Your musical roots?

Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by Hatfield92, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    My dad played piano and a bit of guitar (had a classical acoustic lying around the house). I don’t recall my grandparents being very musical so it probably started with my dad.

    My sister learned clarinet and piano growing up, but I really didn’t learn an instrument til I started really listening to a lot of popular rock bands around age 12 and wanted to start a band and rock out. This was mid to late 90s, so lots of post-grunge alternative rock at the time. My parents got me my first electric at age 13 and I haven’t stopped being obsessed with them since.

    I should be a lot better player than I am for playing more or less for 22 years, but I do enjoy it.
     
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  2. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I never heard of anyone in my parent's gen, their siblings or their grandparents with any music at all. My mother played basic piano and could read a bit...but other than classroom-taught music (her mother was a little-red-schoolhouse teacher), I don't know where she got it.

    Dad and my older brother rigged our house for sound. We had a closet dedicated to the phonograph and reel-to-reel. WWII big-band swing, Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, TJ Brass, etc., were on almost every weekend. During the week, Mom tended to like classical stuff. She had a pile of Toscanini and I cut my teeth (almost literally) on it. When I started buying Iaso Tomita records, she really got a kick out of that...and later, she bought us season tickets to the local symphony every year.

    My eldest brother was a teen in the 50s, so there was a pile of 45s for me to scrape thru when I got old enough to operate the little portable. My next older brother was more early 60s and had some Beatles records. I played them all.

    Dad had flown transports for the US Navy during the Korean War and made several USO tours. He had several albums he'd been given by USO touring artists and they got a lot of play. One was an Eddie Peabody album...there's my banjo roots right there. Another was by a ragtime piano player...another 'root' for me, I love ragtime.

    Although I took piano lessons as a kid (9-10 yrs old), I never found my 'niche'...until my 20s when a guy down the hall in our dorm would sit on the porch and play his 5-string banjo. He showed me my first banjo rolls in 1977...downhill from there!
     
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  3. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    I’m the only musician in my family. My dad listened to a lot of 70’s rock when I was really young (REO Speedwagon, Styx, Kansas). I loved all of the guitar work from a young age. Then I met a guy in middle school that introduced me to punk rock from the 90s and early 00s. This kid had been playing guitar for a couple of years and his dad was a musician that played anything. They had a sound proof music room in their shop that was filled with Mesa Boogie amps, old guitars/basses and drum kits. He would jam on guitar while his dad played drums.

    I joined the school band and played clarinet in 7th grade. I had always loved music, but at that point I knew I wanted to not just listen, but play.

    I begged my parents for a guitar but they wouldn’t buy me one. Then swooped in my grandfather. He bought me a super cheap classical style acoustic guitar that he got from a furniture store in town. Convinced my parents that if I stuck with it that they should spring for a guitar I wanted.

    That guitar plays AWFUL. The fretboard feels like it’s caving in the middle under the middle two strings, etc... but I played it non stop for 6 months. (Still have it and will never get rid of it).

    Finally for my birthday my parents bought me a squier strat pack with the little amp, the rest is history. My grandfather passed away in 2013. I still miss him every day, but thank him as much as I can for helping me start on this journey.
     
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  4. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    My father was a musician... played the local clubs and honky tonks. I never knew that when I was younger because he also had a day job.. I just thought he worked a lot. He did show me some piano (although he himself played guitar) at a young age, and supported me when I decided I wanted to play guitar at age 13. Aside from that he simply stood back and never let on that he knew what I was getting myself into.

    Music was always in my home.... my mother didn't play anything but loved music and taught me how to enjoy listening to the song. It was always on... much more than a TV. My brother and I bought more records than candy growing up....

    My parents split up when I was 8 or 9... but the family remained close (all good). Both supported me on my dreams.... something I will be forever grateful for.

