By the time I was 13, I would have 3 shoe boxes full of tapes. I would spend any extra money that I would get on music. I was immediately drawn to the Sony Walkman and bought several during those years. It was my personal escape from the world. It was not a coincidence that the discovery of music coincided with my mother and father getting divorced and then my mother getting remarried. Music is what helped me get through it all. The lyrics, the sharing of pain, the anger, the passion and the energy from sound all helped me cope. Then came the explosion of grunge music which would change my life.
At 15, I was working odd jobs to just buy music and was dedicated to finding new bands before anyone else. I bought a CD by a band named Cracker after hearing their first single on the radio - "Teen Angst" (no surprise there). I had become obsessed with a radio station named WFNX in Boston and had heard that song and immediately got my mother to drive to Salem, New Hampshire so I could buy it at Newbury Comics. (I would later intern at WFNX for Laurie Gail who was then their Music Director during the summer between my Freshmen and Sophomore years at UMass and personally contribute thousands to building the Newbury Comics empire in New England). WFNX said that Cracker was playing an all ages show at a local club called Avalon which is located directly behind Fenway Park. This would be the first team that sports and music became neighbors in my life. I bought a ticket the next day....1 ticket.
You have to realize that at this time in my life, I was really a loner. My father was a alcoholic who verbally and physically abused my mother, brother and myself. I was completely ashamed of my life. We lived in a upper middle class town that had lots of "traditional" families. I was the child of a 18 year old mom and 20 year old dad. My mother was remarried to a guy who was many years her younger. Today, this isn't that crazy but in Andover in 1990 - it was unique. I had a hard time making friends and trusting anyone. So when it came time for me to go to my first rock concert - I didn't have anyone to go with me.....so - I went by myself. Later on I would find a group of friends that loved music as much as me but that would be after I stopped walking around school with my headphones on and my hat pulled down over the my eyes.
Looking back on it now, it's crazy that my mother allowed me at 15 to get on the train and then on the Green line to go to an all ages show in Boston by myself. Yet, I would do it numerous times in high school and it allowed the freedom to discover the power of live music and the power of the microphone and stage. It had a huge affect on me as I would see concerts alone by bands like Helmet, Bush, Oasis, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones before anyone really had heard of them. I was the first one in my high school rocking their CD on my Diskman. It was my "thing" and I realized that I could do things by myself and gain confidence from the experiences. No one else from my town that was my age was going into Boston to clubs like Axis, Avalon or Paradise for concerts. (I didn't realize it but it was the precursor to my career of moving around the country alone for radio). The strength that my mother let me find I'm sure was difficult for her but as a mother of 2, working 2 jobs and going to school to become a nurse - I'm sure she was just happy that I found a way to spend my time that wasn't involving the drugs or alcohol that my father exposed me to early in life.
The reason I bring all this up is because there is a channel that is out there that people aren't watching enough. That channel is called Palladia. If you haven't watched it before - you really need to start because it is so unique and amazing (Channel 840 in Omaha on Cox). I've been to over 300 concerts in my life and this channel is full of incredible live musical performances from the past 15 years. I get fired up every time I turn the channel on to see what is on and what will be coming up. It's my favorite channel on TV right now. VH1 Storytellers is seen daily with acts like Pearl Jam, Snoop Dog, Kayne West, and REM. Interviews with key artists and rocking concerts from all over the world - ALL IN HD! It's heaven for me.
I can see amazing concerts from acts that I've seen numerous times and it allows me to go back to when I was that kid jumping on trains to go see shows by myself. I had a obsession with Oasis in High School - seeing them 10 times but Palladia has a concert from last year that is crazy good. I'm a huge fan of British music and the concerts from across the pond are great on Palladia. Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash, Lily Allen, and others can be seen every week. From concerts to festivals to special music programming - there is nothing like it on TV. Remember when everyone bitched about MTV not being about music? Well, Palladia is all about the music.
As someone who buys 2 albums a week on Itunes and goes to around a concert a month - I'm really nervous that Palladia won't make it like other great HD channels. 3 Sheets was an amazing TV show that people didn't get exposed to enough and it got cancelled. I don't want to see Palladia suffer the same fate.....so WATCH! I've had passionate relationships with bands like Pearl Jam, U2, REM, Ani Difranco, and Oasis and Palladia is allowing me to keep those going.
Let me continue to be moved by the amazing music that is out there every night by watching Palladia!
BTW - Can't wait for Death Cab for Cutie in 2 weeks at the Holland!