Musical taste is a very personal thing.
What is it that attracts someone to a song or a sound or a particular style of music?
Is it fashion? Is it the influence of the cool kids or the big brother or the hipster reviews?
Is it over exposure through the mass media?
Is it Simon?
Is Simon always right or always wrong?
Is my musical taste better than yours?
Is there a small area of their brain that makes them feel a different emotion to other people who don’t share their taste?
One person’s Red Red Wine is another person’s “Switch it off!”
I don’t know the answers to those questions but I do know that musical taste has consequences on how you look, how you think and how you view the world.
My own musical taste was tested early on and I believe that if it had been a little different then I would have had a very different life.
By the time I could save up enough money to buy a record (yes, vinyl) my older and wiser friends had split into two distinct camps of musical taste.
There were those who preferred what at the time was called Heavy Metal and those who didn’t.
Being young and impressionable I was initially exposed to the Metal camp via Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast album.
The cover was the first clue.
Featuring a small cartoonish, naked, red devil with a tail and a trident. I didn’t like the look of him at all.
The song titles were the second clue.
Children of the Damned
The Number of the Beast
Run to the Hills
There was a lot of chasing around on hills after dark.
The devil cropped up quite a bit. Pesky.
Human sacrifice, I didn’t like the sound of that much.
I tried to like it but even as an innocent teenager I just didn’t buy into it.
I tried harder.
I closed my eyes and listened to the galloping music, striding around my bedroom shaking my head vigorously.
I made some grunting sounds. I thought that might help.
I imagined myself with long hairdresser hair, denims, cut off t-shirts and those leather cuffs with little spikes like bad-dog collars.
I was just too skinny. My hair was never going to work long, it just went curly. I didn’t look anything like a Viking.
I lived in the highlands of Scotland not far from Boleskine House, where Aleister Crowley had raised the real devil and I imagined that if Iron Maiden had wandered along there one moonlit night and saw what was going on that they’d have abandoned their cartoon horror and tight denims and switched to acoustic guitars and Arran jumpers and changed their name to Woolen Lady.
I did like drumming along to Run to the Hills though.
Beating that chair with a pair of old drumsticks soon brought me to Stiff Little Fingers
Stiff Little Fingers were pasty looking.
They didn’t have tighty-tight trousers on.
Their hair looked like it would go curly too.
They didn’t look anything like Vikings.
All the signs were there that this was more me.
I was hooked by one song in particular: Gotta Getaway.
You know there ain’t no street like home
To make you feel so all alone
Too many folk to tell you what to do
But they don’t speak the same language as you
The guitar and drums intro were addictive to the point that I just could not get it out of my head.
I had to join in but I could not drum along fast enough to keep up.
I cut blisters into my hands, developed aching wrists not to mention ear-ache and a humming in my head from repeat-repeat listening’s to SLF at headphone melting volumes.
After several weeks of this my chair was wrecked. I could almost keep up though.
I liked hitting things with sticks.
In my imagination Stiff Little Fingers were looking for a new drummer.
I was beginning to hatch a far-fetched plan which, if successful, would culminate in that new drummer being me.
It never happened.
Musical taste is a curious thing.
And then, Go For It
Is your musical taste better than mine? Let me know!