Monday, September 10, 2007

Timeline (1972-2004)

In December of 2004, the Secret Mixed Tape Society embarked on their second assignment. This was known as Timeline and the idea was to find ten songs and/or bands who would map out each individuals musical journey throughout their life up to that point. This was hard to do, but with a goal of only ten entries, the selections would have to be important and very landmark. Here's the list:

Hello It's Me / Todd Rundgren (1970's)
I never liked anything by Todd Rundgren other than the song listed here. But it was chosen because of its relevance to my childhood. Whenever I hear "Hello, It's Me," I think of late night rides home with the family. All was well as I sat in the backseat and looked out the window. For the lead off track for Timeline, it was a toss up between this song and a dozen others. Specifically one of a handful of tracks off of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Fleetwood makes me think of sitting in front of my parents' stereo with those enormous headphones attached to my ears (like cassette tapes, these enormous headphones are nostalgic and will always hold a special place in my heart. A place where today's ear buds will never have any business being). I decided to go with "Hello, It's Me" because there are too many Fleetwood songs to choose from. That and they're bound to emerge on another comp down the road.

Head Over Heels / Tears For Fears (1985)
The only jump I can possibly make from early childhood to my early stages of personal music enthusiasm. Tears For Fears, although still merely nostalgic to me, is known as the first band who held my attention just enough to explore their back catalog, as well as the very album (Songs From The Big Chair) that spawned the handful of singles I was hearing on the radio at that time. It was the first cassette tape I remember buying, but so was Weird Al Yankovic's In 3-D, as well as Knee Deep In The Hoopla by Starship. But "Like A Surgeon" and "We Built This City" would suck within this particular mix. Again, I hear "Head Over Heels" and I think of sleepovers with my best friend.

Walk This Way / Run DMC (1986)
I was in seventh grade and had already discovered LL Cool J's Radio the year before, and had heard UTFO's self-titled album in the basement of Trevor Harbert (before that) and "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock (still before all of that). Although Raising Hell wasn't the first Hip Hop album I ever bought, it was the one that is most relevant to me today. It could have been this or Licensed To Ill, but I'd already used the Beasties on the comp before. Raising Hell is still a much better selection, in my opinion (knowing that Public Enemy's debut, Yo! Bum Rush The Show, had surfaced only a year later made this decision even more difficult). This group is largely responsible for my "everlasting" love affair with Hip Hop.

Thunderstruck / AC/DC (1990)
My "'everlasting' love affair with Hip Hop" died a slow death in 1990. Gangsta Rap had come and gone and, as exciting as that was at the time, it had worn out its welcome. The G-Funk era was on the horizon and I didn't like the sound of it. After I said goodbye to Rap music, I wasn't sure where to turn. Jeff had been listening to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and I was thankful to have something to turn to. But AC/DC is the band who would eventually help me to pick up the pieces. On December 7, 1990, I attended my very first concert--AC/DC's "The Razor's Edge Tour." The group had an impact on me and I still consider their live performance to be in my Top Ten Of All Time. Today, I would site only "Bon Scott era" AC/DC (1974-1979) as true-to-my-heart, but I'll always have that particular concert from my senior year in high school.

Nearly Lost You / Screaming Trees (1992)
Naturally, Hard Rock beget Seattle Grunge music. But, let's face it. It's the same thing but with different clothes and stage shows. I was into Pearl Jam as much as the next guy and I will swear today just how excited I was at the prospect of this band when they first appeared in 1991. In due time, I began to grow bored with them and now they're not so much a nostalgic memory as they are an utter annoyance. There was no way in hell I was picking something off Ten to represent this embarrassing era of music. And I was never really too much into Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. The one band who I can still appreciate from this time is Screaming Trees. It was hard to pick a song to represent them, what with so many to choose from. I decided to go with "Nearly Lost You," if only, for its connection to the Cameron Crowe movie, Singles. Another embarrassment, but another artifact from this time.

Someday I Will Treat You Good / Sparklehorse (1995)
When I think of Sparklehorse, I think of those years living with Terry in The Bachelor Pad. I had just finished my four year stint at JCCC, where I earned my Associates Degree. I was working at the hospital and had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had pretty much abandoned my art, with the exception of my sketchbook. I heard "Someday I Will Treat You Good" on The Lazer one night while driving home alone from a show in Lawrence. It was around 3:00 in the morning and raining out. This particular song came on the radio and I took notice, and I had to know who sang it. Thankfully at the end, the DJ credited Sparklehorse and then went on to play another song by another band (probably Spacehog). That was the one and only time I ever heard Sparklehorse on the radio, but I was fortunate enough to find Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot at Recycled Sounds that following weekend.

