I suppose the bug got in me for the first time when I heard "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles. I was young and impressionable, pliant in my tastes at so tender an age. Looking back now, it was evident that my young, persuadable mind caught on to something wholly original and unlike the standard fare one heard during the latter-60s. An impression was made.
Music filled our home. At the time, FM radio was in its nascent stages, and my dad gravitated to a station out of Chicago called Triad Radio. Triad was one of the first freeform, commercial free radio stations at the time. Their program director, Saul Smaizys, was playing mostly obscure music which was not to be heard on AM radio, and the station was famous (or perhaps imfamous, depending on your orientation) for playing bizarre music from continental Europe, the Far East, and South America. I ate it up.
As a young lad, my ear was picking up on the limitless boundaries of popular music and wanting more and more of it. I still enjoyed the popular music of the 70s, to be sure, but I was becoming receptive to things which were, well, bizarre and beautiful at the same time. It would be facile to say it was in my DNA, but, really, it seems it was.
Radio was then the only way new sounds could be brought into our lives. The programmers chose it for you. But there were other options, too, even back then. Still, I was lucky to have certain influencers around me from the outset. I was being shaped by many forces, amongst them my heightened curiosity and being fortunate enough to be around the right people at the right time.
I suppose my gateway into the music most of us term progressive rock was The Moody Blues. They were huge at the time - getting commercal airplay and, oddly I thought, often getting airplay on the underground stations, too. What an amalgame - to be approachable enough to the masses yet also to be acceptable to the adventurous.
Meanwhile, my dad was into bands like Focus, Kraftwerk, Mike Oldfield, and Procol Harum, so my mind was being filled with "advanced" rock music. In a mostly dysfunctional house, music was a glue of sorts, as my mom enjoyed the more symphonic side of rock music, getting into acts such as Renaissance, Yes, Genesis, Electric Light Orchestra and the likes.
I'm inquisitive by nature, always looking for the next "high" which came when I discovered music which touched my soul or when I discovered a path which led me to new musical vistas. The quest, or rather my fanaticism, eventually steered me from the usual suspects towards an increasingly deeper dive into music which was more obscure. I had to have it all - or, as it always was, and still is now - tried to have it all. Avid collecting is a joy, an obsession. In a way, it's almost like an addiction, where you never feel satisfied with where you are as a purveyor of music.
Music is communal, a shared experience of a transcendent performance, or the gathering around the home theater to partake in music with like-minded company. It's really hard to describe, but if you're reading this, I would imagine you understand. Present tense: I get a chance to share the music I love ... with you. I cannot see you being touched by it, but I know you are. That's what I do. I've been a DJ a long time now. I forge ahead. To be continued ~