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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Oh, But I Still Love The Accordion

I am the daughter of a drummer.

I was raised on Big Band music. Nowadays that sounds quaint, because there are people (young) out there that assume someone in their 40s would naturally have been raised during the Swing Era.

That’s wrong. Get yer musical eras straight!

So while the rest of the kids in the ‘70s were listening to rock and/or roll, I was being schooled on the finer points of Krupa versus Rich, on the intricacies of a Goodman solo and why Ellington was a god.

You can imagine how popular my incredible knowledge of this genre made me amongst my peers.

And this also explains why playing “air” clarinet is not nearly as cool as one would think.

I played “old time” music for Al Derke’s Melody Makers throughout high school in a band that could swell from three players to 30. Schottisches, polkas, mazurkas? I got yer happy-hoppin’ music right here! Ever heard of a "Polka Mass"? Polish Catholics dig it. Picture a cultural/religious event that, told as a joke, would start with the line "A polka band and a priest walk into a ballroom..."

This is yet another activity that does not garner admiration from, well, anyone.

I still don’t know how it happened, but my first “rock” album purchase, in 10th grade, was Kiss’s “Destroyer”.

It all went to hell from there. From the Dorsey Brothers to the Chmielewski Fun Time Hour to Kiss to the Buzzcocks to all manner of musical decadence, I slid into a tattered blue jean and palmed-up-hair world. Iggy Pop wanted to be my dog, and I wanted to let him.

Today, there are very few styles of music that I don’t like. When pressed, I will admit that I don’t care for house music. Tunes being smooshed into each other, stealing the musical “hooks” from one song to play endlessly to a synthesized beat? Where’s the passion? How am I going to dance properly without a live drummer?

You call that music?!

But, hey. Live and let live has been my motto since, well, since I killed that guy; and so far, it’s working. I don’t really mind what you’re listening to unless it’s coming through the floorboards at 3:00 a.m.

And that’s another post.

25 comments:

white rabbit said...

The first album I bought was Captain Beefheart's 'Mirror Man' Odd I know but there ya go...

I'm sure Mr Pop would be delighted to oblige.

Lisa said...

I have my sister to thank for introducing me to rock and roll. Had it been left up to my mother, I would have thought that all music began and ended with Conway Twitty and Roy Clarke.

I can just imagine you standing at the bus stop running your riffs on the air clarinet.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Basically, I don't like any music that, when amplified and leaking out of an otherwise-unoccupied cranium and/or earpiece, sounds like the machinery for root canal work.

A question back at ya: how come Rolling Stones songs work as polkas but the Beatles don't?

Fred Miller said...

Hey, I was almost as cool as you. John Denver, right here, buddy. I was going to change my name to Fred Denver.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Hey, I was playing air clarinet just the other day! We have a drum kit for the grandkids (ages 2 and 3), and recently we introduced them to Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, and Harry James, in Sing, Sing, Sing. (YouTube is a great teaching tool.) They LOVED it. Augie is busy trying to copy Krupa, and both kids love this joke: "What's so funny about 'Sing, Sing, Sing?' Nobody sings!" Perhaps they will carry the big band tradition forward.

Roses said...

I've been told my musical taste is 'ecclectic'. I think the person saying that was trying to be polite as they put down Barry Manilow's Greatist Hits.

What can I say? Benny Goodman rocked. Yes, I like Rogers & Hammerstein, Pink Floyd, James Taylor, Robbie Williams, David Bowie and Faithless.

KathyA said...

My tastes in music are rather eclectic as well! You should take a look at the playlist on my IPOD!

Madame DeFarge said...

A Kiss album? Well, mine was ELO, so I have nothing to laugh about. Try playing air cello. And I too adore Goodman and the Dorseys.

EcoGrrl said...

Lisa sounds like a Hee Haw fan. OK, so was I.

And every Sunday in my house was opera on the classical station, where my mom served breakfast on her best china and that was that. Big band was part of life as was a whole lot of jazz and Elvis. That's what happens when your stepfather graduated high school in the 1940's and mom in the 50's.

That mixed with a 1960's dad who dug Simon & Garfunkel and Charley Pride? Full on mix.

Of course I was doing the Mickey Mouse Disco back then and idolizing at the altar of Lynda Carter...

Symdaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Symdaddy said...

I've never heard of a "Schottishe" before other than the German context of relating to something Scottish ... so I looked it up.

Schottische = A round dance in 2/4 time

Still means nothing to me as I'm a "can't dance, won't dance" kind of person.

I love Miller & Goodman though and once stayed in the same hotel, and was lucky enough to have cup of coffee with, Duke Ellington.

My first album, if memory serves, was Gerry and the Pacemakers' "Ferry Cross the Mersey" in March of 1965.

I was 6 and my older sister got it for my birthday present and occasionally let ME listen to it too.

Gary Baker said...

In 1966, when I was eleven, my mum sent me off to join the school band thinking I'd return with a flute, or perhaps a piccolo. I came home that evening dragging a gigantic E flat bass tuba. After that first practice at home, I came downstairs with lips a-tingle, to find my dear mother crying with laughter. She even claimed my embryonic embouchuring attempts had caused her to pee a little.
By 1970 that two-ton tuba had taught me three things: If you can't be cool be funny, bullies on the bus stay away after you wallop them on the shins with a polished bell end, and Miles Davis is a frikkin genius.
I'm listening to Bitches Brew right now.

a Broad said...

" Live and let live has been my motto since, well, since I killed that guy; "
This just made my day lol....

I had the pleasure of having a son who was a young head banger when Angus was hopping around in Madison Square Garden in his schoolboy shorts, then my son went to work "for the band", traveling all over the world , meeting the people you mention, and thankfully, coming home and still enjoying Classical music as well as his Dad's favorite music .. ( Miles Davis, Charles Lloyd etc) ... oh, and there is no one better than Gene Krupa...

I listen to Tango Electronico now and plan to move to France ( in my dreams) where we will listen to cool jazz in a smoky club downstairs..I don't even like jazz that much or smoke ! but the idea sounds good.

Or we will move back to the US and I will visit Minneapolis and see what the story is with Miss Bitey and Pearl.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

I absolutely love it that all of the commenters on this blog have such a wonderful variety of musical taste! I bought a "Turtles" album in my early teens, and the store clerk snickered at my choice. Guess it wasn't serious enough--like those real rock bands like the Beatles. My parents listened to the Kingston Trio, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Handel's Messiah. Big black 33 rpm records played on a large furniture size stereo (two large speakers and the turntable housed in a wooden cabinet the size of a coffee table). Still love all different types of music-except rap, which technically is not music but is poetry in my opinion.

Bass said...

Call me an old fashioned liberal, but I may agree music coming through the floorboards is bad, but I think corpses buried under the floorboards is pretty bad too.

I hope the events weren't linked as in 03:00 annoying music, 03:01 pleasant silence.

Joanie M said...

I was brought up on big band music, until my older sisters hit their teens and oh boy! There were the Suprmemes, and American Bandstand!

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

You're much kinder than I am. I don't call that house stuff music. Love your line about killing a guy; live and let live!
xoRobyn

Stella said...

The first album I bought was the Bangles album that had "walk like an egyptian" on it.

Super classy.

Cheeseboy said...

Well, whatever gave you your great taste in music, I am glad it happened. We have very similar likes. I think that it had to be Kiss’s Destroyer for sure.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Goodman, Ellington, Fitzgerald, even a young Sinatra-- There's some real talent!

But Air Clarinet?!?!?! I'd like to see that.

Cheers, jj

Stacy Q said...

Hey, Air Clarinet Totally Rocks! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Immodesty Blaze said...

Odd how something that worked so well for Sheryl Crow (I think her dad played trumpet?) appears to have gone awry for others ;o)

Hilary said...

You certainly have a more interesting musical background than most. I'd pay to see the air clarinet.

My first album was The Beatles' Rubber Soul. Yeah, I'm old.

Grant said...

I think these days metal is old people's music, so it's time for big band to become hip again. Also for people to start saying "hip".

Flea said...

I was raised by a mechanic. Who had a nice Simon and Garfunkel collection, as well as a great Beatles collection. But the other mechanics liked Queen and Foreigner. Toss in my mother's love of gospel quartets and *bam* you got yerself a Flea. Who no longer listens to music. Makes me itch.