I Wanna Be Your....

***Updated with winner, below!***

The following is a guest-post by friend and author of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, Stephanie Kuehnert. For more about Stephanie, including tour-date information, check out her website. 


How old were you when you discovered your favorite band? For me, it happened at the beginning of seventh grade. 

I was 12, and my friend Jessie was one of those incredibly chic girls who had no clue how utterly cool she was. Not like popular preppy girl cool. No, instead of the trendy long hair with teased bangs, she had a shaggy bob and instead of boring Gap pocket tees and Keds, Jessie wore colorful dresses and Converse. I guess she was kinda like hipster cool, but without the pretension because, well, she was 12, and she was Jessie, one of the nicest people I’d ever known. And she always had tapes, new bands she’d discovered. She put on side two of one of those tapes. I heard sludgy guitars. I heard the singer yowl something about being "a negative creep" and "daddy’s little girl’s not a girl no more..."

I heard the band that would soon become my all-time favorite band of all time: Nirvana. 

For someone who prides herself on being unique—I don’t have an obscure favorite band. Nirvana were (maybe) kind of obscure for two weeks after I discovered them via Jessie who had heard about their new album, Nevermind, but it wasn’t out yet, so we listened to the album, Bleach, instead. The first song I heard was “Negative Creep.” 

Jessie wasn’t so sure she liked it so I made her listen to it twice. Then I borrowed the tape and listened to it so much I wore it out.

Remember that? Not just tapes, necessarily, but that feeling of loving a song, an album, a band so much that you listened to it every waking moment? I’d have put my Walkman on at breakfast if Mom wouldn’t have yelled at me about it... Those headphones were glued to my ears on the walk to school and once I was old enough to drive? The stereo was blared my current mixtape. I wore headphones between classes, during class if I could get away with it. 

Weekends were for concerts. Some weekdays, too. I went to as many concerts as I pleased after Kurt Cobain died because the fall before he’d killed himself, my parents hadn’t let me go see Nirvana because I already had tickets to two other shows around that time, and they’d told me "Next time. You can see them play next time..."

I never got to see my favorite band live. I held that over their heads whenever they hemmed and hawed over a school night or "isn’t that venue in kind of a bad neighborhood?" 

"No! And I don’t care if you know someone who got shot on their porch a block away from that club! I’m going to see that band because I will die if I don’t go to that show. I will die without my music. I will stop breathing. I will shrivel up!"

Yeah, remember that? That insane youthful passion? That time when everything hurt, but the music made everything better? Before you get all old and jaded?

I got old and jaded kinda young. I was seventeen. I’d gone through this abusive, fucked-up relationship with this guy whose favorite band had been Nirvana, too. It damaged my love for them for a little while. I couldn’t listen to my own favorite band for about a year. And the punk scene betrayed me. It betrayed me because it was supposed to punish him for being fucked-up and abusive because good punks didn’t stand for that kind of shit. But umm that was a little inconvenient for some people because he was a drummer, supposedly a good one, and no one really had the balls to tell him off. And I was angry in a way that I’d never experienced before. Angry in a way that was bigger than the music... most music anyway. I listened to a lot of Heavens to Betsy, lyrics like “I’ve got a knife that’s sharpened exactly for one white boy. My target is your heart and the knife will go deep, the knife will go inside.”

But eventually anger turned to sadness. I became a goth. I was ridiculous with white face powder and black lipstick. I sat in my dorm room in college with black candles lit and wrote bad short stories while listening to Disintegration by The Cure. Not that there is anything wrong with the Cure, I’ve loved the Cure and Depeche Mode even longer than I have Nirvana. But me being a goth, me giving up on punk rock, it was not a good time. 

