Monday, June 1, 2009

And all that jazz...

I read liner notes. Front to back and usually more than once. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you can relax because I'm a bigger geek than you. Congratulations.

I have been a music geek from the beginning. I have crystal clear memories of myself as a pre-schooler, swinging in my backyard and belting out tunes for the neighborhood's listening pleasure. My repertoire included, but was not limited to, "I Think I Love You" by teen-star-turned-Vegas-legend David Cassidy, "Shambala" by Three Dog Night, and every Jim Croce song I could remember, but especially "Operator". ("She's living in LA with my best old ex-friend Ray...") Can you tell I listened to my teenage siblings' music? That was quite a set list for my 1970's pre-kindergarten one-woman-show.

Music geeks like me need to know everything there is to know about the music they like, hence the obsession with cd liner notes. I delight in reading the names of those people the artist feels compelled to shower with thanks, even though I don't know them. I also want to know the studio where it was recorded and who wrote each song.

Who cares? This dork, that's who. My redemption came recently while devouring one of my newer purchases. The artist wrote in his note that he wanted to thank every person taking the time to read - yep, you guessed it - the liner notes because it is that kind of fan that makes the hard work worth it. Awwww...I love you right back, Dude!

I raised the geeky-ness bar to a new level as I entered junior high and high school by being a member of both the chorus and the band. Please tell me why it isn't cool to be in the band? Do you know how hard it is to memorize the music and steps for a high school half-time show? Stand on a football field practicing for 8 hours in July and tell me it's not demanding. It was an exhausting slice of heaven on Earth. I cherish those band camp memories. To this day, whenever I hear a marching band, my heartbeat quickens and I get butterflies in my stomach. It comes from the exhilarating memory of marching onto the field, drummers pounding out the cadence in front of a stadium full of people, all eyes trained on you. For a few shining moments, you are the star.

I'm thankful technology allows my life to have a constant soundtrack. It thrills me that there are so many channels to choose from now. I want to listen to retro adult alternative or uncensored electronica today? Decisions, decisions.

Don't even think the nerd-dom stops with me. My daughter seems to have inherited my music fetish and I am overjoyed. She sings, plays her recorder and dances to the beat of her own crazy drummer. She's always cajoling me to sing along with her. "Come on, Mommy, you know the words to this one!" Lately she has been entertaining us with her slightly off key rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner". A very lofty song choice for a kid her age, and I'm impressed. Of course, my very serious son has no patience for her loud and lyric-challenged belting out of tunes. What he doesn't know is that I hear him in the shower, singing his heart out, too, like he's the only one around. 

I couldn't bear to live in a world without music. It is in my marrow and the air I breathe. It soothes me when my heart is breaking and calms me when my nerves are frayed. It takes me back to my 16-year-old world and sometimes haunts my every waking thought. I'm going to sing loudly and play the air drums when I run, and I hope you enjoy the show. Music is my constant companion, and from where I sit, who needs Xanax when you have satellite radio?


  1. Okay, fellow geek. I used to get excited when I would see producers and studio musicians that worked with multiple bands. Did you know Toto and Chicago shared many of the same non-band-member artists OR that several of them played instruments for each other's albums. I, too, like the liner notes and the way that different artists choose to write (or illustrate) their lyrics. Green Day does a great job as did Nirvana with all the pictures between the lines (both literally and figuratively). Geeks live proud!!!

  2. And I thought I was the only one...;-)


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