We are less than a quarter of the way through 2016, and the world of music has seen more than its fair share of tragedy – Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Glenn Frey etc. – have all made their way to the big concert stage in the sky. The word “tragedy” is probably a bit of an overstatement. People of note die every day. Veterans, actors, scientists, athletes, inventors. But when a musician dies, we are instantaneously allowed to reminisce and universally mourn through their musical legacy. Music is, and will always be, that tangible intangible that connects generations, genders, races, and creeds. For as much as we attempt to label music by category – music is just music.
There is something innate about a drum beat, a guitar being plucked, the perfect harmony, that catches you instantly. Each song is a mini time machine that transports everyone to their own specific place and time.
This past week when Prince passed away, I had a friend tell me “Oh Prince, his music sucked.”...???
It has always seemed to me, a strange compulsion to say that any music “sucks.” If it is connecting to someone, how can it “suck”? There is plenty of music that isn’t my personal cup of tea. But that is what makes music the subjective gift that it is.
Music is that one safe haven where you should never be forced to explain yourself. Whether you’re a Classical music old timer that enjoys a Metallica song now and then. A punk rocker that secretly enjoys a certain Barbara Streisand tune. A Country music farm kid that loves rap – never let someone tell you that your music, or any music “sucks”...
I’m keeping this week’s column short and sweet. The inside of a tractor is beckoning me once again. In fact today will be my 22nd day in a row locked inside 320hp of solitary confinement...and the only thing keeping my thin slice of sanity?
Manteca to a T READER POLL: The World of Music has had a rough go to start 2016 (RIP Prince, Merle Haggard, David Bowie, Glenn Frey etc..)..I asked a group of Mantecans, “What was your first album, or an album that instantaneously transports you to a specific place and time?”
David Ray Bowman — “Hot Rocks”-The Rolling Stones. My folks bought it for me in 1977 because they knew it “wasn’t the Beatles,” who they considered evil incarnate. Now I put it on and I am 14 again in my basement bedroom getting the last laugh on my straight laced “Eisenhowerian” parents.
George Clausing — Bought “Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield” at the Scoop in 1968 (yes the Scoop had a small rack of albums) and it had some great music on it. I had attended a concert at the Fillmore the year before where they had played with The Steve Miller Blues Band. I bought the album to listen to “For What It’s Worth” – my favorite song at the time. It was a “best of” album and it had a lot of fantastic music on it like Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing and Expecting To Fly. Neil Young who was a member of Buffalo Springfield is still one of my favorite artists and he is still a force in music to this day.
Jason D Jones — My first was a Queen 8 track. (Well .actually, Alvin and the Chipmunks Xmas edition really.)
Mark Condit — 1976 - Yvonne Ave. in Manteca - the lot where OSH, Little Caesers and SpeeDee Oil Change now stand was a vacant lot where we had dirt clod fights and watched the Traywick Brothers – Rocky and Dusty – ride their bikes off ramps and do amazing tricks . I bought KISS ALIVE “You Wanted The Best and You Got The Best - The Hottest Band In The Land; KISS” and memorized every one of Ace Frehley’s lead riffs and Peter Criss’s slap on the skins :)
Melinda Pacheco Patrick —My first album was “Meet the Beatles” given to me by my grandparents who scavenged it out of my mom’s teenage bedroom in their house. They gave me a suitcase record player that I toted everywhere to listen to my new tunes. Of course I became an avid Beatles fan by the age of five and would hold court with my stuffed animals, John, Paul, George and Ringo for tea parties. Needless to say, none of my friends had any idea what was going on but I was hooked on music!
Lloyd Barbasol – 1990 the band Nocturnal’s first album “326 Marie” (a NorCal band I Loved)...bassist John Zoltar and guitarist The Artist Formerly Known as “JAFA” shredding – while Vocalists J.R. and Fish harmonized perfection...Probably the most talented band to ever come out of Manteca.
Kellye L. Graham — First album, Grease. I was 10 and had roller skates. Santa was right on the money... I still believe in that music heals the soul …
Alicia L. Cook — Kenny Loggins soundtrack for Footloose, was a 45 bought at TG&Y....reminded me of small town USA which always makes me think of home, Manteca when we were young.
Rob Gibson — Michael Jackson’s Thriller transports me back to sixth grade at Shasta. Run DMC Raising Hell sophomore year Guss Schmeidt field with my “boom box” hidden in a duffel bag playing Dumb Girl, Walk This Way, My Adidas, It’s Tricky, etc. while watching my brother and the other Seniors in 1986 win the VOL championship.
Chris Owen — Kiss-”Rock n Roll Over”- 2nd grade, and I turned out just fine.
Christina Koser — Queensryche’s “Mindcrime”. My former roommate, Kevin, shared it with me when I was in college. It’s fricken awesome & takes me back to my misspent youth. On cassette, BTW, for I was a poor student who couldn’t afford a CD player.
Tim Cruz — My first album I purchased was Supertramp’s “Breakfast In America”, my mom bought it at Tower Records in Sacramento and I still have it!
Jason Campbell — Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever on cassette purchased at K-Mart (now Big Lots) with my allowance. From the standpoint of a preteen boy, life doesn’t get any better when those opening chords of “Free Fallin’” come in as you just close your eyes and visualize the places he takes you in the song - feeling that yearning for that 8th grade girl and wondering what it would take to borrow a plane so I can “write her name in the sky.” And those drums - the slow rolling as all of that unfolds - still give me shivers.
