My life in music.

My mum, bless her cotton socks, was not big into music. As a result of a hrs life and a car accident she suffered from and still does of debilitating migraines. So deep purple LPs lying around were going to be in short supply. In fact the only record I can remember her playing was a Slim Dusty album. Once. So it would be fair to say she had very little influence on my musical taste.

The first tapes I can recall owning were Dire Straits - Love Over Gold an EP of sprawling stories with lots of beautiful guitar and piano. I'd wanted their album, Brothers in Arms, with all the classic pop songs, but ended up with that. Despite the initial distaste of ungrateful 11 year old, I still love that EP. I also got a few hand me down tapes from my step brother. Choirboys was good. Right on Track 87.



If you are a 13 year old boy can there be a greater lyric than "boom, boom, boom , let's go back to my room"? I think not. I think the first tape I bought was Icehouse - Man of Color. A great Aussie band writing good pop. And of course every Christmas for about five years I got the Smash Hits compilation tape. Bros, Kylie and the gang was the musical equivalent of feeding a baby fairy floss and Dagwood dogs. That's why it is highly ironic that in grade ten, Bon Jovi came to save me.



You see, my mum, money conscious that she is had greeted every statement that I was going to purchase a CD player with a question. "do you need it?". I wasn't sure. A cousin saved the day by buying me the gold tour edition of Slippery When Wet. A fine excuse to pony up the cash. It was then that one of the biggest influences in my musical education kicked in. My mate Motts.

I joined a music club that gave you three CDs a month at a better price. We split the purchases between us. I think Motts got Faith No More - Angel Dust and the Jesus and Mary Chain - Stoned and Dethroned. I got the Chilli Peppers classic Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Of course we swapped CDs and I got an introduction to grunge. Alice in Chains, Soungarden and I hate to admit it now, Pearl Jam followed. Not Nirvana, strangely, it would be years later that the doco series Classic Albums would get me interested in them. Of course I loved U2 and the live Hunters and Collectors double album but I reckon that between high school and Motts and I living together the first year and a half of living in Brisbane, that he introduced my to every new band that I got into.

Except one. A girl that I was more than a little interested in was a big fan of a couple of bands that were very conducive to young hormones and poorly lit bedrooms and dance floors. Portishead and Morcheeba come on down. The love affair with them, Massive Attack, Tricky and others lasted much longer than my teenage hormones.



Another beast was about to raise its head. Brisbane in the late 90s was the best place to go out and see a bit of live music, even if I didn't really know what to go and see. I can remember going to a Livid and just hanging round the main stage. I can only recall a bit of Shihad and two Reef songs while I was lining up for the toilets. Now I kick myself that I missed them, but back then I had no idea who they were. My local watering hole was also a great little room to see the odd local legend like Glockenspiel. The Alley would have a much bigger part to play later.

After a few years Motts, The Wife who was at that stage The Girlfriend and a few others got another share house together and introduced me to a strange new music. Aussie hip hop, specifically Resin Dogs. It rocked my world. I was hooked and for good. And live, Jesus they were something else, with Dave standing at the kit, drumsticks flying and Lazy Grey on the mic. We saw them live a lot. And a few others as well, Moby's tour of the Play album was a highlight. Salmonella Dub. There was lots of music festivals of which I can remember little but live music was about to become a much bigger part of my life.



I was working at The Alley now, in the tradition of getting a job there from spending more than half my waking hours in there playing pool, drinking and listening to music. Trouble was I had this wedding coming up and I needed to pay for some things. Suddenly the boss quit and despite no knowledge of booking bands or running a pub I put myself up for the job. All good. Over the next five years I saw more live bands than I can count but I grew very weary of singer songwriters, there were so many crap ones and the good ones, like Alex Oliver and Asa Broomhall and a few others made the others seem like cats yowling. But Aussie hip hop was what I liked. Starting with my heroes Brothers Stoney, with Len One and Lazy from Resin Dogs and stretching through to Hilltop Hoods with little side visits to bands like 11 hour limit, an instrumental hip hop band, bass, scratching and flute. I booked them all. Ok so there was some crap ones but then there are guys like Koolism or Bias B.




The other big influence from this period was my good mate Darryl Bailey from EMI music. He swung The Alley lots of new music to play between sets and put me onto some artists that I'd never have bought. Paul Kelly, K-OS, Beth Orton. And others that we both loved like Cat Empire and Salmonella Dub.

So now where to. I don't really go to live shows anymore. I've got back into Triple J lately, which is good for new hip hop and rock mindworms like Muse and Passion Pit. I've left a lot out like the great story of Stereo MCs for another time. It's been a great ramble through my back catalog and I might open some of the cracks another day.

But to Motts? Thanks mate.

Lantanaland from the iPhone