Re-Visioning

The problem with life is that it never goes the way anyone wants it to. You can nail down the “Aha! This is what I want to do! This is what I’m passionate about” question and then watch as your passions are consumed by the waves of your daily life, which makes it hard to really put your passions into practice. You get lost in the efforts of survival, and when you do get tiny glimpses of your passions, you feel momentarily at ease. You feel like–Oh yeah. That’s what I want.

But until you get back into the practice of following your passions, it is just momentary glimpses. It’s hard to do what you want to do when the world around you is shuddering and trembling and you’re spending 95% of your time wondering how the hell you’re going to get through the month, and the other 5% of your time wishing to forget every single problem and just ENJOY time for a change.

That’s where I’ve been. That’s what I’ve been dealing with. And the deep unsettled feeling in my soul is starting to drive me crazy. I want to re-find myself. I want to do what I enjoyed and see if I’m still passionate about. Which, I’m positive I still am. There are those moments, when I’m with friends and they’ve given me control of the music where I get excited to the point of music nerdery. Where I remember how awesome it is to share music with people and turn them onto artists like Northern State, Poe, and other musicians who’ve made my life what it is.

I think I know what I need to do to get back into this blogging thing. I need to remember what the hell got me into music in the first place. So if you’ll bear with me, dear reader(s?), I shall go off into semi-nostalgic territory and re-eximine my passions and the meaning that certain music has had on me. And then….well…we’ll see what happens.

Music Discovery

I was never lucky enough to have an older sibling/best friend who introduced me to the cool bands like Nirvana or Bikini Kill. I grew up with the Cars on heavy rotation and a love for Queen and Alice Cooper that came from a deep love for the movie for Wayne’s World. Ah yes. And a bit of the classic grrrl-stuff, like Heart and the Bangles. ๐Ÿ™‚ When I was in middle/junior high, my music taste was none-to-interesting. I listened to the pop station for a long time and yes, I was one of those damn teens that fell head over heels in love withย  boy-bands like the Backstreet Boys and Hanson and I can’t believe I’m about to admit this, but YES. I listened to the Spice Girls. I’m kind of happy to say that most of these bands were in fact, phases, which isn’t to say those of you who do like them are in the wrong. They’re just not for me. And knowing the music I know and love now, I can’t help wondering what the hell I was thinking. I will however say that Ace of Base still rocks. But I’m going on a tangent. Let’s go back to center. I was happy with my music and the mainstream pop station for a good while. I enjoyed the tunes. But then…oh then! I discovered that my main station played JAZZ every freaking Sunday morning. And ugh. It was just NOT for me. At all. I hated it. It was noise. It was atrocious to hear. Plus, I wanted the music I loved. So I had no choice. If I wanted music (and I did), I’d have to find another station. So I searched. And ohhhh did I hit jackpot.

103.9, KUWL FM, was my musical salvation. It was an alternative station that played a lot of great music and the DJs were great. I loved it. Every now and then, before I went off to school, I’d press the record button on my tape player so that when I got home, I could listen to the tape of the time I missed, so I wouldn’t miss too much. Some of my favorite (lost) mixed tapes were made from that station. I grew up on Garbage. I believe their self titled (pink) album was my first ever CD purchase. I remember listening to that album with all kinds of shock. Every song on there was just….angry, and revolutionary in ways I didn’t fully comprehend. I loved the song “this is not my idea of a good time” and “As far from god as heaven is wide” just because, damn….this was a woman who didn’t take crap from anyone. I don’t think I ever fully came to that conclusion, it was more of a a gut instinct that made me take notice. And yes, I grew up on No Doubt. I can probably sing any ND song from Tragic Kingdom to Return of Saturn on demand. I loved it all. And Alanis Morrisette? Meredith Brooks? Fiona Apple? Damn these women were all revolutionary to me. I craved these words, I craved the images, the sounds, the presences of these women. To this day I place Meredith Brooks, Garbage, Fiona Apple and Paula Cole on my top 5 favorite CDs.ย  Oh. And Sheryl Crow’s self titled album. This music was all women-fronted and strong. Strength, lyrics, and a rock foundation was of primary importance to my musical discoveries.

