Green is the cat’s eye that glows in this temple

The following 1000 words of mildly interesting thoughts are brought to you today by iTunes shuffling to Love At First Sting, which teleported me back to the living room floor in our house in Sunland, surrounded by M.U.S.C.L.E. figures while I tried to figure out which ones I was willing to trade the next day at school. Through the magic of memory, the scene shifts to my bedroom around the same time, where I carefully copy a program from a computer magazine into my TI 99/4a computer, and then to the same room where I fudge a roll because I really needed my WIS roll to be higher than 8 for the Wizard I was making. I’m at the desk where I do my homework, trying and failing for the nth time to draw Eddie on the cover of Piece of Mind. I am a child, a pre-teen, and always, always weak and weird and awkward and strange. But I have music, and that is comforting.

There’s this moment in a child’s life when they start to build a sense of self, as they develop their own likes and dislikes that are more complicated than “I don’t like milk” or “I want to have more ice cream” (ICE CREAM HAS MILK IN IT YOU STUPID KID! THAT’S WHY YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING! YOU’RE STUPID KIDS! JUST TELL ME HOW TO FIX THE FREAKIN’ SHOW! *cue Ralph Wiggum turning the dial to sad.)

For me, this sense of self is heavily tied to music, to the exclusion of almost everything else. My earliest memories all feature music in some sense, from listening to Fleetwood Mac and Elton John on my parents’ record player with the giant can headphones and the 20-foot curly cord to sitting with my first wind-up record player out on the lawn with a 45 of The Beatles Love Me Do that belonged to my mom. Those memories are from around 1975 or 1976, I guess, and in my memory, they look like the pictures in The Happiest Days of Our Lives.

My whole childhood, my dad had great taste in music: ELO, Boston, Steve Miller Band, Pink Floyd, and whatever was on KMET. My mom was … not so much. She was all about Barbara Streisand and Joni Mitchell and Christopher Cross and artists that just seemed whiny and wussy because they were. I spent a lot of time in the car with my mom when I was going on auditions, and  I still hear Streisand in my nightmares. When dad took me on auditions, we got to listen to The Doobie Brothers, mom! I MEAN JEEZE.

My musical awakening came in the fall 1984, when I was 12, and a kid I knew at school slipped me a cassette tape at school. It was Judas Priests’s Screaming For Vengeance. I thought the cover was cool, and when I got home that day, I played it on my little single-speaker tape player thing that was standard issue if you were a lucky kid in the 80s.

I wasn’t sure about this music when I heard The Hellion, but by the time Electric Eye was finished, I was on board. It was You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’, though, that hooked me. I still can’t say why, but when I bought the album, I put that song on every single heavy metal mix tape I made for the rest of the 80s … even the ones with Metallica. I took the cassette back to him the next day, and asked him for more heavy metal. In the coming weeks, he gave me Ozzy, Iron Maiden, Dio, and The Scorpions.

I loved them all, saved my allowance, and bought my own copies of Diary of A Madman, Number of the Beast, and Love At First Sting at the local record shop. (I should point out that we were in a parochial school at the height of Reagan’s Conservative American Nightmare, and the Satanic Panic was about to hit its peak. It says a lot about my parents that they let me buy Number of the Beast, instead of freaking out like a lot of parents did at the time.) I loved the thick, heavy guitars. I loved the raw vocals. I loved — I mean, really loved — Iron Maiden’s lyrics, which were smart, literate, and about history and mythology instead of less important matters.

I wasn’t an angry kid, I wasn’t a particularly rebellious kid (though I admit that I’d already decided that religion was something I didn’t want or need in my life, so listening to music every authority figure in my life besides my parents deemed terrible and ZOMG SATANIC did give me a bit of a thrill). I just really liked the music, and the artwork, and how it seemed like a natural extension of Thundarr The Barbarian for some reason. There was real power in the music that didn’t exist in any of the rock-and-roll I was used to. This music wasn’t about just sounding nice, it was about kicking ass.

This music became a huge part of my sense of personal identity. It was one of the first big choices I remember making for myself, because it was something that I liked, not because my parents or a relative gave it to me, or because it was something popular in school that I wanted to have. )Metal was decidedly unpopular at my school, and since I was already a nerd, I really didn’t need to give the Cool Kids something else to use against me on the playground).

