Saturday, March 6, 2010

Music Musings: The Things You Do For Pretty Girls...

Now that I've gone through just about everything on my Ipod I won't have as much to post. Sad I know. I'll only rely on the new stuff that I can get ahold of and with a baby due any minute now I don't know how much I'll be able to get. However, I don't want to just leave this blog sit, so I'm going to start a new column: Music Musings. Basically whatever I feel like writing about music. I'm going to start with a story or two which might not be interesting unless you've read most of my entries and wonder how I developed such strange tastes in music.

The Things You Do For Pretty Girls...

When I was younger my music taste was pretty myopic - strictly metal and rap. Mostly metal. If it was slow I wasn't interested. Ballads? No thanks. Experimental? Ick! Give me distorted guitars and meaty riffs... give me METAL! My teenage music collection consisted of Deliverance, Tourniquet, Mortification, SFC, Dynamic Twins, etc. Actually *ahem * I guess it still does, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, I can remember when I finally started branching out into other styles of music.

See just about every year our youth group (Known as "The Hippy Youth Group" - a story for another time...) went to Kingdom Bound, a Christian music festival at Darien Lake Theme Park. We were in Elmira, NY and the festival, which was in Batavia, NY was the ONLY one we could ever afford to go to. Oh, we longed to go to Cornerstone but the cornfields of Illinois were one promised land we would never reach.

The year was 1992 and the only act I can remember from that year was Bride. This was just before they were to release Snakes in the Playground. It was the third year we had attended and we had a habit of picking up some strays that weren't actually part of the group and took them with us. Not off the street or anything just random people we'd somehow hooked up with. One of those was Ben. He was a quiet dude that my cousin was enraptured with because he had long black hair and played bass in a metal band. He was pretty funny and we got along well. He and I were walking around the park between concerts and noticed several people wearing King's X shirts. Now both of us being the King's X fans that we were, were a little jealous. I spotted a cute girl with an Out of the Silent Planet shirt on. Now you have to understand how weird that was. Where I was from girls liked Vanilla Ice or whatever crappy pop diva was popular in the early 90's. Seeing a pretty girl in a King's X shirt was like seeing a real live unicorn. So with all the suave sophistication I possessed at thirteen I blurted out, "Where are all these people getting these King's X shirts?!"

We walked over to her and interrogated her as to the origins of this shirt and she said that she had brought it from home. We were sad. But not so sad because the cute girl, Melissa, was a pretty cool chick. That was one of the best things about Kingdom Bound back in the day - it always seemed like you could go up and talk to anybody and become best friends. Christians get a bad rap for being douchebags these days but I can tell you that I never felt more at home than at Kingdom Bound. Just about every person in the park could be a potential friend. You could strike up a conversation with the random dude next to you and end up praying and blessing one another within a span of minutes. Everyone was so friendly! But I digress...

So, yeah, Melissa was cute and I cannot stress that enough because it basically provided the motivations for everything I did at the festival that year. I went on the friggin' Viper for that girl. The Viper. That's the upside-down roller coaster at the park that I was terrified of. I hate roller coasters. But I went because I was in the presence of a hot chick and I refused to be seen as a weenie gosh darnit! So anyway...Ben, Melissa, and I talked a lot about the kinds of music we liked (a lot of metal) and parted ways. If memory serves we met up with her again at another show and the three of us were inseparable after that. One day she suggested that we go see this band called The Choir. She said they weren't metal but they were pretty good.

"Eh, alright." I thought. Of course when a pretty girl who likes most of the same music as you asks you to a concert you friggin' go no matter who it is. So I went. The Choir was awesome. I'd never heard anything like them before. I became a lifelong fan right then and there. The band had just released Circle Slide and I bought it as soon as I could. I listened to that tape to death. It was the most mellow thing I'd ever let through my earholes, but I was enraptured. It wasn't long before I was buying the band's back catalogue. My voracious appetite for new music prompted me to check out EVERYTHING after that. That's how I found Adam Again and Daniel Amos and how I can to this day appreciate just about every genre of music from grindcore to Lady Gaga.

As for the pretty girl? Well we continued to hang out throughout the entire festival. After it was over we wrote letters pretty frequently to one another. I could almost predict the days that I'd get one (this was WAY before email, folks). It was amazing how consistent we were! We wrote letters for a year or two and met up at Kingdom Bounds after that. I was always hoping we would actually date and if I had been a bit bolder we probably would have. Eventually we drifted apart for two reasons. She lived a couple of hours away and long distance anything is just too much maintenance for a 14 year old. The second was my fault. I remember the last conversation we had over the phone. She talked about some of the stuff she'd gotten into and was doing. It made my Christian heart very sad. That was when I decided it was too much effort and that we would probably never have any kind of future together (not that we were ever going to anyway! LOL). In retrospect it wasn't fair to her at all but we were drifting apart long before that and that conversation was just the last nail in the coffin. I have no idea where she is now or what she's doing and I'm okay with that. I hope she's got a great marriage with some great kids and is loving life... I know I am right now.

Meeting Melissa and going to that concert gave me a completely new paradigm on what good music could be and is one of the main reasons why you see so much different stuff on here.

1 comment:

  1. Great story. And at least you didn't sell your soul, by pretending to like Vanilla Ice, just to impress a pretty girl. (Long ago, I had a cousin that got into listening to disco music, just because lots of girls were into it. And, unfortunately, his motives were decidedly less than "christian".)

    I, too, always wished I'd had a chance to attend the Conerstone Festival. I had every Resurrection Band (Rez Band, Rez) album, and was a 20 year paying subscriber to Cornerstone magazine (I still have the books and t-shirts to prove it). But C'stone Fest remained an elusive dream.

    A girl wearing a King's X t-shirt was/is indeed a rare thing (pretty, or not). And your opening line was sophisticatedly debonair, compared with anything I might have blurted out at 14 (more likely I would have been far to shy to do anything but stare awkwardly, and feel like a total idiot). And how cool that she turned you onto some great music.

    I never went to any music festivals, but I did attend several concerts by christian artists (Stryper, Petra, Steve Taylor (with Whitecross opening), Barren Cross (with my brother's band Blitz opening), The Lost Dogs, The Choir), and there was definitely something unique about the sense of comraderie among the fans (such as the Stryper fans offering to pay the expenses for someone they didn't even know to travel to, and attend the show in, the next town Stryper was playing in). I have nothing but fond memories of hanging out before and after the shows. Also, the bands were all very accessable and cool (my fave autograph was, "To Ricky,...anytime I forget the lyrics. Steve Taylor" -- but that's a story for another time).