I was twenty-three. I was living at home again so I could go back to school for writing and pull myself out of the bad cycle of clubbing and alcoholism that had come with the whole goth thing. I still had black hair, but it was streaked with pink and blue. I was ready for something new, but I never thought I’d have the enthusiasm that I did when I heard Nirvana at 12 and Hole at 13 and Rancid at 14 and Bikini Kill at 15 and so forth. However, my mom now not only had cable, but super deluxe cable with this new channel MTV2 that played actual music videos and one night this video came on and this gorgeous girl with a lip piercing and liberty spikes asked me if I was ready to be liberated. And yes I was! Especially by this amazing punk chick who screamed with the power of Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love and every angry girl singer I loved in high school rolled into one. It was Brody Dalle of the Distillers and she brought back that zeal for music—for punk rock in particular—that I’d had and thought I’d lost forever at seventeen.

And with my passion for music restored, I started to write the "rock-and-roll novel" that would eventually be: I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE* (MTV Books, July 2008).  It’s the story of a punk rock girl in rural Wisconsin who forms a band to show-up the lame-ass, wanna-be-rock-god boys that have always disappointed her. 

I’d like to give away a signed copy of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE to one of you fabulous people. All you have to do is tell me (in the comments section, below) the name of the band that stirred your insides in that special way and provide a link (to said band) so I can see how much they stir me up, too. The person who helps me discover the greatest new band (or perhaps reminds me of an old favorite) wins the book!  

Good luck!


** Congratulations to Maternal Mirth for winning Stephanie's book giveaway! Email me, miss winner and we'll get your book out to you asap! Thanks to all for sharing your stories and music... xo!


Steph(anie) | 3:30 PM

I was fifteen when I started listening to Pearl Jam. Ever heard of them? Well, I was never to be the same again after hearing the song Black.

Yours Truly | 3:46 PM

I'd never really gotten into punk rock, even though I tried. It just wasn't my thing. I grew up on country music, singing to Randy Travis and Reba when I was just a wee thing. Then middle school hit and while all my friends were listening to The Hansons, Backstreet Boys, and N*Sync I was absolutely addicted to Everclear, Matchbox 20, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Eve 6. As things go though, my tastes have acquired a strange new desire for the foreign pop (?) artists Just Jack and Paolo Nutini.

Woman on the Verge | 4:23 PM

My first love and still my heart of hearts as far as bands go is Blind Melon. You remember the song No Rain? They were considered a one hit wonder but the rest of their music...man. It blew my mind!
(I tried to link to them but I'm a lame ass and can't figure out how)
Oh and it was before they regrouped with a new lead singer. Not such a fan of the new "band".

Anonymous | 5:05 PM

I may sound like a total lame-o here, but Norah Jones has pretty much gotten me through. Her sweet but salty voice has been reminding me for years to just breathe some California air and relax.

Anonymous | 5:06 PM

My first band that meant something to me was Pennywise the song was F**k Authority, and I heard it when I was 17, my freshman year at college. It reached the depths of my newly rebellious soul lik eno other sing I've ever heard. It's still my favorite song.




Ahhh!! I loved Pennywise, too! So Junior High for me. That cover of Stand By Me was my and my best friend's summer anthem (95? Or was it 96?). When it speeds up and gets all punk rock and silly? We used to collapse on each other like a couple of drunks and giggle on the floor/street/sand like a couple of crazy kids.

Ah, thanks for the memories...

Tammy | 5:15 PM

The Hooters, Where do the Children Go ... it was my anthem and defined how I felt my junior year of high school.

And now I feel really old!

Kristine | 5:15 PM

It started when I moved out of my dad's house and in with my mom. This required me to switch schools. At my old school I was semi-popular and listened to the same top 40 crap my friends listened to and had no style of my own. At my new school I was not part of "that group" and was forced to hang and the dreadful "smokers corner". The best thing that could have happened to me. I learned to smoke pot, skateboard and steal mad dog 20/20 from the local store. Anway, a boy I really liked drove me home one day and came in to visit (makeout) for a while. he started going through my cd collection (I had 10 tops) and he came accross the.. ohhh let's just say it rhymes with schmice schmirls. He laughed at me and I was mortified of what he would tell my new friends. The next day instead of embarassing me he presented me with an album... THE album that started it all. He handed it to me and said loud enough for our friends to hear "here is that album you wanted to borrow" and it was "Out Comes the Wolves" from Rancid. I fell in love, not only with him, but with punk rock!

