I wish I had been exposed to more types of music then. I had an incredibly musical childhood (which accounts for my love of folk music), but it was all the influence of my parents. They had all the essentials (Dylan, the Stones, John Renbourn, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac), but by the time I was a kid, the records were gathering dust in the closet, and we mostly listened to the radio. Oldies in my dad's shop; NPR in the house (symphonies and opera during the week, Prairie Home Companion on weekends, and Hearts of Space in the wee hours of the morning). I remember sitting in the lunchroom in early grade school, agreeing with my class, "yeah, Michael Jackson is awesome!" and then wondering who the hell he was. I don't think it was until age 13 that I listened to contemporary "rock" music (if Bel Biv DeVoe counts as rock).
And it wasn't until the middle of high school that I started discovering my own music. (Well, R.E.M. for high school misfits was pretty de rigeur, but still.) And suddenly I had an outlet for what I was feeling. And then Pearl Jam (which came to Kansas terribly late); and my friends and I had a particular fondness for Soul Asylum, too. In college, I was affected particularly by Tori Amos, and later, Ani DiFranco. But I can't help feeling like a fucking cliche. What sensitive eighteen-year-old girl was not caught up by Tori and Ani?
I just feel so left out whenever Tim talks about his connection to music. His life was defined by which music he discovered when. Listening to Led Zepplin is a holy experience for him. When we met and he played me one of their albums, I got so pissed off that I was twenty-six and only just then discovering Zepplin. So left out of a life-changing experience.
It wasn't until I was living in Chicago that I discovered my musical connection. One night the first winter I lived here, my new friends Bob and Dan took me a small club in a warehouse district of the city. It was an old house converted into a bar and music venue. Part of the excitement was all the new experiences, being in the city, finally knowing people, making out with one of them, but when the band started playing, I thought, "Oh my god. I'm home." It was a bluegrass band! Something I had grown up with, hearing at festivals. So I started going to alt-country shows. Most of the audience were overall-wearing hipsters, the girls in thrift-store sweaters and trendy cats'-eye glasses; and I wasn't like that. But I still had a connection to the music scene, and I loved it.
Uncle Tupelo didn't exactly change my life, but their version of Iggy Pop's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" did inspire me to learn the guitar.