And yet.

It became the soundtrack to my life. While I made D&D characters and dungeons (a little on the nose, I know, but it’s true) I listened to Maiden. While I played with my M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, I listened to Dio. When I played with my WWF action figures, my Transformers, or my Stomper Trucks, metal was there. I made dozens of mixtapes featuring the same songs in different order, always using Dee from Blizzard of Ozz to fill in the space at the end of each side.

As I got older, my musical proclivities changed. I fell in love with punk rock, then British new wave, then grunge. Metal was still there, but less and less frequently. I think it was Metallica’s shitty Black Album that started pushing me away. Not even Tool could bring me back. Thanks a lot, Lars, you dick.

Interestingly enough, as my tastes changed over the years, the one constant was the musical comfort food of my youth: Pink Floyd, Boston, and ELO, which all came from my father, and The Beatles, which came from my mother (true fact: my mom once got to sit in on a Beatle’s press conference when she was a kid. The way she tells it, John Lennon made eyes at her. TAKE THAT YOKO.) I mean, I still listen to that stuff today, and probably will for the rest of my life. It’s my classic rock, despite what the goddamn radio says today when it plays music from when I was in high school.
There are people in the world who can take or leave music. They don’t really care what’s on the radio, or even if the radio is on. I am not one of those people. Music is profoundly important to me, because it has helped me define who I am at various stages of my life.
I guess that’s why I was able to clean 10GB out of my iTunes folder yesterday, and still have 60GB left.

58 thoughts on “Green is the cat’s eye that glows in this temple”

  1. It’s interesting how tastes change over time, isn’t it? I went from getting into Punk when I was in my teens, to getting into Metal in my 20’s, to getting into New Wave and Mod Revival/Power Pop and even Folk/Bluegrass and Delta Blues in my 30’s. My tastes in music are nothing if not eclectic now.

  2. Really enjoyed this piece Wil. I’m eight years older than you but I was a late bloomer for music. I didn’t care anything about music until about halfway through college and then something clicked. It was U2 and Ozzy then (saw them in concert before Randy died), and Ratt and Oingo Boingo, and then I rediscovered my metal roots, with the Scorpions and Black Sabbath and UFO and Rush. My younger brother was really into metal and I hated it when we were young, but he played it so much that I learned the songs despite myself and as I got older it somehow morphed. I love metal even now, but more refined stuff, like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace or Red Line Chemistry. My tastes are pretty broad now, so include Muse, 30 Seconds from Mars, and Radiohead in there even though they are far from metal. Who are you listening to now?

  3. Eeeriely similar.

    I grew up with my Mom listening to ELO, John Denver, the Beatles, Meat Loaf. My Dad prefered Country. (Cue Nightmares.)

    In High-School, someone loaned me NiN Head Like a Hole. Next thing you know, I’m off in industrial music, with a side of rock & metal.

    Just like you said, the music from my Mother, to this day, feels like home. I play a lot of that stuff for my 1yo Son. I hope he’ll always think of it as home as well.

  4. Honestly, if you’d have substituted ‘The Clash’ for ‘Iron Maiden’, this would have been a biography of my youth, down to the year. Someone in school gave me a tape of London Calling. I was in awe of the cover picture. My mom was always a huge Presley fan and it’s mimic of his debut album (which my mom played 14,287,287 times…. I counted) but with Paul Simonon smashing his bass was just…. mind blowing. Because the guy forgot to rewind the tape, I actually started with ‘The Right Profile’ and three songs in (Clampdown), I was hooked. I, too, made all my D&D characters to this album. Well, until I heard Rush’s A Farewell To Kings, but that’s a different story.

    Dangit, now I gotta go get my 1st ed books out and thumb through them while jamming to The Clash so I can be 41 going on 14.

  5. I’m just a few years older, but I grew up on Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, ELO, Boston and Kansas. It was AC/DC’s Back in Black that got me sliding toward the heavier side and then the second British Invasion hit and it was all Flock of Seagulls, Tears for Fears, etc. I never really got over the 80s, but I’m replying to your post listening to Rob Zombie, so I’ve got that going for me.

  6. I agree wholeheartedly with that last paragraph. Music is, for me, an incredibly personal and occasionally emotional experience, mainly because of memories associated with various pieces of music.

