Thursday, September 30, 2010

TVD Takeover | The Posies

It's The Posies' TVD Takeover Day #4 - and Jon's back with more:

Why Audiophiles Don’t Like Rod Stewart
Or: “How My Father Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Mod”
I don’t want to come across as overly sentimental, but I’ve always considered myself lucky to grow up in a musical household. At the age of three I decided I wanted to play the drums and my parents actually bought them for me thus eventually having to tolerate what I can only imagine were brain salad days of (no pun intended) relative torture as our house was filled with my disruptive (yet metronomically correct I am told) drum fills. Yes, mine were the supportive kind of caretakers, so committed to the progressive growth of the child that when I eagerly pointed to the shinny mini drum set I wanted at the local toy store, they refused and said that no son of theirs was going to have a half-assed approximation of my heart’s desire. NO, DAMMIT - they were going to buy me a real drum set, not (again no pun intended) beat around the bush with some cheap infantile facsimile. And you know what? They did…

I became the only three-year old that I knew of on my block with a real certifiable Rogers drum set. Granted - a small, second-hand three-piece with a pot lid the weight of a shot put for one of the cymbals, but a bona fide Rogers nonetheless. Even at the age of three HELL YES was all I could think of in my formative little head. I was blessed.

Many instruments followed, perhaps more civilized, certainly less house-rattling: violin from age four to eight and then to my real love, guitar, at the age of nine. I’ll have to say that at every step of the way, I was encouraged to embrace quality in music and in whatever musical ‘delivery device’ was put into my hands. My father in particular was a real inspiration, an excellent guitarist in his own right and a faithful supplier of resources and knowledge. It was he who eventually put a small but powerful recording studio in the rec room of the house I spent my teenage years in, years before home recording became easy and common, the house that The Posies made our first record in engineered by myself after a few years of learning the sonic ropes the old fashioned way: a little something called the “hand-me-down method.”

If you haven’t suspected it by now, my father is indeed the audiophile I’ve been slowly steering this tale of yesteryear towards. He was the man of a thousand records, the man with the primo Techniques turntable suspended from the ceiling on a platform so none of the vibrations from the family feet would disturb our listening experience. I loved his collection of music and garnered much in the way of eventual inspiration for my own music, but I’d be lying if his high standards weren’t a bit of a double edge sword. Like, say, when I’d haul one of his prize records into my bedroom to play on the little kiddie stereo and he’d come in and let me know in no uncertain terms that I was not to play his records on my stereo as the inferior needle would ruin the grooves. Oh the irony now - it makes sense to me these days….in fact I pretty much feel the same way about my records as he did. But back in the day it just didn’t compute.

Speaking of things not computing, during grade three, I came home from school one day and announced to my father that “Do You Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart was my favorite song and I simply had to have my own copy of it NOW. I can honestly say I don’t think there’s ever been another point in history I can recall seeing such a look of puzzled terror from the normally tolerant elder Auer. What my father quickly ascertained was that a) The real reason I had to have the desired vinyl was because of a girl in my class I was completely crushed out on and b) I had never heard the song before in my life. Long story short, instead of buying me the record (he being the man of high standards), he opted for a more educational solution and drove me with haste to our favorite local pizza parlor. There, over Canadian bacon and pineapple, my father begrudgingly played “Do You Think I’m Sexy” on the jukebox, cringing as we sat there, followed by a table discussion of the song, the lyrics, and my take on the whole confounding situation.

Now, of course, I realize he was just trying to save me from the evils of Disco-era Rod Stewart, but at the time all I gave a toss about was that the girl I was sure I would love forever at the age of eight would see me walk down the hall with a copy of ex-“Rod the Mod”s’ latest under my arm and feel the same way I felt about her unequivocally. I think my father finally figured it out, that I was hell bent on aiming to impress, that it was a harmless detour on the rites road to passage. Sex or Disco had nothing to do with it – although eventually I came to appreciate both. At the time in question I could have cared less. It was a terminal case of playground love, pure and simple.

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