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Let's talk credentials!!!

As a fan of this forum (and a devotee of Bracketology), I enjoy reading everyone’s comments, and it occurred to me that it would be nice if we could all share our “musical history”, as it were. It would be nice to know what sort of musical background people have, as a way to gain more insight into each person’s remarks/opinions about particular styles, artists, songs, genres, etc. related to music.

For example, do you have any musical training? Have you taken any music classes (ie. post-secondary)? Are you from a musical family? Any other tidbits you want to share?

Hopefully this thread doesn’t turn into a brag-fest, because that’s certainly not my intention. It would just be cool to know where everyone’s coming from, musically speaking.

Re: Let's talk credentials!!!

I'll take the bait.

I have been a fan of music my whole life - especially during college in the eighties. Most of my ideas come from personal study of everything musical (including reading this site). I took some music theory, composition, and history classes in college, but majored in English. I worked at two record stores similar to the one described in High Fidelity. Got a lot of free stuff that way. I took piano and trumpet lesson as a kid, but my real interest is playing the guitar. I played bass guitar in a couple of bands that never got discovered (but should have been). And that's about it.

Judging from my votes on bracketology, I seem to be a bit out of step with the mainstream on this site, but I think it is mostly just subjective.

Re: Let's talk credentials!!!

Ok it's up to me now

I'm afraid I will be long

Well, I told a lot in 2 previous posts, the first being my introduction to this site in which I explain the researches I made about history of rock but also blues, country and ... electro.
I'm from a musical background : my grandma played classical piano wonderfully, she had a 2nd prize at the conservatoire national in Paris, and could have been a professional but instead was devoted to her family.
Funny memory : I'd give her my Springsteen music books and she'd play them, it was like hearing the record but she was singing lyrics in a very funny old fashioned voice
I learnt piano for 2 years only, musical theory pissed me off so I quit as soon as I could.
Everybody sang in my mother's family, so did I
I learnt the guitar with a teacher when I was 12, then stopped taking lessons after 2 years and learnt by ear. I was not very interested in technique but I wanted to be able to write simple songs and play while I sang.
I wrote a few songs from 16 to 25 years old (maybe 2 or 3 of which are not so bad), I sang in a band (70's stuff : Neil Young, Bowie,the Who) from 1991 to 1995. we had a few gigs but it was not a specially good band (The bass/drums section was very weak I'm afraid, they were very very good friends so we couldn't tell them)
I wrote a book about this experience : it's a novel and it's based on 30-some songs (it was supposed to be longer, with 100 songs that were at the time -1996- my top 100), each song being like the soundtrack to the story. It's difficult to explain, especially in english. the book was published in 2000.
After that I started getting interested in other kinds of music, especially blues (my father had a small but excellent collection)which was a revelation to me. it is the chore of rock n roll.
I have the project to write a novel on Leadbelly's life, but for that I need to research a lot and go to the States, which is difficult because noxw I've got a wife and family (1 daughter, a son to come in december)
I played for 2 years in a folk duet with an English friend of mine, in cafes in Paris, only covers, blues (Leadbelly, Sonny Terry), country (Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt) and rock (creedence, neil young). I sang, played guitar and harmonica, and he sang, played guitar and mandolin.
I was a critic in magazines from 200 to 2003, but I quit (couldn't live off that).
i guess my entire life is devoted to music. I have not too many records (about 1200 albums, 40 % of which is rock).
when it comes to pop/rock, my favorite artists are the Beatles, Johnny Cash, The Divine Comedy, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young.
I'm also a huge fan of r&b.
Im currently making my own album top 100, but I can't do things halfway, so it might take months to come to a satisfactory result.
Well, sorry, i turned on the writing tap.
i don't want to monopolize speach here.

Re: Let's talk credentials!!!

I’ve been a fan of music my entire life as well. I was born in 1981, and grew up to the sounds of the Beatles, 70’s rock (Zeppelin, Floyd, Alan Parsons) and 80’s pop. The first album I ever owned was The Beatles – 20 Greatest Hits, on cassette.

