Now, I grew up in a musical family.
It’s not that my family were in fact particularly musical in the sense of them playing any instruments or ever singing anything to me. It was all on a theoretical level. There was music constantly playing at home, and music was constantly discussed, on a historical level. Both my parents have a penchant for the good old classics from the 1960’s and 70’s, and my dad had this thing (still does) where he goes through at least one classic rock album from his enormous LP-collection every morning while he has his traditional cup of coffee. My parents were constantly telling me about rock’s golden age and how everything today has influences in one way or another from this “golden era”. They were also CONSTANTLY complaining about my juvenile taste in music. You see, I grew up in the mid 90’s and enjoyed plastic pop such as.. well.. Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys.
Don’t laugh. We’ve all been kids, and kids have this thing where they prefer happy, danceable tunes and more, shall we say, “easily accessible music”. I guess that’s why they call it “kids music”. I know, I work as a teacher these days and my ears have, for this past four years, been trained to instantly recognize a clear “pop hit” when I hear it; I simply know that when my absolutely love a particular song, it’s going to be a huge pop hit. So how does one progress from this simple taste in music to classic rock to new wave to punk to post punk to more avant gardistic adventures in music history, like I’ve done?
Well, I think the first answer to this is constant brainwashing. It’d be strange not to somehow be influenced by what my parents were playing at home, and the other answer is nagging. It sounds negative, nagging and brainwashing; why not let the kid find her/his own way into music? But you know, I’m glad they did, I’m glad they pushed my boundaries and my yet very infantile view of what music was. I was tv-kid; I loved watching tv and listening to the radio and reading pop magazines, I was being spoon-fed so-called “chart music” and what media was telling me to listen to. My parents told me to listen to something else.
One day, when I was nearly 14 years old (I think this might have been the spring of the year 2000), I wanted a new cd to listen to while my dad and I went shopping. “Yeah, sure. If you let ME decide what cd to get you”, my father snarled. I went along with this.
My dad bought me “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd from 1973.
This changed a lot for me. I loved it. I was mesmerized by this whole new landscape of music and depth it offered me, and in just a couple of days, I packed all my old pop cd’s and chart music neatly in a paper bag (and also shoved this bag into long lost and forgotten corners of my wardrobe) and decided to start collecting the most important records in rock history instead. I started anew. I wasn’t a child anymore, and this ultimately proved it.
And you know what? I never finished.
My collection will never be complete, and my interest in what has shaped rock history and what it is today will never diminish. Quite the contrary, my interest in rock mythology, rock history and everything surrounding it has only grown stronger. I’m interested in anything I can get my hands on, reviews, videos, lists, charts, and articles. I can never get enough. I’ve turned into a complete nerd, and I owe it all to my parents, for letting me know there were stuff beyond what was viewed as “modern” and what was targeted to me as a child, or as a teenager, or as a woman. I owe it to them for challenging my own tastes and my own conceptions about music, and I still do it to this day. The feeling, and the satisfaction that comes with it, of discovering something completely new to my ears, or that one song that I absolutely fall in love with at first listen, is just unbeatable to me, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.
I hope to do the same for my children; life’s too short to just limit yourself to one genre or a one-sided dimension of what music is supposed to be all about.