for a music lover, i found that i’ve not paid a visit to good ol’ in a long time. in the good old days (no, it wasn’t 20 years ago), i’d buy cd’s on a whim. reasons i’d use to justify my purchase were innumerable.

my friends keep raving about it. buy it.

kerrang! says its good. buy it.

the chick on the cover/in the mag looks gorgeous (read: avril’s debut). buy it.

oh, we got tickets to see the gig? buy it.

that one song is good (err… the rest must be good). buy it.

i can go on. really.

my amassed cd collection is impressive. numerically. there are more gems than there are duds, though, i have to say. i started buying cd’s way before owning a cd player (didn’t buy one until i started earning, as dosh from parents were used strictly for… food! yum!). when i finally got my pioneer pd-s703 (not much by today’s standard, but it was the dog’s bollocks in its heyday), the rest is history.

rock music forms the bulk of my audio optical media repertoire. from metallica to pearl jam. from nirvana to train. and to (pause) the calling. everyone has a soundtrack of one’s life. i can pause and look at the cd’s on the rack, and little segments of old memories would come flashing by. before you think i am waxing lyrical on sentimentality, worry not. the music, for me, is played to rock.

in many sense of the word.

in my adolescence, rock epitomises coolness (it still does now i’m afraid. yeah!). i got to be on the cool side of the kutus in school (having a quasi-encyclopaedic knowledge of metal bands was useful then :P). the double-sided imported (rm50 was then the norm, and this was 1986) rock tees were also the shit.

as i grew older, my musical tastebuds evolved. in university, the seattle sound was new (i once dismissed a friend’s invitation to see nirvana for a mere £8, something which i have regretted to this very day) and i was still in my metallica and guns ‘n’ roses phase. the (so-called) elitist attitude to all things rock in me yielded finally, and my staple was then the likes of pearl jam and alice in chains.

by that time the guitar was something i began to learn playing. i have also found that i had a peculiar way of listening to tunes. i discovered that quirk when i noticed i had a hard time remembering lyrics. bud, my then housemate, was already warbling fountain of wayne tunes while making dinner in the kitchen after a mere second listen.

i found that i was only subconsciously listening to the instruments that were being played, whilst the lyrics only went yadda yadda, over my head.

i then realised why it took me 6 years to know enter sandman by osmosis.

my guitar playing was improving over the years as i would religiously sit down learning a multitude of tunes from a cd playing in the backgound. when i don’t have family/friends/a band (delete one) to jam with, i’d jam with the bands. there had been nights when i was the third (fourth if you include ed) guitarist along with messrs. mc cready and gossard, playing an entire 2 and a half-hour setlist ‘in front’ of a crowd at the seattle key arena (among other venues!) on a winter’s evening. now, that’s what a good sound system and some imagination can do.

the cd collection then grew as my ears now yearned to appreciate the world outside rock. my reading of the subject had shown me music’s evolution. also, i have friends who suggest to me material that i must check out.

i needed to listen to other genres.

rock and jazz wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for blues. many rock guitarists cite other influences to be where they are now. and pop music actually is good when written well.

it was time to step outside the box.

i took baby steps, by still listening to guitar-oriented material. bought cd’s that were highly recommended like passion, grace and fire by messrs. de lucia, di meola and mc laughlin. robert johnson’s king of the delta blues singers. the who’s live at leeds.

and singer/songwriters. cat stevens and bob dylan are simply superb. wouldn’t have listened to joni mitchell’s blue if it wasn’t for travis. also, the current crop of women songwriters are really good (mc lachlan, jewel, to name a few), in my humble opinion. i know. i am a late starter, but i will get there soon enough.

currently i listen a little more of blues, like clapton. to mention the blues as one example, i began to really appreciate why rock music is played the way it is. trabye and the neon have also given me some tips in blues playing. a real eye opener. and not to worry, just because i have the muddy waters’ chess sessions and a couple of stevie ray vaughan cd’s, i won’t be citing them as a major influences! one day, i would love to, though.

so, what have i bought this past month?

miss lavigne‘s new album has suffered the curse of the sophomore effort. she’s playing sheffield this october. wanna come with me?

maroon 5. hmmm. they have a fresh sound for rock band, although i’d describe them as justin timberlake on guitars with a touch of gloria gaynor.

in flamessoundtrack to your escape showcases exceptionally precision metal playing as a band, although you have to excuse my untrained ear that i’ve heard this all before in the guise of bands like fear factory.

the corrsborrowed heaven. haven’t listened to it properly yet. one thing for sure, though, the sisters still look great.

i never despair if no gems are found in a month’s purchase. i have a back catalogue the likes of zeppelin, hendrix and pink floyd to fall back on. on vinyl to boot. but that’s another story.

so, what’s your poison?