Records that changed my life, in one way or another (1996-1999) | Part III :
– Prince’s symbol: My early memories of Prince were when I was maybe 6 or 7. I saw this tiny naked man on television crawling towards me. I remember there were doves and a bathtub. I think I was traumatized for life. That and really intrigued. I remember Prince’s singles that hit pop radio pretty gratuitously. However, I never owned a CD until I dated this girl my senior year of high school a year prior to 1996. We made out once to Prince’s symbol album. After the make out sessions I quickly hit up Tower and bought the CD. And since then, it’s proved to be a great record, even without the smooches. From there I bought the Best Of… triple disc set. I dont know what else you can say about him. He’s magical. He’s beyond talented. He was the first teenager to self-produce their debut album on Warner Bros Records. Plus he sings about sex a lot. He has a 26 inch waist. And sprinkles some good politics in there from time to time. And did i tell you that, that motherfucker could dance like it was nobody’s business. And for the past 6 years i’ve been trying to finish off my Prince collection. Only one more to go.
– Trans Am’s surrender to the night/Tortoise’s millions now living will never die: I first heard both these records in my good friend and guitarists dorm room. I was now introduced to a new format of music. Music sans lyrics. It was amazing. It was a freedom. It was something I always knew I wanted more of, but didnt know where to look. The focus on most music these days is on lyrics. But lyrics bore me for the most part. sheena is a punk rocker – is about the most interested i get. And that is some good word creation (RIP Joey). Anyways. The first song I heard from Trans Am was obviously MOTR. The first cut off that record. And after the guitar solo came in I was hooked. I still feel like crying everytime I hear that song. It’s like Sunny Day Real Estate for people who dont have feelings. And the SYNTHS! THE SYNTHS! Jeezum crow. And the first time I heard Tortoise was shortly after this. Joe played this one and I kept wondering when the song would end. I kept wondering if the drummer was a beat box or not. I kept thinking about what the instrumentation was. I was so off. I was equally enthralled with the mystery of it all. Enter my rather unhealthy (but warranted) obsession with Johnny Machine.
– Frank Zappa’s apostrophe: My friend Brian in college tried to sell me this Zappa record. I hadnt known all that much about him. I knew that he was dead. I knew my drum teacher loved this man. She even taught me one of his songs on the marrimba. It wasnt the easiest thing I had ever done. I knew he wrote great music I didnt completely understand. I knew i had a few of his songs on mix tapes. I had a few rare live shows on cassette that would drive Feetnik crazy. I knew i made posters in high school with a quote from a Rolling Stone reader saying to the effect that it’s a tragedy that the Dead get in to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame and Frank got jack shit. It was set off with a great picture of Frank from the 70s all naked and legs crossed. I miss putting up randaom posters. Frank makes me think about music. He makes me feel music. Frank makes music, music again. Frank gives me hope for the future of music. And yes, he’s been dead for 10 years. Peaches en Regalia, The Mud Shark, Approximate, St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast. Over 75 records. Who knows what hasnt even been released yet. My favorite claim to fame for him is that the first record to be labeled with the sticker “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” by the PMRC was Frank Zappa’s Jazz from Hell record. It was an instrumental album. That still makes me chuckle.
– Philip Glass’ koyaanisqatsi: A native Baltimore born man. Just like Zappa. I studied Glass in college when I was a silly music major. I was his movie Koyaanisqatsi once then and again in 1999 when it was borrowed from Chase. But not until 1999 year did I fully appreciate what he did in this music. He created intenseness, compression, movement, destruction, flow, emptiness, fullfilment. And all with music that didnt have words. It repeated a lot. It didnt have a chorus. It was errie. From there I bought Powaqqatsi and some of his older “12 Part” releases. I dont think i’ve ever heard him utter a sound from him mouth, as well. I havent even read an interview. I dont think I want to. His music explains more than words could ever.