Earlier this week I tried in vain to educate my kids to the wonders of Ian Brown (above) and The Stone Roses. Granted, it was over breakfast and even after throwing in the Ian Brown Harry Potter link it's not too hard to see why a 6 & 9 year old would prefer the tunes played on Capital Radio rather than the awesome 'I Wanna Be Adored'! I'm off to see the mighty Stone Roses at Finsbury Park this Saturday and quite frankly I cannot wait.
I told my son (he's the 6 year old) that even if he doesn't get it now he will later in his life. I confused him, of course, but it did get me thinking about how my musical tastes have evolved down the years.
I guess I could trace the real start of my musical history to around 1986 when I was just 12 years old. It was at this youthful age that I began rejecting the mainstream and made up my own mind about what I listened to. Run DMC had released 'Raising Hell' that year and I found myself exposed to a whole new music genre. In '87 I was introduced to Eric B & Rakim's classic LP 'Paid In Full' via an old graffiti artist acquaintance and in the same year DJ Scott La Rock and KRS One released 'Criminal Minded'. It's those albums that made me fall deep into the whole hip-hop scene; Kangol hat, spray cans, bright red Adidas trainers, tracksuits and all! Within a few years my good mate Scott and me would spend most Saturdays trawling independent record shops in London seeking out rare imports direct from the states and before long we both had enviable record collections that would have stood up against anyone's in the UK at the time, I'm certain of that. I favoured more of an East Coast sound rather than the gangster stuff emanating from the West Coast, which, I suppose because of the anti-police and gun theme I never really felt I could relate to. By the early 90's, Scott and me were dabbling in a bit of rapping ourselves under the band name 'Breakdown Massive'. For the record, here's my all time favorite hip-hop tune...
MC Shan 'I Pioneered This' - Hip Hop doesn't get better...
For me, the essence of good hip-hop is in it's raw simplicity and that has never changed to this day. I have always shunned the over-produced, over-engineered, crisp sounding stuff, and in fact it was the evolution and popularity of hip hop that ultimately lead to me broadening my musical horizons.
By the late '80's and early 90's most young teenagers either went one of three ways; Rock, Indie or Dance. I went the way of dance and to some degree missed the first coming of the Stone Roses and the Charlatans, two bands I would later list amongst my favorites. Acid House and rave was the order of the day (with a healthy drop of proper soul music here and there to contrast - in particular Maze Feat. Frankie Beverly) and I fondly recall those memorable nights with my mates at the legendary Camden Palace and Berwick Manor which was located somewhere deep in Essex (anyone else remember that rave venue?). I never quite got my head around drum and base, but I cannot put my finger on why, especially given my love of the drum.
Before long I was surrounded by a green haze and slipped gently into the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley (musically not the same, but fitted where I was at the time). I floated around that scene for a good few years before I realised my social skills were suffering (through no fault of the music) and I moved on (and found my first serious girlfriend, I might add). At this point I revisited some of the indie stuff I'd not paid enough attention to earlier in my life!
By the late 90's I had discovered Latin jazz and world music generally through Gilles Peterson's late night 'Worldwide' Radio 1 show. From there I've gone all over the place whether it be Afrobeat from..er...Africa or strange mystical sounds from other far flung corners of the globe. At the moment I seem to have taken a liking to Japanese spiritual jazz and in particular, this obscure LP.
I'm grateful my tastes have evolved in such an eclectic way. The question is, what music form will I discover next?