I will never understand people who do not have a specific and enduring passion for music. Specific and enduring are the key words in the previous sentence. When I hear “Oh, I like everything,” I question whether they breathe the same air I do, or if they have a heart that beats warm blood in their chest. Sometimes you will go in for the question again, “No, really, who do you like?” That, you soon find, is a fool’s errand since you are speaking with a fool. Okay, that’s possibly taking things a bit to far. Some people are not nearly as moved by music as me. How is it that you can like everything, or be okay with anything? I guess if I look at other interests I have, that I can understand the take it or leave it attitude. But not with music.
Typically around the ages of 13-15 you find the music that you will enjoy for the rest of your life. You will like those bands forever. They will lead you to find other music within and without the genre. My progression looked something like this. Embarrassingly enough, I started to listen to the Spin Doctors, then was introduced to Stone Temple Pilots by a boy I thought was cute at summer camp. I owe him a great debt of gratitude wherever he is today because if it had not been for STP, I never would have found Nirvana, Alice in Chains, which then lead to Metallica, which then lead to Staind, Sevendust, Shinedown, and the list goes on. Yes, I left out some bands along the way, as I found my way. My interests continued to be wide, but I was honing in on a particularly lyrical, raspy voiced vocalist, heavy sound. The combination results in a physical and mental release for me. I also felt understood and that others felt or were able to put words to what I was feeling inside my ever changing mind and body.
I, too, could say that I like everything. Every serious music fan can fairly state that, I just get concerned when there is no core group of artists, or one sound, genre that really gets your blood pumping. There are days I am confident that people state they enjoy everything to not offend, to be diplomatic. But a person as passionate as myself, I need to have an answer. I need to know what makes you tick. I often sit and people watch, wondering what these people that I see might listen to. Some people wear it on their sleeve, dressing the part. Others are far more difficult to discern, covering their passion for Slayer way down deep inside, under tailored suits and polished shoes.
I enjoy everything, but I know I will always come home to my musical prophets that guide me, Layne Staley, Aaron Lewis, Kurt Cobain, Shaun Morgan, among others. They are my religion when I feel God is not with me. They are a beacon and a guiding light in a sometimes dark world. They put speech to feelings that I sometimes cannot identify. All good people have strong, compassionate, and passionate cores. These men write lyrics that feed my core and my soul in a way no one will ever know. I hope those that like “everything” find something that feeds their soul like music feeds mine. In this strange and confusing world, filled with senseless violence, meaningless death, and a lack of love, we need to find something that will keep our individual selves whole.
And with that…I leave you with the words and music of one of my prophets, Aaron Lewis…
Alice in Chains heavily inspired Aaron Lewis, so we must go back to the source, Layne Staley. Unquestionably one of the best entrances in the history of MTV’s Unplugged (in my humble opinion)