    It’s this reason that I prefer to go to concerts sober and without cameras, so I can revel in the atmosphere and form my own memories of it.

  7. I grew up listening to music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. And thats pretty much all I listen too. My dad got me hooked on Queen, and the Moody Blues. He tool me to see Queen when I was 14. Some of today’s music is pretty good, but they dont have the same feeling as Pink Floyd.

  8. I’m a total sucker for classic stadium rock – Queen in particular. Strangely enough, neither of my parents listened to what I would consider Proper Rock Music – Mom was Beatles/John Lennon/Italian singer-songwriters, Dad Classic Jazz/Blues/Gospel, especially Louis Armstrong (he used to sing me to sleep with a song called “Uncle Satchmo’s Lullaby”).

  9. Maiden are awesome. I’ve been lucky enough to see them live twice once in 2008 and again two months ago. Some of Bruce’s solo albums stand up quite well also. I highly recommend “The Chemical Wedding” and “Accident of Birth”.

  10. Music… my Dad rebelled by loving music at ALL in his house – and he listens to Beethoven! (It was a HUGE issue) Mum loved the Beatles. We (bro and I) grew up in a house full of music and books and both of us are huge readers, play multiple instruments and are fanatical about listening to music… but NOT the music of when WE were kids – neither of us were ever into dance or anything of the sort. Icky was the most socially acceptable term I think I can write here!

    I remember a wonderful family holiday where WE introduced Mum and Dad to the wonders of Queen… Dad has all the greatest hits albums now!

    I cannot function without music… when I write I have playlists for the characters or scenarios if I am writing fiction (there are obviously several of these) or else use more random lists for non-fiction. There is nothing to replace the buzz of screaming out your heart at a live show (even if I am too damaged to go into the pit or even on the floor now and have to sit down) but I still go and then spend Saturdays jumping round the lounge to the album…

    This is meandering but MUSIC!!!!!! METAL!!!!!!!

  11. Apparently I’m the true rebel here. My high school years were spent listening to Broadway musicals….. The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Into the Woods….. Nowadays though, I’m into AC/DC and Metallica. Yeah, I’m wierd. :)

  12. I rather envy dedicated audiophiles. I have lots of music, spanning several genres and decades, but I’ve never been passionate about any particular one, never had a burning need to have every single album that this artist did, or avidly collect CDs in that genre.

    I loved making mix tapes when I was a teen. I didn’t do enough of them (and wish I still had them); I didn’t always have the cash to buy the music I needed, and back then if you wanted one song, you still had to buy the whole cassette to get it. Today, I have my iTunes playlists, many of which are grouped by mood. (I think my “Makeout” mix is probably my favorite.) My latest discovery is Ewan Dobson, who’s an amazing guitar soloist.

    My favorite driving music for long roadtrips is the World of Warcraft soundtracks – perfect background music, nothing too intense to take my mind off the road (I hate missing an exit because I was too busy singing along), but certainly nothing to put me to sleep.

  13. Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers & ABBA were in heavy rotation in our conversion van on long road trips – for a person that is heavily impacted by music, it was pure torture. I think I can still sing ‘Mandy’ even though I haven’t heard the song in almost 30 years! Far more depressing, I can still remember ‘Daybreak’ and all of the lesser well written songs as well.

    Choosing my own music and the invention of the Walkman was a godsend. This let me explore rock and have great memories like Pink Floyd’s ‘Hey You’ as my perfect newspaper route song on cold, grey winter mornings here in Illinois.

    College was a blast musically (of course!) and let me dig into full length stories like Disintegration, Thick As a Brick, New York, older Floyd and Emerson Lake & Palmer, etc.

    Poi Dog Pondering has been the soundtrack of my marriage and kids.

    Love reading your blog for the musical tie-ins!

  14. This hit home, and it parallels my experience pretty well, albeit with me being a full ten years younger than you, and not really finding music on my own until high school. I was playing D&D in middle school though! Now I’m studying history and my dissertation is going to look at geek culture so I’m probably going to end up quoting you at some point (possibly this post, which I have bookmarked).

  15. interesting read. I was an angry kid, and metal helped me tons. Nowadays I’ve left metallicabehind,and iron maiden to an extent, but never the genre.

  16. dear mr. wheaton: stop cribbing notes from my youth. seriously, it’s eerie. judas priest, maiden, ozzy, dio, the scorpions… the attraction, the reasons, all as you wrote it. now please write about Rush and Zeppelin, and i’ll feel complete.