Joan | 5:44 PM

I was the youngest in the family, and at 7, with 5 teenagers in the house, well.. you could say I was allowed to stay up way too late, and was exposed to music way ahead of my years. And thank God too, because I remember distinctly THE SONG that changed how I felt and heard and saw music. And I was only 7!

It was summertime. And I was laying on the couch in the den trying to stay awake. And my sisters were watching 'The Midnight Special'. Honestly, I can't remember too much about 'The Midnight Special'. I didn't really pay that much attention. I mainly just stayed up and watched it, well.. first 'cause I COULD, and then second, so I could brag about it later to my friends. So I was watching TV with my sisters. And this song came on. And I remember seeing 4 heads... 4 heads against darkness. And this incredible voice. And a chorus of voices and men with makeup and thinking .. these people worship the devil! And then a story, and that voice, and Beelzebub and what?? Bismillah?? Bismillah!!!

aaaaah... it was the late 70s and it was different and mesmerizing and like nothing I'd ever heard. And though Queen isn't my all time favorite band... they are very much and most definitely my music moment... when music was suddenly more than just a song, and when I first realized with music, anything is possible.


Anonymous | 5:48 PM

Well I fell in love at an early age with punk rock as well, started with the ramones and sex pistols because I thought the scene was dead, living in rural Pa in the early 1990s. I was introduced to Operation Ivy,it changed my life, made me so hungry for more. The band that speaks to me the most, perfect lyrics perfect music would most definitely be the Vindictives. I have loved them for so long and still at 32 three kids later I can put the many moods album in and be transported, reminded of who I am. Shockingly you can find them on myspace...

foodiemama | 5:59 PM

i was a goth kid in high school (yrs. 92-95)than it morphed into bikini kill and so on and so on. anyway, the cure was it for me and truthfully still is... trying to get the kid hyped as well!

MamaFeelgood | 6:58 PM

It all started for me in 6th grade. My older brother (9 years my senior) had just started college and he brought home this mixed tape. I loved it so much that I stole it from him and never gave it back. It contained R.E.M. Eponymous on one side and Talking Heads True Stories on the other. I was so freaked out by It's the End of the World as we Know It and I Feel Fine and mesmerized at the same time. I had never heard anything that made that much sense. I listened to that tape over and over again, transcribing the words so that I would know them. I still know them. That is when my love for R.E.M. began and carried me all through college.
On the flip side was And She Was by Talking Heads. That song made me feel magnetized and sparkily. I still have to control the urge to lift my skirt and dance around in the back yard. My love of David Byrne has never waivered. He is a musical genius and a brilliant artist.

The Mommy | 7:04 PM

So I am a sap at heart and am in the midst of my only brother getting married in the very near future but the one song that has always held my heart, and continues to do so even more now, is Sunrise, Sunset. It's the from the first grown up movie I remember seeing in the theater. A movie which is my background. The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants. The daughter of parents who experienced persecution because of their religion. It was a movie that taught me as much about Jewish traditions as I learned anywhere else. It was the song I danced to at my wedding with my father, yes cliche but it's his favorite. It's the song that brings tears to my eyes as I think how my own children are growing too fast. How life is flying by and that one day I will see them get married and think of the little girl I carried and the little boy at play.

On another note, I am fortunate enough to have seen Nirvana back in 93. Mosh pit "seats" which allowed me to be THIS close. Amazing. Simply amazing.

carrie murphy | 7:14 PM

they didn't exist when i was a teenager, but the band that has been stirring me up for the past year or so are the avett brothers (www.myspace.com/theavettbrothers.)

crazy high-energy emotional punk- inspired americana that is heartbreakingly honest.

Anonymous | 7:53 PM

For some reason I keep thinking of the Pogues. I was into Ani DiFranco in high school while all the boys were into punk- real DC and Oly, WA punk (sister cities?) but the Pogues brought us together. It opened me up to a world of music- beyond reggae or anything else- it was a take on the folk/punk collide that stirred me. Thanks for posing such a great question, bringing me back to 7th grade in my male bff's basement, drinking wine we stole from his Dad out of ceramic mugs, me with a cigarette dangling from the window. Ahhh, youth.

