27 Dec Music
Music has always been an undercurrent of my life.
I grew up on classical music. I was fed canned pop through the radio and then I stumbled upon alternative music and punk rock.
Alternative music was actually an alternative in the late 80’s. College radio still had a bite to it. I would throw tapes into my stereo at the attempt to capture something new and different. I love those tapes. The songs are fragmented and I often still only know chunks of the songs that I’d recorded.
I remember when the end of the decade was nearing and the best of the ‘80’s lists were coming out. I can think of some albums off the top of my head that were surely listed time and time again and have held up as classics at this point. One album and one band has always stood out for me: Husker Du’s Zen Arcade.
I had it on tape. I think I still have the tape. It’s moved across the country with me and I don’t even have a tape player any more.
It was loud. It was quiet. It was a story of teen trial and discovery. It opened the door to new music and even a new lifestyle for me. I veered from the beaten path. In (very) short, I moved across the country. I ended up in a band. I ended up touring the world. Can I trace the fork in the road back to a single album? Not quite, but close.
I bought Zen Arcade on CD a few years ago when I realized I hadn’t heard it in too long. I played it at work. I played it in the car. I played it on my radio show.
Husker Du broke up a couple of years before I discovered them. I bought the singer Bob Mould’s solo album and played that incessantly as well. I dug that out last year for some DJing and would have it requested again and again. Other people my age would tell me how much they loved it and how it had also been the soundtrack of their lives.
The last time I pulled out Bob Mould’s music was a few weeks ago. My coworkers are probably a bit tired of it playing in the office by now. Bob Mould. Bob Mould. Bob Mould. The other day a friend called me to ask if I wanted to go to his show the following night at a local venue.
He’s playing in town and I didn’t even know? (Man, I need to read the paper sometime.) I went. I saw one man on stage with a guitar. Tears welled a little when something as simple as a stripped down version of a song I first heard over 20 years ago came to my ears. Some lyrics from some new material struck some of the same chords in me and ran in parallel to some new experiences. Beautiful.
I shook Bob Mould’s hand after the show and told him that his music changed my life. And until I just wrote this I didn’t even realize how much it really has. The simplest smallest thing can change the course of an entire life. You might not even know it at the time, but step back to appreciate where you’ve come from and how far you have gone.
– Meredith DeLoca, Assistant Spa Director PDX