My Musical Journey, or Due to the Lack of a Better Title, I Entitled This Post “My Musical Journey”

So I will attempt and not sound like a complete asshole that assumes that anyone reading this would be interested in how my musical tastes have evolved and changed throughout my life.

Now, let the assholery begin.

I was listening to my acquired copy of Robert Pollard’s Waved Out. I had listened to Guided by Voices numerous times before (at this time in my life it was 1999) but just never got into it. I picked up this solo outing (one of hundreds, as you may already know) on the fact that I liked the cover art (see right). A few songs stuck out (“Subspace Biographies” and “Wrinkled Ghosts” will always be in my top 50 songs of all time) but the album, as a whole, seemed fragmented. It was obviously recorded at different times, and in different times in his life. What I didin’t get, though, was that, with Bob Pollard, that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was this:

He has actually written this many songs with little-to-no repeating of riffs, meoldies, or ideas.

Sure, there is a string that connects everything…a seemingly distant, fuck-you attitude for those that may not be into the artier additions (“Showbiz Opera Walrus” comes to mind), the sparse, and sometimes addled, lyrics (“What more is this beyond the evil cause?/I have no time alone/Believing and leave by any old couple of doors,” from “Pick Seeds From My Skull”), all the way to the brilliant (“Make use of the boring young heroes/Their efforts not wasted/Reward them for what they turn out/Of this we are proud,” from “Make Use”). Bob, or Guided by Voices, has been, and will be, for at least the foreseeable future, a force in underground/mainstream/DIY/produced Rock ‘N’ Roll.

I really got into it when I tripped on mushrooms for the first time. SURPRISE! I listened to Waved Out countless times in a single night while locked inside of my first true bedroom outside of my parents’ house (there is the stint in the cult, but those details are to be released at a later time) with only a kitten named Ian. I blacked out after a while, but what I do know is this:

  • it was the perfect album for such a foray into the unknown, and
  • I have no idea how the mirror got broken and why there was saliva smeared over each fragment and, subsequently, no cuts on my tongue.

My re-purchasing of it was my thirst to do hardcore psychedelics, but not having the true desire to actually take them, merely bring into my life the things that remind me of them the most.

But this isn’t about him, or them. Directly. It is about me, as is wont the case.

As I was listening and enjoying, I thought, “How did I get to this point?” (Not in the same way a heroin addict says the same thing right before ODing…more of a positive vibe, in that, “I like this, but nowhere in my young years does this music speak…”) I began thinking about my first concert (New Kids on the Block, Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1989), my first album (actually two simultaneously…Mr. Mister’s Welcome to the Real World and David Lee Roth’s Eat ‘Em and Smile [still a favorite to this day]), and when I started heading down the path that would eventually lead to Waved Out (Being forced to watch the propaganda-infused laugh-fest that is Hells Bells: The Dangers of Rock ‘N’ Roll in church when I was between the grades of 7th and 8th…a night that, ultimately, changed the way I listened and discovered music from that day forward. So, for that, American Christian Church and all of your paranoias and your unwillingness to know people before you judge people, thank you.).

The more I thought about it, the more extensive it became. Was my young love for John Denver’s “Grandma’s Feather Bed” reminiscent of my penchant for spending the night at my grandparent’s house? What about my sister and I making up stories, usually involving witches, to the music of Beethoven? And what about when I mistakenly bought Air Supply’s Greatest Hits, thinking that it was a release by the much more badass Aerosmith?

There was the Christian death metal bands in high school (Mortification, Betrayal, Living Sacrifice, Tourniquet, among a few others….ooh…the Crucified, although that was more thrash…you see, I was not allowed to listen to secular music and, to this day, feel weird when I buy records at the shop in Greenville, SC [Earshot Records, check it out], while visiting my parents when I bring home Pig Destroyer’s Phantom Limb or Venom’s Black Metal, both purchased with my mother in the store. Oh my, how I’ve progressed!), the “secret” stash I had of secular music (all stolen and consisting of Guns N Roses, Corrosion of Conformity, Black Sheep [my short stint in figuring out what this “rap” was all about], Metallica, Nirvana [a fave], to name a few), and my eventual desire to find the most outlandish, evil metal on the planet, Norwegian black metal.

The whole point of all this hubub is that I began an outline placing everything in its respective place and explaining everything clearly, so as to write a memoir of sorts.

Q & A

“Well, what about that book you were writing?”

I still am, dick. Seven chapters are done, but well, yes, I’ve dried up. A few new ideas have come about that I am considering.

“Aren’t there too many memoirs out there already?”

Yes, and if even though only a slim majority are penned by Augusten Burroughs, he has already saturated the public with his tomfoolery. But, as in life, I write as if there is no Augusten Burroughs. I don’t expect anyone to care about mine, unlike him. I just want to write it.

“What about your dog, Emma? Is she cool with this?”

Totally.

“Will it talk about when you had a braided tail in sixth grade, much like Jordan Knight’s (of The New Kids on the Block)?”

Yes, yes it will.

I thank you for your questions, and good day.

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