Rock Music: The Encounter.
Getting sucked into the world of rock and roll was kind of like a first music encounter for me. I had grown up listening to all kinds of music because I was surrounded by people who very much appreciated the art. From Lagbaja to Michael Jackson to Westlife and NSYNC, I knew the words to all the songs. At the time though, music was something I listened to because it was always there. I never went out of my way to discover new artists or listen to songs. I was quite indifferent to it all until I discovered rock music in my early teens. “Discovered” might be a strange word to use here, since I must have heard some form of rock music in my house and even in movies and all of that. I guess “becoming aware” of rock music helped me to appreciate music in general better.
I started listening to rock music completely in 2014. I was surprised by how different it was. The instrumentals and unpredictable rhythm. I don’t know, but I think the first rock song I ever heard or rather first became aware of was “The Memory Remains” by Metallica. I can’t remember how I must have felt when I first listened to it, but it definitely opened the door to the room where my poetic rock and roll soul was hiding (eye roll). At that moment, it must have felt like I had always been a rock-head. I had only needed a trigger. I also remember listening to “Paradise” by Coldplay and going completely nuts. I instantly fell in love with the band, and then there was Linkin Park whom my sister introduced me to.
My rock and roll journey continued with an old classmate of mine, Chibuzor. He introduced me to other bands such as The American Authors, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Avenged Sevenfold and other awesome bands. Chibuzor was my music soulmate at the time. Unfortunately, last I heard, we lost him to Trap music. He’ll be missed.
My music senses heightened. I became more aware of little things that I could have cared less about before. Things like the difference between a synthesiser and an actual electric guitar, a bass and an acoustic guitar, the harmony of the lead singer’s vocals and things like that. I started paying attention to the soundtrack of movies that I saw, able to differentiate the rock songs from the other genres. It introduced me to more amazing bands. I started to appreciate the classic rock bands and sorrowed at how much the light of rock and roll had dimmed over the years. My favourite classic rock bands are The Rolling Stones, Electric Light Orchestra and Queen.
I also got to know some great rock songs from playing “Guitar Hero”, which was my favourite game back in secondary school. It introduced me to my favourite indie rock band — Interpol.
I also got into listening to Bob Dylan, which introduced me to the folk-rock sub-genre. At that point, I started to become aware of the sub-genres of rock and roll. I could distinguish the deafening instrumentals and more aggressive vocals of metallic rock from the jangly guitar sounds of indie rock and mellow melodies of soft rock.
I think I can safely say that the peak of my “music journey” was attained when I discovered the DSTV radio music channels. There were different channels for different genres of music. The classic rock channel was where I discovered bands such as Deep Purple, System of a Down, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, and The Animals.
“House of the rising sun” by The Animals was on a whole different pedestal than I had ever encountered. The song had everything; deep, story-telling lyrics, mesmerising instrumentals (it was the first time I ever heard an organ being used in a song), and as if one could have ignored the effortlessly low baritone range of Eric Burdon’s voice (I just shed a tear thinking about it). I spent a whole day reading about the song and The Animals, leading me to a group of British rock bands that made up the “British Invasion” — The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Beatles. I never got around to listening to The Beatles. I had termed their music “overrated” without ever bothering to listen to any of their songs (such a dumbo). There was also the hard rock channel where I discovered Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Kiss, Manowar, Pink Floyd, Scorpions etc. There was the soft rock channel where I discovered soft rock and indie rock bands such as, Of Monsters and Men, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Blaenavon, Franz Ferdinand, and two of my favourite bands ever — Kaiser Chiefs and The Black Keys.
I didn’t know David Bowie until his death and that made me very sad. Suffragette City was a true work of art.
FIFA soundtracks also introduced me to some amazing bands. I don’t play FIFA, but my brother does. I stumbled upon the FIFA 14 and 15 soundtracks and become hooked. I discovered bands such as The Royal Concept, The Hives, Milky Chance, Kasabian, and other artists of different genres.
Currently, I’m listening to all kinds of things. I’ve established myself as some sort of music encyclopaedia (much to the annoyance of most people I tell, lol), having knowledge of basically all genres of music and being able to listen to them. From the Afro Beats of Femi Kuti to the Irish folk songs of The Dubliners.
I finally got around to listening to The Beatles in early 2019, when I came across their Apple Music Essentials. It was a lot better than I expected it to be. I listened to the “A Hard Day’s Night” album and thought it was a masterpiece. “The White Album” too was a true gem.
I hope to continue to discover more rock bands and also other awesome artists from all possible genres. I hope I never lose my interest in music, but continue to grow in my love for it, and maybe even start my own band someday :).