At 19, I worked at a record store, and as you can probably attest to Loophole, a person can gain a lot of musical education from working in a place like that. It can also turn a person into a snob ("I can't believe you don't own this f&%$ing record!"), and admittedly, I fell victim to the hipster attitude - it was contagious in a place like that. There’s still that side to me, but with age I’m growing more tolerant of others tastes (well, in theory anyway.)

As for formal education… as a kid, I took both piano and guitar lessons, but I’d consider the guitar my main instrument. I’ve been playing for about 10 years, and if you look at my Bracketology comments, it’s pretty obvious that I come at most songs from a guitarist point of view – chord patterns, solos, tones, riffs, etc. I’ve also taken a Popular Music intro course and a Western Music (classical) course at university.

This site has definitely helped expand my musical cognizance.

Re: Let's talk credentials!!!

I'm 23, have a film degree and am currently studying to be an audio engineer at Harris Institute. This January I'll start an internship at a studio called the Hive. I'm also a singer/songwriter and play guitar, bass guitar (main instrument), violin, trumpet, piano and a bit of drums. I've played in all sorts of bands and done all sorts of shows. Through my school I've met lots of Canadian music industry folk. For example just today the head of marketing at the Canadian branch of Wind-Up came by to do a guest lecture (he's actually a graduate too). I also know people who've worked with Bowie, Rush, Deep Purple, Procul Harum, etc. Personally I've recorded (helped record anyways) Joss Stone, Tanya Tucker and a few others.

Re: Let's talk credentials!!!

I actually began the formative process of learning to read off the labels of 45s. My parents had bought one of those "mixed box" collections where you pay a certain amount for around 100 45s with them guaranteeing a certain number of "hits" mixed in. (Hits were usually stuff that skidded into the Top 30 so to this day I have a strange fondness for Robin McNamara's "Lay a Little Lovin' on Me".

Went to broadcasting school, came out and did 10 years as a DJ for southern gospel (not a fan but you have to start somewhere), oldies, country and light rock stations, with a little bit of newscasting.

I've just always tried to keep myself open to new music so my listening tastes include rock, pop, R&B, some jazz, a smidgen of classical, some rap, country, bluegrass, standards/big band, alternative and a little bit of heavy metal. One of the ways I "find" new music is to intentionally grab 3 or 4 CDs by artists I've never heard/heard of before at the library. (I discovered Edie Brickell through this method.)

Re: Let's talk credentials!!!

Looks like I’m relatively credential-free here.

I can read music, and I’ve fooled around, not very seriously, with saxophone, clarinet, drums and guitar (not at the same time, obviously), but I’ve never really developed any musical talent. Which makes me an anomaly in my own family, most of whom make or made a living out of music…my mother was a symphonic percussionist, my two brothers are a music professor and a musical theater actor, and my wife is an opera singer. So, of course, my degrees are in English literature and art history, and I work as a freelance writer and editor. I have also taught college courses in mass media, in which popular music formed a (small) part of the syllabus.

Like the rest of you, I have been a music fan as long as I can remember; my first 45 was “Joy to the World,” by Three Dog Night—purchased for me when I was age 2 (the proper age for that song). My first album was Blondie’s Parallel Lines. I underwent a punk conversion in 1981, and I’ve never completely gotten over it. And, though I never worked in a record store, I did tend bar for a while in the (accurately) self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World—Austin, Texas. Being a music fan in Austin broadened my appreciation of rockabilly, blues and country, and gave me a bias toward live performance. I don’t think it’s possible to live in Austin and avoid music—apart from all the amazing venues for live shows (Liberty Lunch was a favorite), radio station KGSR and Waterloo Records together gave me an education in popular music all by themselves. I used to go to the South by Southwest festival pretty regularly, though I haven’t been in a few years.

My current favored musical outlet is satellite radio, which has been helping me get into jazz and American standards (though my favorite station is still the 70s/80s alternative channel).