For someone who is as in love with music as I am, you'd think that it started when I was very young. The truth is, I used to hate music. Really, really hate it. If you need proof of this, there is one memory that sticks out in my mind.
We were heading out of the house to load into the van and head somewhere, and I decided to spring the theory that I had cooked up in my little 7 or 8 or whatever-year-old head on my siblings -- all music is about love. I don't exactly remember how I argued this point, but I did so to the point that my brother, who is 5 years older then me, just gave up trying to prove me wrong.
I had deduced that music was stale and boring, and that nobody ever came up with anything original, so I was just going to ignore it all. And I mostly did throughout the rest of my childhood, until my early teen years. Pretty much the only music I ever listened to was The Monkees Greatest Hits, because I used to watch the show on Nick at Nite (I watched that network constantly, which is another story), the Final Fantasy 6 (3 in the US) soundtrack, because I liked the game a whole lot and would borrow the soundtrack from my friend, and some Native American singer/songwriter named Jack Gladstone that we saw when we went to Yellowstone National Park.
This was my childhood music listening:
So how did I go from The Monkees to The Paper Chase, Devotchka, Animal Collective, The Mars Volta, and more? The simple answer is Offspring, but it deserves much more explanation then that.
The year was 1998, and I was 13 years old. Offspring had just released their song Pretty Fly for a White Guy, and for some reason I picked up on it. It was one of the few things I heard on the radio coming from my sisters room, that I liked. I'm probably opening myself up for abuse, but I think the video even sold it a little bit more.
Right from the point that Noodles walks past and the guitar kicks in, I was hooked. It was everything my stupid little 13 year old brain wanted to like, but put through the lens of people like me. I wasn't popular, or cool, but neither were these dorks.
When I say hooked, I'm not kidding. Offspring became an obsession. I poured over Napster search results to get my hands on anything they ever recorded in their entire lifetime. I had rare covers, and demos -- I was like a crazy stalker or something.
And that's when I started to take notice of other music. Offspring had covered songs by bands like TSOL, Buzzcocks, AFI, and Agent Orange -- all of which I began to dissect and take into my musical repertoire. Then I realized they had their own record label -- soon I was obsessed with bands like The Vandals, Guttermouth, and 30footFALL as well.
The epiphany had occurred. Music could be good, amazing even. There's no way for me to properly explain how Offspring led me to Animal Collective, so I'm just going to end this now. This was the first step to the entire process, and while I might be a little embarrassed about some of the bands now, I won't deny my love for them for one second. I love all of this music still today, no matter what anybody says about it, because it all played a part in forming my love of music today.