  17. While my parents tended to listen to classical music, my father also dabbled in Japanese (he did a brief work stint there for motorola) music that i sorta liked (i would dress up in the kimono he brought back for me) and some synthesizer music that i sorta didn’t like. However, he liked to get “hi-fi” digital record recordings (i just remember it being a hi-tech record) of soundtracks to some of the sci-fi/fantasy movies that were big at the time: Star Wars, Superman, 2001: a space odyssey, close encounters, jaws, etc. It was during this that i fell in love with movie music. I loved putting on his records and listening to them (taking care not to scratch them) of all varying types of soundtracks, from the synth sounds to broadway (think, Funny Lady. yeah.). I turned in to such a Duranie that I didn’t have much time for anything else. Typical girl thing though. Anyway, while music didn’t dominate my life, it acts like a gateway (sometimes wormhole) to the past!

  18. Funny how “M.U.S.C.L.E. Things” was popular but not popular enough for anybody to bring over the Japanese TV series cartoon it was based on (KINNIKUMAN).
    It’s a shame music videos aren’t as big as they used to be. I could “see” a metal band having you gig out in one of their vids.

  19. The songs i’ve heard and when i heard them are always tied together…The soundtrack of my life is like tags that take me back to days that i want to remember…As well as days that i would like to forget…I’ve learned over the years that the days i would like to forget are at least as important as the days i want to remember…That’s why the soundtrack makes me remember.

  20. I may be off on this, but Monster Magnet twists my lizard brain and raises the hair on the back of my neck. God Said No is a great album

    Here, try this

  21. As someone who vividly remembers her mother smashing a record to pieces due to the, how did you put it, oh, yes, the ZOMG SATANIC thing, I have to say that: 1-I am grateful for the invention of headphones; 2-I am glad my older brother didn’t cave under the pressure to not listen to that ‘devil music'; and 3-ah, those little cassette players. How far we’ve come.

    Rock on, Wil. Rock on. \m/

  22. It’s hard not to be overly-enthusiastic and go “Ooh! Ooh! Awesomely awesome!” when you quote a line from one of my favourite songs as the post title, but it’s not just the title that makes this post so enjoyable. One of the hallmarks of a good writer in my opinion is one who, whether with fiction or nonfiction, creates a shared connection with the reader through the material, making it a kind of empathy mirror in which the reader sees something of herself reflected back at her, turning the material into a shared experience. I don’t mean a simple connection like “Wow, my favourite colour is blue too! Amazing!” but more subtle and powerful connections like shared sense memories and emotions. Eliciting responses like this can make a piece really powerful, because it makes us feel or sense what’s behind the words, so we kind of live our own version of the experience as we read about it. I think you have this talent, especially when you write about your childhood. When you write about moments in your past which triggered strong senses or emotions, it often triggers the memories of similar moments from my own past, some of which I haven’t remembered in decades, and I relive the same kind of feelings you’re describing all over again, which is actually really cool. Having also been born in California in the 70s, and raised in the Burbs in the 80s probably helps make your posts resonate more strongly with me, but it’s the powerful expression of your sense memories and emotions that makes them really rewarding to read.

    Heavy metal meant a lot to me in the 80s, and like you I had a friend who subversively turned me onto it, starting with the lurid covers of Ozzy and Iron Maiden. For an RPG geek like me, it was like my imagination was being given a soundtrack I never knew existed! I mean, come on, Priest’s The Sentinel could so easily be a GURPS Cyberpunk adventure! But metal’s heyday passed and my friends moved on to other genres and my girlfriends ridiculed it and to fit in I turned to other, more “grown up” musical styles. As you do. It wasn’t till after 2000 that I started to miss the genre and began actively listening again. My tastes are much more eclectic now, but hardly a day goes by without listening to a bit of Maiden, or Priest, Dio or Megadeth. Maybe I’m just trying to recapture my youth, like those guys I used to laugh at as a kid who still listened to the Rock n Roll of their own long-lost youth. Maybe the genre really is a kind of soundtrack to our lives at that one point in the 80s, when the world of fantasy kind of lurked just in the shadows beyond our reality, and was way cooler. But it’s a good soundtrack, and I think it’s a more imaginative one.