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph | 8:42 PM

It was an album that stirred me... and unfortunately due to untimely death, there will be no more, but Jeff Buckley's Grace took part of my soul. It wasn't until I heard Sufjan Stevens that I really felt that stirring again.


Karen Bodkin | 8:49 PM

That's easy. The Smiths, hands down.

They have my heart to this day.


Mama Bee | 10:00 PM

I was a geeky, friendless, weirdo in grade 9 who listened to nothing decent except bad 90s pop groups (sadly including BSB and the Spice Girls and TLC to boot). I was in the big city visiting my relatively cool lesbian aunties and they took me to Virgin Records where I picked up a random CD from the Punk section. That CD was the Ramones squawky, awkward, immature, silly, repetitive poetry. I call it that because it's as good as Shel Silverstein in terms of poetic license. But the Ramones were MY band. No one except the oddball punk, show-going, moshing, drinking beer from paper bags, spiking their hair, poking holes in their noses with pins punk/ska kids at my tiny high school. I kind of fit in but was still too safe and smart and shy for the whole punk scene. But I had the in with my music. They included me in invites to underground house shows and elementary gym moshxstravaganzas. I got into the Stooges, Richard Hell, Blondie, the Pistols, local small town riot rockers...they made it worth my while. I had my headphones and my normal friends looked at me like a nutcase because I wasn't listening to radio play tunes. I was probably the biggest mourner for Dee Dee and Joey when the passed on to the great CBGB's in the pits of the earth. I dressed in black for my boys who taught me that it doesn't matter if you are good at something as long as it means something to you and as long as you have your bros. A link to their greatness is not necessary. You can find them in basement rec rooms cheering on teenage oddballs today.

*star.mama* | 10:30 PM

I discovered my favorite band kinda late. I was 20 working at a record store. When I first heard CAKE. I'd always been a rock, metal, punk, industrial chick. But these guys say something with words and music that is heavy and humorous all at the same time. Their music never gets old for me. And their style is always fresh and funky.

(sorry, I don't possess the techno-skills to add linkage but they reside on the interwebs @ www.cakemusic.com)

Anonymous | 5:13 AM

For me, it's always been The Cure.
Especially From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea.

(web address not necessary, I'm sure!)

Anonymous | 5:49 AM

I have two words.
Jeff. Buckley.
Sigh...he makes me sigh, he makes my heart hurt... Does it make sense that i listen to him and cry my heart out-and listen to him again..and again..
I used to drive to work in the mornings with Jeff blasting, crying so hard into the steering wheel-pull up at the office and brush the tears away, ready for the day. like nothing happened. climb back into the car at the end of the day so the tears could start again.
he is my therapy. my sad oh so sad let's cry and get it off your chest...
So Real

Last Goodbye

Anonymous | 5:51 AM

ARGGGGGGGH! my links didn't work.
lemme go listen to Jeff so I can cry about that now..

motherbumper | 7:00 AM

I had totally forgotten how warped overplayed tapes got until I read this post. I still have a shoe box of them at my parent house and will probably never let them go. Anyhow, the band that rocked my world was really two that knocked-me out at the same time. I doubt either of them are new to you, but I'll put them down anyway. The English Beat and The Jam. Never have gotten over either of them.

Anonymous | 7:44 AM

This is quite sad to admit, but I discovered my favorite band at the youthful age of six. I loved Pat Benatar and used to sing Warrior all the time. Ok so, I know she is not punk or rock...at all. But,even then, I could sense the strong emotion and "don't fuck with me" attitude in her songs. I couldn't get enough.

Sorry about the lame video. Only one I could find with the song.

Anonymous | 7:51 AM

Unfortunately, I was raised VERY strict southern baptist and all music that wasn't religious was the devil... I didn't really discover mainstream music until my sister started driving (I was 11) - the first song I loved was Red, Red Wine - yes Price! Totally geeky... when I met my now husband, he totally intriduced me to punk, metal and alternative music I had never heard before. (He was in a band at one point - guys in bands are SOOOO hot!) - I totally fell in love with all punk rock music around 19 or 20 - No FX totally rocks. I love them (and so does our now 11 year old daughter). I think that NO FX and punk rock totally changed my life - but not until I was 20!!!!

