The Soundtrack of My Life

You may think that blogging about music has nothing to do with chasing down the dream of an Ironman, you would be totally wrong. The hours of training that is required to be prepared for these long events is often done in solitude, just you and your thoughts. Better yet, just you and your iPod! It has been interesting throughout the years how my musical interests have evolved. Maybe the most interesting part about it is the fact that it almost comes full circle every 10 years or so.

My first memories of music was the influence my mother had on me at a very young age. I can recall the radio being on in the house the majority of the time. It was certainly on for drives to Niagara Falls where as a child my parents had a trailer that we would frequent on the weekends. The musical genre was always country, maybe some might call it early rock and roll. I remember lots of Elvis (thanks Aunt Barb!), Tammy Wynettte, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, and Crrystal Gayle. “Don’t it make your brown eyes, don’t it make your brown eyes, don’t it make your brown eyes blue.” It is funny how our minds work in strange ways, when one of those songs comes on the radio today I can remember the words! Barry Manilow was also very popular with “Mandy”.

When I was pre-teen I broke out on my own musically. I can recall an infatuation with Blondie and others from that era. Yes, I owned some disco albums as well although I can’t recall any of the artists names, likely a good thing. I do recall Kool and the Gangs “Celebrate good times, come on!” A few years back I got to see them live as they opened for Van Halen, go figure. I think it was only one original member, with a cast of 1000 others on stage none of which had an instrument.

My first introduction to “rock” was a Christmas present. I remember my parents asking Mark and I which album we would like the most that year. He went with Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, I got Styx’s Grand Illusion. That is when everything changed for me. I remember listening to that one for hours and hours. It must have been genetic as Brandon did the exact same thing when he was about 11 years old as well. The only difference was that he was watching a concert on video over and over. That is what inspired him to become a musician, and an excellent one at that!

Around the age of 12 my parents let me sign up for the mail order Columbia house. Do you remember that? They had a flyer that would come out with little stamps that you cut up and put on your order form. I forget the exact cost but you got ten albums for something like $10. The collection began! There was Journey, more Styx, more Supertramp, David Bowie, the rolling stones and many more. This is back in the day when your friends would come over and listen to music with you, as an evening activity, I think video games replaced that.

Moving into the teen years, how honest should I be here I mean my kids read this blog right? It was the heavy metal era and I was a follower. I had black concert shirts for every day of the week, longish hair, and joined a band. We were actually quite good believe it or not.  Our band name was Eros, yes the greek goddess of love. We were a three piece with Mike R on drums and Nicky P playing guitar and singing and me playing bass. We had our time in the spotlight those years, playing basement parties and high school gigs. I have very good memories of high school, mostly due to music. I was big into Black Sabbath, Dio, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Heart and a bunch of others. Throughout all the years one band has stuck with me, Rush. Who can resist a three piece band with so much musical talent! I played bass along with Geddy Lee for hours in my teen years as well as air drums with millions of others, trying to be Neil Peart. These were also the concert going years! I was lucky enough to see many great bands of that era (I think I have seen Rush 8 times now). We had a friend that worked the gate at Maple Leaf gardens so we could get in for free for many of the concerts, often just sitting on the steps and hiding from the ushers.

Next came marriage and the new musical influences that Jackie brought to the relationship. I tried to get her into Rush, even took her to a concert but apparently Rush is very much a guy thing. Could it be that Geddy Lee looking like something out of Lord of the Rings had anything to do with it? She introduced me to the glam bands of that era. Bon Jovi was one of her favourites, as a family we have seen them many times now. Oh yeah, not that they are a glam band but Guns n’ Roses was just hitting the scene and she was a big fan.

Once the kids were born I guess we felt the need to be a good influence. We got into new country heavily. I am sure if you asked Brittany and Brandon about their early influences it would be Garth (no last name needed), Kenny Chesney, Chris Cagle and others. This was the era of big country festivals for us, all day events in the hot baking sun.

So that takes me to current day. The benefit of having children is introducing them to all of the great artists that we saw as young adults. Brandon and I have recently seen Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Scorpions, and others together. He has had a big influence on us as well. My playlist currently has a number of songs from Avenged Sevenfold, Billy Talent, and Bullet for my Valentine. It amazes me to watch him play guitar, master of all of the leads for these current bands. This next video is one he let us take of him before he was self conscious, about 5 years ago.

So, back to fitness. It is music that gets me through the long workouts. Hours alone with music in my head as I bike and run. They do have waterproof iPods for swimming but I haven’t taken that step yet.

This past week I traveled 220 kms while training. I missed a long swim session as the pool was closed on Friday, bummer!

Nos vemos en la línea de meta……

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