Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Summer School of Rock
The Who, The Clash, Pink Floyd, The Beatles... all played a role in shaping rock as we know it, and I don't know anything about them. This is a sad, misfortunate truth, but I couldn't tell you when Aerosmith started (1969), or how The Ramones influenced U2, or that drugs were to blame in the destruction of The Sex Pistols. I've known my weakness for a long time, but I'm finally beginning to face my giant: I need a rock education. I know about the bands I listen to, but practically nothing about the bands that influenced them; I know where we are today, but I have only shadows of an understanding of how we got here.
That's why I am enrolling myself in a self-tailored/custom-fit "Summer School of Rock." I've made a list of over 60 bands and people who I will spend the summer getting to know more intimately. I want to study and memorize full biographies, discographies, career highs and lows, who influenced who, and cultural impact; I want to buy their CDs, download their hits, and immerse myself in their music.
People assume that because I went to music school I'm a walking Fleetwood Mac catalogue, or an encyclopedia of Jimi Hendrix facts. I went to Florida State, one of the top CLASSICAL music programs in the country. And while I'm proud of my alma mater and the education I received there, I learned a grand total of ZILCH about rock history. So, in college, while my friends were gaining a highly-applicable knowledge of Metallica, Audioslave, and Nirvana, I was locked in a tiny practice room on the 4th floor of the music building singing "Ein Jungling Liebt Ein Madchen" from Schumann's Dichterliebe Opus 48 (which I have never once been asked to sing since). The long and short of it is: I have a lot of catching up to do.
I'll write about my progress, and probably about some of the artists I find especially fascinating in future blog entries. Stay tuned.
P.S. I'll buy lunch for the first person to correctly identify the band in the above picture and post their answer here.