Wanna Be Startin' Somethin': Welcome to Crackle & Hiss

A history of my relationship with music.

Welcome to Crackle and Hiss. I'm excited to share with you a side of myself that rarely makes it on air. When I'm not on the anchor desk or out reporting on news from around the area, I'm probably listening to music.

For the first entry on this blog, I thought it only appropriate to post "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson. What is it that he's saying on the bridge there? 'Momma say, Momma saw my moccasin?' It doesn't matter. He's the King of Pop, and making up your own nonsensical phrases comes with the territory.

As an avid record collector, YouTube browser and occasional guitar strummer, finding, hearing and sharing music has always been an enormous passion of mine. I'll never forget the Christmas morning in 1997 when I found a portable Panasonic cd player under the tree (at the time I wasn't aware that a Sony Walkman was the pinnacle of 'cool' music portability).

Most of the first albums I owned early on are way too embarrassing to list on this blog. But when you're 8,9, 10 in the late 90's, there's nothing anyone can say to convince you that Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth and (sigh) Creed are anything less than the greatest musicians on the planet.

In my early teenage years, I became a little more self aware. Getting my hands on the Beatles' '1' album was a watershed moment for me. I think that in order to understand where we are today in the musical landscape, you have to start with the Fab Four. As far as I'm concerned, anybody who loves songs in any capacity should listen to the Beatles, understand the context of their music, and carry those lyrics and music with them. They are the square one of modern music appreciation.

A product of the MP3 generation, iTunes, file sharing and playlists made an indelible mark on my formative years. In the early 2000's, for the first time in history, every artist, every album, every genre of music was at the fingertips of the general population. As much as free file sharing scared and angered music industry executives, it opened teenagers like me up to an entire world of life-affirming music.

But it isn't just the internet that has informed my tastes and exposure to music. It's long car rides spent listening to Paul Simon's "Graceland" with my dad. It's digging through my best friend's parents' cd collection and finding The Velvet Underground's groundbreaking 1968 self-titled LP, taken with its Andy Warhol cover art. It's watching Penny Lane dance to the Cat Stevens song, "The Wind" in Almost Famous. It's late night campfire jam sessions, hearing "Wish You Were Here" for the very first time.

Those are the life-affirming moments that have shaped how I hear and appreciate music today. There is no genre I won't take the time to explore. Most recently, I've taken on the daunting task of learning more about jazz (beyond Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon and Thelonius Monk).

Another recent favorite of mine has been Steve Reich's 1988 experimental composition,"Different Trains." Highly recommended. Listen below.

On the Crackle & Hiss blog, I will regularly post album reviews, artist recommendations, and, if I'm feeling brave, the occasional guitar cover version of a song I've been really into lately. I'm always looking to hear local music as well, so if you're in a band and want some love, send me a link. Got a recommendation for me? Post it in the comment section below.

I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you, and to hearing what you're listening to as well. Next time you're here, be sure to bring headphones. It might get loud.
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