Anonymous | 8:00 AM

Depeche Mode! I'd heard People are People in 1985, but it wasn't until 1986 when I befriended a girl at school who'd moved to Ohio from California and she introduced me to Black Celebration. I've been in love with DM ever since.

Stephanie Kuehnert | 8:26 AM

Oh thank you all for sharing the amazing memories and the amazing music, a lot of which brings back powerful memories for me. Especially Rancid's And Out Come the Wolves which was one of those albums that was it for me, too. And I recently rediscovered the Vindictives via MySpace talking to Joey Vindictive who shops at the same record store as me, lol! But The Ramones, The Cure, REM, The Pogues, Blind Melon, Depeche Mode, sigh, sigh, sigh sigh, sigh, sigh. You guys are really bringing it back. Please keep it coming and make my decision of the contest winner even harder. I love the stories, I love the music and am excited especially to go check out the bands I am not as familiar with.

Amber | 8:48 AM

Wow great comments! I loved the article and you totally hit the nail on the head; all those feelings that a teenager feels and how music, a band, a song made everything better. It soothed my soul when I was sad or angry and when I was ready for a night out with my friends it revved me up and made me feel like there were no boundaries and everything no matter how small was soooooo important.

When I was 13 or so and discovered this band their lyrics spoke to me. It had so much meaning. They are a straight edge band but that had not bearing for me. It was the music, the super fast guitars. The bassy bass. The speed that got my adrenaline flowing and the lyrics. 7 seconds were one of my favorite bands. Still are and im in my early 30s. The teenage angst may be long gone but when I listen to them all those memories and feelings puts a smile on my face. They will always be one of my favorites and if i'm lucky my kids will love them too.

This song spoke to the 13 year old me on so many levels. Listening to it again sounds as awesome as it did way back then. Check it out and see for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgbrT4-Jmes&feature=related

Anonymous | 9:13 AM

I absolutely loved the Smiths...I still do, my husband still doesn't get it; we recently watched a Morrissey concert in HD and I had tears in my eyes! I don't know what it is about his presence but I love, love him!
Anyway, back to the question--the group that stirred so many emotions in me was The Jesus and Marychain. I couldn't get enough of their music and when he did that duet "Sometimes,Always" w/ Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Starr--I thought my ears died and went to heaven!!
Okay-got way carried away. Leaving now. bye.


Jennifer Elms | 10:06 AM

easy... face to face. they were my first foray into non-pop punk, and the loud rage of the lyrics pretty much was the only thing that got me through the first semester of my freshman year of college.



kittenpie | 10:23 AM

I remember listening to Siamese Dream constantly the summer it came out, so into The Smashing Pumpkins was I. But while I do love them and all, it was The Queers who became and remain my favourite, the ones I've seen multiple times and still get moved to dance to.

I'll be looking out for your book - sounds like great, solid teen lit with a music theme, which I love. Have you read Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist? Genius. Fucking genius. Read it.

Maternal Mirth | 10:44 AM

Susan Tedeschi. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago and the blues were always a big part of my playlists (thanks pops!).

I heard Susan at a bluesfest singing her song "Hurts so Bad" and I thought "I HAVE to see who is singing *this*". I ran to the stage where she was performing and I couldn't believe my eyes!

A thin, WHITE girl was belting out those tunes and playing her Winnie the Pooh sticker covered guitar.

I was hooked. Still am.

Anonymous | 11:27 AM

Ah, Sublime, The Pixies and Jane's Addiction! Those did it for me. That, and the Chili Peppers. Who didn't listen to Give it Away or Under the Bridge about 50 bizzillion times?! No links necessary here!

