Memory is a funny thing

as are internet message boards. I was browsing my regular DnB message board tonight when I saw a thread asking what our earliest music memories were; as someone who was raised with music constantly around, that was kind of a tough one.

What first came into my mind were background memories; ambient sounds and situations that seem to weave through all the years of my childhood. Growing up there were always lots of 'oldies' in the car on road trips and my dad talking about which was #1 when and what it made him think of. Lots of Rolling Stones and CCR, not to mention tons of one-hit-wonders that he could remember with complete clarity, even if he never liked them. Some songs sparked talks about 60s politics - race riots, peaceful demonstrations, hippies, fear of being sent to war, personal experiences, and national ones - each song prompting a mini-lesson in what it was like to be college-aged in a time of turmoil, and how those influences created some amazing music. Funny how now I do the same thing when I hear 90s music countdowns; I can't peg which ones charted, but I can remember instances, people, and all kinds of emotions wrapped up in the good, the bad, and the ugly; perhaps my era didn't witness such profound national changes, but each song chronicled massive private changes of one kind or another.

After that there are the goofy songs from the Dr. Demento show. We used to listen to it coming back from the demolition derby at the long-gone Santa Fe Speedway. These songs are tied up in memories of Indian Princess/Indian Guides friends, bikers in leather, lots of smoke, and an odd instance where for some reason I used the men's handicapped bathroom while my dad guarded the door outside, but somehow or other someone accidentally walked in. The speedway was an awesome contradiction to the tame suburbia in which we grew up: people smoked, drank, fought, made out, peed on walls, and cheered as mud spattered the people all around them - kicked up by colliding rust-buckets. Minus the mud, and it's a lot like how I remember old Comiskey Park.

Stream of consciousness, mixed in with some Weird Al Yankovic.

My first distinct musical memory was me visiting the nursing home where my Nana (Mom's mom) was living. My grandpa (Dad's dad) was a career musician and played in various bands, one of which came to entertain at her nursing home once a month - a bunch of old timers playing polka, tamburitza, etc.. Anyway, I was hanging out with Nana and her friends when grandpa got on the mic and called me up to the stage; I must have been about 5 or so. He asked me to sing 'You Are My Sunshine' while the band played. To this day I still have terrible stage fright and will only sing alone in the car
. Despite the mental scarring, I got over it and never held a grudge against grandpa, but I was always sure to make myself scarce when he was playing (as long as I wasn't out of earshot)!

"In memory everything seems to happen to music."
~ Tennessee Williams
The Glass Managerie

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