Suspicious Minds / Elvis Presley (1997)
It late was early August and my friend, Craig, mentioned to me that he would be making the trek to Memphis for the twenty year anniversary of The King's death. I offered to go along, if only, for the irony. I wasn't an Elvis fan, but I never disliked him either. This trip was life changing for me. It was during this six day experience where I became a devoted follower of Elvis Presley. I came home with an agenda: to obtain everything Elvis-related. I thank Elvis, today, for opening my eyes to other "Oldies" bands, as well as old school Country and Blues. They say that you're either a "Beatles person" or an "Elvis person." I take pride in being the latter. One of only a few in a snobby music scene such as ours.

If You Must / Del The Funky Homosapien (2000)
It was during the late nineties that I rediscovered Hip Hop. For years, I had shrugged it off as bad music, only because of what I was hearing and seeing on MTV (in retrospect, it's hard to believe I felt this way after having defended it so much for those few years). It was just after I started Graphic Design school that I heard "If You Must," by Del. With this I realized there was still talent to be sought out in this industry. But, like the early days, I had to dig for it. Underground Hip Hop had been alive and well that entire time, I had just chosen not to look beyond what I was being exposed to. This is also when I looked back to those years where I wasn't into the scene. I discovered groups such as Black Sheep, DJ Shadow and KMD. Although Del isn't necessarily the "Run DMC" of my twenties, he is partly responsible for Hip Hop's re-emergence in my life. And for this, I'm grateful.

Take Five / Dave Brubeck (2002)
There are two factors that turned me toward Jazz music. The first, and most obvious, is Hip Hop's affiliation with it. What makes Underground Hip Hop what it is--aside from the often unusual and experimental sounds-- is the Jazz flavor that's added to the mix. The other reason is due to the cover designs by the legendary Reid Miles. After obsessing over these record designs, I found time to listen to what was inside and have been truly moved ever since. Artists like Dave Brubeck, Grant Green and John Coltrane have led me to discovering even more experimental Jazz artists like John Zorn (who happened to be the other choice for the coveted "track 9" position), Sun Ra and the later works of Miles Davis.

Nature Boy / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2004)
Most people know of my obsession with everything-Nick Cave, but it's a pretty recent obsession. At the time we started The Mixed Tape club, I had only been into him for a year or so. The excellent 2004 double album, Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre Of Orpheus contains the gem, "Nature Boy" plus a handful of others.


Anonymous B said...

Rock on! But, where's Andrea Bocelli?

10 September, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

I'd be more curious to see your list, sir. mwt.

10 September, 2007  
Blogger Steaming bowl o' Calderone said...

I must admit it's an interesting list and not one I would expect from you.

11 September, 2007  
Anonymous Sundance said...

What? No Tom Waits? What gives? Incidentally, "Weird Al In 3-D" was, in fact, the first cassette I ever bought. Big surprise, eh?

11 September, 2007  
Anonymous JT Cool said...

That was a tough one to make, probably the toughest. 10 songs to represent your movement in music taste is mighty arduous. I can't remember mine off the top of my head, but I will post it as soon as I find my comp.

12 September, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

yes, it can be very frustrating. One key to it is to try to space the movements far enough between each other that there's a very obvious difference in tastes. For example, my original list had, like, twenty bands. It's because I DID start off with Fleetwood Mac, along with Rundgren. Later, i went with UTFO and then went to Run DMC and then ended up on PE. So each musical chapter in your life is made up of sub-sections, but I guess it's about the overall history.

As for Tom Waits, he wasn't used simply because he was used on the disc before it and we try not to use an artist more than once. Also, it was a given since he was one of my Top Five.

12 September, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curt and I were in Memphis during the 30th anniversary of Elvis bein' dead.

The place was overrun by Elvi.

05 October, 2007  
Blogger Mark Teel said...

Clamp, there's nothing quite like paying your respects to The King by stuffing a Taco Bell bag with a fistful of sporks and leaving it on his grave with a hand written note that says "because Heaven has no sporks." mwt.

11 October, 2007  

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