Firefly Pointer Fiberglass Jacket: Finding Music

Monday, August 5, 2013

Finding Music

 The first song I ever got excited about (besides "Baby Baluga") was Chuck Berry's "Rock and roll music." This was on my "Pocket Rocker" which was this very 80's looking mini tape player. I had a good batch of different tapes for it, but Chuck Berry was the one who made the impression.

 As a kid I also had a Fisher Price cassette tape player and recorder. This was the first way I recorded songs I liked off the radio with the microphone. I did sing and play with it in that way too, but I mostly used it to make mixed tapes.

 As I got a bit older, I received a R2D2 portable tape player. I loved it so much because it was Star Wars. There was no rewind function, so you had to fast forward and flip to "rewind." This was how I could listen to the mixed tapes I made on the go.

 When I was a pre-teen, finding music meant going to a music store to buy it. The place my mom would take me to was called "The Wherehouse" (which was bought out) where I could look through their cassette tapes or CDs. I distinctly remember going straight to the "Q" section of  "Rock" to look for Queen CDs. I often times couldn't afford them or per-sway my mom it buy it, so I would flip through them and gaze longingly and think "I will own you someday."  

 Eventually, I got Queen's entire catalog. The first CD I bought was Queen's "A night at the Opera." Having very little cash flow as a kid, I had to pick the music I bought very wisely. I would often preview a CD before I thought about buying it. This was when you would buy the whole CD for one song. Singles weren't really around, so it wasn't like I could buy a CD with the one track I wanted. Believe me, I remember searching.  Eventually I graduated to a portable CD player, in which I would lug around a huge book of CDs I bought. I believe when I entered Junior High, I got a CD player stereo system. This was huge in my life. It had 3 slots for CDs along with a cassette player which enabled you to record.

 Right after I got my stereo, the whole CD club thing hit. These catalogs would show up to our door that was pages long filled with different CDs. I believe how it went was you could get 12 CDs free if you bought one at regular price. My mom and I went crazy picking CDs, and I was so excited when she'd let me pick some. I loved getting packages with CDs in them ready to open and listen to. Much of my early CD collection was built this way.  I also got into music magazines, the obvious first one was Rolling Stone, but it wasn't really what I wanted. Eventually I discovered the awesomeness of UK based music mags, like Mojo and Uncut.

 Being a lifelong music fan, I always wanted to know every detail about a band I loved. I sought out information, and there were specific ways I would find it. This was pre-internet and Google, so I literally had a hard time finding information as a kid. When I got a little braver I started to call the local oldies and classic rock radio stations I listened to and would ask them about a song I heard. Sometimes I would use The Wherehouse as a music library, and the cashier as my librarian. In all of my recollections, they were happy to answer my questions and were knowledgeable about music. Being a kid with no car, I was pretty bound to where ever my family members would take me. I was happy for my music store, but longed for more.

 Before long, I heard about a RECORD STORE in the San Diego area called "Blue Meanies." I had to beg my mom to drive me to El Cajon to check this place out. For the rest of my teen years, I frequented this place. As far as I was concerned, this was the happiest place on Earth...I loved looking at everything and wanted it all. I bought many CDs, posters, books and even started my record collection there. In fact, I bought my first records and rock posters there.  I didn't have a record player yet, but I knew eventually I would have one and I'd have a killer collection to play on it. (I was right! In my early 20's I got a record player.) Blue Meanies is now closed, I loved that place.

 As I entered High School, my grandparents got a computer in their home. It was a large PC with it's own phone line for AOL dial up. I distinctly remember hitting the dial up queue and leaving to go make a sandwich. Hopefully when I got back...I'd be online. I remember at first being fascinated with midi files of rock songs I liked. And before too long, Naspter entered the game. It's safe to say that changed my life...and quite frankly blew my mind. I just couldn't understand the concept of finding any song I want...and being able to listen to it whenever I want! Even thought Napster soon disappeared thanks to a law suit from Metallica, plenty of other sites provided the ability to pirate music.

 Even though I was all on board with digital music, I still added to my record collection. Eventually I even got a record bag so I could bring them over to my friend's house. In my later high school years I made a few other friends with similar music taste and even better collections than mine.

 Portable music has always been a big thing for me, so I was excited when MP3 players debuted. Being a notorious Apple hater, I had no intentions on getting an iPod. I instead did some research and bought the Zune, which I love. I later updated to the Zune HD. Sadly, Zune didn't do well and they aren't making anymore...but I love them. Even if I'm the only one!

 Obviously, the internet and music piracy was a total game changer. Not even so much that but the availability of digital music. As I got older music became much easier to find, as were song lyrics and band details. I feel like it is so much easier these days to find music. And more than that, details about the music. With Google you can look up the lyrics, or used Shazaam, which will identify the song give you the details and lyrics within seconds.There are so many ways to purchase music or listen to it before you buy it online. Music videos can be quickly accessed, along with music documentaries and interviews. It is also easier than ever to be exposed to new music, with Pandora, Spotify and Grooveshark.

 And when I want to "subject my music to others" I carry around one of my Boom Box purses! It has speakers in it that hooks right into your MP3 player. I feel like I am often walking down the street and being subjected to loud base-driven rap, so I feel like blasting Bowie is like some educated response to that. Yup, I hear your rap, here's REBEL REBEL. Working with bands gives you a good schooling on how the music industry and music distribution works. After moving up to the Bay Area, I am spoiled with record stores, head shops, and rock t-shirt stores. Finding music, internet aside, is much easier up here than it was where I grew up. Southern California is a lot more spread out and a vehicle is necessary. At this point I can walk to several music stores, and have my music collection on a portable device. I think little Becca would have been most impressed with MP3 players and Shazaam. I feel spoiled with all the awesome technology we have today when it comes to finding and playing music. 

Looking for new ways to connect with music? Check this page out!

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