    Side note: The first time I met my wife's grandfather (we weren't married yet, I was about 20 or 21 at the time) he told me about the days he gigged all the local barn dances back in the 30's/40's, something my wife didn't know about him. I will never forget his words.... "things were different back then, everyone just wanted to get drunk and fight" :lol:. He was a lovely man... I miss him dearly!
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  5. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    My paternal grandfather, who I never knew, was a concert pianist in the '30s and had his own dance band during that time. My maternal grandmother was a good Baptist Church pianist, and gave piano lessons in her home. One of my earliest recollections is being at her house in the summer and being allowed to bang on the piano. One day, one of her students came over with an acoustic guitar that I was, at the age of six, allowed to strum and mess with for a bit. The sound and feel stuck with me.
    When I started school, I was fortunate to be in schools that had strong music programs. I was in choir by the second grade, and have been ever since in one form or another. When I was fifteen, my parents gave my younger brother guitar lessons for his eighth birthday. He wasn't really interested, so I picked up the guitar and started teaching myself with a Mel Bay chord book, mainly to accompany my singing. Learned a lot of Simon and his pet Eb Garfunkel, Beatles, Byrds, Animals and other such zoological phenomena of the time. My first "professional" engagement was playing for an elementary school carnival for the princely sum of $30 for two hours, just me and my guitar. At a time when the minimum wage was $1.25 an hour, making 10x that rate was thrilling, causing me to think, "I could get rich doing this!" FOOL!
    Ennyhoo, here I am 52 years later, still the fool, and loving it! BTW, my brother took up tenor sax in the 9th grade, and be came a monster on reeds and flute, pretty good vocalist, too!:):cool:
     
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  6. losrogers

    losrogers Tele-Meister

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    My take: I won't talk about specific bands, instead I want to share the people and memories that came back as I read the OP.

    Music and instruments have always been synonymous in my world. My musical roots (and gear inheritance) are family musicians. Honky Tonk gigging grandparents: Skeeter and the Top Hands, out of Tucson, AZ. My grandmother Celia sang lead vocals and played bass while my grandfather Hoyt played steel or lead guitar. Professional musicians. The tools of their trade are now in my closet:'78 P-bass and early Partscaster. But, I sure wish I had a chance at those old Fender amps... My grandparents country and western cover band and their tone in particular are my earliest musical memories. Twang and swing! They lived a pretty hard life by today's standard. Moving on, both my mother Deb and aunt Teri played piano. That instrument was hocked unfortunately. My aunt was nimble and fluid when she played, with a natural ear and ability to copy the pop music of the day. She had a sad story and lived to be only 40. My uncle was a drummer and utility guitarist, but he had the looks and the voice and could hold his own on stage. He lived a fast life, gone far too young at 35. I'm seeing a pattern here.. My father, Jimmy, started drums at 8 years old and played faithfully and with excellence until his last day about 4 years ago. The man was smooth and worked with everybody. He ended up out in Seattle teaching kids to play drums, playing in cover bands and worship bands. I have his DW drums & Paiste cymbal kit in my music room now. Finally, there's my step dad, Tom who raised me on loud guitars, reel-to-reel recording, and his vinyl collection. This man was the rock and roller who shaped my taste in music. I would watch him play for hours at a time, and to this day he is my first true guitar hero. He taught me Hendrix, Page, Clapton & Beck if those are the expected names, but I remember this foremost: Marshalls & Music Man amps. Flying Vs , SGs & Gibson Les Pauls. Like most of my kinfolk, there were some demons and Tom checked out early from this world. But he left a vault of guitars that I get to play today.
    Through some hard years and my own recovery, I seem to have picked up the music-making torch and passed along to my 18 year old daughter Jessica. My style of playing and the bands I exposed her to have put her on a path. She's a gifted pianist with over 9 years of classical studio lessons. It's a joy to play with her and watch her develop as a player and leader.

    Thanks for reading if you did. Typing their names and recognizing their influence was therapy for me, when I needed a little.
     