    Anyway, reading your reminiscences gave me the opportunity to go back and re-experience my own metal-drenched memories, and you know, it was really nice. Thanks for that.

  23. Holy frick that describes my thoughts/feelings to a tee. Sub father for older brother, and that’s about it.

    To this day if I get … blue or angry or any hyper emo term, Music is my solace. It can calm me, excite me, and even bring any sort of memory back. I listened while reading, and some songs can bring vivid recall of books long forgotten.

    *sigh* Time to crank the tunes. Thanks for the memories. :D

  24. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the title was “POWERSLAVE!!!! AWESOME!!!!” followed by the obligatory horn throwing. I was also listening to Hallowed Be Thy Name at the time, which might have had something to do with the response.

    The second thing was “Hey. Wil listens to Maiden. That’s pretty awesome.”

    Okay, enough being a dork. On the serious side of things, this post hit me right in the gut, and in a big, bad way. I can’t imagine my life without music either, nor do I ever want to. And, like you, metal was my first conscious musical choice. It was 1994, the band was Metallica, and yes, it was a song off that shitty Black Album. I wasn’t hooked, but in the ocean of gangsta rap, Nirvana, and horrible 90s pop that I was inundated with in my little corner of Alaska, Enter Sandman sounded slightly more interesting. And I was the awkward, nerdy outcast who had no identity and faked liking that stuff just because it was easier to try to “fit in.” I begged my parents to buy me that Metallica CD, so we went to the local mom and pop music store (back when those still existed), picked up the album, and the guy behind the counter said something to the effect of “Hey, dude….you don’t want this album. This one is WAY better,” and proceeded to hand me a copy of Master of Puppets.

    I took it home, and an our later, I was peeling my face off the wall and saying “What the HELL just happened to me?!” before pressing play again because I had to have more. And then I devoured everything from there: Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Ozzy, Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Pantera, King Diamond….the guy at the record store was a font of knowledge about metal. Even after I moved away from the town a couple of years later, I kept in touch with him, sent him 50 bucks every couple of weeks from my paper delivery and dishwashing jobs and he’d send me albums. And through my teenage years, metal was salvation.

    Now, I’m in my 30s, and my tastes have broadened considerably (since I got the internet and was able to hook up with people who liked what I liked and turned me on to other stuff THEY liked), and I’ve got two 160 gig iPods that follow me nearly everywhere. And I’m happy for that, because if I didn’t have the escape of music, I’d have probably ended up taking a dirt nap a LONG time ago. And I’m always happy to see that there are people who are just as passionate about the music that defines them as I am.

  25. My music has my parents, particularly the classical and increasingly an appreciation for Sinatra, Bennett and similar but also the oddball stuff I listened to such as Rupert Holmes (under appreciated) and the things I got into during college like Pink Floyd, Yes and such.

    When I read your memories, I feel like “My God, I’m so OLD!” You have to say “My God” like “My God! It’s full of stars!”

    I know I have eclectic tastes and am overly proud I do. I enjoy much Jazz but mostly traditional Miles Davis and others similar to Kind of Blue. I still enjoy “classical” but have thrown in Hovhaness (Mysterious Mountain), much more progressive rock like The Flower Kings, Transatlantic, Big Big Train and such and ambient stuff like Steve Roach, Vangelis (which I consider similar), Robert Rich and more electronica stuff.

  26. \m/ >.< \m/

    i had Screaming For Vengeance on vinyl, myself – think i still do, and i still love me some metal.

    the American metal scene pretty much died tragically during the 90's, but the fire was kept alive in Europe, and especially Scandinavia. lots of awesome current bands from those parts, and increasingly, in the US again as well. don't give up on metal! it is alive and well. happy to provide some recommendations if you want.

  27. I was a lot like that back then, too, with the friend that made me an Iron Maiden and Ozzy mix tape. My parents even bought me Piece of Mind as a gift, the album with “Flight of Icarus” on it, and also “The Trooper,” now considered to be Iron Maiden’s signature song.