One more thing I should probably write about: I was introduced to Cake in a drama class. There was a very cute boy in the class who knew his music, and I don’t remember how, but he got me into them. I still hold a special place in my heart for that band ๐Ÿ™‚

European Discoveries.

High school was interesting. As a military brat, my sophomore-senior year of high school took place in the Netherlands (though my family lived in Germany, we were near the border!). So I suppose you could guess that my music took some interesting turns. I had been introduced to Rammstein while still in Alaska (the years I wrote about above) due to their famous song, Du Hasst. But in Germany, I learned a bit more about them. And then I discovered HIM. Oh my god, you have no idea how much I enjoyed HIM. Mainly because the whole imaginary exchange in my head that would go like this:

Me: Have you heard of HIM?

Person B: Who?

Me: HIM. He’s really cool.

Person B: Who’s he?

and so on. Yeah, yeah. I know. Real great reason for loving a band. But seriously. the exchange cracked me up. And I liked the darkness of HIM that I was kind of unfamiliar with. At this point, metal hadn’t really entered my life. I enjoyed The Rock. I enjoyed bands with a heavier sound, but it didn’t go much heavier than what you’d find on your regular rock station. I think my love for System of a Down might’ve started seeding during this time, though it wasn’t till later that it really grew.

But anyway, my love affair with HIM lasted me through my European years, till about 2002. Then Ville got kind of popular. And it was like, hmm….this isn’t that fun. I also got pretty heavily into Poe during this time. I had been introduced to Poe in the early years, thanks to her song, “Angry Johnny” which was dark. And I loved it. Ohhh it was so dark. And angry. But anyway, she released the album “Haunted” which I bought and still to this day can lose myself in. I was also introduced to Placebo, through the album Black Market Music. Yes, I came to Placebo late, despite having heard some of their music on KUWL fm. It just never grabbed me. But Black Market Music…I listened to that quite a bit. And my favorite thing about Germany and that part of my music existence?

The music videos! I loved the German music television chanels. to these days some of my favorite videos are from this time period. There’s a song by the German band the Guano Apes (led by frontwoman Sandra Nasic) with another artist that’s a rock take on the infamous folk song, Kumba Ya. Wanna see it? You should.

Then I was introduced to Farin Urlaub and Die Aerzte. OMG. Their videos were fabulous. Here’s a quickie from Die Aerzte.


seriously. How can you not love this video? It’s so fast and angry and short all in one go. And this is just one tiny video. Freakin’ hell, I loved these guys.

Then there was Die Toten Hosen. Now it wasn’t till after 21 that I really drank alcohol, but that didn’t mean much when it came to this video by Die Toten Hosen. Here’s a video that’s sooooo good you don’t need to speak German to get what’s happening. All you need is a quick translation of the title, Kein Alkohol ist auch Keine Losung–which basically means No Alcohol (Is also not the solution)…

Seriously. Awesome.

Oh! And I was introduced to A, who is IMPOSSIBLE to google. Hell. If it weren’t for youtube, I prob’ly wouldn’t have ever found them. Some of my burgeoning interests in punk as a genre came from here (not like you can tell from this video, which is pretty poppy. But between this, and Green Day and a few German bands, it definitely started seeding.)

Okay, final mention on this, just because I’ve always kind of had a special place in my heart for this song, despite my lack of familiarity with the artist or actual song content–it’s just a pretty song. I dare you to disagree:

Mmm…just relistening to this song gives me freakin’ chills. ๐Ÿ™‚

Final notes on the German edition of my musical interests: My love for Garbage continued strong, with albums like Version 2.0 and songs like “When I Grow Up” which I identified with somewhat ๐Ÿ™‚ I also developed a strong love for the Foo Fighters, and their kickass videos, especially “Learning to Fly”, plus, damnit, the drummer was hot. You better believe I loved ’em.ย  Also, I didn’t grow up with MTV. I grew up with Viva and Viva Zwei. And like with MTV vs MTV2, Viva Zwei was always better. the music videos on Viva Zwei (which became Viva Plus) rocked much harder. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post 2002