  7. bowman

    bowman Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of interesting stories. Mine is similar to some of them: I, too, am the only musician in my family. We always had music, though. Both parents would always have a radio playing something, somewhere in the house, whatever they were doing. I grew up hearing everything you can imagine. And my dad was an electrician who loved gadgets and gizmos, and was always fixing radios, or building one out of random parts. He showed me how to build crystal radio sets in the basement. So I always was encouraged to have a radio, and I did. I went to sleep every night, since I was little, with a transistor radio under the pillow, antenna wire draped around my bedposts, earphone in my ear. On the desk in my room I had a big old tube radio with 2 speakers, and that would be playing from the time I got home from school until bedtime. I kept a log of AM radio stations on a pad of legal paper - at night I'd get stations from 1000 miles or more away, and some of them played very cool music that I'd never heard before, like jazz or blues. I loved it all. Bottom line is that I had a really varied musical history, and it stayed with me. To this day I like all kinds of different stuff.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
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  8. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Afflicted

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    I liked church hymns.
    I remember liking "Moon River" by Andy Williams.
    I bought the "Help" album then "Ring of Fire" and "The Association's Greatest Hits." By then I knew I was a rocker.
    I took two years of piano, then a guitar teacher moved to town in 1966, and that did it. (From lesson one there was guitar music in front of me but I played anyway. :p) I figured out how to play by ear and jam to songs on my own.
     
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  9. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic

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    OP here. I agree. Lots of great stories. Thanks to all for sharing. Keep ‘em coming.

    I feel compelled to add a little more about my parents’ listening habits.

    It was my mom more than my dad who listened to music. My parents were old enough to be my grandparents. So mom liked some pretty interesting stuff from her own formative years on the west coast. She loved country music, like Patsy Cline. But she’d been a big fan of Bob Wills back in the day. To my young ears, that sounded like something from another planet.

    My dad didn’t actively listen to a lot of music to my experience, but he’d bust out a couple of verses of some obscure old time song when he was in a really good mood. I also discovered something really cool about his own listening habits as a young man, later in his life. When I was around 18 or so, and listening to some Chess blues. Muddy Waters, I believe.

    He informed me that THAT was the kind of stuff he liked when he was a young man. Totally blew my mind. Here’s a guy who was born in 1929 deep in the mountains of WV. So he was just a little too old to really be a fan of that first wave of rockers. He was never a fan of swing or the crooners, like Sinatra. He liked instrumental bluegrass and a few country singers, especially Johnny Cash. When and how was he exposed to the likes of Muddy Waters? And how cool is it that it spoke to him in probably much the same way it spoke to me?

    He’s been gone nearly 21 years now. Tuesday would have been his 91st birthday. Wow.
     
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  10. Tornado

    Tornado Tele-Meister

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    The main influence was hearing all that pop/rock music on the radio and from records from a very early age. There was always music playing at least in one chamber in the house where I grew up.
    So as a toddler I heard all that sixties stuff like the Beatles and the Doors and later on I followed what was going on from then. So you can say that I grew up with all kinds of pop music (rock, soul, funk, beat etc.) mainly from the USA, Great Brittan and the Netherlands.
     
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  11. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

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    My dad, who was born in 1922 and is no longer with us, was in a harmonica band when he was in high school. How cool is that? By all accounts they ripped it up too. His younger brother, my uncle, became a regionally well known piano player/singer and jazz musician, backing up Gene Krupa and a couple other big names (to be fair, as I understand it those gigs with the big name guys happened when they were on the down swing of their careers - still kinda cool though). One of Frank Sinatra's primary songwriters from NYC had a lake house in the region and each year he'd insist that my uncle play for his big summer party, which was frequented by some NYC celebs. I didn't know that uncle very well due to reasons I won't elaborate on here, but he's long gone too. And I wish I'd had the opportunity to sit down with him and hear some stories and pick his brain. Although my uncle continued his musical career through his adult years, my dad didn't. But we all have great memories of him pulling out the harmonica and playing a few tunes. He wouldn't do it often nor did he play very much, but when he did the chops were still there. He was very good.

