Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thank you for the music!

What follows is the mind journey I took to discover the first 5 songs to feature on the soundtrack of my life and, more importantly, the stories that lie behind them:

The second I heard voting was open in the Hottest 100 of all time, I felt my heart beat quicken. How the hell was I going to decide which ones I thought worthy of such a title? And how could I possibly narrow it down to only 10? Best of all time... that carries a lot of weight! I started to make a quick list, thinking to myself 'who would I want represented?' After I've picked the artist, then I can narrow it down to the song. So, with pen and paper in hand I make a start...

The Beatles - has to be in there! Hell, my bedroom was an absolute shrine to the fab four during my mid-late teens. I had tie died all this white canvas material blue. I covered the little couch in my room’s cushions and the coffee table that doubled as my bed side table in the cloth. Adorning my wall were posters and framed prints of my idols and I'd blu-taked a bunch of 45's, my Hard Days Night 78, along with the Blue record cover and other memorabilia I'd collected. Man, I could make a top 10 from them alone... Which song? Has to a George Harrison number... Hmmmm? While My Guitar Gently Weeps!
Then I strike a bit of a blank! Where do I go from here? It's all too hard! Think I'll leave it till I'm in a better state of mind - I think to myself. I'll get back to it another day. Hell, I've made a start! Got the first song down.

After a few beers, while Micko is watching the State of O, I decided my mind is lubed enough to resume the task at hand. So, I start thinking of it not so much as the 10 best songs of all time but more songs that could feature on the soundtrack of my life. Putting it in terms of all time makes me feel removed from the process. I mean, there are some awesome songs beautifully written and composed, but that I don't have a real emotional connection with. They say smell is one of the most powerful senses and with one whiff of a certain scent you can be magically transported back the place and time you associate with it. Music does that for me... Many of my memories are locked up in CD covers waiting to be rediscovered.
I start jotting down the first bands that pop into my mind... Rolling Stones, Blind Melon, White Stripes, Jebediah, Split Enz, Muse, Rage, Radiohead, Tea Party, Stone Temple Pilots, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zepplin, Soundgarden, Carol King, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, The Oils, Foo Fighters, Grinspoon, Smashing Pumpkins, Elliott Smith, Tool, You Am I, Queen... Uh Oh! I really am in trouble and I haven't even started! Okay, so lets narrow this list down somewhat! Who HAS to be in there....

Well, if it were a soundtrack of MY life it has to have (in addition to The Beatles track - which is a sure thing) Blind Melon. Who are Blind Melon, I hear a few of you thinking? Remember the fat kid dancing around in a field in the Bee suit? The song was 'No Rain' and the year was 1992. A few lyrics to jog your memory - "All I can say, is that my life is pretty plain, I like watching the puddles gather rain. And all I can do is just pour some tea for two, and speak my point of view, but it's not sane, it's not sane". Good song, but certainly not their best! I think from Blind Melon, I'll choose 'Change'. (Check it out if you want - if not, you'll hear it one day at my funeral... it's on the list of funeral songs and has been since the day I first heard it) Blind Melon remind me of great days with my brothers and hanging or camping with my best mates (Soup or the self titled CD often gets a good going over when we've had a few). That's a definite... 2 down, 8 to go!

The White Stripes... A definite inclusion! My lounge room is practically a White Stripes showroom. I have 3 awesome Rob Jones tour prints on the wall, the Jack and Meg nesting dolls spread out on my sideboard and I'm still yet to find somewhere to display my vast collection of 7" records. Why the obsession? I like the dirt and the grit of their sound, they only ever wear red, white and black (which makes them uber cool), plus the fact that 2 people alone can make that amount of noise. Meg is one of the few chicks that I'd love to bang and Jack is just a sex god! I've seen them live a number times and I've had some pretty funny experiences. One, and I won't be mentioning any names to protect the innocent, involved a certain friend pissing her pants at BDO because she didn't want to miss any of show... even though we'd seen them the night before in a much more intimate setting. So, White Stripes are a dead cert... But this poses its own dilemma! Which fucking song? I could go with the obvious and vote ‘7 Nation Army’, but I'm thinking maybe ‘Hotel Yorba’. Although, I did play ‘We're Going to Be Friends’ at our wedding so maybe that one? Nah, fuck it! ‘Hotel Yorba’ it is.

Muse... Oh my precious Muse! And it has to be Knights of Cydonia - not just a song, it's an epic journey. Man, this seems to be getting easier! Many a night I've been plastered watching my favourite Muse DVD and each time I'm blown away. I'm even more blown away by them in the flesh! I'm also prone to droning on about how amazing Muse are when I've had more than my quota of beer!

How about the band that featured in my first television appearance - Pearl Jam. They were a massive part of my teenagedom! I think it was 95 when my mates and I booked tickets to all the Melbourne shows - except the Myer Music Bowl show. We decided we would turn up, sit in the Botanical Gardens and listen to the show if we couldn't see it. We stood around the make shift hire in steel fencing and happily smoked a few scoobs. All of a sudden the scene changed to one of chaos! One of our crazy friends decided he'd climb the fence to get in and all hell broke loose. There were kids everywhere pushing down the fence and running in. It was like a scene from one of those crazy Myer Stocktake sales in the 80s (without the stirrup pants and bad perms - instead it was long unwashed, un-brushed hair and big baggy t-shirts over ripped jeans - the uniform of a generation). I started to freak out big time! The cops came on horseback, the horses were rearing up and the coppers were ripping people back all over the place... then the TV crews arrived! They caught me at possibly one of my best moments! I was screaming like a mad woman "We're all going to die!!! We're all going to fucking die!!!" I eventually calmed down and we headed in for one of the best night of live music I can remember. So, Pearl Jam... In like Flynn! Let’s make it an obvious choice and go with Alive.

And that takes us to the top 5... and that's about all we have time for today folks! I'll be back with more interesting tales of music and mayhem shortly... but in the meantime take care of yourselves, and each other! Good night Australia!

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