2006-08-10 | music
Reading Steve's Blog tonight, reminded me of my formative years, when I used to frequent at least 2 or 3 concerts a month and was enraptured in the local and national music scene.
I wasn't trying to be cool. I was just trying to find myself. And the music from the bands I went to see live was a huge part of that, so my way of giving back was by going to see them live. To top it all off, I would get rewarded in a completely different and unexpected way by the same bands that I was trying to thank.
That's one of the many beautiful things about music. The way that music is just the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. A certain song can take you back. You can pull out an album that you haven't listened to in 3 years and suddenly you have an artistic reawakening. Or you go and see one of your favorite bands live and their performance reaffirms your reason for worshipping them in the first place. (tenfold)
I always wanted to be a performer of some sort, but it wasn't until Alika and Jason introduced me to a whole new world of music that I didn't even know existed, that I knew exactly what kind of performing I wanted to do. It just had to be music.
I was about to be a junior in high school, when Alika invited me to his house to listen to him play his bass. While I was there, he let me borrow a few of his cds. By the time I had listened to them all, I was a new man, and the rest of my life was ready to begin.
Shortly thereafter, I went to my first concert. Nirvana was my favorite band, but Pearl Jam were definitely in my top 10 or 20 at the time. I like them even more now in a way, but I know a lot more about music now, so they probably fall somewhere in the top 50. At the time, the idea of Pearl Jam was a lot more exciting to me then the actual music they played, because I didn't even own the album. I only listened to it when my friend Darett played it in the car. But more than anything else, I think I was just ready to go to my first concert when I found out that Pearl Jam would be playing at the Andrews Amphitheatre on the University of Hawai'i campus.
Being that it was our first real concert, Darett and I kind of just sat in the bleachers and took in the surrounding area and just enjoyed the music. The live performance was just breathtaking. It was an exciting and highly influential and inspirational event. It was almost as if Darett and I were scouting this concert to know how to act at all the future shows we'd be going to. (Who knew that Darett and I would end up going to I'm guessing somewhere in the number of 75-100 shows?)
One of the funniest or maybe strangest things about this personal rennaissance period, was how I was shutting myself off from one scene, which was basically NO SCENE and surrounding myself with another one. What I mean is that when I started to feel more comfortable in my own skin, it made me feel uncomfortable around certain people. This may make me sound like a total asshole, but I suddenly felt that certain people who were my friends didn't really understand me, and therefore I stopped hanging around them all the time and in some cases, I probably alienated them and lost friendships over my "awakening", but I couldn't change the way I felt.
The circle of friends I encountered when I started going to concerts felt so much better. It felt right. Being different made us all the same, even though we were complex in our own ways. Although we were all outcasts in a way, being around each other made us feel normal. I was a nice guy, so I kept hanging around a few of the generic people, but I admit that it embarassed me to be around some of them. That may have been shitty of me, but I bet you a lot of those people felt the same way about me.
It's part of growing up, I guess. Sometimes you don't always make the best or nicest decisions, but ultimately, it helps shape who you are, so to have regrets wouldn't make much sense. I have a few minor ones, but overall, I refuse to give in to that shit, because I'm so happy to be able to be myself now, like I have been able to for the last 13 years or so. Before that, I had no clue about a million different things.
When I started going to shows and learning more about music, which I soon found out was my first real love, I became more outgoing, more artistic, more comfortable, more happy and frankly, it made me a lot cooler, or at least it made it appear that way. It's so easy. Just have good taste and some people think that you're cool. You don't really have to do anything, although buying some cool t-shirts doesn't hurt the cause.
Soon after Pearl Jam, Darett and I became addicted to concerts. It became a huge part of our lives, and it was a bonding experience for us together as friends and at the same time, we were becoming individuals and possibly may have even ultimately helped us grow apart from spending too much time with each other. It's hard to tell, because Darett is still one of my best friends, but that may also be because we don't see each other everyday anymore. I honestly don't know. That's for Dr. Phil to figure out.
