Hello. I’ve decided to blatantly copy a feature from Pitchfork that I enjoy called 5-10-15-20, in which they ask artists to talk about the music they loved at five year intervals in their lives. So without further ado, off I go into my musical past…
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is golden. I remember having a synchronized zombie stomp dance with my sister and we would always end up skipping the record player because we jumped around too much. I remember thinking “Billie” was a strange name for a girl, and I spent hours reading the lyrics and staring at the drawing of Paul McCartney and Michael fighting over the girl. I remember being terrified of the “Thriller” video and my Dad would laugh like Vincent Price and scare me more. In short, I was swept up in Michael mania — and it was like it was Halloween all the time, with this album and Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters” on heavy rotation on the radio as well.
Fave song: “Baby Be Mine“
Oh man, the days of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, C & C Music Factory, Tone-Loc, Young MC, Kid N Play, “It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, and of course the budding superstar of young Will Smith. I still own “He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper” on cassette and consider it a classic in golden age hip hop. The Fresh Prince’s career as a rapper was quickly dwarfed by his hit TV show, but who can argue that “Summertime” still ain’t one hell of a jam? Word.
Wow, a lot sure changed in between the ages of 10 and 15. In those five years I went through an N.W.A. phase, that my parents nipped in the bud by taking away all my rap tapes and buying me a brand new CD player and a bunch of Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull CD’s. I abandoned rap for classic rock and moved from Zeppelin to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Smashing Pumpkins during the “grunge explosion”. Yet, by the time I was 15 I was starting to search for more “underground” bands. I found Clutch and Monster Magnet and fell in love with their angst and grooves. I would also discover Pavement and Eric’s Trip as well and begin a long love affair with “lo-fi indie rock” too. But, if I have to pick one, it’s got to be “Superjudge” by Monster Magnet. Stoner rock at its finest, Monster Magnet were with me the first time I smoked weed and my head expanded to sounds I never knew existed.
Again, so much music was consumed in this five year span. I was heavily into the post-rock scene via Slint, June of 44, Polvo, Seam, Versus, Trans Am, Gastr Del Sol, The Sea and Cake, and Tortoise. I also started getting into jazz and for some reason had an unhealthy obsession with Jamiroquai for a good two years. What can I say? I love to dance. But “TNT” by Tortoise is the perfect choice for this time period, as it sums up everything that was awesome about post-rock while teetering on the verge of electronica…which is where my musical progression would go in the next 5 years.
It took me a long time to get into electronic music, but when I did it became my entire world. I pretty much stopped listening to anything with guitars. This was an age of discovery for me — from Warp Records “leftfield IDM” stuff to Ninja Tune style breaks ‘n beats to minimal techno to smooth house. It was incredible, how a 4/4 beat could take me anywhere if I just closed my eyes and started dancing. Drugs may have helped the cause and helped my ears hear things in a different way, but once I did it felt odd that I wasn’t able to before. This is a hard one to choose, as I was deeply in love with Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Plastikman, Theorem, Theo Parrish, and Vladislav Delay to name just a few. I also got heavily into dub reggae and fell back into hip hop during these years. Outkast! But I think the album that sums it all up at the age of 25 has gotta be “One Word Extinguisher” by Prefuse 73. Guillermo Scott Herren was like a god to me back then — he seemed so fresh, so versatile, so prolific — he was hip hop, electronica, techno, and pop all at once! And all of his various guises: Savath and Savalas, Delarosa and Asora, and Ahmad Szabo, let alone Prefuse! Yep, that shit was tops. Too bad he was never able to recreate that energy again…
Oh yes, a return to basics. At the time I was still listening to a lot of electronic music, but also a lot of ambient stuff like Marsen Jules, Gas, Loscil, and Donato Wharton. I was also falling in love with some mysterious dude named Burial, and a young kid named Peter Broderick. But it was my man Morrissey and The Smiths who brought it all full circle. A return to rock and roll. And nowadays, I listen to everything, there’s no genre exclusivity. I’m a goddamn sponge. Here’s looking forward to the next five years. That was fun. Peace.
But seriously, how could I not mention TOOL?