Wow, good question friends. Where to start.
I have always loved music of the rock and roll variety. I still have the first 45 RPM records I bought in 1972 when I was 5 years old with my birthday money. I bought Melanie, Brand New Key, Elton John, Crocodile Rock, and Cher, Gypsy’s Tramps and Thieves. I still know all the words to all those songs. I remember around that time being very bored and playing in the downstairs in my house with my Fisher Price record player singing loudly all the time because although I am not an only child I was still an only child with older teenage sisters. Music is the one thing I could bond over with my sisters. They used to drive me in their cars and we would listen to Top 40 and all kinds of classic rock. I remember listening to Cat Stevens, The Beach Boys, and John Denver. We used to sing all the songs together. It was happy times. In 4th grade I was in a watered down Catholic school version of the play Grease. I got to sing “Beauty School Dropout”. It was my first stage performance!
As I became a tween I suddenly really got into hard rock. I was a huge Led Zeppelin fan. I listened to Led Zeppelin endlessly on my boom box. I also became a fan of AC DC, Van Halen (with David Lee Roth, of course), and anything guitar driven. I have memories of listening to music constantly. Around that time I started dreaming about becoming a radio DJ. For a 5th grade project I walked the 4 miles each way to THE rock radio station WBAB and I interviewed their program director/morning DJ Bob Buchmann. I was so nervous and elated when I was able to get the interview. I wanted to be a radio DJ, I wanted to go to Ithaca college, study communications, and work at their radio station. Yes, I knew this before middle school. I have to say my parents were less than supportive. They heard how hard it was to break into radio so they wanted me to, for some stupid reason, be a physical education teacher!! As an elderly man my father always says that discouraging me from my dream was one of his regrets in life.
As I was in 9th and 10th grade I was still listening to classic rock and I then started moving into New Wave. MTV came to cable and I was GLUED to it all of the time. Shit, I would even watch Def Leppard. It was all music, all the time, and pure heaven. I joined the concert choir at school so I could learn to sing. I used what I learned in that class often during the Thorazine years. During this time Rush was very big and one of my first boyfriends was a drummer in a prog rock cover band. I remember going to see his cover band and wishing I could be in a band someday. In 10th grade metal was becoming king on Long Island with Metallica and Iron Maiden leading the way. I found the Clash, The Sex Pistols, The New York Dolls, and the Dead Kennedy’s. I wanted to be Johnny Rotten. I wanted to be David Johansen. For some reason I didn’t have any female role models. They were all pretty and sang. I wanted to ROCK harder and angrier than Pat Benetar.
High School had me getting further into the bands I loved but I also found the new alternative music of The Cure, The Smiths, Scritti Politti, Ministry (the pop version not the crazy industrial version) and I could go on and on. I moved to Philadelphia during the first Live Aid concert listening to it in my car on the radio. My first few years of college had me studying physical education and I was more miserable than I have ever been in my life. I would discreetly follow all the punks on campus wanting to be them. No one I knew understood my love of angry, fast, hard music. The Ramones played my first spring fling at Temple in 1985. I was introduced to the music of the Dead Milkmen and the Violent Femmes in the dorms my freshman year.
Onto the rest of college and the West Philly punk rock years tomorrow…….