lazy side, something I was all too happy to do. So I finally got one. And the very first CD I ever bought was “Teenage Politics” by MxPx, another Tooth & Nail album. Fantastic. I still love that album.
I still remember the second and third CDs I ever bought too. The second was the Tooth & Nail Sampler, Vol. 3, which was of course great for someone with a limited music collection. And the third CD I ever bought was the self-titled debut album from a band called Value Pac, who played fast and catchy pop punk, similar to MxPx. After that, it gets a bit hazy.
My musical tastes have changed a lot over the years. I went from Christian pop punk to Christian punk with a harder edge, and then from there to Christian hardcore and metal. After that I started to leave Christian music behind and got more and more into secular metalcore. And from there it was on to death metal and black metal, and then I got more into progressive rock and classic rock. Then I got back into Christian punk and metal, and then I went for a long time where I really wasn’t all that interested in music at all, mostly for financial reasons.
Finally, we’ve reached the modern day, where, thanks to the miracle of technology, I can listen to pretty much anything I want at any time. Seriously, if you love music and you’re not using a subscription service of some kind (i.e., Zune Pass, Rhapsody, etc.) then you are really doing yourself a disservice. I don’t know how anybody can call themselves a music lover and not have a subscription. Frankly, you’re either wasting huge piles of money, or you’re breaking the law. Or you’re not listening to nearly as much music as you could (and should) be. But that’s a topic for another time.
I would love to go into greater detail about some of my favorite bands and albums and the trajectory that my musical tastes have followed. But I’ve probably rambled on way too long as it is. So you’ll have to wait until next time for that! No doubt you are just pins and needles now.