While in Germany, I was introduced to Evanescence, as was the rest of the world. Like a lot of other people, I enjoyed their blend of rock and goth. Then my cousin introduced me to Nightwish. And Lacuna Coil, and these two bands eventually bridged the gap and made my musical horizons span farther than ever. After I moved to Chapel Hill for school, I met someone via iTunes who had similar artists in his music library. He then introduced me to stuff like Opeth. And Arch Enemy. And my passions went from angry/passionate women in rock to women who kicked massive ass in METAL. Women who rocked as hard as the boys and, in some cases, better. I learned to appreciate the intelligent metalheads and their love for the intelligent rockers that could make both heavy death metal type music complete with the death metal vocals as well as slower, sadder songs of lament with gorgeous vocals and lyrics that could connect as easily as any song by a known singer/songwriter type. I was introduced to Amon Amarth, which is VIKING METAL. The best of all possible musical combinations. I found Otep, who is thus far, the only openly lesbian metaler I know of. I found her with one of the most soul crushing songs I could ever imagine, and for a while, couldn’t get into her, due to how perfectly the song captures an emotional breakdown, which is terrifying to be part of, even if just as an observer.

Most of this heavy metal introduction took place while I lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Chapel Hill, let me take this moment to say that Chapel Hill is known for its legendary music scene. It is during this period that I became an advocate for local music. Bands like The Ex-Members, the Midtown Dickens and The Old Ceremony (who I went to see many times, at one of my favorite haunts, the West End Wine Bar) made it impossible NOT to fall in love with the local scene. I went to my first LadyFest. I went to my first CONCERT during this period. And that concert was by far one of the best I’ve been to. It was a show at Cat’s Cradle featuring the Dresden Dolls, and it was just….mindblowing. no live show will ever match this. though some have tried (The Dead Weather came pretty damn close though…)

Anyway, North Carolina, specifically when I was in Chapel Hill, was really where all of my love for music came together in a way that made sense. I had always loved writing, and I had always loved music. And then I read Rock She Wrote, which featured the music journalism by several women writers. And a light clicked on. Oh–you could write about music. And that’s actually a valid career, if you embrace it totally. This blog was initially started on that wave of revolutionary mindset, on the heels of discovering that and the riot grrrl punk era that I’d missed in the 90’s, which fully embraced the idea that girls can do whatever they want. They can make music… and if it’s not perfect, who the hell cares? they’re doing something. They’re being active and accomplishing at least part of their dreams. If you’re not already doing something, you’ll never get better, you’ll never grow and develop. And all of this, all of the music that had been part of my life suddenly made sense.

I embraced my love of random music, my love of writing, my newfound love of feminism and queer politics and became someone who followed her passions. And seriously, this time in my life was so absolutely inspiring.

But then we do the full round circle and go back to the beginning of this blog. I moved to Utah and got so lost. I lost a sense of self. I lost a sense of passion, and have since been trying to reclaim it. I’ve still been involved in discovering new music and loving music in a big way, but the writer part of myself has fallen to the wayside.

I think I’m ready to embrace the craft of writing again. I think I’m ready to get back on my feet, dust myself off, and say, FUCK YOU to everything that’s been holding me back. Music and my internal self have always been intertwined, part of each other. And I want to embrace this fact. I want to share the passion I have for riot grrrl, revolutionary, kick ass women artists, musicians, and poets with the rest of the world, even if only through the medium of this blog. In the fictional realm of writing, I want to create characters who defy the norm of what is ‘expected’ (still) of women and rock so hard that they just fly off the page and get in the reader’s head and inspire them to achieve and be who they are.

Goddamn. I think I’m ready for some change. I’m ready to really embrace this again. And I hope that you, dear reader(s?) might help me do this. If I’m not writing, if I’m not posting, sharing new music/thoughts, email me. rebelgrrrl.theblog@gmail.com. If you find things that you know I’d like, bands I’d be interested in, let me know. I’m going to start making this blog something interesting again, and I’d love your help.

Thanks for tagging along. It’s been a long crazy road in the existence that is my life, but….I think I’m ready to come back. I’m excited. And nervous. And oh so happy. Thank you.

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