Anonymous | 11:58 AM

Teenage years it was The Replacements, The Cure, REM, U2 (Joshua Tree was the last album I listened to). I went through a 'music isn't that important to me anymore stage' and have just gotten back to rediscovering bands that effect me. Breaking Benjamin is one of the newer bands that stirs my insides:

Anonymous | 12:11 PM

I would have to say that I was lucky enough to have a sister who was 6 years older than me and I listened to everything that she did. I was sort of a strange elementary school child listening to Guns N' Roses and White Snake! One day I stole a tape from her and it happened to be Nevermind - oh how I loved that album. I was 12 and it totally got me! Around the same time though I also got a copy of Siamese Dream which was totally kick ass too.


Jaime | 12:21 PM

When I was 12, I found the tape of the Violent Femmes first album in my mother's collection. It was leftover from the divorce. She'd split the tapes and sold her LPs, and got a few here's and there's of his. I borrowed it, and listened to it for a year straight. I still do. It's the most artfully constructed frustration I can think of.

Sha'Niqua | 12:26 PM

Best Friends Forever, fun fun music. I was recently introduced to them and they're perfect for summer drives.

Anonymous | 1:12 PM

The Hibernauts have a great sound and awesome stage presence. I've been enjoying them for 2 years now.

Amanda | 1:43 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda | 1:45 PM

The 90s where such an awesome era for music!
Here are some of my favorites-
The Kooks (//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecc9pcjJTpk) A great UK band. Makes me so happy listening to them.
Dropkick murphys (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s51Vn4tjS0U)
Nine Inch Nails (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPv3oi-yWO0)

Plus a bunch of others... rage, shinedown, kenny chesney, O.A.R., the greatful dead, silverchair....ok I'm done!

Jenn/hippygoth | 2:44 PM

I used to have moments like that all the time - those bolts from the blue when you are like, "Damn, I need to listen to this NOW." For me, it was They Might Be Giants "Flood" and Pearl Jam's "Ten" on opposite sides of the same tape. Then I heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and bought Bleach on tape after saving my lunch money for a week. New Order, Joy Division, Dead Milkmen, Ani Di Franco, Tori Amos, Nine Inch Nails, bauhaus, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - all those bands in junior high and high school....

I thought it was over, I thought that maybe getting that excited over new music was just the province of the young - or, younger, I guess. Then I heard "These Things" by She Wants Revenge - such an awesome song, just a perfect new New Wave kind of band and aesthetic. They owe a lot to New Order and Depeche Mode, but in a good way. Just when I thought SWR would be my only new band in a decade, my friend gave me a mix CD of her new favorite band. The second I heard the song "The Infanta" by The Decemberists I knew I had a new favorite band. Songs that tell stories with sad endings and with lyrics that are like a vocab quiz (chaparral anyone?) - I fell in love.

HappyFish | 3:20 PM

I was the biggest Cure fan in Jr.High (1990), but that has allready been said. In HighSchool I loved Portishead. Right Now One of my favorite albums a King of Leon's "Because of the Times" and anything by Ryan Adams.


I'm going to have to jump in and say that the band that changed my life was Belle and Sebastian (1996-1997). I was in High School and If You're Feeling Sinister was just released and that album made me fall in love with music more than anything I'd ever heard. To this day, Belle and Sebastian are my favorite band. They're tear-jerkingly unbelievable live and my ex-boyfriend and I were once stranded with the trumpet player at a train station outside of Barcelona (I got to cover the Bennicasm music festival in 2001 and actually HANG OUT with Stuart Murdoch backstage. I just about died.)

I own every record, EP and single and know every word by heart...

Stuart Murdoch is just brilliant.

Here's a video of the song that changed my life, performed several years ago at the Hollywood Bowl with LA Phil. I was at this show and it was magical. Every show truly is. I always leave the venue in tears and so high on life...


Anonymous | 4:37 PM

It was senior year and I had just discovered L7. Still listen loudly in my car. They started a string of trying to find female singers that rock. 7 Year Bitch, Hole, Babes in Toyland ....

Now I cant get theStart out of my head. They are dancy, hip, new wave but also hard rock. Listening to them gave me the feeling of finding L7 all over again, but with different sounds, ya know?


Stephanie Kuehnert | 7:34 PM

Oh Bea, I think we are separated sisters or something. You just named all of my favorite bands and I discovered theStart a few years ago and saw them live in Seattle and talked to the singer and wow, it was just awesome. they do bring back those feelings.

