This week, I heard one of my favorite bands was coming to Dallas for the first time in a while (thanks, Chris M.). Although I have listened to P.O.D. for years, I have never heard them in person. To be honest, it’s a bucket list item for me. And even though I would look seriously out of place in the crowd, I was excited by the possibility of seeing them this fall.
But my excitement turned into a major bummer, when I saw who else was playing with them. Even though Insane Clown Posse is not my musical cup of tea, I wouldn’t mind seeing them. But from what I’ve read about and seen online, the craziness of their concerts and the unruliness of their hardcore hip-hop fans are enough for me to stay home and watch Sunday Night Football from my recliner on that night in October.
Like I said. Bummer. But it got me thinking tonight before I head off to bed.
I used to really, really dislike country music. Twenty years in Texas have softened me. Now, there are days I choose to listen to Brad Paisley, the Zac Brown Band, and even some Willie Nelson. Whoa. Not to mention my deepened love and appreciation for the greatness of Southern rock, the likes of ZZ Top, Lynryd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, and the Marshall Tucker Band.
In my early teenage years, like many kids in the 60’s, I was mesmerized by rock and roll. I played bass in a garage band for the first time when I was 13. I can’t remember the name of the band, but we played a mean “13 year-old” cover of White Rabbit, by the Jefferson Airplane. Listening to the three-record, live album from Woodstock in 1969 changed my life.
I was a jazz musician in high school and my early college years. My trumpet hero was Miles Davis Jr. My love of horns and my love of rock and roll was given a whole new perspective with bands like Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and the Sons of Champlin.
Because I was really a wannabe hippie in the early 70’s (I didn’t do the sex and drugs…only the rock and roll part), my life as a follower of Jesus was still able to grow. The early years of “Christian” rock was super important to me, especially as a young youth minister. Thank you, Larry Norman.
Somehow, I lived through the cassette-burning, Satan-influenced, backmasking phase of the church with my love of Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Queen, The Who and loads of others, completely intact.
Youth ministry in the 80’s forged a whole new direction in my musical taste, because of a little-known band from Ireland. Although I still loved Van Halen and Metallica, U2 changed everything for music-loving, church kids in Southern California. For me, also. My musical tastes broadened as I identified more and more with the music kids were listening to. It became “my” music, also.
I grew to love all of it. Classic rock, hair-band metal, hard-core, punk, ska, Seattle, college and indie rock…it was all good to my ears. And all the while retaining my love of classical and jazz. Go figure. And it’s never ended.
When Aerosmith collaborated with Run DMC on “Walk this Way” in 1986, little did I know I was listening to what would become my favorite style of music. When we moved our little family from the surf community of Huntington Beach in 1990 to the urban turf of East San Diego, the door to rap and hip hop was busted down.
Maybe it was my close association with kids and families we shared life with (in our community and our church plant) or just my openness to listening to all kinds of music. Either way, I spent the next five years deep in the world of urban music. I am still blown away by the flow and artistry of rappers like Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z.
But it was the merger of rap and rock that won me over. Beastie Boys. Rage Against the Machine. Faith No More. Early Kid Rock. Linkin Park. Thousand Foot Krutch. P.O.D. Project 86. So many more. The music is harsh and always aggressive. Loud and driving. Lyrically moving. Definitely my favorite. My playlist is never without this style.
Enough history for now.
But there’s more to this story.