Friday, October 16, 2009


Sometime right around or just before my 50th birthday I made a vow to myself, on the order of "I'll never get stuck in the past… at least where music is concerned." This "getting stuck" phenomenon is something I had noticed quite a long time ago, beginning in my mid-30s or so. My peers and contemporaries seemed to be stuck in the '50s or '60s and most had a tendency to listen to those damned Oldies stations that played lotsa doo-wop, Motown, and Elvis songs at the time… not that there's anything inherently wrong with that music — I love it to death and have a LOT of it — but as a steady diet?  No. Not us.  Not ever. We wanted to keep up, keep current, and keep discovering new stuff.   And for the most part we managed to do just that.

It was sorta easy to keep up when I was that young, given I was living in London during my mid-30s (which had the BEST frickin' music scene in the early '80s, bar none), and continued to live in major metropolitan areas when I returned to the US of A. Even Oklahoma City… where I first landed after living in London… had a great college radio station out of Norman and at least one or two "progressive rock" stations. Moving right along… I was in Dee-troit as I approached my 50th birthday and while you may not think of Detroit as a musical hot bed it did have its share of progressive radio stations and a decent club scene. It was pretty easy to keep current and the music was also pretty danged good at the time… think REM, Soul Asylum, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Cranberries, yadda, yadda… and hip-hop wasn't dominant quite yet, either. Ascendant, yes, but not dominant. We probably added four or five CDs to our music collection each month and went to many more than a few concerts, as well.

So… we remained "unstuck" through the mid-'90s and a lil bit beyond. I remember quite well when my musical life took a turn for the worse: it was in 1999 and the aftermath of  The Great Divorce Crisis. I went off pop music entirely at that time and moved to jazz, country, and classical. I simply couldn't stand to listen to pop (be it current or from the near-past) and nearly all of my music collection: too damned many memories, too much pain. We diversified our tastes and managed to remain "unstuck" as it were, given there was all this great music I was discovering (or rediscovering) for the first time. That went on for about five or six years… or so. And then we slowly but surely began to return to our pop music collection and what was once familiar and comforting.

And here we are today, and the strangest thing has happened: I'm stuck. I noticed I'm mostly listening to Pandora these days, and the stations I've defined are all from my past: Van Morrison. Joni Mitchell. Neil Young. Rolling Stones. Santana. J.J. Cale. Roxy Music. James Brown. Warren Zevon. Dylan. (There are more, but they're all in the same vein.) And most recently: The Beatles, driven by my acquisition of the first two re-mastered albums. I racked my brain and tried to come up with new artists I've bought over the last two years and can only think of a few: Jet, Norah Jones, and Diana Krall (who isn't really new… just new to me). We are well and truly stuck.

So… perhaps getting stuck in the past was inevitable but I had always hoped it wouldn't be so. Dang. I hate it when this happens.


  1. I noticed that lately I have not cared one way or the other about music. I rarely listen to it in the car. I only play it when I am painting, and it depends on who I am painting with as to what we listen to. What's up with that?

  2. I still like the heavy rock/metal from the 70's and 80s. I still have a pretty fair vinyl collection. I have also developed a liking for bands like Seether, Staind, Puddle of Mudd, Evanescence(I heart Amy Lee) Three Doors Down and Breaking Benjamin. Yeah and I am 55. Mind you I have a stack of Metallica.
    Old Retired Petty Officer

  3. Lou: I'd be worried, were I you. There may come a time... who's to say?... when music ceases to be important to me. But that just seems as close to impossible as anything.

    ORPO: Heh... old metal-heads are GOOD to see! I still have my vinyl too, but it's in the custody of Son Number Two. I may retrieve my collection some day, as there are lots of those albums I never replaced with CDs, including some albums that are out of print and irreplaceable. Thanks for dropping by.

  4. I go thru phases like this as well. I think it's got something to do with the state of the world. We go back to those things that give us comfort or come from a time in our lives that was without too much worry or strife.

    I'm all over the place musically lately - heavy focus on country - but I find myself going back to my high school music. Late 70s. Boston gets heavy airplay.

