Friday, July 29, 2011

Try the Chicken for God's Sake

I think it's time to switch up from my apparent fixation on love and relationships and delve into the realm of another passion in my life: music.

I was pretty L7 as a kid...I was (and still am) an only child. I developed an appreciation for classical, traditional music from my dad. Big band, swing, jazz, symphonic...even ragtime and a smattering of bluegrass was brought to my by Pop. Mom, being the more liberal of the duo introduced me to folk, mellow rock, etc. I grew up going to live productions of classic light operas such as The Mikado, Showboat, The Music Man, etc. And on the trip home from Grandma's -Downey to Tustin - dad would play KNX and we'd listen to the old time radio shows from 9pm to 10 pm. I was an only child growing up in the 70s and lived in a fairly dysfunctional household but it wasn't bad enough to drive me out of the house to find relief in drugs, booze or partying. I actually was such a loner, such a misfit...a total social retard...so afraid of everyone, that I hid in my house and escaped in television and classic movies.

So, as I was growing up in the era of the punk music revolution, I was protected from it's damning influences (haha!) and merrily asked for a Glenn Miller album at the age of 11. My musical tastes morphed into teen pop and then rockabilly and the UK New Wave invasion of the early 80's. I dressed in oversized men's shirts and cuffed my jeans, wore puffy skirts and had a mini pompadour. Eventually New Wave took over and my wardrobe became black, white, grey and red ONLY as I became a Duranie, reveled in INXS, Soft Cell and the like. My friends and I would go dancing at Old World in Huntington Beach on Friday nights and I glided through the angst of my teenage years escaping in the bright colors exploding on MTV, aware of the cool darkness of subculture music such as The Damned, The Vandals, T.S.O.L., Black Flag and such but oblivious to it's power.

At this time of my life there was a lot of fear and self-loathing but I still wasn't expressing myself in negative ways other than ditching school. I barely graduated and then blossomed after high school. It was in community college in 1986 that I discovered The Pogues and X and within a few years returning to my swing/rockabilly roots with Brian Setzer Orchestra. I again cuffed my jeans and went Rosie the Riveter with bandanas in my hair...I was rockabilly when it was no longer cool. And I went on to discover the classic punk music of my childhood. I shopped at Meow in Long Beach and enjoyed being an odd cog.

With that said I never have completely subscribed to any one genre or subculture...never immersed myself so completely in a scene that I wore the uniform of the music every single day. I never completely allowed myself to be stereotyped or pegged into one look. I guess even today if you HAD to label me the closest you could come is retro. I tend toward the retro look of the 40s and 50s but really just dress how I feel like dressing. Some days I resemble a skater chick, some days a grown up office worker and some days it's just jeans and a tee. Just like my music. It all depends on my mood and how I feel like presenting myself one day or even one hour at a time. Think it's the flamboyant Leo in me, or maybe the closeted actress. I just like that no one can accurately peg me based on how I look or what I listen to. I like being different and I like walking to my own beat. I may have missed out on the original punk explosion, but I think ideologically I was and still am punk at heart in that I listened to the music I wanted to hear, when I wanted to listen to it, regardless who else wasn't listening to it. So what if the screams coming off my record player were the horns of Pennsylvania 6500! LOL!!

Walk by my office at any time of day and you're likely to hear anything...X, Dean Martin, Norah Jones, The Chieftains, The Dickies, Keith Urban, The Police, Taco, Ricky Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma, Old 97's, Fletcher Henderson, Gene Summers, CCR, The Cramps, The Shadow or Shakira.

I love that music doesn't belong to anyone tho some fanatics feel they own the rights to a look or feel or sound, which is misguided. I understand but don't care for "uniforms". I know they're there as a way for people to identify each other and I get that...dude you have liberty spikes, we have something in common. But what I hate is that people go too far and say this is OUR music...you don't look like us...you don't belong get the fuck out. Fuck that. Music is a thread and it binds us. Who gives a shit what we look like. If we are moved by a sound, whether it's the angry rants of Linkin Park, the haunting emo tunes of Evanescence, the sweet melodies of Vince Gill or the trumpeting ooompaooompa of some AM station Mexican band, WHO CARES!!! I just know music has the superpower of reaching into your soul, grabbing hold of the bits and parts, rearranging them and then, when the song's over you are somehow changed. Forever. And to limit oneself to only one genre is like paying 30 bucks for a Vegas buffet and only eating the tater tots. What the fuck? Eat up people!

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