My Musical Interest Pedigree

The Beatles As long as I can remember, I have been a big music buff. In the early years, meaning grammar school, I was a massive Beatles fan (the first tape I ever owned was Sergeant Pepper's). I had a dozen or so of their tapes, read books about the history, and even read their poetry. Little did I know this was only going to be the beginning.
In the early part of high school, I followed the path that many do listening to classic rock. The Beatles love remained (I wrote my high school AP English thesis on how the Beatles changed the world of music) but I also listened to the many of the baroque pop bands of the 60's (e.g. the Left Banke). In late high school, I discovered 97x ("the future of rock and roll"). At this point, I was starting to stray away from the now banal classic rock, and into the catch phrase "alternative" rock. Don't get me wrong, I didn't dive right into the Minutemen or Husker Du (which I should have been listening to at that time); but I went more into worshiping the likes of the Cure and REM. The first CD I ever purchased was Life's Rich Pageant. Lifes Rich Pageant
Social Distortion It was not until college that my music passion really expanded. It was there that I met several like minded people, who helped refine and define my music sensibilities. During my first year of school, we had yet to fully expand into our respective local scenes. Consequently, we were still listening to the alternative on a macro level. We were listening to the likes of U2, REM, Smiths, Cure, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Social Distortion.
The first summer after college, we are took to our local scene. I went home and took a second job at local concert venue (Riverbend). The venue was a bigger venue catering to larger touring acts, so the shows did not always meet my fancy, but it was a great. Granted I had to clean all the crap up after the shows, but I frequently worked back stage and met countless of famous musicians (Ringo Starr, Natalie Merchant, Chris Cornell, Joe Walsh, Karl Wallinger, Jimmy Buffet, etc), so that was pretty cool. Riverbend
Afghan Whigs
Guided By Voices
Believe it or not, I also spent my free time going to concerts. My hangout during all my college summers was a rock and roll laundry mat, named Sudsy Malone's. It was great for a nineteen year old, considering most laundry mats don't have age entry requirements. Luckily for me, this particular laundry mat had high quality music shows. I saw bands that later had success like the Afghan Whigs, Guided by Voices, or Over the Rhine. I also saw countless others that caught a few less breaks (Brainiac, Ass Ponys, Scrawl, Throneberry, Milkmine, Tigerlillies, Cigarhead, Rottweilers, and Heavy Weather). In addition, there were countless others that did not deserve to catch any breaks. Between work and leisure, I probably hit 4 to 6 concerts every week during those summers.
Going into my second year of college, I was well tapped into the Cincinnati area music scene. Luckily for me, my like minded college friends had done similar things (particularly, two of my friends from St. Louis) So, vicariously I became tapped into the local scene in St. Louis. I added the likes of Uncle Tupelo, Pale Divine, the Bottle Rockets, and the Carpet Baggers to my music arsenal. We also set out to support our local music scene in Dayton which at that time was strong, thanks to local legends Brainiac, Guided By Voices, and Kim Deal. In addition, we acted as part time groupies for the likes of Wallaro South and Protex Blue. Uncle Tupelo
Sebadoh This passion and expansion continued through college and ultimately led to my getting a job at the college radio station, WDCR. Working at the radio station, we got to hear just about everything that was released that we wanted to hear. We would cycle through the discs, playing things we knew we liked or playing things we never heard before simply because of the record label or the producer. It was hear that we had come to appreciate all the classics like the Minutemen, Sonic Youth, Husker Du, the Sex Pistols, etc. We also played the alternative legends of that time: Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pavement, Palace, Sugar, etc.
By the time I graduated from college, music was well into my veins, so when we moved to Chicago, I had no intention of letting it die. My first year in Chicago, we went to many shows of the bands we had already come to love (Jon Spencer, GBV, Afghan Whigs, Dinosaur Jr., Wilco, Son Volt, Tweedy, Shane MacGowan, etc), playing close attention to the opening acts. However, it was at the second show ever of Son Volt, where the big break through came. Sitting outside off the Schubas on the pavement, after a kick ass show (Blue Mountain and Son Volt), there was this guy taking pictures. We asked him what the pictures were for, he explained there was going to be a new fanzine coming out called No Depression and he was looking for a cover shot. No Depression
Moonshine Willy
Bad Livers
Despite the fact that we did not make the cover, I still got a subscription. The big articles in my first issue were on bands I had already really liked (Palace Brothers, Ass Ponys) and some new ones that showed great potential; so I was really excited. Luckily, the magazine also wrote reviews of great local acts. It was from this magazine, that we found our first core of local acts that we began to follow regularly (Handsome Family, Pinetop Seven, Moonshine Willy). These bands also were well respected by many of their peers in Chicago. So, by going to their shows, we were introduced to many of other good bands both local and national (e.g., Jon Langford, the Mekons, the Bad Livers, Box Head Ensemble, Pritchard, etc). It also gave a us a perfect introduction to the local venues. I think I have seen Moonshine Willy alone in 7 different Chicago venues.
Now, having lived in Chicago for five years. I support the local record labels and local bands. I could go on and on detailing all the fine bands that the members of Tortoise have been in alone. So, I think I will conclude the history section, simply by saying, my music love continues to be strong and I am constantly trying to find exciting new music. Tortoise

This page was last modified on: Saturday, December 30, 2000 at 14:35