Steve Lewis — Kiss Destroyer was among the first albums I bought with my own money. Well, at least the first six records for 1¢ per the Columbia Records advertisement I had found in the mail... the three obligatory “reduced price” albums were either paid by my mother or I was sent to collections in fourth grade...I don’t know. I remember my favorite track was God of Thunder. I also remember my mom opening the door to my bedroom to find me pouncing on my bed, growling out the lyrics to that song with my best ten-year-old demonic face on. With a quick shake of her head the door slammed shut again. (BTW, this CD is in my car as I write this...and l my 3rd and 5th grade boys are very familiar with it.)
Roman Guzman (KRVR 105.5 Morn DJ) - In 1980? I lit up a smoke, put my headphones on and listened to my brother’s copy of The Yes Album. When it was over, I opened my eyes, saw the long ash of the cigarette I never picked up from the ashtray, and listened to the whole thing over again.
Andrew Parolini — Rush- “Hemispheres”
Jessica Donges-Vaughan — My first album that I bought on my own was No Doubt’s “Tragic Kingdom”. Something about that album made a sheltered high school freshman feel like a real tough chick. I wanted to be everything Gwen embodied tough, cool, and talented - I swore I would be her someday. I can still remember sitting in my room with that CD on repeat singing at the top of my lungs. It was also the first rock concert I went to, my dad took me and my two best friends.
Michele Flores — Steve Winwood, Arc of a Diver
Ernie Souza — My first album bought in 1967 was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I played the heck out of this album. I still possess this album. Junior year in high school was better because of this music. It affected our culture (by our I mean teenagers) and eventually our culture at large
Jeanne Thomas - Sweet and Sour Tears by Ray Charles. I was a freshmen in high school in 1964 and bought it at Janis Music in Manteca
Jessica McLeod — Chicago | Hard To Say I’m Sorry / Sonny Think Twice | 7” Vinyl
I was obsessed with the song Hard To Say I’m Sorry... My uncle Dave took me to Janis Music downtown and I got to buy it. It was my first vinyl purchase and I played into the ground. Still today when I hear that song, it takes me right back to being 8 years old at my grandma’s house listening to my dad’s old record player with the volume all the way up and singing at the top of my lungs.
Claudia Brown — “Meet The Beatles”. Transports me back to 6th grade. I saved my allowance and bought it at the record store in my hometown of Sunnyvale, CA. In the early to mid 60’s Sunnyvale was still a Cannery Town with Orchards and fields. That’s what I like about Manteca. Yosemite Ave. reminds me of the Old Murphy St. in Sunnyvale.
Alyce Luis Machacho — Wow, let’s date myself. I was probably about 6 or 7 and Mom bought me what was the equivalent of the sound track to “Mary Poppins” in RECORD form, 33 1/3 speed on her portable record player. Julie Andrews singing Just A Spoon Full of Sugar, Supercalifragilisticeexplialigocious, Chim Chim Cher-ee and Let’s Go Fly A Kite. Oh boy did you take me back, way way back. Great Saturday morning music playing as we cleaned house. The movie we saw as a family on our black and white TV!!! Yea, the good old days.
Christine Curry — When I was about 10 years old I got an INXS cassette tape from my dad for Christmas. I had no clue who they were or even how to pronounce the name. My parents were going thru a divorce around that time and all I could think of is wow.
Jason Sohm — “Scumdogs of the Universe” by GWAR. Like many 12 year olds of my generation I was a big Beavis and Butthead fan. And every once in awhile they would show videos from this band of giant armor clad space aliens who were swinging around these ridiculous weapons. So I managed to talk my buddy into including this CD on one of our many Columbia House/BMG mail in orders where you would get something like 10 free CDs for joining their service (I don’t know what service they actually provided, since we never paid for it after getting the CDs, and on the one time they did come after me, my Mom informed them that I was a minor and we never heard from them again) - So my buddy gets this album in the mail, and I come over the following day. He hands it to me and proceeds to enlighten me to the fact that ordering this CD was a huge mistake. GWAR was horrible, and I could have it if I wanted because he was about to use it as a drink coaster. Every time I listen to that album I am 12 years old again in my bedroom being absolutely blown away that this joke of a band was actually really really good. I’m also hoping that my Mom didn’t have her ear to the door to hear some of the absolutely absurd lyrics that were blasting out of my speakers.
Nancy Shearer-Glaze — John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” single
Melissa Harper — First album ever: “Hysteria” by Def Leppard. First self-purchased album: Rush, “Counterparts”. I was fifteen and I bought it on cassette. I didn’t stop playing it until a few months later when I got my first Discman. Which is when I got my first CDs: Queensryche “Empire”, Pearl Jam “10”, and Live “Throwing Copper”.
Norma Ochoa — Journey “Frontiers”. I bought it at Payless (now Rite Aid) with my babysitting earnings. I mainly had listened to R&B (Earth, Wind & Fire, Rose Royce,...) up until that point, since that’s what my older sister listened to. This was my first rock experience. My older brother, Carlos, would later introduce me to Iron Maiden, Dio, and of course Metallica. I guess I have my older siblings to thank for my well rounded musical interests.
Jon Ruiz — I bought a lot of music in my youth, but when we moved to Manteca I bought my first of many records at the music shop on Yosemite, can’t remember the name, but the first purchase was Chuck Berry and Creedence. We played the hell out of those records, mostly while partying and playing Joe Montana on Sega. Good times.
Danny Silva — My older cousins got me hooked on Springsteen in the early 80’s. Been a huge fan ever since. I have many concert tics to prove it...
“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”