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Hear What I Hear

My parents surrounded my brother and I with music when we were kids.  From the time I got my first clock radio on my 5th birthday, I listened to music whenever I was in my bedroom.  At different times I’ve played piano, violin, trumpet, baritone, and flute, although flute is the only instrument I play anymore (I wouldn’t know what to do with a piano or violin these days).  Mom and Dad gave us a good education in contemporary music as well; they took us to see a lot of concerts, including U2 and Rage Against the Machine, the Rolling Stones, and Santana.

I joined the University gospel choir as a Freshman.  They had performed at my high school a couple of times, and I loved how it sounded.  I was fairly involved for a while, and even managed to get a spot in the top performing group by offering to sing bass on some songs.  The program has undergone some changes, and I don’t have the time to commit anymore, but it’s left me with an appreciation for gospel music that I demonstrate when I’m driving or in the shower.

A few years ago my Mom funded mine and my brother’s trip to Indio, CA for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where RATM played their first show in seven years.  It was four days that changed my life.  It’s hot, it’s crowded, it’s isolated, and it’s expensive, but it is indescribably rewarding.   RATM’s set on the last night was the perfect finish.  Standing in the middle of the desert with 90,000 people who think like me, sharing a common purpose, I was struck by gratitude, for Arts Festivals, for my family, for musicians, for water.  Cheering spontaneously spread through the campsites for the rest of the night, and for maybe the first time that entire weekend, I wasn’t tired.  Rage Against the Machine will always have a special place in my world.

Some other bands I love:

Less Than Jake — Whenever I need to shed some stress, I rock out to LTJ.  They sing the story of my life.

Of A Revolution (OAR) — These guys put on an incredible live show; when they play “That was a Crazy Game of Poker” the crowd is louder than the lead singer.

Guster — friends of OAR, hypnotically pretty music with deceivingly dark lyrics.

Dispatch — a side project that was a collaboration of Guster and OAR, lots of acoustic guitar.

CKY — I kind of feel like I should be 15 years old, wearing Vans and falling off of a skateboard somewhere when I listen to CKY, but I can’t say no to those tasty guitar licks.

H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty) — lead singer Ville Valo’s voice is intriguing, and again, great guitar licks.

Kings of Convenience, Aphex Twin, Lady Gaga, Finntroll, System of a Down, Bob Dylan, Hanoi Rocks, Ani DiFranco, the 69 Eyes, Within Temptation, Jackson Browne

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