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.


Adam said...

I love it man. I look forward to what you learn and discussing it in the halls at Rio with you. I am no authority but am definitely an avid rock/classic rock fan and during your tutorial this summer I challenge you to find a greater guitar solo than the one in "Freebird" by Lynard Skynard - still simply on a level of its own - unbelievable.

Adam said...

Dude I still want a copy of the notebook you're preparing. I recently revised the link to your blog on my blog - lemme know if you approve.

Robey said...

My guess on the picture is: The Rio Vista Praise Band. If it isn't, I think you should buy me lunch anyway for giving you a great idea for how to be relevant! Seriously, I could see you with a perm.

Of course I am in full support of this adventure, and can't wait to be enlightened about the most excellent music of our time.

Robey said...

My other guess is WhiteSnake

Bear said...

My guess is Def Leppard. I admit I had a few hints while sharing some family time together, but I was in no way given the answer. There is nothing wrong with a little nepotism.
Hints given: two words in the name, first word is short (if you call it a legitimate word) and Ryan’s dad helped by saying “All the bands back them used animals for their name.” However he did not know the answer – he had not even seen the picture.

Ryan B said...

Robey: While I've never imagined myself with a perm, I admit that I have give serious consideration to starting a costume band if the worship ministry thing doesn't work out.

Bear: Just the fact that my dad was participating in a conversation about glam bands was enough to win you first prize. Sure, I gave you dozen of hints including "it's a two-word name, both words are mis-spelled, and one word is an animal"; in fact, I practically spelled it out for you, but... lunch is on me.

The four of us- lunch on Monday?

bear said...

I not only guessed correctly but I did also add to your knowledge base by sharing with you about the one armed drummer and one of their top songs (even though I did not sing it for you.)

Monday might not work for me - then again if it is free I can change my schedule.

bear said...

By the way - The two sites that I told you about are: for creating your own polls
and for flashcards to help in your rock education.

bear yet again said...

My bad the site for flash cards is not reviewbasics.

Ryan B said...

Thanks for the websites, Bear. I'll check them out this afternoon.