Monday, March 20, 2017

A Biography in Liner Notes.

My first music, for real, was the music of my parents, the relentless rendition of my mom's Carpenter's Greatest Hits, John Denver, and Charlie Rich occasionally relieved by my father's love of car culture music, especially as voiced by the Beach Boys and the Everly Brothers.

Party music always reminds me of the 70s, from Olivia Newton John and ELO to Kool & the Gang. I floundered around with Asia and America, and I was all pleased with myself when I found Billy Joel's The Stranger and Peter Gabriel (Mercury) after the Carpenters and the Beach boys had ruled my airwaves. Side note: Actually, it was Billy Joel who brought Camus into my world. The Boomers, with their Authenticity Policing, told me I had no idea how cool that album actually was, and couldn't appreciate it, because I had no clue about the novel for which it was named. So I went to the library and checked The Stranger out and read it and fell in love with existentialism and suddenly knew two things with absolute certainty: that I was not alone, and that the Boomers had never read this novel. Shortly after this, I would sneak in to the movie theater to see Blade Runner. As preteen experiences go, these are serious keepers.

And then, through the grace that is the import market,  I discovered Devo and punk took my world away, with the Sex Pistols, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys. I had some John Cougar-Bruce Springsteen and Duran Duran-Police-Men At Work going on amongst my own personal British Invasion, but then I discovered U2 -- the albums October and War got a lot of play for me in the year before Joshua Tree was released. U2 changed my world, musically giving to me what I had found in Camus' Stranger, what I would come to crave in every novel, relationship and now album for the rest of my life.

It's a little weird to think that I did my first stage dive at an Exploited show before Joshua Tree came out, and that U2 are launching a 30 year anniversary tour.
If the Declaration of Independence is like the liner notes of America, we're like annoying fans that follow politicians into the bathroom and say, "But it says here, 'We pledge our sacred honor.' What's that about?" And people suffer us talking about America because we love it so much. Rather arrogantly, we don't think you own it. We think America is an idea that belongs to people who need it most.