Keep it coming guys, this is all such good stuff, good memories and you're turning me on to great new stuff. Maternal Mirth, you don't know how excited I am to discover Susan Tedeschi. I'm going to check my bank account and hope I have the 9.99 to spare to get her latest album from iTunes. Wow, just wow! And I'm a Chicagoan too. I live right outside the west side of the city, but my mom's from the south side so I consider myself a south sider at heart!

Anonymous | 8:15 PM

I too am a huge fan of many of the bands other commenters have listed: the Cure, the Ramones, English Beat, the Pixies, the Jam...as well as all the punk classics: Siouxsie and the Banshees, X, the Clash, the Dead Kennedys...and on and on.(B&S ROCKS, Bec!)

I took off time in the early 90s when I was in college to rediscover classics, throwing my radio away right when grunge was getting big. I was obsessed with the Beatles, old Stones, Bowie, the Who, the Kinks. Who needed to keep up with trends when there was a seemingly endless supply of old, great classics waiting to be discovered? Turns out I would stumble onto Nirvana (and all the bands that came with them) a bit later than the rest of my compatriots, but it didn't matter: MY big discoveries were two of the greatest unknown gems ever: Syd Barrett and the band Love.

When I first listened to Syd Barrett's "Madcap Laughs" all I knew was that he'd been one of Robyn Hitchcock's biggest influences. Oh, and there was the tiny fact that he'd been the original lead singer for Pink Floyd before going off and taking too much LSD. "Madcap" was full of the zaniest images I'd ever heard, sung by a voice filled with longing and sadness and hope: "Sails cackling at every plate we break/ Scratched by scattered needles..." Poetry to my 20-something mind.

Love had the same older-band street cred, but Arthur Lee was a much more astute observer of the world: "By the time that I'm through singing/ The bells from the school of wars will be ringing/ More confusions, blood transfusions/ The news today will be the movies of tomorrow..." It shocked me how current "Forever Changes" was in the early 90s, and it still is today. Could there be a more beautiful song than "Alone Again Or"? (Dispute the song if you will, but it still has the best title EV-A.) The trumpet solos soar and swell, and I was convinced that my look backward at music was a wiser choice than following along with the grunge crowd. I caught up eventually, but I loved my time of isolation with the past.

By the way, both Arthur Lee of Love and Syd Barrett passed away within about a month of each other in 2006. They are missed, and for all you punk/indie fans, check them out if you've never heard them.



Anonymous | 8:17 PM

Geotgia Sattelites, Desmond Dekker and the Aces, The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite, The Hooters, Van Morrison, The Band, Dave Van Ronk, Warren Zevon, Steely Dan

Shannon Locker | 4:31 AM

Ahhh...it was the summer or '95 in Ocean City NJ. My girlfriends and I met some boys on the boardwalk who encouraged us to listen to some industrial music...yes lame I know. So in typical corny 15 year old fashion I went home to raid my brother's tape collection (who by definition was not into punk rock) to find anything listenable, cool, like these boys were into. That's when I found my beloved
7 Seconds
dubbed tape. It wasn't even my brother's and I have no idea how it found it's way into his tape collection. I listened to this tape until shit wore out. A few months later they played at show at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ. It changed my life forever. I was at that club every weekend seeing hardcore/punk bands all throughout my high school days. What you wrote in this post hit home so hard for me. I finally found my place in the world thanks to 7 Seconds. I always felt it was sort of shitty to get into music because of some random dudes but once in the scene I felt a thousand times more empowered and happy being a chick because I had something I truly cared about.

Amanda | 10:13 AM

Okay...here goes.

I can't say I have a favorite band that ultimately changed my life (unless you count David Bowie who seems to pop up everywhere from childhood to now), what I do have though is moments that music has affected and affected me.

