Random thoughts from a random mind…

Posts tagged “Blues

Origins of a DJ – Part 1

PURE ENJOYMENT OF MUSIC

My father has been in radio, well, broadcasting for all of my life.  Some of my fondest memories are visiting my dad in the station, and getting to go on the air with the DJ’s.  I’ve seen that industry change so much in my 30+ years…It’s been very interesting.  I remember when my dad was GM at a station in Kingman, AZ, and they had just gotten a new, “state-of-the-art” computer that barely fit in a 10×10 room that was able to provide music and commercials for an ENTIRE weekend! lol….some of you may not understand the joke with that, but it will make sense soon.  I remember sitting in the studio as the DJ “put the needle on the record”…yes, literally, put the tone-arm down on the latest 12” release; when commercials were run on CARTS (cartridges – very similar to an 8-track…if you remember what that is) – That’s enough of the history lesson for now…I’ll continue with why music is so important to me – but we will get back to the advancement of the radio station in another installment of this topic.

My mother was also very musical in my life.  She sang in a few choirs while I was a kid, in fact, myself and some other kids sang along with one of her groups.  We sang “Rainbow Connection,” yes, the one that Kermit the Frog sings in the Muppet Movie.  I think I was like 4.  My mom has always been a huge fan of all types of music.  She would listen to everything from AC/DC to Buddy Holly.  In high school, she would even comment on really enjoying the beats of many of my 90’s rap CD’s (yes, even the hardcore stuff lol).  My dad has very diverse taste in music as well, but I must say that I really feel I got my like of ALL different kinds of music (except most country music – which I owe my dislike of to my grandparents) from my mother.

I did and always have enjoyed ALL kinds of music.  Everything from 50’s “happy” tunes, to the 60’s “creativity” era, to the 70’s psychedelic ensemble, and yes, I was a product of the 80’s and MTV so you know that I was a fan of this fun/odd time for music.  I love hard rock, soft rock, the occasional ballad, and even some Mozart when the occasion presents itself.  But…when it is all said and done, the one that caught my attention the most was rap/hip-hop.  Maybe it was just the time.  I was influenced heavily by the hip-hop scene:  The gangs, the guns, the drugs…..COME ON! I was a scrawny white kid in farmville-USA, Michigan.  I just like the music.  Did I wear baggy jeans…yes, I did.  Course I weighed barely 100 lbs, so my 80’s parachute pants would have been baggy.

I don’t really know what it was about this genre…that hard bass drum, those beats and the poetry that entangled your brain with the perils of the streets intrigued me for years.  I was caught up in what others thought was just crude, vulgar and violent, but I studied this music with an open eye, understand that it was no different that so many other genres.  Think about it: Country for example is about the troubles of life, the cards you are dealt and how bad it can be; the Blues was a form of poetry about how hard life can be and how it gets you down, but you strive to make it through; hmmmm and then there’s rap.  In the 80’s rap was more about the beats and various rhyming schemes that were just fun.  In the 90’s, rap went through its spawning of a separate genre, Gangsta Rap, which was more of a story in poetry, telling of the hard times and the dangerous surroundings a young black man grew up in (interesting?).  Yes, there were always the “artists” that created songs of sex and what not, but again, a lot of them were only emulating what they have been used to their entire lives.

This is just a simple example of how music creates us, both as individuals and even cultures.  Each genre of music brings with it so much more than just some notes on a sheet of paper.  Name a single genre of music that didn’t include a wardrobe change, a particular hair-style, or a certain type of alcohol?  Music was this, it was and still is culture – every single genre is its own culture…YES, even the anarchist and apathetic ways of punk rock, and grunge conformed to create their own style and commercialized culture.

I really think this is just one part of music that consumes me.  To me, music isn’t just sounds, it is so full of emotions.  Music is everything we want to forget, and everything we want to have.  The memories that I have when a certain song plays is a testament to music’s power on the human soul.  Tell me you don’t occasionally have a memory of an exact moment in your life when a certain song plays?  For example: Every time I hear “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama, I see Ralph Macchio riding his bike to school in Karate Kid.  Crazy and silly I know, but that is just one association that music has instilled in my brain.

To me, and this is cliché, but music is our soundtrack.  Just like in a movie: when you’re angry, a hard-rock song may be your weapon of choice; when you’re in love, maybe a nice ballad; when you’re ready to party and go dancing, those pop songs that you hate may become your dance track.  No matter the emotion you are feeling, “there’s a beat for that.” (Yes, I just shamelessly plugged commercialism)

Without the power of music, there would not be a video montage of your favorite team winning the championship.  The action scene in your favorite movie just wouldn’t quite have the same effect if playing in the background was “Tip toe through the tulips” by Tiny Tim.  Tell me that women, and some men, would still cry during that scene in Ghost if the Righteous Brothers were replaced by Weird Al.  When it comes right down to it, some people just truly underestimate the power of music.