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Graduating from grunge to grooves of Radiohead

October 23, 2011
Tribune Chronicle |

In my last column, I talked about how my life could be made into a timeline by looking at the technology created by Steve Jobs and Apple.

This topic got me thinking during my drive home from work, and I began to compile a timeline of my life based on the music that I listened to at the time.

Music has been a very important part of my life, and at one point I thought that I would become a great rock star. Well, that hasn't worked out as I had planned when I was 13, but the influence of music follows me everywhere I go.

Some of these bands were popular at the time, and others may not have been. There are bands that I was a little late appreciating, and there will be omissions that you may think are heinous. But, this is my list, and if you feel compelled to sit down and write out your own, that's great.

I will start at the beginning and work my way to present day, because it makes the most sense.

Being born in 1982, I was not brought into the world during a great musical time. Disco was ending and the '80s New Wave stuff was getting started, but in my house there was still a lot of great rock music.

The first bands I can really remember listening to are Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. My older brother was born in the mid-'70s and was old enough that he was listening to things way before I was able to discover them on my own. We were sharing a room, and he would often play Zeppelin at night. I can't count the amount of times I fell asleep to it.

The Beatles, now that was my father's doing. He would put his old records on in his room and would sing songs like ''When I'm Sixty-Four'' and ''With a Little Help From My Friends'' to us.

As my formative years continued in the '80s I found myself becoming one of the millions of Michael Jackson fans. I would throw ''Bad'' or ''Thriller'' in my cassette tape deck and dance around in a scene that I am glad that no one ever caught on camera.

The early 1990s arrived, and I found a cassette tape of my older brother's that changed how I listened to music forever.

It was a gray Memorex tape with the word ''Nervana'' written on it. I had no idea what that was and played it. I listened to that tape probably a million times over the next several years.

Nirvana's ''Nevermind'' album went everywhere with me. I was a little younger than the core audience of the grunge movement, but I loved it. Nirvana led to Pearl Jam to Temple of the Dog and Alice in Chains. Grunge music was my music.

I was still a pre-teen to teenage kid, so my parents had the final say on most aspects of my life including my clothes, general appearance and the occasional revoking of music they deemed ''inappropriate."

Let me tell you, I was the least cool-looking grunge star ever. I rocked the flannel shirts, but they were normally tucked into my slightly-too-tight jeans and my long ''grunge'' hair was off-set by the copious amounts of product I dumped into it and the large blue oval glasses that covered half my face.

While junior high progressed and I began to realize that I wasn't quite the grunge star I thought, I started to slip into bands such as Dave Matthews Band. It was a lighter than the angst of grunge, and I never had to turn it off because my parents did not like it.

It was during this time that I discovered live concerts and that girls liked the happier grooves of Dave Matthews as opposed to the angry howl of Kurt Cobain.

I stayed on a steady Dave Matthews trend throughout most of high school with the unfortunate infatuations with bands like Korn and, as embarrassing as it is to admit, Limp Bizkit, but those types of bands are littered throughout my life. Bands like Live, Stone Temple Pilots, Hootie and the Blowfish, Our Lady Peace, Incubus and O.A.R. all spent significant time in my CD player and will sometimes find their way back, but they weren't definitive.

It wasn't until I went to college that I discovered a band that has become my favorite. It was during a trip with friends that I was at first forced to listen to Radiohead. It didn't take long before I was hooked.

Now that I'm older, I can put a CD in of any of these bands and recall what it was like back then and who I used to be.

Lately, instead of listening to my music at full blast, I am enjoying the soundtracks of Disney movies with my kids, and as much as it is a departure from what I used to like, it will certainly become the soundtrack of this time of my life and easily my favorite.



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