I cried the first time I heard "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters. As a teenager in high school, listening to the resident 'bad-boy with a heart' play it at the talent show was enough to make me ovulate on the spot. Later he became my first serious boyfriend, and the following songs soared and ultimately plumited (at the relationships demise, afterwards it took me awhile to build up the resiliance to listen to them again):

"True Love Waits"- Radiohead
"Just Enough"- The Early November
"Wish You Were Here"- Pink Floyd (which also had a harrowing sadness to it, as his father died shortly after he sang it to me).
"As The World Falls Down"- David Bowie (from the Labyrinth Soundtrack, my favorite childhood movie)..."There's such a sad love deep in your eyes", indeed.

As a disenchanted high school graduate entering the world I got by listening to-

"Oh Mandy"- The Spinto Band
Virtually anything by the Pixies
"The Recluse"- Cursive
Virtually anything by Death Cab For Cutie.

When I met and fell in love with my fiance, I evolved, and to this day some of my favorites have to be

Anything by Belle and Sebastian (I have to agree with Rebecca on this one, they make music that I could listen to no matter what mood I'm in...especially if I'm feeling sinister...)


"Fox In The Snow", "Dress Up In You", "Your Covers Blown", "Sukie In The Graveyard", "Expectations"....GAAAAAHHH EVEYTHING!

I also get the warm fuzzies when I listen to

"The Rain Song"- Led Zeppelin (first heard on my 18th birthday, atop a mountain in, you guessed it, a rainstorm)

"Heroes"- David Bowie

"Fog"- Radiohead (My chest will and throat will always try and cover the welling up of tears out the sheer beauty that is THIS song).

"Melody Of A Fallen Tree"- Windsor For The Derby ("Underneath the trees where the blackbirds turn blue/If there's room for me/There's room for you"...and with that my fiance and I fell in true love- indie rock love.)

"Let Down"- Radiohead

"Shelter From The Storm"- Bob Dylan

"Arizona"- Kings Of Leon

"Aqueous Transmission"- Incubus

"The Same Ghost Every Night" and "Dinner Bells"- by Wolf Parade..

I could go on for days. You know what? I'll just make you a mix tape.

Amanda | 10:17 AM

Oh! And if you want some more stories that'll break your heart and make you check out your I-tunes all over again, check out www.ruinedmusic.com

Yes, it is addictive.

Jamie | 11:01 AM

Let's see...when I was 9, I came across my Dad's Blondie tape and immediately fell in love with Debbie Harry. High school years, I was a huge fan of PIL, Sex Pistols, Violent Femmes, Dead Kennedys, the Smiths...and then in college, I couldn't get enough NIN, Radiohead and Cat Power. Most of these bands still do it for my old ass. Oh...and who can't be moved by Dark Side of the Moon? I mean really...

caramama | 12:54 PM

Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes. When I first heard her, I couldn't believe that someone could sing what I felt. Not the words, but the feelings. The depression, the longing, the intensity... with a little fun-loving thrown in. Strong and broken at the same time.

Later, I discovered punk and my love of the Sex Pistols, but the first OMG-this-moves-me-beyond-all-other-music was Tori's early work. And Fiona Apple picked up for me where Tori left off.

Stephanie Kuehnert | 9:16 AM

AHHHH! Choosing a winner may well be the hardest decision of my life. You guys have seriously brought back such a flood of amazing music memories. So, so, so many good bands. Yeah, Little Earthquakes, hello sophomore year of high school. Oh and so many more. Ok, deep breath, since I can't choose between old favorites. I'm going to go with a new discovery. Maternal Mirth, I've been listening to Susan Tedeschi all weekend now since you mentioned her, so I think you are my winner! I had tons of fun reading all these comments though. And if you are so moved, I hope you'll check out my book, which I think you'll enjoy as music fans and come visit me on my blog too because you guys are awesome and this has been the best guest blog experience ever!

Sarah Myers | 1:54 PM

Growing up I remember listening to all kinds of bad hair metal with my mom (White Snake anyone?). My dad got me into the Cure, REM, Depressed Mode (haha). But my favorite thing was my Rainbow Brite vinyl. Wish I still had that to put on someones technics.

Junior high I rocked flannel and wore out many Nirvana tapes.

High school I loved anything Sublime.

Today...Amon Tobin and Kate Nash are on heavy iPod rotation.