First Inspirations

scheduleApril 28, 2021

I’ve been enjoying the creative prompts over at Valhalla DSP’s blog and thought I’d piggyback a little.

Music has always been a part of my life, I remember not being allowed to watch MTV but I’d wake up early on Saturday mornings to sneak some time in (this was when MTV was actually playing music videos).

I was lucky to have teenage cousins that would tape either from the radio or from their own collection and give me mix tapes. Because of this I was obsessed early on with Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Weezer, Nirvana, Presidents of the United States of America, The Cranberries etc…

Though I grew up in a fundamentalist evangelical household, it wasn’t often I was denied “secular” music (though my parents were stoked if I found something at a christian bookstore) and if I was denied, I’d request Marylin Manson or whatever on the next mixtape and later on just grab everything via Napster (I know, I know…).

I was and am still guitar obsessed, synthesizers came towards the end of my teenage years when I discovered Radiohead’s “Kid A.” I had never heard a record like that but I lived with my Sony Discman and just listened over and over trying to figure out how they were making all those sounds. But ultimately I wanted to be like Billy Corgan (minus being an asshole).

This was the first Smashing Pumpkins album (though it’s a collection meant to be a sort of mixtape of itself) I borrowed from a friends brother. I didn’t even own a CD player yet and had to listen via the CD drive on our old Gateway 2000 PC running Windows 95. I listened to “Hello Kitty Kat” over and over and over…

I owned this album on cassette but vividly remember the music video, one thing I did love about 90’s music was the distinct vocal stylings amongst all the artists.

Though I never cared to venture beyond “Dookie,” I can’t leave this out, it’s what led me to start playing drums in the 6th grade and later guitar. I probably wore the tape out. I convinced my mom to buy this for me and later she freaked out as she saw “fuck” appear in the lyrics for the track “Longview.” If I remember correctly, I “promised” I would just “skip” that song when listening.

Aside from Smashing Pumpkins, the other band I would obsess over throughout my teens was Deftones. I bought “Adrenaline” and later all the albums, “maxi singles,” import versions, you name it.