Musical Influences

A while back (2 years ago?) I promised that I’d talk about my family dynamic and that I’d highlight each of my family members in an individual post. I think I was too self conscious to follow through. It’s very liberating to know exactly where you stand with people. You end up really not caring what other people think, at least I don’t, so here goes.

This one will be an entire snapshot of my family. (excluding step-siblings) I posted this to Facebook many years ago. It was a highlight of my musical taste formed by each member of my family.

I had the idea while I was living in Bakersfield, California. I wasn’t close with my family because I thought I was being judged for not going to church. I’d been living in California for five years and didn’t really communicate very often with my siblings, but one day while I was driving to work ‘Patience’ by Guns ‘N Roses played on the local radio station. And sure enough when I heard that whistling, I started crying. I missed my big brother.

I wanted to make a CD with all of the songs that reminded me the most of each of my brothers and sisters, but decided it would be hard to go into the explanations for them in CD format so I did it on Facebook instead, and that’s what I’ll be doing here.

I’ll start with my mom. She loved Disco and we would dance around the living room to Abba and Kool and the Gang, ‘Celebrate’ in particular. But the song that reminds me the most of her is ‘Time After Time’ by Cyndi Lauper. I don’t think my mom liked that song in particular but as Stephen Colbert mentioned in his discussion with Anderson Cooper about the loss of his brothers and father, it’s the music that played on the radio in that time frame that you remember most. It was 1986, I remember Phil Collins and ‘Time after Time’ and just like Stephen Colbert, I usually can’t keep it together, even 35 years later, when I hear that song.

Next up is my step mom. Unfortunately, it’s not a happy memory but it’s funny to think of it now and it definitely helped shape my musical preferences. Her’s is anything Celine Dion or Barbara Streisand. My step mother used to blast Barbara Streisand on Saturday mornings while we did our chores. It was torture. The first thing I bought with my first paycheck at age 16 was a Sony Walkman. So when Southpark had Robert Smith of The Cure turn into Mothra to defeat Mecha-Streisand, they became legends in my book. (Les Claypool of Primus doing their theme song didn’t hurt either) I never realized they were making obvious references to Godzilla until like two months ago. In my defense, I’d never seen Godzilla until over 20 years after seeing the episode. ๐Ÿ˜‰There’s another reason Robert Smith saving the day was so awesome to me but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Next is my dad. I thought my dad didn’t like music at all. He listened mostly to AM talk radio. When we were younger though, I remember him listening to ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rodgers . Although, one time we were listening to U2 ‘War’ on a road trip, just he, my brother Sam, and I. He said that drums were his favorite instrument and he thought Larry Mullen Jr. Was really talented. He is. I remember my dad telling me he didn’t like the Beatles but when we came across an old copy of the White Album several years later he said that he just didn’t like the repetitive ‘Hey Jude’.

Nathan is my oldest brother. He had posters of Ozzy Osborne on his walls, drew copies of Iron Maiden covers and played the guitar. He and my brother Matt used to have jam sessions in the garage. The most memorable are ‘YYZ’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’ both by ‘Rush’. So ‘YYZ’ makes this list. , I can also credit Nathan with introducing me to Oingo Boingo (Danny Elfman).

Matt used to drive us to school (Jr high) in the dark blue Chevy hatchback he bought for $75. His drum kit he made in shop class was always in the very back. He listened to the same tape every morning preparing for band practice. The songs were Primus ‘Is it Luck’, B52’s ‘Rock Lobster’, and a song a member of their band wrote called ‘Roadkill Jacket’. However, the song that reminds me the most of my brother Matt is ‘Synchronicity II’ by the Police. . We were on a camping trip and Matt was driving us up to our campsite. This song came on and Matt turns up the radio and says, “you have to listen to this song.”

Heather wasn’t around very much growing up. I remember listening to Madonna on her clock radio. She liked Fleetwood Mac and Journey because my uncle Charlie introduced them to her before he died. I hated Tori Amos for a long time until my sister let me borrow the cassette tape ‘Under the Pink’ then Tori Amos became my favorite. I’ve seen her three times in concert. There’s not a particular song that reminds me of my sister so I’ll choose ‘Rattlesnakes’ a Lloyd Cole cover, a personal favorite. I once made an employee of mine listen to Tori Amos for five hours straight because he kept giving me crap for liking her. That’s how dedicated I am.

My brother Jereme was the captain of the football team. He is five years older than me but I still had people asking me if I was Jereme Gardner’s sister in high school. The music that reminds me most of Jereme is music from his football highlight videos, and yes, ‘Patience by Guns ‘N Roses. . The fun thing about going to Hunter High School was that they used to have someone in the bleachers playing ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC (turning the word “thunder” into “Hunter” of course)

Sam introduced me to U2 and he might cringe at this but he also introduced me to Nine Inch Nails, but only the first album ‘Pretty Hate Machine’. He recorded ‘Watching the Detectives’ by Elvis Costello at the end of my pirated Oingo Boingo ‘Deadman’s Party’ tape. I bought a best of Elvis Costello compilation while Sam was on his mission to impress him but he admitted that he only liked that one song. The song that reminds me the most of Sam though, is Nirvana ‘Territorial P***ing’s’ . We were listening to ‘Nevermind’ on our way to Nathan’s wedding in California. Sam had fallen asleep at the wheel and hit a road marker. I was freaking out as he was fishtailing. It was Matt’s car, he yelled at Sam to get out of the car. They switched places and Matt drove us to safety. Sam was 15 with his learners permit. Poor kid.

Rebecca was my best friend growing up. She introduced me to a lot of stuff, Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’, TLC, LL Cool J, Young MC, etc. As we got older and music preferences changed Depeche Mode and The Cure. When I was in sixth grade, my sister dressed me up as Robert Smith and I won 2nd place in a Halloween costume contest. (Remember Mothra vs. Mecha-Streisand?) ๐Ÿ˜ Then grunge became the thing and I was able to share Rebecca’s Stone Temple Pilots, Tool, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. Though, the song that reminds me most of her is ‘Cars that Go Boom’ by L’Trimm (which is terrible) or The KLF ‘3am Eternal’ . Nathan gave Rebecca the music video on VHS for her birthday and we watched it all the time.

My little brother Adam is last and the unfortunate thing for younger siblings is that it’s always the older sibling that has a say in what is listened to. I introduced him to The Prodigy and The Beastie Boys. I listened to that all the time in high school and because ‘Sabotage’ is one of the coolest music videos of all time, I’ll post that one. . A few years ago Adam sent this video to me which made me chuckle: . We have a family chat on Discord where we post music and other things. Adam created a chat for me called ‘Stuck in 97’ which is awesome and pretty accurate.

I hope you enjoyed that, and if not that’s okay too. Have a good night and thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Musical Influences

  1. Loved it!
    -Nate’s would be Dr. Demento or anything you didn’t want left in your head all day long. ๐Ÿ˜‚
    -Matt’s would be Hary Connick Jr, B-52’s.๐Ÿ˜Š
    -Heather’s would be Journey, uerythmics, and many more.
    Jereme- definitely Guns & Roses, and Depeche Mode.
    Sam- U2, detachable penis๐Ÿคญ & she is watching the detectives.
    You- Tory Amos, Beatles, Beck, Morrissey, & Many more.
    Adam- Elderbrook ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

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