Monday, October 15, 2012

#596: "Mindfuck music"

It's the Summer of 1978 & I'm sharing a 3-bedroom townhouse-style apartment in Boise, Idaho, with my 2 best friends in the world, Jeff Mann & Don Vincent.
& we R having musical arguments.
They R mostly low-key at 1st. Don & I R mainly seeking-out weird music 2 aid in our creative writing efforts -- strange mood-music mostly, but we're not against stuff that rocks, either -- if it fits R definition of rock. We lean mostly toward the "artier" end of the spectrum. & we're kind of snooty about it, too.
Jeff don't do no "arty." Living away from his parents 4 the 1st time, Jeff mainly collects good party music. Xcept 4 the Beatles, he doesn't seem 2 B much in2 subtlety. At 1 point Don & I agree that Jeff will buy & bring home whatever obvious cliched rockin' stuff his particular peer group at work thinks it's OK 2 buy. This isn't completely fair, but it shows how stuck-up we were.
Jeff & I have already discussed how much AC/DC & Van Halen I can take. Which ain't much. & in an apartment as small as R's, there's only so far you can go 2 get away. So if Jeff is playing HIGHWAY TO HELL rather loudly, Don might B across the hall in his room playing early Journey. Loudly. & I'll be in the 3rd-bedroom/closet listening 2 Renaissance or Genesis -- under the headphones.
All this actually works out pretty well 4 awhile. We didn't try 2 kill each other, & I don't remember the neighbors complaining that much. + the music drowns out NE other Xtracurricular activities that might B going on in some1's room -- in Don's or my room, usually. Jeff seems 2 B Btween relationships during this period.
The music covers-up-4 a lot. I can't remember how many times I'd come home from work in the evening 2 hear the sounds of Chuck Mangione's FEELS SO GOOD still spinning on the turntable in the living room -- apparently 2 cover up the sounds of sensual delight that might've been occurring in that room just moments earlier. If I arrived home TOO unXpectedly, I sometimes heard Don's bedroom door slamming shut upstairs.
1 thing about living with folks -- you end up learning things you never really wanted 2 know. In an apartment this small, you can hear just about everything echoing thru the heat vents from room 2 room. 2 counteract that, music Bcame an almost 24-hour necessity.
I didn't think that much about R diffrences in musical taste til Jeff came home from work 1 nite after I'd had what I thot was a stress-filled day. I was decompressing by playing King Crimson's dramatic & very dark "Starless."
& Jeff said: "I see you're playing that mindfuck music again."
& that summed-up R differing approaches, 2 me. So we talked about it.
Jeff seemed 2 feel that the intense last 8-or-so minutes of "Starless" was slowly working 2 obliterate all peace-of-mind from my life. While I felt that those same devastating 8 mins were working 2 RE-ESTABLISH my peace of mind & help me shrug-off the problems of my day. The music was like a "reset" button 4 me. & it really worked.
(2 years later I found the 1st Pretenders' album also worked 4 me in this way -- cos no matter how bad my life was, no WAY was it more perilous than Chrissie Hynde's Xperiences....)
We continued 2 talk about this, & I switched 2 Steeleye Span's "Allison Gross" -- a sorta dig at an old girlfriend of mine -- & a song that drove Jeff 2 distraction with its screechy, demented violin middle-break & the WAY 2 LOUD electric guitar at the end.
"See!"  Jeff said. "More mindfuck music!"
I could see how Jeff could get this impression. 4 Don & I, "good mood music" could B NEthing from Pat Metheny or Tangerine Dream 2 Gryphon, Gentle Giant, Providence, Jethro Tull, Hawkwind, U.K., Yes, any number of synthesizer whizzes --  2 David Sancious and Tone: jumpy, unpredictable jazz-rock-fusion gtr&keyboard stuff that I'd used more than 1nce 2 drive people I didn't wanna see out of the house.
I pointed out that mosta this stuff was more approachable than Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Head East, Ted Nugent, REO, or whoever else he was listening 2 that week. Jeff & I could agree on the Beatles, Kansas, Boston & Queen, but that was about as far as we could go. & if Don got in on this discussion, there'd B even less agreement. In fact, more than 1nce we went on 4 HOURS criticizing Jeff's musical taste. Ghod KNOWS how he ever put up with it, or why he didn't shoot us both.
Here's the kicker: Most of the music Jeff was addicted-2, Don & I ended-up buying. I think we 1st caved-in on Journey's INFINITY. Then Don actually bought some Ted Nugent & AC/DC. I later Bcame a big fan of REO, pre-HI INFIDELITY. REO's "Roll With the Changes" & "Blazing Your Own Trail Again" still put a smile on my face. Jeff went as far out as Pink Floyd.
I never quite Bcame an Aerosmith or AC/DC fan -- or a fan of Van Halen, Ghod knows. But I'm willing 2 allow them a spot or 2 on the radio. I like 2 hear "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" now & then -- it makes me laff. & I hava fave Aerosmith song, the moody "Seasons of Wither." (Not 2 mention "Dude Looks Like a Lady" & "Rag Doll"....)
I stubbornly held-off liking much Led Zeppelin 4 YEARS. Jeff was always right about them. I think I held off until I heard "Carouselambra." Or maybe it was the 1st time I heard "When the Levee Breaks." & then, Xcept 4 "Stairway," "Immigrant Song," "Over the Hills and Far Away," "The Rover" & "Kashmir," I started wondering what else I'd missed....

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