Like a true child of the mid-Nineties, I grew up discovering music on MTV. Gone were the days of stumbling upon and shuffling through boxes of your parent’s records, growing up on Jimi Hendrix and The Doors to Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, just like your parents may tell you how they fell in love with music.
For me, I had no one show me the ropes. There were no boxes of 12″s just waiting for me to look through them, I had no older brothers blasting their music through the walls – I don’t think there was even a radio. There was MTV, and as you can imagine, even at the age of seven it was mind-numbing.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that out of my friends, I have the youngest parents. While giving birth to me at the age of 19, my mother was living her teens through the late 80s and early 90s when dance and club music was the latest fashion in the music industry, and nothing else entered the commercial airwaves. But there was one pure gem in all the coal. I just had to wade through all the shit to find it.
I remember sitting next to my Dad on the couch, just another social Saturday night. But it was different; I had what can only be described as almost a religious experience. Like I had just found God, like I had fallen in love.
The images of an ice cream van with that singular, quiet and shy guitar line as the intro of “Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins carefully crafted into a form of energy that just felt real. Billy Corgan’s vocals were like nothing I had heard before. No bullshit, no gimmicks, just pure honesty – something I still cherish in the music I seek to this day.
I sat there like a kid hypnotised. My eyes transfixed on the vivid purples, blues and oranges that dominate the video, intensely focused on learning the chorus off by heart. As a hyperactive and often physically dangerous kid (I broke more bones before the age of 8 than most people do in a lifetime), I was completely stopped in my tracks.
I remember feeling deflated when my dad switched the channel: “You don’t want to listen to that shit.” But that didn’t stop me, I was on a mission to find that song and fall in love with it all other again. Like an addict, I still desire that thrill; to find just that one song that gives me chills down my spine; something that makes me understand this world a little more.
“Today” (and then, later on, Siamese Dreams when I saved my money to buy the CD) affected my entire tastes in growing up, from a brief stint with metal, to punk and emo, even mainstream indie rock and hip-hop. That song and that record made me fall in love with music. They are the reason why I write about music, listen to music, and love music whether it’s a band selling out stadiums, or it’s a band playing to 20 people just so they can afford to get to the next city.
I know that when the time comes that I will have children of my own, I know I will have records and CDs to show them, just like how I play them to my younger brother, despite them being able to stream a song quicker than I could put on a 12”.
Everyone has that one band. What was that band for you?