In recent years I have contemplated how my musical obsession may have started and attempted to pinpoint the stages of its evolution. I’ve been dissecting how my tastes may have formed. Why do I like what I like? How did I get this way? My story is a fanboy trip that would never unfold the same way today with the digital landscape of instant info and seemingly boundless listening access. Unlike Nick Hornby’s Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, I won’t claim to be “able to see how I got from Deep Purple to Howlin’ Wolf in twenty-five moves.” We’ll just piece things together as inspiration hits, as my collection is sifted through, and my boxes of rock ephemera are explored.
Since music has always been top of mind for me, I recall many of the moments where rock and roll and the minutiae of day-to-day life have intersected: an older cousin turning up the volume on a certain K-tel track, an elementary school classmate’s essay about AM radio songs, an LP trade with a next door neighbor to name a few. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast today, but I can recall who played second on a three-band bill at the Euclid Tavern on a Monday night in 1993.
With the Greater Listening Area the hope is to sort out some of these memories and their accompanying soundtrack and maybe shake loose some more recollections in the process. Hopefully you will see yourself in some of these posts regardless of your depth of immersion in music. (Some of you may actually be in these posts.) We can collect your stories and comments as well and laugh together at how terminally uncool I am. At best, we can celebrate (and maybe in some small way help preserve) the disappearing culture of the physical recordings, the printed matter, the record stores, and the radio stations that shaped us.