OWTK Not Kids Music

Quick Thoughts: How We Once Did and Continue To Discover Our Stories In Song

It was an issue of Rolling Stone, I think. Or maybe SPIN. Doesn’t really matter.

Some internet sleuthing could complete the puzzle, but who’s got time for that. Certainly wasn’t Alternative Press, The Big Takeover, Maximum Rock-n-Roll, or Punk Planet, that’s for certain. I wasn’t reading those rags just yet.

The Afghan Whigs were the band that changed my life as a young man — age 17 but still without the faintest of clue as to the sexually redemptive themes Greg Dulli and his white-soul mates from Cincinnati were going on and on about within the songs of Gentleman and Congregation. These weren’t my stories in song but discovering that band on college radio and their songs on those (and then later) albums, gave me the permission I didn’t know I was seeking to begin to write my own unique story.

It was a pithy half page, a transcribed chat. Not much more than that. In it though, Dulli name-checked Built To Spill as a band he was digging at the present. Never heard of ’em, but next time I was at the record store, I remembered to buy their latest.

I entered through There’s Nothing Wrong With Love and was a different person by the time the tom-tom hits on “In The Morning”. I would wear that slab of silver out over the “next day, next day, next day…”

Such a musical discovery was not an isolated incident.

I found countless bands in size 12 fonts in half page magazine interviews and in fonts smaller still at the foot of CD liner notes — bands I already loved thanking bands they already loved, preaching the gospel from far away places like Seattle, Cincinnati, Chicago, D.C., Missoula, and Twin Falls, Idaho, all the way into my bedroom in the cushy suburbs of Philadelphia.

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I think it was because I saw her name in the World Cafe Live calendar email blast and clicked through. I should really remember this detail, it was only a handful of months ago and I’m not that old yet.

That’s when we fell hard for Alex Lahey.

Because it’s 2018, I eventually found my way to the young Australian’s Instagram feed and it’s there the soft introduction to Gordi was made, in a photo, with a tag — click, click, listen, whoa. Four quick steps to a new obsession. No magazine interview this time, rarely ever liner notes anymore, but the result was the same still — a love, a share, a discovery, a love.

All that is par for the modern course. We read blogs and Twitter feeds, we scan Instagram and scroll through Facebook, and along the way we are introduced to new things, new people, new products, and new ideas — some we embrace, other we pass over like a penny on the street. Not now, not worth it, I’ve got enough, keep going.

My life, and I’m guessing yours too, is a string of accidents, denting us a bit to the left, bumping us back to the right. We arrive here bruised for having lived. The line that brought us to today has been more crooked than the stories of the future we’d make up as children, and that line, in truth, is a hundred, a thousand lines intersecting, ending abruptly, never starting, and it is the singular one still being drawn beneath us now.

A magazine article, a college radio station tuned in at a certain time of night, a pay per view music channel on a weekday I should’ve been at work, a venue’s concert calendar, an Instagram page. These are some of the sources of discovery, the diversions in my line that have bumped me toward happiness and toward finding my stories in song.

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One Comment

  1. Love it when you write about music.

joc