Thursday, June 19, 2008

I am what I am...

You know, it's funny...

My first brush with pop music idolatry was Elton John back in 1975-76 I was in 5th grade. Loved all those early records and knew them upside down, every single note. As I was exposed to other stuff over the course of time (we all sort of share the familiar musical journey, it's what has us talking about this shit 30 years later), I as 14 year-old male forgot Elton John and went on to deny him to the point of ridicule at points past. I wrote off my affection for his early music as child like naiveté. Thing is, every time one of those songs came on the radio (think 'Mona Lisa's & Mad Hatters') I would secretly think to myself, "That's a great fucking song". It sounded just as good as it did when I first heard it back when I was 14 and it STILL sounds that good today. At some point in my life, I decided to cease the whole denial thing. Probably because I no longer cared (or got too old) to be hip, that includes music snobbery. As a matter of fact, the whole "I'm into Gabriel Genesis now, Nugent and Kiss are kids play" thing that I ran into in college is what shook me out of it. I liked Gabriel Genesis too, but I could never understand why it had to come at the expense of Kiss 'Destroyer' which is a great fucking record BTW! It was quite liberating to get to this point actually. I can actually enjoy the wake of my musical journey as much as what lies ahead!

I went to see Iron Maiden last weekend, not for a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but because those first four or five records were GREAT and I STILL listen to them today. Iron Maiden were fantastic! (see Ted's blog for a run down). Ted and I played cuts (all on vinyl of course) from Nugent's 'Free For All' record before heading out to MSG and we were jumping around playing air guitar like maniacs. Racked up some UFO 'Obsession' (arguably one of the greatest records ever made) and cranked it up so loud we chased Ted's gal out of the apartment. All of these acts have become a study in not knowing when to quit to be sure, but the early catalog undeniably stands the test of time IMHO. Why fucking deny it? Why not groove to it instead?

Shit yeah Lee, I just spun 'Gimme Back My Bullets' last week. 'I'm on the Hunt' another great Skynyrd track from the era, and there are many more. I wouldn't go near a Skynyrd concert (or one of their post plane crash records for that matter) nowadays, but man that early shit cooks.

It's a little like this skate blog my bro has fired up. Our youth was a bit unique. Strange time, strange place. For me, it had it's ups and downs. There are things that I did then that I'm embarrassed to even think about now, but overall I had a blast as a kid. Would I go back given the chance? Like Lee, hell fucking no. I'm having a much better time now, but I've come to accept all that teenage stupidity and after years of guilt, have certainly come to have a good laugh at it (God we were so serious, weren't we?).

I was a bit ambivalent about the Skate blog myself when Chris first mentioned it, like I was about attending my O'Neill reunion years ago, thought it might be nostalgia for nostalgia's sake trip, but like the musical denial thing, I've decided to say fuck it, I'm in. You guys make me laugh when we get together. Not just our stories of yore, but what you're doing now, so why the fuck not?


BTW, all new music sucks!!! I STILL GOT IT!!!


Mark Wheeler said...

ok, my burning questions is: Pat, do you still have Killers tatted on your arm?

Tony Alva said...

Indeed I do Mark. It's sun burnt faded after all these years and most who ask what it is get, "It's a dog" as a response, but it's still there.

Lee was the only one to have one removed to the best of my knowledge and his story about it is pretty harrowing. Of course now the guy is litereraly covered head to toe in tattoos. Really, head to toe.

Lee, you haven't put any on your face have you?

Tony Alva said...

BTW, just had lunch with Dr. Mitch Turner downstairs as a result of this blog being fired up. Already WPSBG blog has paid off.

The big news is that the guy just earned a tenure slot at the college he's been teaching music comp at for the last few years. Congrat's Mitch! Well done.

Jackson said...

OK, since we're going live with this thing:

You were not into 'Gabriel Genesis' in college. You hated that stuff. You mocked me for it, and I quote (one of the few clear memories I have of that time): 'You don't really like Gabriel, you just think you should.'

I will give you credit for acknowleging the greatness of music you hated at the time later in life.

I never stopped listening to early Kiss, though I have been known to mock Paul and Gene in so far as what they have done post 78.

We played the Nugent the first night you were here when I fried up the sausages, we played Nazareth as well, and that Stevie Nicks track off of the 'Fast Times..' soundtrack that you sucked up to the Legal Diva by putting on. Thankfully I followed it up with 'Waffle Stomp' to save face.

Skynyrd presents a difficult situation for me. Certainly the tunes were great. 'Simple Man' anybody? I think Mark mentioned 'The Ballad of Curtis Lowe'. Undeniable greatness, but as a concientious partner in a interracial relationship, I can't get past certain aspects of the Skynyrd ideal. Their use of the stars and bars goes past what Petty did in 86, and I can't help but think that in their hearts, the surviving members at least, are racists.

To Pat's last point about Mitch, I'd like to add that because of this blog it seems Mitch is going to join the list of guest guitarists providing solos to my impending instrumental record.

Dave Palmer? Got a digi recording rig? Care to contribute? I got Pat Wilson and Bill Devine doing the long distance lead work deal, as well as a few other friends not affiliated with West Point.

Tony Alva said...

I actually made that comment about Bjork, not Gabriel era Genesis and I stand by my statement. She sucks. I became a convert to Gabriel Genesis whil in England when I shared an art studio with my British roommate who spun the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and a bunch of Spear of Destiny records constantly the whole summer.

I couldn't agree more re: the stars & bars aspect of Skynyrd thing, but racist might be strong without hearing them out IMHO, but ignorant to say the least.

Only Billy Powell, Gary Rossington and Artimus Pyle survive. Gary and Billy still play with the band.

Jackson said...

In 1985 when you were living in the dorms at the U of M neither of us had ever heard of Bjork. That was when you made the Gabriel statement I quoted above.

I don't doubt that your roomate in Britain exposed you to Genesis, I just doubt that you liked it.

Tony Alva said...

It was a tough sell (after all thery're drenched in the at the time despised keyboards), but we made a deal that we'd go one for one on tapes going into the boombox while we were both in the studio, so I had no choice. I will admit that I don't spin much Genesis these days, but it shouldn't be so hard to beleive that I grew to enjoy those records a bit.

One of the reasons I was so compromising about sharing the tunage was that you guys kept me out late the night before I left and I had to hastily grab a bunch of my bro's tapes and stuff'em in my bag as I headed out the door. I ended up bringing only 6 in total:

Sabbath Vol 4
Sabbath SBS
UFO Strangers in the Night
Motley Crue Shout at the Devil
Iron Maiden Piece of Mind
Stones Hot Rocks

Given the void between our musicial tastes you can see my roomy was obviously a pretty understanding guy. Never complained once and niether did I.