  5. Nothing wrong with going back to the past. The present doesn't have much to offer good anyway.

  6. Kris: I was looking for a way to work that ol' cliché about "the best music ever made came out when you were in high school" but I just couldn't make it work. We've discussed this before, and the music when I was in high school ('59 - '63) pretty much sucked, other than the Girl Groups, early Motown and the Beach Boys. I RARELY go there...

    But I hear ya about less complicated lives and such.

    Jenny: The state of music today is pretty sad, I'll give ya that.

  7. HOW TO GET UNSTUCK: SUGGESTIONS: On You Tube-MUST use google for my keys to best vids to work)

    1) "Say it" (Close captioned ver at 3min46 sec) by Blue October (out of Houston)
    2) "Ain't no Rest for the Wicked" 3min8sec version by Cage the Elephant (out of Bowling Green, Ky)
    2A) "Back Against the Wall" (3min:48sec ver with B&W drawing of Ele in Cage) by Cage the Elephant
    3) "Smooth Criminal" [mask version@3:37] by Alien Ant Farm out of SoCal
    4) "Kids" by MGMT (painted Face version on YT 4:35ver)
    5) "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day (pink lyrics@3:33 version)
    "We're in Heaven" (DJ Sammy Techno remix@3:53 version on YT)
    6)"Hazy Shade of Winter" Techno remix by The Bangles-Hi Def Version on YT

    View the exact ones I've listed instead of other versions--makes a BIG diff. PLUS Listen/view IN ORDER! OK? That's an order, Mister! :)

    Gotta get your mind straight!

  8. PS-Should have been more clear/. Type in you tube on google-then when You tube shows up, type in title in you tube search bar and hit search instead of clicking on you tube directly and then do search--for some reason if you don't use that sequence the links come out different and some versions are omitted.

  9. FORGOT:

    (I could never be) your woman-white town (with lyrics)

    Hit on B&W "White Town" ver @4:26 ( or 4:27)

  10. It's probably inevitable that we are bound to get musically stuck on occasion. I go through cycles. Sometimes is music from the 80's, sometimes 60's and 70's, sometimes new country, or old country, or...well you get the idea anyway.

    Funny thing about music from my younger days is that it almost always reminds me of place or event in my life.

  11. Been thinkin' about this recently myself, seargent. Around me on my desk are recent Amazon purchases.

    Blondie-- a Musikladen concert DVD from '78.

    ELO's Out of the Blue on CD that I already had on vinyl. Don't you miss album art?

    Xanadu! More ELO plus ONJ and Gene Kelly! (Combo movie and sound track).

    I'm 45 (not rpm) and terribly hip (you know that-- you've met me). Proof?

    Gretchen Wilson.

    Fatboy Slim (Christopher Walken is quite the hoofer).

    DePeche Mode (or as my wife says "DePeachy Mode") has a new one out.

    But really, my cutoff would be about the Cranberries you mentioned. (Zombie). Maybe Cardigans (Love Fool). Must've been looking for some Cars in the record store (my first concert-- openned for Styx in '79).

    Who said that time is the fire in which we all burn?

  12. I so love JJ Cale. I quite like the old Elton John. The new Elton John is a bit of a flouncer and his music sucks.

    I went to a new rave last weekend before I got swine flu. I was all excited thinking it would be old school tracks. When I got there the music had morphed into something even I couldn't handle and the students seemed to be aliens. We were like WTF? told them they all sucked and our generation's music was way better and then left. LOL. Now I feel old

  13. Virgil: Thanks a bunch for those. I was up until nearly daylight watching those and going off on associated tangents. I Like Cage the Elephant best... the next time I'm out at the base I'll look for their CD, but I'm not hopeful... the BX selection sucks. Alien Ant Farm made me think of Michael Jackson - seriously. I think they were influenced by his style, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    The techno re-mixes didn't do a lot for me... but I stayed with DJ Sammy coz I liked the imagery (tangent: early on in our relationship TSMP would write the kanji for "love" on my back when we were out on the mo' sickle... seeing the kanji in that vid made me smile) (further tangent: I have a couple of Bangles albums. No shit.)

    Now... about that road trip. :D

    BR sez: Funny thing about music from my younger days is that it almost always reminds me of place or event in my life.

