The Connection To Music From Your Childhood

     By all accounts, 1977 was the year I truly discovered music as an integral part of my life. I was three years old, but I had a strong connection to it. My sister, who is ten years older than me, played music quite a bit in our house. Some of my earliest memories include listening to records with her, like The Eagles’ Hotel California, and Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive. However, the record that had the greatest impact on me was Kiss’ Destroyer. At first, it was the album cover that drew me in, complete with a painting of four ghoulish characters in black and white makeup and outlandish costumes, with a smouldering wasteland behind them. But it was the combination of staring at the cover and listening to the record at the same time that blew my mind. I would go from afraid, to confused, to excited with each passing moment, every time I listened.

This special time in my life set a precedent for my relationship with music for the rest of my life, all the way to present day, 35 years later. I still love Kiss just as much as I did when I was a child, but this isn’t about Kiss. This is about the seed that was planted many years ago, and how it affected the rest of my life in a positive way. I do hold a special place in my heart for the music of my childhood, but what is even more intriguing to me is that I never lost the passion for music that I had as a kid. In fact, that passion has grown exponentially, in a very organic way.

Like many others, I can hear a song from my childhood, even a couple notes, and feel like I was transported back in time. There have been times in the recent past that a song will come on the radio, and I feel like I experience something I went through as a kid while listening to the same song. For example, I have felt the same warm summer breeze hit my face that I felt many years ago coming through my bedroom window while listening to a song. That seems so unlikely, but it is very real. Please let me know if any of you have experienced something similar.

Your Friend,

Mike

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25 Years Of GN’R- Appetite For Destruction

     In the summer of 1987, I was 13 years old, and I was starting to expand my musical horizons a bit more. I always had a preference for hard rock music, considering how much I adored Kiss from such a young age. However, since pop music was so prevalent at the time, I listened to much of what happened to be on the radio. Some of it was decent, but some was pretty awful. I was ready for something new, and I sure got more than I bargained for.

     One late summer day, I was sitting in my bedroom listening to music (as usual), and I got a phone call from my friend Adam who lived down the street. He asked if he could come over and play me something, and he ran over just a few minutes later. He showed me the tape before he popped it in, and I recognized the name Guns N’ Roses, but I had not heard them yet. When he pressed play, and the opening riff from “Welcome To The Jungle” hit, I was instantly hooked. If there was a way music could sound dangerous, that was what it would sound like. When “Jungle” ended, I was in a daze, dumbfounded by what I just heard. With no warning, “It’s So Easy” started, with that outstanding bass riff intro. At this point, I was in full on headbanging mode, but then, unexpectedly, that first “F Bomb” hit in the middle of the song. Adam and I exchanged a smile and a nod, the kind of nod that kids give to each other when they know they are doing something wrong, but it feels so right. All that was on my mind at that point was how I was going to get to the record store to get my own copy.

     We listened to a few more songs, and Adam left. I made my way to the record store the next day, and I listened to “Appetite” almost exclusively for what seemed like weeks, maybe months. That record spoke to me unlike any other record. The riffs, the wailing vocals, the tempo changes, just a top to bottom masterpiece. In my opinion, it is one of those once in a lifetime records. I feel like if it were released today, it would still be successful. I still listen to it on a regular basis, and probably still will as I enter middle age and beyond. I only hope that new generations of kids discover it for the first time, and keep passing it on, like any good tradition.

 

Horns Up!

Mike

Jane’s Addiction Makes A Triumphant Return To Cleveland

     One thing is for certain, Perry Farrell knows how to throw a party. The Lollapalooza founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman brought the enigmatic band to Cleveland, touring behind The Great Escape Artist record. This was definitely not a cash grab nostalgia trip. The stage included an elaborate backdrop, complete with (of course) a sculpture of two nude women. There were elaborate lights, dancers (one of which is Perry’s wife), and video screens. The band took the stage to the strains of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome To The Machine,” and never let up through the 13 song set, beginning with “Underground” from the new record. Without missing a beat, they steamrolled through a brutal version of “Mountain Song.” The setlist was a good mix of songs from Nothing’s Shocking, Ritual De Lo Habitual, and the new record. Material from the original self-titled record was not touched on.

     “Three Days” found Farrell and guitarist extraordinaire Dave Navarro being “worshipped” by the dancers, sort of reminiscent of the album cover for Love Gun by Kiss. Navarro absolutely nailed the blistering solo, and made it look effortless. “Jane Says” was a crowd pleaser as always, with the band all taking the front of the stage for an acoustic version. This was followed by an incredible rendition of “Then She Did…” off of Ritual, with Farrell swigging from his ever-present wine bottle, and the solid rhythm section of Stephen Perkins and Chris Chaney completely locked in.

     The theatrics of the show overall were very impressive, similar to an Alice Cooper show, with mysterious characters in masks tossing baby dolls around, being hung from the lighting truss, etc. The whole show was beautifully orchestrated, but in a way that still felt loose and spontaneous. One moment that particularly caught my attention was when Navarro walked up to the front of the stage and handed a guitar pick to a kid who looked to be about 14 years old. He was presumably with his parents who immediately hugged him, and the look of sheer joy on the kid’s face was a moment I will not forget for a long time.

     The encore consisted of a pummeling rendition of “Stop,” followed by “Summertime Rolls,” which was a perfect choice to close out the beautiful summer evening. Hopefully Jane’s will not wait another 9 years before they come back again to remind us how much of a powerhouse they truly are.

 

Setlist:

 

Underground

Mountain Song

Just Because

Been Caught Stealing

Ain’t No Right

Three Days

Twisted Tales

Jane Says

Then She Did…

Splash A Little Water On It

Ocean Size

Stop

Summertime Rolls