Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Music Jogs the Memory

By Pauly
Las Vegas, NV

Here are a few random thoughts about music and songs and memories...

- My first introduction to tranny hookers was courtesy of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side. When I first heard the lyrics as a kid, I quite didn't comprehend the "alt" lifestyle that Reed was familiar with. The song also had a reference to Valium, which is the cure all for any sort of unwanted excitement - whether it be cocaine-induced paranoia, an anxiety attack, or just sheer overhyperness due to too much stimulation.

- When I started high school, some of my favorite music was contemporary - bust as the older I got, I started going deeper and deeper into the past. When I began high school, I would have said Van Halen was my favorite band, but by the time I graduated I was heavy into the Rolling Stones, The Clash, and Allman Brothers Band. I was into Aerosmith - but it was the late 1980s version of Aerosmith. I'm one of those Gen-Xers who first heard about Steven Tyler because of the RUN D MC video re-mix of Walk This Way. To this day, whenever I heard the opening notes to Walk This Way, I'm expecting to hear RUN D MC's version.

- My mom listened to the oldies station a lot when I was a kid. They played the Beatles, but not the trippy Beattles, rather all of that early 1960s She Loves You Yeah Yeah pop-crapola and none of the avant-garde psychedelic stuff. I'd have to go to the "classic rock" station to hear those tunes with the druggies who died of ODs... Hendrix, Janis, and Morrison.

- I think I was in the second grade when our music teacher taught us how to sing Yesterday. Looking back, I realize he was a fucking hippie stoner trying to turn John Lennon and the Beatles onto a bunch of innocent Catholic school kids. Lennon was killed later that year. We stopped singing Beatles songs.

-I used to make fun of a couple of guys in my fraternity for being heavy into jazz music. I'd give them shit for wearing black, sitting int he dark, smoking weed and clove cigarettes and listening to Kind of Blue. I was a hardcore Deadhead at that time and I was partial to jazz, but it would still be a few years before I really got a jazz education. When I first moved back to NYC after college, a lot of my circle of friends were musicians -- many of them were in jazz bands or playing in jazz side projects. I'd go see them play at random dives in the East Village and on the Lower East Side. They were the ones giving me my initial education - which were essentially the musicians whom they admired. They loaned me CDs and I recall Bruce giving me his entire John Coltrane anthology. after they played gigs, I would ask about certain songs they played and they'd clue me in on who did the original and which version I should listen to.

-When I moved to Seattle, I found a local jazz station and listened for an hour or so every day. Guys I used to play poker with were in an acid-jazz band called Kilgore Trout. They also had some eclectic influences and passed a few of those on. By the time I migrated back to NYC at the end of the 1990s, I had a decent collection and would spend many hours sitting in the dark and listening to jazz music while I rode out a heavy wave of depression. When I eventually snapped out of that phase, I started listening to jazz music while I wrote. The two seemed to mesh together and I could leave it on in the background and it always kept me in the right frame of mind to write.

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