Music makes some people come together, but what they don't tell you, is it also can push you away from other people. My sister and I were a lot closer before I started becoming a junior punk rocker. My mom didn't think I was that weird until I started listening to shredding guitars in my bedroom. She still thinks I'm a little odd, but now she thinks it's unique, because I'm starting to do some artistic things with my wacky imagination as opposed to just staring at the wall in my room while drawing pictures of crazy dudes with knives in them and blood pouring out of them.
Music in a way, may have possibly saved my life, but there's no way to be sure, because I don't know how serious I was about my suicidal thoughts when I was a teenager. I don't remember. I just remember thinking that I had it pretty rough when mostly everything was pretty hunky dory. Does anybody remember how serious they were back then? I was too busy having fun and doing stupid shit to remember all the somber times. Or maybe my life has been filled with so much happiness lately, that it has blocked out the past.
But all the bad things that have happened to me that have musical connections, like Creed, for example, could never come close to outweighing the positives. That's why music will always be my first and last love. I can think of dozens of ways and even some specific times that music has made my day, saved my nights, cheered me up, made me cry (in good ways and bad, happy and sad), lifted me up, inspired me, triggered my brain, gave me a brilliant idea, made me want to write, warmed my heart, woke me up (literally and figuratively), put me to sleep, made me laugh, made me smile, reminded me of something, made me forget everything (when I needed it and a few times when I didn't), kept me company, made me feel special and rocked my fucking socks off. The negatives are not as plentiful and they're easier to forget for me.
I don't know why, but going to concerts isn't the same anymore. Maybe it's the crowds full of robotic teenagers that don't seem to know much about, ya know, actual music. Maybe it's a lot of the bands that don't seem to be as genuine or as good as the one's I used to go see. Maybe it's that there is a lot more cynicism all around in general. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I'm out of shape and it hurts to stand in one place for a long time because my back gets sore. (ok, that's not really a maybe, but whatever) I also don't have a concert buddy anymore. Darett lives in Oregon now. Even if I found a prospective one, they'd have some pretty big shoes to fill.
But I'll never forget the early days of my concertgoing and how much it changed my life. I'm so happy to have found myself and all my friends who do understand who I am now and love me for it. That was a magic time. It was such an amazing era, that sometimes I can't remember what happened before that, and sometimes, the happy memories from this time help me forget them easier See? Music even gave me an easy button.
Don't worry, this is not an advertisement for Staples. This is simply another testament to my love of music and also an endorsement for music itself and how powerful, motivating, precious, exciting, enlightening, therapeutic, mind blowing, mind clearing, thought provoking and just plain fun it can be, among a billion other things, of course. Thank you music. I'll never turn my back on you, baby.
In case any of you are interested, here are most of the bands I've seen live. If they're not listed here, I have either forgotten, or I was too embarassed to put them here. Check it out, yo:
Porno For Pyros*
Rock N' Roll:
Queens of the Stone Age
Eagles of Death Metal
Kings of Leon
Stone Temple Pilots
Alice In Chains
Sick of it All
Beat Your Kids
Rage Against the Machine
De La Soul
Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
Black Eyed Peas^
Eyedea & Abilities
Less Than Jake*
Let's Go Bowling
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Buck O' Nine
Long Beach Dub All-Stars
DJ Peretz (Perry Farrell)
the Living End
Down By Law
Rocket From the Crypt
Voodoo Glow Skulls
*--Bands I've seen in concert more than once
^--Saw them before they sold the fuck out and started making fools of themselves weekly
+--Saw them back when they were really cool and before they started making the same boring album over and over again and before college kids with money knew who they were
Please feel free to tell me what some of your favorite concerts were, or tell me how music changed your life. Thanks for reading.
P.S. Steve- thanks for triggering my brain and inspiring me to post this entry.
- premature ejaculation
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