How Magic Happens Pt. 1

Today I'm thinking about music. I don't know yet what this means or what it's going to mean. Am I gearing up for a new record? Dunno. Will I "gear up" this spring? Probably. I can feel that perhaps. Maybe it's the RM3 memories.

I probably love music more than anything else I do. If I were forced to pick one medium to pursue, it's all I'd do*. I'd give away my human organs in some cases. But I'm reminiscing...about how we learn what we learn about music and who who we learn about new music from. How our connections happen. How magic happens.

For instance (since this is playing now), a bunch of years a ago Joey Memphis sent me a couple of CDs via the Federal Express; for no particular reason other than he had a couple of albums he thought I'd like. One was utterly forgettable and long-forgotten. The other was Ruby Vroom by Soul Coughing. It's incredible and I cannot listen to it without thinking of Joey.

One Thanksgiving, like five years back, my young nephew Michael said he had a record he thought I'd enjoy. He loaded it onto my computer along with a bunch of other stuff. Turns out I didn't like the album, I loved it so much it became an immediate desert island favorite. It's incredible and I cannot listen to it without thinking of Mike. Oh the album? Blueberry Boat by Fiery Furnaces.

My old friend Jacques one day said (in like '97), you should listen to this record. You'll like it. The artist was Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The album was Orange. It's incredible and I cannot listen to it without thinking of Jacques.

Influences come from so many places.
Ben got me back into the indispensable Tribe Called Quest.

Rickey Powell (Berkeley) turned me on to Ben Harper, Beck, Phish, and Ween.

I learned of Deltron 3030 from my RM3 partner Jason "Court Williams" Letkiewicz.

About the only person who appreciates Frank Zappa as much as I do is Big Dave Wave.

I was introduced to NWA by a 25 year-old, white, Minnesotan woman (Lutheran, doy) in graduate school.

I happened to walk into a record store at the beach with Christine Christan when Battles' "Race-in" was playing.

Seany Hi-Def is all about the Wu (and slapped me with Enter the 37th Chamber and Enter The Magical Mystery Chambers).
Associations matter.

I almost wrote about how delighted I am that my music influences had such good taste but that's pretty silly. As our tastes are shaped and we narrow our likes (and dislikes) we are naturally going praise our influences.

And there's the wasteland of the stuff that didn't take? The Doors never took with me. Indy pop doesn't do a damn thing for me (and no, the Decemberists are not indy pop). I was big on jazz and orchestral music in my late teens and early 20s but that has waned into a healthy appreciation. I tried punk but it didn't stick. I had to learn to like the Police and Soundgarden when I was initially resistant.

And some music I feel like I discovered. Like Lenny Kravitz. I remember catching pre-Let Love Rule buzz (pre-internet buzz) and thinking, Roxy Roker's boy? Flaming Lips too. There was something decisively salient about "She Don't Use Jelly" that compelled me to investigate further. And the like. I won't go on (like Easy Star All Stars, can I get a witness?).

I suppose the people who have introduced me to the most influential music are some of my most important friends (and I know I'm leaving out some extremely important people and influences out here, but what can I do? I GOT TGA!). But when the magic happens, associations matter.

That's all.

* Interestingly, I just had the "how tK0L evolved from a lifestyle to a band to an arts collective" conversation this weekend.