The haphazard offspring of a union between 70s guitar riffs and the bouffant hairdos of the 80s, I spent my childhood attempting to reconcile the peacenik melodies of Neil Young with the full-throttle metal onslaught of Metallica and its apostles. Having gained an appreciation for the spirit of rebellion surrounding the aura of all metal heads, my interest shifted to the grunge sounds of the early 90s at the tender age of 11 upon watching Eddie Vedder tenaciously destroy a drum set on the stage of Saturday Night Live. I remained an ardent follower of groups like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots at the end of the last century, but the unimaginative monotony of local radio stations compelled me to search beyond the currents of mainstream rock.
By 2001, I had embraced the roots of classic rock with open arms. To this day, I often spend hours on end listening to such groundbreaking groups as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, David Bowie, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. No one can listen to these explosive artists without stumbling across the often ignored genius that birthed them, and so I soon found myself gaining a new appreciation for old-time blues musicians like Muddy Watters and Robert Johnson. I can almost see the faces of these men every time that Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page strums a guitar. This is not to deny experimental jazz artists like Miles Davis their rightful place in the pantheon of rock influencers. I dare anyone to listen to Pink Floyd, The Soft Machine, The Stooges, or even the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request without giving credence to the pivotal role of jazz in modern rock music.
Reinforced by a firm understanding of the classics, my eyes were opened further still by the golden titles of Bob Dylan and the folk movement that his contemporaries fostered. I consider the success of modern day artists like Wilco, Iron and Wine, Beck, and the late Elliot Smith to be inspired by the raw power of Dylan. I try to find room in my MP3 for any musician who attempts to found his or her lyrics on the solid rock of social justice or the underappreciated easel of poetic expression. At times, I have been enticed by performers fitting this category despite the fact that their music is either not technically rock, or not presented in the English language. Saul Williams, Victor Jara, and Violeta Parra come to mind. Albums by groups like Radiohead, Sigur Ros, and The Flaming Lips are often in my CD player as well.
Now that you know a little about my tastes in music, I should probably point out what I hope to achieve by contributing to ROCKandREVIEW. While occasionally writing the standard diatribe about a certain group or release, I will also strive to analyze music trends from a social perspective. Having lived in South America and seen the scope of the United States’ influence on art and culture there, I am keenly interested in the fact that a young person can hear American musicians playing on the jukeboxes of many bars throughout the world. Some might say that this website is an excellent example of just how interconnected we all are. I guess I’ll leave that discussion for another day.