Who planted the seed? Who is responsible for my obsession with music? And it is and obsession. I've gotten married for no better reason than she liked the same music. I've named offspring after musicians. I am obsessed. But why?
I guess the seed was planted by my mother (and, I found out later, my father). She was always playing her saxophone, or the piano, or singing for as far back as I can remember. I was so young, I used to get annoyed with her because I couldn't hear the TV over the loud music coming from the saxophone. I used to get annoyed because she used to sing harmony. She is an awesome harmonizer. She can pick the notes from a chord by ear. But I was so ignorant that I couldn't understand why she didn't just sing the melody. But my ignorance lost the fight with human nature. I imitated what was around me.
I started collecting cassette tapes and checking tapes out of the library. Thriller, Eat 'em and Smile, Mr. Roboto; those were some of my first tapes.
I set up stuffed toy animal concerts with my sister. We would put on one of Mom's Godspell or Moody Blues records, crank the RPM to 78 and pretend the toys were putting on a concert. This entertained us for days.
FF>> a few years
For some reason, when I was in 5th grade, we were all forced into the gymnasium to watch the band's rehearsal concert. At that age, I just went with the flow. I had no feelings about it either way. But halfway through the concert something happened. I was looking at the saxophone player who was probably in 7th or 8th grade. I remember he had this look in his eye like he was in bliss. He was holding this beautifully laquered, shiny, curvy instrument and he was in heaven. My mind locked onto that image.
That night, at home, I started asking my mom a bunch of questions about playing saxophone. She suggested I join the band. I, being ever the optimist, challenged that I couldn't very well join the band in the middle of the school year. She countered that, yes, I could join the band halfway through the school year. She would see to it.
So there I was, in band class. I didn't realize at the time that I was in the same room with a truely great man. Mr. Miotke. This guy was an emotional, volitile, and unpredictable teacher. But he loved what he did and, sometimes, that's all it takes. Just being around people that take pride in and love what they do...it's contagious. So he put up with my class-clownery and I blossomed as a musician.
Right around this same time I joined the orchestra as a cellist. That only lasted a year or two. The teacher was a tall, skinny, emotionally devoid melvin. And he had this annoying habit of always trying to correct the way I held the bow. His flawed teaching method showed during the concerts which always sucked.
In 6th grade, I won the Most Improved Saxophonist award. Here , in my hand, was visual proof that I kick ass. To this day it is the award I am most proud of.
In 7th grade I joined the choir. Mostly because the teacher had a nice ass and perky tits. But, boy golly, did she make us work. Hoo.
So here I am in 8th grade, still in the band and choir. I've got a small collection of medals from music competitions. It was only natural for me to persue music in high school.
In high school choir I met another of those passionate educators. Mrs. Miotke. Yeah, the wife of my middle school band teacher. These two individuals are two of the three most responsible for making me who I am. Mrs. Miotke had a different teaching style. She listened to suggestions. She took joy in my accomplishments and downplayed my failures. Every class began with a group back rub. I found myself joining everything she was involved in. I say I found myself joining because it wasn't really a conscious decision. I just happened to try out for every play, dance choir, musical she ran. Because she encouraged me. Because she inspired me. Because she had a sense of humor.
She's dead now.
But when she was alive, she was more alive than anybody I'd meet since. It is because of her that my love for making music survived the transition between childhood and adulthood. I wish I could've told her "Thank you."
My high school band teacher, Mr. Lemeiux, and I understood each other perfectly. He didn't like me and I didn't like him. By this time I was pretty self-motivated with my saxophone so I didn't really need him. I just saw band class as "practice". I got to play music while sitting next to cute girls. I went into practice rooms during study hall. I played my ass off. For pep band I got to play as loud as I could. In marching band I learned foot rhythm and endurance. Jazz camp, honors band, I did it all. I was pretty advanced with playing the saxophone and started getting bored with it so I started getting interested in drums. Instead of encouraging me to persue my interest in drums, Laser Breath prohibited me from touching them. Laser Breath was Mr. Lemieux's nickname. We had to give him a nickname. You can't say Lemieux 2-3 times a day for four years when you know there's an "x" in there but you're not supposed to pronounce the "x". French savages! No...."Laser Breath" rolled off the tongue better and said something more about him.
So this dick prevents me from playing drums. Now I REALLY want to play drums.
Then, all of a sudden, I changed my focus. I wanted nothing but pussy and to get out of the institution of school.
FF>> a few years
Well, I'm still in an institution. A corporate one this time. I've got a wife and larvae. But I'm so depressed. What does a person do when they're depressed? They look back to a time when they were happier and try to figure out what was different. I did that and discovered that I had foresaken one of my first and greatest loves. I'd somehow neglected to work on any music for the past ten years.
Music ain't gonna cure my depression but it's gonna help.