So I picked this up from my cousin Louise over at her blog: What music do I link with my various friends and acquaintances? Metallica reminds Louise of me because she knew me back in my middle school days, when I was convinced that Metallica was the greatest band in the world. (I was a serious true believer.)
So I’ll start with Louise, and work through other friends to see what I come up with.
Louise: Schoolhouse Rock. I’m just a little too young to have caught Schoolhouse Rock as a kid, so I was introduced to it by Louise.
Jenny: This is a tough one — we’ve spent so long together now that a lot of music reminds me of her — but after her semester in Salamanca during college, she came home with a CD that she played, slightly apologetically, of a Latin pop star she’d really come to like: Shakira.
Daniel: Daniel and I were music buddies for a long time, and he was instrumental in shaping my current tastes, so as with Jenny, it’s kind of meaningless to pin it down to one particular artist. But of all the artists I didn’t like until Daniel taught me to hear them, probably my favorite today is Talking Heads.
T: We also shared a lot of music during our long relationship, but two artists in particular stand out: Yukari Fresh, a treasure she found in Japan (and whose music is woefully underappreciated in America), and Solas, the Celtic band good enough to get me to go with Thekla to the town of Doolin in County Clare, Ireland, and while away the evening in a pub, sipping Bulmer’s cider and listening to very, very good Irish musicians. (It was a brave sacrifice.) I also think of Thekla in association with Erin McKeown, whom we first saw at the Postcrypt coffee house on the Columbia campus (where I met Thekla) when Erin was just a 19-year-old bundle of hippie wool tumbling in from Brown University to blow our minds at an open stage night, and Noe Venable, who went to high school with T.
Lori: This is the Eskimo one, who I dated back in college, and she’s the one who convinced me that I should really give Everclear a try (the band, not the beverage). Their album Sparkle and Fade is the only good thing they ever did, but it’s a lyrically rich, underrated gem from the mid-nineties era of post-punk, post-grunge hard rock that would’ve been working-class except nobody had a job. (Did we really elect a second Bush?)
Berit: The lyrics of Everclear’s “Santa Monica” are a good summary of how I felt about my relationship with Berit as it collapsed over the summer when I met Lori. But the musician who brings Berit most strongly to mind is, of course, PJ Harvey, whose power to make Berit squirm with erotic delight was something I could never match.
Lorie: This is the non-Eskimo Lorie, the one I’m still friends with (and really need to call). Back in high school, when we first dated, I spent a lot of time lying in her room, inhaling second-hand cigarette smoke and staring up at her magazine photos of Mike Patton’s torso (which was very nice in those days). Lorie and Ashley were rabid fans of Mr. Bungle, Patton’s first band (Ash even had the side of her head shaved, just like Mike), and also fans of Faith No More, whose “Epic” video is a classic document of the late-eighties thrash-funk moment, when dressing like Arsenio Hall while rapping over heavy metal briefly seemed like a great idea. (Trivia: Though FNM T-shirts insisted that “THE FISH LIVES!”, the fish in fact died. And the answer to the question “What is it?” was widely agreed to be “Losing your virginity.”)
Ashley: Ashley was also a music buddy for many years, so there’s a ton of music I associate with her, especially all those obscure Bay Area bands we used to go see: Bluchunks, Fungo Mungo, the Limbomaniacs, the Deli Creeps, MCM and the Monster, Dizzybam. But it was later, after I’d come to New York for college and Ashley had moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, that we would spend weekends in her odd little attic apartment above a flower shop on a windswept highway intersection, drowning our loneliness with Rolling Rocks, excessive flirtation and hours of listening to Soundgarden (What is it with Ashley and fish-abuse videos?) and Morphine.
Lauren: Bhangra, yo!
My father: Stan Getz. Lester Young. Oscar Peterson. Miles Davis. Slim Gaillard. Lord Buckley. Crosby Stills & Nash. Sly and the Family Stone, who he and my mom used to see live at the Electric Circus.
My mother: All of that, plus Ray Charles, who played at the first rock concert she ever went to.
My sister: Little Mermaid. Sorry, Shana. I know you’re older now — heck, I’m going to your college graduation this spring — but you did watch your Little Mermaid video about 10,000 times.
Did I miss anything obvious? I don’t think so — at least not involving anyone I still know. Enjoy the music.