    But what really got me into music were my two older brothers. My oldest brother didn't play but he was a rabid music fan. He was 14 years my elder (he's also gone). I remember going into his room when I was about 4 or 5 and I'd hear The Beatles, Zappa, Wild Man Fisher (which had to have affected me in some way - ha), and Wagner and other classical composers. My next older brother really caught the music bug from him and he became a drummer. He gigged in several popular regional bands and later took up guitar and gave up drums. Very talented guy. I showed in interest in music in around the fourth grade. He set me up with a Norma electric and some no name amp. My first gig was singing for my fourth grade class. I was absolutely petrified. Teacher made me do it. In fifth grade and as I got a little better, I remember one day I was doing wheelies on my bike in front of my house. My brother was in the driveway and motioned to me that he wanted to tell me something. He told me he was giving me his beat up Fender acoustic. To a fifth grade kid that was like someone walking up to one of us now and handing us a vintage blackguard Tele. Two years later at Christmas when I was in seventh grade, I opened a card from him. In it was a note that he was giving me his '71 Les Paul Deluxe...which he had kind of butchered with a bad refinish :) but that was no matter to me. I was just floored. I dove in hard after that and started copping Allman Brothers stuff and shortly after that discovering some jan fusion and Steely Dan, as an 8th grader.

    Many guitars have come and gone but I still have that Les Paul, which has since been refinished properly. My brother still plays only occasionally at home as a hobbyist and I'm still playing and gigging (or was, before our world changed), 43 years later after getting that Les Paul. My wife is a singer and her son plays bass for us. Oh - about 7 or 8 years ago my brother came home and handed me a Martin D-16. "Here, this is for you". It was in player condition. I probably played 200 gigs with that thing, but it has been retired to its case. Needs a visit to rehab (luthier).

    I don't think I've ever written all of this down before, so thanks to the OP for allowing me to take this trip down memory lane. I think I'll talk to my brother today and tell him again how much I've appreciated his kindness and mentorship. He's a good guy and he still opens my ears to new music and musicians.
     
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  12. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    My mom was the best soprano in her high school and my dad was the best baritone in the same school. They got paired in so many concert duets and solo ensemble contest pieces that they started dating. They both played clarinet.

    They started me in voice and piano lessons in the 6th grade. I disliked piano and switched to guitar. I loved singing and playing guitar. Still do. I studied composition in college for two years thinking that I wanted to reach high school music but I changed majors to business and engineering.
     
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  13. Jimboteleman2

    Jimboteleman2 TDPRI Member

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    My mom started me out on an uke, I graduated to a guitar at 11 or 12 and have never looked back. Except for a stretch in the corporate world I have been involved professional in the music business. I'm retired now and enjoying the fruits of my labor.
    Some credits: Southern Gentleman by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
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  14. dough

    dough TDPRI Member

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    Music has defined my paternal family for generations: My paternal grandfather played violin, his father and uncle made violins, and before that, in Germany, we made the finish for violins. My dad broke tradition and became a jazz trumpet player in the Michigan of the mid-60s and made a living playing for a “show band” and doing studio gigs until the year I graduated from high school in the 80s. Oddly, he didn’t encourage my brother and I to learn an instrument, but my mother did.

    Musically, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Disco, and general Pop was the backing track to my early childhood. Middle & High School introduced big riff rock. But as a guitar player, it was the songscape/painters of the 80s that really defined my playing today: Edge, Johnny Marr (Smiths), Will Sargent (Echo & Bunnymen), Bernard Sumner (Joy Division) and many others, often with German (Kraftwerk) sensibilities.

    If I had to name my biggest influences, I'd go with the riff rock of the 70s (Zep, Aerosmith, etc), Nile Rogers style funk/disco, and those English dudes mentioned above.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
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  15. arlum

    arlum Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    My Uncle Clarence. A true roadhouse player from the early '50s to the late '60s. Drove a Big Rig. Brought his Les Paul and Fender Twin along with him to set up and play at different truck stops and bars along the way. The D.O.T. was established in late 1966. I've always wondered .........
     
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  16. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    Without going into too much history:
    I'm now 61 and the son of a US State Department lifer.
    So, I was a govt brat and our family traveled all over the world- as the youngest- my own experience was living in Latin America (I speak Spanish/ dig the music- so there is that reference.

