Of all of the influences in my life, I want to say the biggest one is music. I LOVE music! My entire life revolves around music. Ever since I could remember as a child, music was playing in my house. I grew up with a number of different genres of music too. My mom and dad would go from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, George Strait, Hank Williams Jr, and all the way to music like The Latin Breed, Emilio Navaira, and Selena and everything in between. I never found it strange to listen to a rock track followed up by a Tejano tune.
There were plenty of weekends where our nights would be filled with so much music that it would fill my soul. I remember those nights listening to the pop songs of the day, like tracks from Prince, The Police, A-Ha, Wham!, The Go-Gos, The Bangles, and Madonna to name just a few that got added into the mix along with everything else.
It was when I was about 6 or so when my godfather came over to our house in Anthony and brought me a stereo receiver and a pair of speakers (hey man! It was 1987!) that I also started to expand my musical horizons. My parents, for as much as they did kinda monitor what I would watch and listen to, pretty much let me listen to whatever I wanted to and that’s when I turned the dial over to the rock stations in the area and found hair/glam metal. I remember summer days when I’d be blasting out Mötley Crüe’s new hit single “Girls, Girls, Girls” and just having a rocking time in my bedroom. Looking back, I wonder why my mom didn’t come in and ask what the hell I was listening to, but I was hooked on rock, man! Soon enough, my sister and I were listening to Bon Jovi and I felt immersed in the rock genre. I wasn’t out about it, you know? It’s not like I could demand that I grow out my hair and aqua-net the hell out of it, or could I show up to 1st or 2nd grade with a Crüe or Poison shirt on, but I loved the music nonetheless.
I was 7, 8 years old and I was as nearly as all over the map with music as I am now. I loved country music, loved Tejano music (and the beautiful women Tejano singers), loved classic rock from the 50s, 60s, and 70s (even though 70s wasn’t really classic back then), really started to get into the pop/R&B/Hip Hop music of the day too, and I loved my hair metal. I really have to say that I love my parents for exposing me to such a wide variety of music and allowing me to discover so much more too.
Things started to come to a focus even more when I was around 8 or 9 when a good friend of mine and I decided that we’d really get into Aerosmith. That band is still one of my favorite bands, although I’ll be honest in saying that I really like their earlier work when they were really rockin’. Anyway, this was the Permanent Vacation/Pump era and this is where things are starting to change for the band. We didn’t know any different and we loved the band for what they were. I was a pretty big fan. I had a few tapes, and I even got the permanent vacation home video (that was later borrowed and never returned by my 6th grade teacher. LOL!) It was the first time that I focused any fandom to one artist.
Things took an even bigger swing musically when I moved to the east side of El Paso when I was 10. It was the fall of 1991 and Metallica’s self-titled album (commonly known as the black album) had been released in the summer of that year and the single “Enter Sandman” was all over the place. I really can’t tell you why I hadn’t heard it before. Maybe it was the fact that I was really into listening to my CDs at the time and not the radio, but again my sister came to my rescue and turned me onto this song. That changed my entire life. I don’t know what it was, but I quickly became obsessed with that band and that song. I remember it was later on that year at some point that I got the black album on tape and I listened to it nonstop!
Things didn’t change much for about the next 8 years. Anybody that knew me in high school that I don’t really talk to now would probably recognize me and know me from all of my Metallica shirts. I think I counted 16 of them at one point. I was that into them. The timing of me getting into them and their changes were hand in hand as well as by the start of high school in 1995, I was also branching out into blues, and more of the contemporary heavy metal of the day. Metallica, at the same time, were writing and recording their albums Load and ReLoad at the time and those disks are very blues heavy, much the chagrin of many a heavy metal fan. It was them cutting their long hair off, AND playing blues-y music that really pissed all of these heavy metal guys off. I didn’t care. I LOVED it. I was listening to almost anything I could get my hands on. Jazz, Classical, Industrial, Heavy Metal, Funk, Blues, you name it and I was into it.
High school was a funny place for me, when I really think about it. Being in band (marching, symphonic, and jazz) really lit the fires of my love for awesome drumlines (because I was on the snare line in marching band), classical music, and all sorts of jazz. I mean, I liked jazz music beforehand thanks to the jazz-rock fusion bands my dad liked and listened to, but the pure jazz ensembles and famous artists like John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald, etc were unknown to me at the time. I would find myself listening to the local jazz station just soaking up everything they were playing. Heck, even when they’d switch to classical music, I’d still be listening. Jazz and Classical music, I found, would give me such peace and still do. The talent by all of the musicians just blows me away. The composers as well, just amaze me. I’m probably one of the few weirdos who love movie soundtracks and composers in that subgenre like John Williams, Danny Elfman, Ennio Morricone, and Jerry Goldsmith to name a few of my favorites.
So, I say all of this to say that fast forward to now. I’m still into the same styles of music as I was before. I’ve actually branched out into more specific subgenres like chillout/downtempo/lounge/whatever else you want to call it jazz music, Bebop jazz, old-style country like George Strait, Alan Jackson, and the like, Heavy Metal that has awesome guitar solos and great drummers but isn’t too fast like Metallica, Pantera, Hellyeah, and Steel Panther (yes, I know this band heavily conflicts with my religious beliefs, but damn do I love the music!), and I still listen to everything else that I’ve mentioned previously as well. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have music. Music is usually the first thought of mine when I wake up and aside from listening to podcasts, listening to music is what I do most often. It’s what continues to shape my life. So, I guess if you really want to know more about me, just take a look at my music collection and you’ll get a taste of what made me who I am today.