Monday, December 05, 2005

I'm in the mood to talk music

Here is the Tyler Root evolution on Music.

I first "noticed" music by one morning waking up to hearing Toto's "Africa" song on my alarm clock. I belive I was in kindergarten or first grade. I had noticed music before, but didn't care to know who was singing it or to remember the sound. This was the first song I've ever said "wow, I want to hear that one again". I never knew the name/artist of that song until I was in my 20's. Pretty sad.

In 3rd grade I used to work with my dad on the weekends at a pizza restaurant he managed. They had a big-screen TV with either MTV or "Hit Video USA" playing. I recall one day feeding the video game section with quarters and hearing this distinct sound of a guitar and heavy drum to the opening of the RUN DMC/Aerosmith's "Walk this way". I had never heard Rap music before and when I heard this style of rhyming with a heavy beat, I was hooked.

My friends in 4th grade got me hooked on both Bon Jovi (somewhat interested in them, but not a ton) and the Beastie Boys. I used to listen to their license to Ill tape over and over.

5th grade it was more rap mixed with some metal.

6th grade, got into some of the glam-rock stuff like Poison and Cinderella. Also listened to a lot of Guns N Roses. Still listened to rap here and there.

7th grade it was Hammer time. I attended my first ever concert to see MC Hammer, Oaktown 5-5-7 (a girl group), and TROOP (a R&B group).

8th grade it was all rap. I wished I was a black man by that time. I started pushing the rock scene out of my mind and pretty much abhored it. It was all about Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, Kid N Play, Toni Tony Tone, Young MC, Rob Base, Bell Biv Devo, Public Enemy, and various others. I was a black kid in a white kids body (although I still danced like a white kid).

High school came my all-rap/Hip-Hop days. Like in 8th grade, I REFUSED to listen to any kind of music that had a guitar or was sang by a white person. I lived in the suburbs in the mountains about 45 minutes from any major cities where I could find more people that listened to the same kind of music I did. It was rare to find someone like me, so I didn't have a ton of close friends. Everyone liked "rap music" because a lot of it was pop, but I started getting into the more un-known stuff that I found a bond with. Most everyone listened to Snoop Dog, Dr Dre, NWA, Digital Underground, and all the other pop stuff (I listened to that stuff as well), but I was more proud of listening to bands like A tribe called qwest, Outkast (before they were big), The Pharcyde, Del the funky homosapien, Digable Planets, De La Soul, MC Eight, Scarface, Black Sheep, etc. Music was important to me and it made me feel good that I didn't just accept what was fed to me on the radio.

After high school, I kind of grew up. For the first year after, I was still a major hip-hopper and would only listen to something of that genre. I would hear other genres of music and either ignore it, or make fun of it. My brother Russ was really into the Punk music scene. As much as I liked it inside, I would never admit it. My mom would listen to Yanni (yeah, a lot of people make fun of Yanni, but some of his music is really relaxing), again I would make fun of it or ignore it. My dad listened to Country, same issue (ignored/made fun of). I found one of my hip-hop buddies at schoo listening to Green Day. I about knocked him on his ass for it (even though I secretly dug the stuff). I was pretty closed minded.

Then one day it just kind of hit me. Why? Why am I being so stubborn about it? Why, if I like something, do I have to keep it inside? One day I grabbed one of my dad's garth brooks tapes and listened to it over and over. I was into country. Then I started listening to Yanni. Loved it. I also started listening to some of my brother's punk stuff (mostly Ramones) but still wasn't quite ready for some of that extreme stuff.

I was a cultured man. I listened to alternative rock and all kinds of stuff.

When I was about 21, the first "rock music" I really got into was Third Eye Blind. I don't care for them much now, but at that time I really dug their debut album and some of the songs on it.

I started to really hate hip-hop and even condemn a lot of the message of most of the hip hop (mostly the way it talks about women, the bragging and boasting, the "bling", etc. really upset me). Not that the rock music didn't have any of that, but I mostly just ignored anything with that kind of message. So, I got rid of most of my hip-hop collection, but hung onto a few that I knew I'd regret (pharcyde, tribe, and a few others). I full-on took on the rock persona.

With music, I go through phazes of bands/genres I like to listen to. From third eye blind, I got into Chicago (the stuff from the 70's, not that 80's crap they put out). From Chicago it was Barenaked ladies. I loved these bands and attended their concerts when they came through town. I also started picking up on some of the Punk music scene by listening to the Ramones quite a bit. My brother Russ really got me into them. However, things were about to change.

Weezer came into my life. I had heard their music in the past (stuff on the radio) and thought their "buddy holly" song was cute/funny. Still, I had no idea what I was in for when my sister Amanda popped in the blue album (their first album) around the spring of 2000 when I was visiting my family in Salinas. The opening track of that album with the guitar to the song "my name is jonus" struck a positive nerve in me that has not been touched since (almost though). Weezer spoke to me on many levels. They were fun, they were depressed, they were REAL. They are described as Emo because of their sometimes somber tone on issues lead singer/songwriter rivers cuomo goes through in his life. However, I think they're just good rock music. Not all of it is emotional. Some of it is just plain fun and just plain rocks.

Here is my point for starting this:

I'll always love weezer for their music and never deny they are my number one favorite rock band (and likely always will be). However, a band that comes in a close 2nd to them (for me) is Modest Mouse. They've been around as long as Weezer, but just haven't had the same commercial success (until recently) as Weezer. They are unique in every form. Their sound is unique, their lyrics are unique, their lead singer is unique (the dude has a VERY BAD lisp and isn't ashamed of it).

My brother Russ suggested me looking them up one night on a phone conversation. He was on his mission in Colorado and I often broke the rules of a mission and called him frequently. I had gone through a divorce and was a little lonely. Russ and I talked a lot about his mission and his plans when he comes home. We also talked about his life before his mission and with that, came the conversation of music. He was a music freak. I had made attempts earlier in his youth to get him into hip-hop. It lasted a bit when he was impressionable, but we grew apart because of me (I was mad that he wasn't into sports as much as I was and felt that he was wasting his athletic talent by not doing it). He became kind of "weird" to the masses, but for the most part people still dug him. Anyway, I'm veering off the topic.

OK, so one night on a conversation, Russ mentioned a band I should check out is Modest Mouse. He said he listened to quite a bit of their stuff before going on his mission. I downloaded a few of their songs from their 2000 album "the moon and antartica". I was hooked on the sound. Some of their stuff was a little "weird" for me at first, but as I listened to it over and over, it grew on me. With that, any of their other albums I checked out were very easy to listen to because I was used to their odd way of singing.

They have released around nine albums (I have eight of them) and all are very unique. Alene, Russ, and I attened their concert when they came into town back in March (I think it was March) and it was AMAZING. The lead singer is a spaz when he plays, but that is what makes listening to the music amazing. He is a great guitar player and song writer.

Anyway, in my next post I'm going to write down all my favorite Modest Mouse songs and which albums they're on.

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