American dream can be lived if you add hard work to the mix
I often have been asked how I know so much about music.
Well, music has been my “job” for more than 22 years.
More importantly, music has been my life for well over 40 years, strictly from a fan’s point of view.
The only musical instrument I have ever been able to play is the stereo, and I can play it well, if I do say so myself. I also have “big ears” so I can hear music better than most.
I have been able to turn my hobby into a job and make a living doing so. That just proves that you can live the American dream and if you are willing to work hard.
Part of that work includes product knowledge. The more you know about your product the easier it is to get excited about and get others excited about it.
So when I am at the store reading about, listening to or talking about music, I am technically working.
From the time I was 11 and received Led Zeppelin’s first album for a Christmas gift, I have been a fan and a student of the LP.
First came the listening of the album until the songs became familiar. Then there was the familiarity with the group members and who wrote which song and who is this Willie Dixon character who wrote songs but wasn’t in the band.
That led to finding out who Dixon was, which led to Muddy Waters and so on.
During junior high and high school I purchased a lot of LPs, many of them recommended by friends, both male and female.
I worked for Smokestack Records for two years during college in the 1970s, and by the time I was 20 years old and living in a house with three friends, I had 1,100 LPs and knew most of them extremely well.
I also have had the good fortune of having several lifetime friends who are as big, if not bigger fans, of music and more knowledgeable than myself.
I have spent a sizable amount of time discussing music with those friends and then with customers of Triple Play Records.
In fact, I am in an ongoing 30-plus-year music discussion with a current customer I met while working at Smokestack Records.
I have learned as much about music from my customers in the past 22 years.
As far as information for my columns, I do research for many of them.
If I need to verify something that I know or think I know, there are various places I look.
I use the Rolling Stone Record Guide as well as a few online sources to check dates and/or the chronology of a band’s output as well as verifying any other information that demands accuracy as opposed to opinion.
Let’s not forget the original source(s) for most of my knowledge. That would be those good old LPs and their informative covers.
Since I have somewhere around 50,000 of those at my immediate disposal, it would be a shame not to continue to use vinyl records for information.
I just have to remember to grab my reading glasses.