No, it’s not what you are thinking. “Mood’s a thing for cattle and love play,” is a quote from one of my favorite movies. Moods maybe for cattle and love play, but they are also for music. I love music. I listen to music all day long, I listen while I am working, pausing only for meetings. I listen when I am out doing yard work, driving in the car, making dinner. And when I don’t have something playing, I usually have a song or three running through my head. Every time I walk down a long hallway, I hear the “Imperial March” playing in my head. Waking up everyday triggers a few minutes of “Ugly in the Morning” to come blasting through from my subconscious. My Pavlovian response to a text message on my phone (i.e. when I get paged from work) is to whisper “I push my fingers into my eyes…” from ”Duality”. Hell, even the title of this blog is ripped from a song title.
I listen to a lot of different types of music, everything from Amadeus to ZZ Top, from “A.D.D.” to “Zzyxz Rd.” I have about 90 GB of music stored in various places, about 20,000 songs. That’s a rough guess – attempting to remove duplicates, spoken word tracks and audio books from the total count has proven a much more difficult task than I imagined and I didn’t want to spend the time getting an accurate number before writing this. I have album versions, demo versions, live versions and even cover versions of the same song. That has something to do with my condition of needing things a certain way.
I do have my limitations, there is a lot of music that I just can’t listen to, like new”er” country (anything written in the last two decades) and anything played on a Top 40 station or any radio station in my general vicinity (the radio stations around me have really began to suck over the past four or five years). I will be the first to admit that I have some weird standards for music that I like. First, and probably most important, if you are singing about bubblegum and rainbows and shiny happy people, I probably won’t be listening to you. That has a lot to do with how I pick what I want to listen to at any particular moment, or rather, what mood I am in. I just don’t ever get into a mood where I want to hear how happy someone is. I don’t trust people that are happy all the time.
My week usually progresses from the slow sedate mood of a Monday morning where I listen to mostly classical or instrumental pieces to the frenetic, anger-driven pace of Fridays when it’s all hardcore, like Hatebreed, Sepulture and Sevendust. On Tuesdays, when I have robotics, I have the urge to throw on some punk. There is something about being in the middle of 40 kids that makes me want to hear Black Flag belt out “Room 13” (NOTE: this is not the original, but a cover by Corey Taylor, I couldn’t find a decent sounding version by Black Flag).
Things slow down a bit again Wednesdays and I reach for some classic rock, and by classic I mean stuff from the 60s and 70s. Thursdays pick up the pace again, and the genre du jour is a mix of the more modern rock with a heavy metal edge, with the blurring fingers of Hammett, Mustaine, Ian and the ilk. Saturdays mean working out in the yard, so I need something LOUD to overcome the rumble of the various small engines of lawn equipment. This brings a weird mix of hardcore metal and rap, because there are few things cooler than riding a lawn mower while pimpin’ some Chuck D and Pubic Enemy or killing weeds with Slayer’s “Chemical Warfare” as the soundtrack.
Sometimes the weather or the season gets me in a mood. Late spring and early summer makes me want to dust off the Zeppelin (by “dust off” I mean, go to Artists, Led Zeppelin and hit play on my iPod). This past week and for the next few weeks, that is all I will want to listen to. There must be something in the air (other than pollen) that makes me need Zeppelin playing around the clock. And it only gets better when I hear one of my boys humming along.
With kids around, I am faced with some challenges. I always have to be mindful of what is playing when they can hear. A large portion of my music comes with a parental advisory label attached. You bet your sweet ass that they will hear and comment on someone singing a four letter word when they are three rooms away with the TV on, but god forbid they would so much as blink when I shout their names six inches from their heads telling them to stop punching each other. I usually avoid those songs/albums/artists altogether when they are around, but sometimes I just press my luck and spin the volume to 0 when I know something inappropriate is coming. My ever observant children never fail to say, “Why’d you do that?”
“Turn the song off.”
“It’s not something you should hear.”
“Well, if I wanted you to know what, I wouldn’t have turned it off, would I?”
The other challenge, of course, is trying to not force them to listen to what I want them to listen to. But it’s not as bad as it could be. They are into the Top 40 stuff my wife listens to and what their friends at school are listening to, like Black Eyed Peas and Just’, Just’, Justin… (Blech, I just can’t write his name. Remember what I said about happy people earlier, well this douche is their crowned prince. So what if he is only 16 years old, where are his parents? Shouldn’t they have some sort of control over this child? Isn’t there a law out there that prevents this shit from being played over the airwaves? They should have to stick a label on the cover of that album that warns people “Contains lyrics that will make you want to pierce your eardrums with an ice pick after exposure”)
I win some little battles when my 7 YO asks if he can add some songs to his iPod. He asked the other day if he could have Slipknot’s “Before I Forget” and Helmet’s “Surgery” added. Or when my 6 YO sings every word to “Umbabarauma” which is mostly in Portuguese, or whatever it is that Max Cavalera is growling. I guess I will have to be open to whatever they want to listen to. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to help them experience the stuff that I am in to. I can’t wait to take them to the first concert.
That is all for now, what was to be my Saturday post took a little longer and has now turned into a Sunday post. I hope everyone’s Sunday is “Easy”.