    My musical roots include a few specific touchstones:
    I was always attracted to the blues- not knowing that's what I was listening to, but I LOVED the boogie and swing of my dad's Big Band records and my ears caught on to the 1-4-5 of the blues...

    Also as someone who felt a little out of place, always traveling, different schools, etc.( I always had friends, but would then leave) A transistor RADIO was my best friend, and I loved everything on ( first AM, later FM) the radio. EXCEPT McArthur Park! ( even at 7, I knew this song sucked- had no biz on my radio)
    I also have a very good ear, picked up the guitar at a Catholic boarding HS, joined and later led a very good Church folk group - GREATway to learn rhythm and chords quickly.
    Would use these influences to play in Classic Rock bands, all blues bands, now bluegrass groups. Solo, duo, bands
    45 years and counting
    Definitely a musical mutt!
     
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  17. dr_tom

    dr_tom Tele-Holic

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    My father was a big fan of Hank Williams. He bought a truck load of country records when a local radio station closed down, so there was a LOT of music playing in our home. My Dad had an old Harmony acoustic and later on was given a Kent electric guitar and a small amplifier. I gravitated to the electric, at first just using it to make noise but when he saw my interest, he taught me some open chords ('you can play any song with C, F and G7' was his motto), and eventually paid for me to have lessons. I think I paid him back somewhat by taking him out to bluegrass shows in his final years.
     
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  18. Fret Wilkes

    Fret Wilkes Friend of Leo's

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    My mother was an organist at the local Episcopal Church. My father played 4 string banjo a bit, and also taught himself the organ.

    Now, my SISTER came out of the "folk scare". She was 12 years older than me and EXTREMELY cool. She had a beautiful voice, a 12 string guitar, and a Stella baritone ukelele that was tuned like the top of the guitar d-g-b-e. To me, my sister WAS Joan Baez! One day I picked up that uke and noticed that if you played on the g string up near the neck it kinda sounded like a clarinet. Just the sounds I could make by picking the strings close to the neck or down by the bridge (TWANG) completely enthralled me. So, she taught me "Where Have All The Flowers Gone", "Blowin' In The Wind", "Stewball", and many, many more.

    Once I could play a bit and pick out tunes myself, Creedence Clearwater Revival became an infatuation. "Bad Moon Rising" was the 1st CCR tune I could "play". Once I found the Grateful Dead in 1971 it was all over. They, and the New Riders Of The Purple Sage became my obsession, and still are to this day!

    I've now been gigging out for about 45 years non stop (current forced layoff ignored) and it all started with my sister. She later gifted me a Martin D28 that was hers first. Thanks sis, can't imagine who I would have been without you. <3
     
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  19. Cajunplayer

    Cajunplayer TDPRI Member

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    My Mom was a piano teacher. Everyone in her family were musicians. One uncle has a masters in music. All cousins are naturals. Except me and my sisters. We were born with my Dad's family tin ear and spastic coordination. Mom tried to teach us piano but gave up and sent us to another teacher to frustrate. I took guitar lessons starting at 11 y/o and that somehow worked a little better.
    Still not a natural musician. If I practice I can play good enough not to embarrass myself. If I put it down for a year or so, I am starting from half skill again. UHG! Of course you wouldn't know it if you went into my music room. You would think I was professional with all the equipment. Like I said in another post, my wife is almost talking to me again since I took a year off to get back into flying my airplane. The plan is to put the plane on auto pilot and play my guitar between legs. Seems practical, don't you think?
     
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  20. twangdude

    twangdude TDPRI Member

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    I am 68+ years old. My Mother played piano. She had about a 6 or 7 song repertoire that included Pinetop Perkins' Boogie Woogie. Hell's Bells. That intro by itself...lordy. She also had some Glenn Miller LPs that tattooed proper melody and phrasing on my malleable gray matter. My old man was a lawyer and was probably tone deaf but, could execute a passable version of Guy Massey's "Prisoner's Song". He also contributed a Steel Drum LP and a 45 of Hank Ballard's "Finger Poppin' Time". Played the trombone through elementary and college. My brother and I were witness to that February 1964 Ed Sullivan show and the $4t was on...
     
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