Just listen

If you’ve been reading Blackbyrd for as long as it has existed, you might be aware I purchased a record player when I was fifteen (if I remember correctly). I hauled up my parents’ old records, dusted them off and stuck them under the needle. I found Joan Jett & the Black Hearts, Pat Benatar, Boston, REO Speedwagon and the like. Like anything, I discovered a favorite among them: Styx.

Whenever I put a record under the needle and let it spin with my dad in earshot, he appears in my doorway. It never fails. He’ll stand there for awhile, just listening. Each song that comes on with the different pattern of lines on the record receives a “whoa, good song!” and he’ll sit. We sit and just listen. Records are flipped, removed and added.

During the ride hom from the Bona game (WE WON AFTER TWO OTs!), I plugged in my iPod Classic and scrolled to find Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Supertramp. From there, I made a playlist and we listened to whatever song came on. The driving conditions were not preferable, and yet we sat with the music blasting, turning it up when the beat picked up and turning the dial to the left during softer parts. “Time For Me To Fly” got us to sing every word (of course, we know every word) and “Too Much Time On My Hands” got me clapping. If I know the company riding with me, I tend to play music I know they¬†would like. The plus side with Dad’s music is this: I love it just like he does. We both enjoy it, and each time, a story about his childhood and teenage years comes out of the songs. He tells me how he was able to relate to songs Styx put out when he was a kid. He loves how their lyrics come from situations they faced in real life. Everything about Styx is relatable.

We drove those black, rainy country roads in a purply-blue Bug singing our hearts out.

I couldn’t help but think nights like tonight are what I’m going to tell my kids about.

 

 

One time we watched this concert on TV. It’s amazing (and I have a huge crush on Tommy Shaw, which is quite strange seeing as how I think he and my dad look very alike…).

Jogging memories

It’s funny how using one or more of your five senses can jog your memory. A sound or song can take you back to something that happened while you were listening to it. If you happen to catch a TV show you viewed as a child, you’ll probably go “Oh yeah! I remember that!” upon seeing it once more. Sometimes we forget about things and it takes a nudge of something to bring it all back.

I opened the alcohol wipes an hour ago to clean off the earbuds I have to use to do my work. I didn’t think anything of them. But, as soon as the hole I tore was big enough, the smell of the wipes brought it all back.

Papa sitting at the kitchen table, preparing to prick himself in the stomach with his needle. He opens the small package, and I can smell the strong alcohol smell. Slowly, methodically, he disinfects the area where the needle will go. I watch and cringe as he injects whatever it is into himself (I thought I knew what it was, but think I have forgotten). I take the used alcohol pads and throw them in the little waste basket he has settled by his chair. The smell of the alcohol wafts, but I don’t mind it.

The people here in the JMC office probably thought I was a weirdo when I sat here an hour ago, just smelling the alcohol pads. I couldn’t help it. The smell jogged my memory.

I let my memory run.

It all started with a record player

A few weeks ago, I bought myself a record player. I was ecstatic to find it at such a good price, and was beaming as I walked out of the store with the box in my arms.

When we got home, I immediately took it into the Living Room and set it up. My parents taught me how to use it and to be careful not to jump around whilst listening to it. My mother and I ventured into the cave (our basement) to retrieve some of their old records to bring back some of the past. We carried armload after armload upstairs to the Living Room and left them in stacks all around the room. I left the ones I bought earlier that day (Coheed & Cambria and a Fueled By Ramen package that were extremely cheap) on the couch and my dad and I had a look-see to pick out what I should listen to first.

I thought my brothers would think it cool for me to have purchased a record player, but they avoided me like I had the plague. They seemed pretty pissed off and jealous that I got to one first and because my parents’ old one needs a new needle thing. Trevor especially because I bought Coheed & Cambria. Because he likes them, I’m not allowed to. Oh well.

My dad sat on the couch as I rifled through stack after stack, holding record after record up seeking his approval. All of the ones with his name written on them were the ones approved – all of the ones with Barbra Streisand on the cover were kept in a pile that I would not listen to. Sorry, mom.

I have discovered a whole new music taste thanks to my record player (though it does have a CD player, radio and iPod hookup included, I tend to listen to records on it more). I found out that I love the bands Sweet, REO Speedwagon (You Can Tune A Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish), Joan Jett & The Black Hearts, The Knack, Boomtown Rats, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, London Town and some Pat Benatar. I still love Escape the Fate, Paramore, Tilly and the Wall, and all of the other bands I have always loved, but I am now broadening my music taste. It’s cool to think that my parents played these records once at the same age I am now. I wish I could go back and meet the teenage versions of them. My mom and I would be identical, and I bet my dad and I would have fun listening to music together – just like we do now.