Thursday, October 26, 2017


I, much like most other folks, really hit my musical stride in high school. In junior high there was this girl at the Catcholic School I went to named Mary Jo Gormley. She had hair dyed gold and wore fishnets on her forearms and she kept carving the initials DK and mumbling about some guy named Jello. In a different world I might have been thrown head first into the punk scene but it was at this point I moved to Illinois and took up residence in a suburb just outside of Chicago.

It was right about then that I was introduced and immersed in my adolescent holy quad.

David Bowie Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972)

The Who Quadrophenia (1973)

Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon (1972)

Rush 2112 (1976)

This was probably the time period that cemented my future. I couldn’t live without the artists named above and I bought every single thing I could get my hands on to further my knowledge of each group. Pink Floyd appealed to the bleak outlook that permeates every teen’s brain from time to time. The Who provided the optimistic drive and bombast that surges through the veins of every hormone ridden boy. Rush continued that sugar rush with precisely pounding rhythm and soaring vocal melodies that I didn’t realize until later in life tend to make girls’ ears bleed.

And Bowie.

Bowie was the one that taught me styles were malleable and that sometimes the look was as important as the song when it came to the live presentation. He appealed to the art student in me and provided a catalog so huge and diverse I took endless delight in swimming through it and educating myself based on his influences. As time went on Bowie was one of the few that remained a brightly burning constant – as long as I overlooked most of the ‘80s which wasn’t hard since he had just so much to digest – and in recent years has pleased me with a fine return to form. As a matter of fact I saw him just last night in Chicago [This was originally written in 2004 and OH MY GOD how did I just toss that observation off ... it would end up being his final tour.] and he provided proof that rock and/or rollers need not relegate themselves to greatest hits tours or laughable albums of new material as long as they are willing to constantly challenge themselves in an effort to stay fresh without fear of falling flat on their face. Actually the aging artist that falls on his face grandly, as Bowie did on his outside album, often garners greater respect for at least being brave enough to take a risk when they could be coasting.

I digress.

It should be noted that none of the above artists were enjoying particularly wide-spread popularity at the time. I discovered all of them on my own with the aid of The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and The Trouser Press Record Guide as I thumbed through both while working a part-time job at my local Waldenbooks. This would also be the period of time I learned you could “trade” books for bootleg vinyl with the local head-shop/record store owner. It was the introduction to these bands that began to pave the way for the next, and most powerful, wave of musical influences…


The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

It should be duly noted that I really enjoyed this album and its movie's attendant Saturday night midnight movie showings as well. I was an artsy, freaky kid in the late ‘80s and unlike today there weren’t many places for us to congregate unless you traveled into Chicago and hung out at Clark and Belmont.

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