    I’ve been all over the musical gamut, but these days I’m back to metal…mainly symphonic metal, epitomized by bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, as well as by relatively new and lesser-known bands that have “picked me up” online, such as Australia’s Divine Ascension and Sweden’s Lapis Lazuli. And yes, I was at the Denver Nightwish show, where their then-lead vocalist was stricken violently ill and the rest of the band soldiered on, with help from the backup singers for Kamelot (their opening act) and a LOT of help from the audience. \m/

  28. The music of my youth? Motown. My youngest memory is jumping on the bed singing along to Diana Ross and The Supremes. We also listened to The Beatles, but Motown was my true love – The Funk Brothers always deeply touched the most passionate part of my being. The Temps and The Tops were my favorites. In the late 60s and 70s I remember choosing Donny Osmond over my best friend’s insistence that David Cassidy was better (didn’t like David Cassidy’s energy). At the very beginning of New Country (late 70s, early 80s?), I listened to and played a lot of it for a few years (was in a weekend band). When country later turned against The Dixie Chicks for questioning whether attacking Iraq made sense, I couldn’t reconcile the ignorance of the hive mind. It was the separation of a nation to me, splitting the dogmatic and those who learned to question everything apart. As someone who has always played some type of instrument I love all kinds of music pop, rap, rock, classical, etc. but I can no longer stand Country – it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. I mostly listen to Top 40 now which goes from pop, techno, rock, indie and rap. Oddly enough, music meant so much more to me in my youth. Now I seem to find most of the songs anthems of the needy and damaged. When the heck did that change?

  29. I loved this!!! You and I are close in age.. I’m older by 2 years, however, our musical tastes at the time were and are IDENTICAL. My first love in heavy metal back in 1982 was Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance .. and Hellion kicked my butt! But in 1984, when Defenders of the Faith was released… I was a full-blown Priest fan!
    Pyromania from Def Leppard was released, and to me was the only great album they released, everything afterwards was kinda lame for me.. Then there was Iron Maiden – Rime of the Ancient Mariner, to this day, remains one of my all-time favorite songs. And Ronnie James Dio had some of the craziest lyrics, but i LOVED … LOVED HIM!! I loved Black Sabbath because of him. Listening to his stuff was living a Conan the Barbarian Magazine for me. I’d draw Conan and read conan comics while listening to Dio. When he died, part of me did too. I even wrote a short story based on his lyrics in the Heaven Hell song, “The Devile Cried”.

    AS I got older, into my late teens and early 20’s, my tastes became noticeably raunchier. I became a big WASP fan, got into anthrax, testament. and as i went on into my 20’s i diversified in to Blues music, and the old Classic Rock music from the 70’s… Everything from Doobie Bros, to Billy Squier, Bozz Scaggs, Asleep at the Wheel, Boston etc.

    But you’re absolutely right, when i hear all that music – it brings me back to those days and did define me as a person, and even as a musician. I play music now – and I do mostly classic rock and blues (ACDC, Led Zepplin to Roy Orbison and 50&60’s stuff), but when i WRITE music – it has that metal undertones, and themes in my lyrics.

    Thanks for bringing me back to those days. I think i’m going to put some Dio on. :)

  30. life would not have been worth living without music! When I was a Kid in the late 90’s early 2000’s I also was listen to a lot of what my parents was listen to, my mother was listen to a lot of whitney houston, david bowie, roxette and the scorpions. My father was listen mostly to swedish bands, like ABBA, freestyle, gyllene tider, ted gärdestad also alot of 50’s rock. I listen to almost everything 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, but I love rock music like kiss, pink floyd and the scorpions. One of my all time favorite songs is don’t fear the reaper by blue öyster cult. Music is one of the greatest things about life!:-D

  31. Yo Wil,

    Given your tastes above… If you’re not already aware of it, have a peek at Symphonic Metal. Nightwish, Epica, Edenbridge… Or just check the Wiki page. I’m pretty similar in that I was a total metalhead until the early ’90s and then got annoyed and moved on. Came back in the mid 2000 era tho when somebody clued me in to Edenbridge. Iron Maiden have approached their mid-80’s levels of awesome in the last decade as well, worth checking back in. Check out Flight666 if you haven’t yet, great doco.

    Also: KMET: Win. KNAC later on. And as an ex-San Diegan, KGB gets a mention…

  32. <.< /me glances sideways at her current avatar: the awesum 25th anniversary cover of the Crazy 8's "Law and Order" CD. Now with moar Prezidunts!

