Chitter-Chadder, What’s The Matter?
Growing Up Chad
Genre? What the hell is that?
I don’t remember a time I wasn’t listening to or enjoying music. When growing up (I’ve not really grown up yet, but I’m referencing my growth spurts between 1975-93), music was a very vital, but normal everyday occurrence in our home. We all had portable record, radio and or cassette players in our bedrooms. Our living room always had a stereo and we had a plethora of radio stations, 45’s, 78’s, 33 ½’s, 8-track cassettes, and ¼ cassettes to choose from. Music was always playing.
I remember going through the stacks of albums, putting them on to see what it sounded like. Some I liked and some I thought were okay, but I always enjoyed listening. Hearing the different instruments or voices blending together. Not really even understanding what it was that was occurring. Just sitting back and letting my imagination fill in the rest.
We had music ranging from Classical, R&B, Rock’N’Roll, Country, World, Acid Rock, Folk, Pop, and Musicals. Artist like Mike Oldfield, Elvis, Sly and The Family Stone, Waylon Jennnings, Gordon Lightfoot, The Doors, Lorretta Lynn, The Beatles, Kiss, Tammy Wynette, Captain and Tennille, Chuck Berry, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Barry Manilow, Blondie, Bay City Rollers, The Sweet, The Ventures, (along with many other groups/artist) or the soundtracks from Star Wars, Grease, The Muppet take Manhattan, Easy Rider, The Exorcist, and Apocalypse Now. The one thing I really didn’t understand until later is that every album we collected was classified at some point under a genre.
A genre? What the hell is that?
I didn’t know what a genre even was as well as not understanding that Kiss differed from Waylon Jennings. I knew that it sounded different, but I had zero concept of any sort of filing system or genres until I started to share my music with my friends.
We had a stereo in the living room that had a record, 8-track, and two ¼ cassette players on it. We had the capability to place a blank tape in the cassette deck and record any of the other mediums upon it. I enjoyed listening to Led Zeppelin IV, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, The Best of Waylon Jennings,or The Ventures. Oftentimes I’d take my Boom Box (our cool name for our portable tape player), walk to the playground across the street and commence to listen to my music while the other kids were playing. Sometimes I’d hang my boom box off the handle bars as I cruised the neighborhood on my 1985 blue Huffy pedal bike. My music often came with me on my adventures. It helped create the reflective scenes of my childhood.
(In a child-like sarcastic voice) What are you listening to?
A question often asked when I was enjoying music. “That sounds weird” or “yuck” was often a reply to my stating the tune I was appreciating at the moment. It wasn’t until I met my friend Randy who also enjoyed music, that the term “Heavy Metal” was explained to me. A light bulb turned on in my head and an abundance of questions started to formulate. “So all this music I have been listening to for the extent of my then current age (which was forever), has different labels and categories that separate them to the consumer?” “But why?” It seemed so confusing to me. Who cares what it is as long as you enjoy it right? Wrong!
Now when I went into Musicland, KMart, or Pamida’s music department, the genre categories started to present themselves. The words Country, Rock, Pop, Classical, Rap, ect, were now very apparent. They were there the whole time, I just never cared to notice.
My enjoyment of music never stopped. I would be a closet fan of most melodious genres for the remainder of my teenage years and my tastes were as diverse as my personality or clothing style . Generally, I would be seen wearing my dad’s army fatigue jacket. Pettibone Corp hat, a Harley Davidson shirt, parachute pants and some Kanga-Roo’s shoes. I was quite a sight, But when it came to music I continued my interests to discover as many artists as I could while still keeping up with the times to stay “in” with my teenage crowd.
Oddly though I saw division among people in music just as much as say politics, and I just don’t understand it. I have always seen myself as an independent trying to co-exist in a diverse world. I like what I like and never would say, “this is the only way.” I admire traditionalists as well as artists who think outside of the traditional boxes. Why say, "What’s better country or rock or classical” or whichever “genre” one tends to enjoy more. I find beauty and interest in them all. That doesn’t mean I like everyone’s music, but I will find something to like in anything I hear.I am happy to have come to that conclusion.
In writing music, I pull from everything I’ve heard over the years. I have melded together music that entertains me. And now I want to share it. My genre though is no genre. It’s everything.
but most of all it’s me. A culmination of what I like. I spent six years in a “Country” band, so of course you will hear that among other rhythmic accents.
When asked by my guidance counselor Mr. DesRocher, “What do you want to do or be after you graduate?”, to which I replied, “I would like to play guitar.” I’ve never wanted to be a famous musician or celebrity. All I wanted out of life was to play my guitar and write music. Write music inspired by the years spent knocking the walls down of labeling or genres and enjoying music for the magical splendor that it creates inside my head.
In conclusion, having musical genres is a perfectly acceptable way to categorize, organize or classify it, but I just don’t think one is better than another, It doesn’t divide me. I just love music.
As Frank Zappa said, “Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.”
Music is THE BEST!
If you are listening to anything I have created I will suggest one thing. Be open minded. Everyone is different and everyone has a different view of the world.
Grab your favorite set of headphones, music, and go for a walk. The music most for me, creates a new scene for things I have already come accustomed to viewing. You never know, you may see things in a totally different way.