    Which is precisely why I went off my music collection for at least five years and pop/rock 'n' roll radio. You build a HUGE database of memories over the course of a 23 year relationship.

    Bob: Interesting stuff, that. And yeah: you ARE hip, no sarcasm. That said, 45 is a bit early to get stuck, no? But then again... we knows what we likes.

    Alison: I hope you feel better soon. I never got into the Rave thing, and I probably missed a lot by not doing so. But time had passed me by, by that time. I'd have been seriously out of place... age, and all that.

  14. For me it's not a stuck in the "oldies" thing, but somedays I find myself listening to the music that was playing when I was happiest.

    Music is like smell, you get an immediate emotional hit and, some days, that's a wonderful sensation.

    My new music buys always trend towards small label artists of many genres. There is so much incredible talent nibbling at the edges that bypasses the homegious blend of boring junk pouring from most fm stations.

    The best indie station I've ever heard was in Champaign, IL - I found some incredible musicians through that tiny station and their non-commercial DJ's.

    Sweet post, Buck. Best to this fine Saturday.

  15. Daphne/

    Champaign is just 50mi north of my hometown of Charleston, Ill. And you're right, for some reason that part of the country is littered with stations just like that--even the local one in Charleston--a joint Univ station & local. Plus all surrounding ones like Effingham, etc. I used to listen to them a lot when we would drive up from Louisville on weekends to visit my parents (4hr dr)
    76-94) before we moved back to New Orleans. Don't ask me why--maybe it's the relative isolation/rural nature of that entire part of the State of that breeds independence plus perhaps no ratings pressure from owners, as most stations were locally owned during that time period--don't know if it's the same today with all the consolidation.

  16. Buck/

    1) Try "Cage's" website--I think you can buy stuff right off of it First heard them on radio with "Ain't no rest For the Wicked--great song. I personally prefer to hear them strictly acoustically on studio-produced CD stuff, etc--sounds a lot better than their live stuff they have on their own web-site and on YT. Some bands are simply better live than others. 2) Did you watch Blue October all the way thru?--you should have to get the full effect--what did you think of the jazz violin at the end? I luuv that song & vid--fits my warped personality. 3) If you like great honky-tonk/blues/rock & roll roadhouse piano you ought to go to You Tube and look up Marcia Ball. She's from N.O. and now plays out of Texas--comes back into town a lot for Jazzfest etc. A GREAT in-person club performer--fits New Orleans' musical/psychic temperament perfectly. Check her out. She plays on a LOT of big name albums as back up session piano as well. She sings on all her own stuff. A GREAT performer AND musician.

  17. Yeah -- I think Jenny nailed it. Today's music is pretty much, "why bother?"

    This baby seems to "get it" though. Heh.

    A former law partner thanked God daily that he graduated from law school before MTV hit in a big way -- he claims he never would've made it to class.

    I go in cycles. Music interests me more in the spring and summer -- not sure why. It may have something to do with Daphne's "happy times" theory. Saving for retirement may also have something to do with it -- it's pricey to go to clubs these days -- and you have to stand up in a lot of places. Do I sound like a geezer or what?!?!

  18. Virgil sez: 2) Did you watch Blue October all the way thru?--you should have to get the full effect--what did you think of the jazz violin at the end? I luuv that song & vid--fits my warped personality. 3) If you like great honky-tonk/blues/rock & roll roadhouse piano you ought to go to You Tube and look up Marcia Ball. She's from N.O. and now plays out of Texas--comes back into town a lot for Jazzfest etc. A GREAT in-person club performer--fits New Orleans' musical/psychic temperament perfectly. Check her out.

    I DID watch all the way thru... and I dod so for all the vids. Also... I may have seen Marcia Ball back when I did my prolonged sojourn in Houston. I saw LOTS of great acts in Houston clubs... I was out almost every night during that period of time. Check my "True stories" archive (number three, to be specific) for a tale from that period... or mebbe I'll do a re-post.

    Moogie: Thanks for that vid! I'd seen the original and gave some serious thought about posting it! As for standing a lot in clubs: I hear ya!! No geezer references required...


Just be polite... that's all I ask.