May is Mena’s Music Month and as many of you know I have a habit of coining random celebrations. lol Blogging about musical moments and memories is not only a great way to celebrate May but it’s also alliteration. Everyone needs alliteration! This week I solicited some quotes from a few cool people about their musical firsts. The amazing thing about music is that it holds memories for all of us across generation, culture, and gender. So read on for some nostalgic musical firsts and feel free to share some of your own.
FIRST ROCK SONG
Amena Brown, writer/talker/spoons player
Sixth grade. I had just moved from Silver Spring, MD to San Antonio, TX and was highly unhappy about it. Felt like I went from really cool place to live to really slow, cowboy boots, flatland place to live. (no offense to my Texas peeps! lol) I was having a hard time fitting in, but somehow found a friend in a tall freckle-faced, brown haired boy named Daniel. Daniel was always in trouble, so when our class went to do fun stuff like play on the computer or have recess, he was typically leaning against some wall at the teacher’s behest for his bad behavior. I would stop and talk to him sometimes since we kind of had something in common. He couldn’t have fun with the class and I frankly didn’t want to. lol He told me about the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Asked me if I’d ever heard a song called “Under the Bridge.” I hadn’t so he sang me the words and told me to check it out. I caught the video on MTV and loved it! After that I’d always check on Daniel during his times of detention and sing a few of the lines with him. I still know all the words to that song.
FIRST LIVE SHOW
I think my first live show was Goapele. I actually went to go see another artist that night at the temple bar in Los Angeles and stayed around to see the other artists. And I must tell you that watching her with her band inspired my brother to encourage me to put my own band together which I did soon after. It was really a great show but my most favorite live show was AMEL @ Sugar Hill in ATL. There was just something about the magnitude of energy and love reciprocated in the room between Amel and us fans that I have yet to experience again. Hopefully it will be one of my own shows.
FIRST INSTRUMENT I LEARNED
The first instrument I learned was the guitar. At four years old while living in Los Angeles, 54th and Venice in South Central, a friend of my parents brought over an old beat up guitar with holes in it and just two strings. And my dad used to tell the story that I just walked over and started playing and I've been playing ever since.
FIRST HIP HOP MOMENT
Marc McCartney, Blogger
Director of Events, www.RightNow.org
My Dad was a football coach and I loved being around him. So as a little kid, I spent a ton of hours on the practice field and in the locker room. Music was always the pulse of the locker room. I could walk into the locker room and just by listening to the music I would know what was going on.
Before games you hear something with lots of bass to get the juices flowing. Before practice you might hear something a little more upbeat, but not too intense. After practice is going to be something mellow and lazy. After a loss – no music! But after a win – that’s when you get the hip hop. Everyone was excited and juiced up and ready to let it all out. The team would sing the songs aloud – practically shouting the music – it was a party in that locker room and it was so much fun! Run DMC, Sir Mix A Lot, Public Enemy, Biz Markie, Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock, and the list goes on… those were the days!
FIRST LIVE SHOW AND FIRST 45
Chuck Woo, Managing Director, Woo Media Works
Blogger/Marketing Consultant, www.chuckwoo.com
As a 6 year old being able to witness the hardest working man in show business and the smooth Temptations gave me a soulful appreciation of music and entertainment. James Brown was the best entertainer and could move the crowd just dancing.
Don't know if I remember my first music store experience, however the first 45 that I bought for 67 cents was James Brown, which I think I still have somewhere.
Dan Kimball, author/speaker, www.dankimball.com
I think the first full album I ever bought was KISS's "Destroyer" album. I was fascinated with KISS as a kid. I think it was the whole stage show, lighting, smoke machines, the drums that rose in the air during the drum solo and all the theatrics that they did that no one else was doing like that back then. I am quite embarrassed to say but I saw KISS 3 times live in concert while in high school.
FIRST DEEJAY EXPERIENCE
Matthew “Opie” Owen, DJ and Saxophone player
The first time I was on my turntables in front of a crowd, a large youth group had hired me to come and make it hot that night. I was kind of panicking because I wasn't exactly sure how to hook everything up, but I didn't want to let them know that. Even though my right table was coming out of my left on the mixer and my left was coming out of the right, the crowd was moving and I've been in love ever since.
FIRST CASSETTE TAPE
AJ Joiner, www.TheASpot.com
“It’s not bippety-bop mama.” I pleaded sincerely as I tried to convince my Mama to cough up $7.99 so I could buy UTFO.
I’d heard ‘Roxanne, Roxanne’ and ‘The Real Roxanne’ at friends’ houses, but Grandma wasn’t allowing that ‘bee-bop mess’ in her house, and Mama wasn’t either. Shortly thereafter I scammed my Uncle into buying the tape and it. Was. On.
We spent weeks with the tape deck locked, loaded and on record/pause. I wrote lyrics in my ‘Rap notebook’ and was ready at a moment’s notice for a ‘battle’ with my brother and friends to rap the lyrics to anything by UTFO.
“Calling Her a Crab, Roxanne, Roxanne, Bite It, The Real Roxanne” are all classics in their own right. Dr. Ice, Kangol Kid, Mixmaster Ice, and the Educated Rapper pioneered the early 80’s version of what we call ‘diss’ and reply albums.
No true hip hop head can stroll down Hip Hop memory lane without touching the Untouchable Force Organization better known as UTFO.
What were some of your musical firsts?