    See, I grew up in a crappy era with crappy radio stations and a crappy plastic record player. But at the time, I did enjoy the few albums I owned (though they were pretty random, being gifts from family one Christmas in the early 70's). I had friends who were very, very into KISS, but the most I could get my hands on was Bread and Three Dog Night and (cough) *Neil Diamond.* Thank goodness for the Monkees; they were hopelessly commercial, but I had a lot of fun with a girlfriend listening to their albums over and over.

    Commercial radio in Salt Lake in the 70's was… ugh. Don't. At least I did get to hear a lot of the classics of the late 60's and I did enjoy love Elton John. He actually came to Salt Lake, and a few people from my junior high got to go to the concert. It was like a glitter bomb went off in the halls that last afternoon. The next Monday, all back to the normal mental lockstep. It was nice while it lasted. Can you imagine a place where *Elton John* was a musically liberating experience?

    Fortunately, college was much more eclectic musically – another state, a much less oppressive culture. Somehow by then I'd acquired a taste for baroque music, heavy chord changes, and keen harmonies (choir brat here) and my college town was a hotbed of music. A good friend had ELO albums, another had Tangerine Dream, yet another had Pink Floyd. I spent my early college years studying album art in various dorm rooms and friend's apartments.

    And then SKA hit town with the Crazy 8's (and later, Tiny Hat Orchestra) and that truly was music to drag you around the dance floor by your hair and leave you howling for moar.

    I can't stand to listen to the crap that was on my old LPs now. but just now Clementine (a music player that scrobbles iTunes AND streaming Internet radio tracks) popped up the Tiny Hats and I had to dance around. It still sounds great to me.

  33. If you haven’t seen it, you will most likely enjoy the movie Super 8. It is streaming now on Netflix. Full of memoribilia that is a little old for you, but it a lot of the music that your dad likes was from that time.

  34. Hey Wil, if you haven’t done so already, you owe it to yourself to play Brutal Legend, the most metal game of all time. It got relatively panned, but it’s severely underrated in my opinion, and one of my favorite games of the last five years. Double Fine has it for $10 right now ($20 signed), and you can probably find it for $5 in a used bargain bin somewhere.

  35. On the one hand I’m thinking, “Only 60 GB of music? My Music library is 266 GB…” On the other hand, your Last.fm shows about 40,000 more listens than mine, so I must bow down. (That said, Last also says that our music tastes are SUPER compatible. Isn’t that just swell? In fact, looking at the source code from Last (like ya do), it shows that our music is 98.864912986755% compatible. Not bad, Mr. Wheaton. Not bad at all.)

  36. Wil:
    So many of your posts echo my own thoughts (albeit much more succinctly), but this one really hit the mark. Both my parents had awesome and eclectic tastes in music, so I was introduced to so many genres, but I felt like the heavy metal of the late 70’s and 80’s really “spoke to me”. Thanks for always putting my thoughts into such poetic verse.

  37. you wrote about Iron Maiden. and you name checked Thundar.
    Dude…I’ve always thought you were cool….this just fucking proved it.

    Much like Stephen Bates post, i understand what you mean about how your musical taste can change over the years. I went through pretty much the exact same musical appreciation phases that you did…I think for me the ‘metal’ started taking a back seat the moment i started listening to Pink Floyd in highschool…and by the time I was about 18 or so and had gotten into Cocteau Twins, metal just couldn’t compete…

    Still love to hear it now and again though….

  38. A friend of mine and I had a conversation last night about music. Not just about the emotion associated with hearing music, but with playing it. We were discussing the differences about being someone who plays by ear and someone who is “trained” in music. In the end we decided that despite our different approaches, both of us would feel incomplete without music, that there is no way to explain to someone the feeling that you have when you are in that moment, a piece of that song. You did a pretty good job of describing it.

  39. Musical awakening was actually Vangelis followed rapidly by White Zombie courtesy of Great Wazoo records in East Lansing, freshman year at Michigan State. They actually used parametric equations in Rob Zombies cover art for the album which was what I was studying sophmore year in engineering school at Michigan State, so hey, extra credit, right. Never would have made it past my test anxiety without Heavy Metal. And I’m a metallurgical engineer now, so it all works out.

  40. P.S. Want some “Metal or Hard Rock that matters.” Try “Rock City Morgue” out of New Orleans. Sean Yseult’s more recent band. Won’t advertize for her book, but she is still amazing.

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