I was born in the mid-70s, so I had long enough to catch a strong wiff of that era. The music I came to know early on was, um, interesting in its variety: Neil Diamond, The Everly Brothers, John Denver, ABBA, Willie Nelson, Captain and Tenile, Englebert Humperdink. Lord knows how I ended up where I did now.

The 80s were my era. We got MTV pretty quickly once it became a reality. This was apparently the only way that Cheyenne could build a bridge to pop culture--through cable. I watched with unfaltering fascination, memorizing all the crazy antics, double entendre lyrics, hair-rattling guitar solos, and thundering drum fills. I loved it all. Van Halen's "Jump" was a solid favorite, and Toto found their way into my hall of fame, later officially taking the role of my official nostalgia band.

I also had an older brother, which meant I wanted to like anything he liked. Our paths diverged a bit in the late 80s--me still liking arena rock, while he was developing a fondness for new wave and depressed British songwriters. At this point, I actually fell out of interest with music. Who can blame me? Poison was at the top of the charts.

In the early 90s, I bought my first CD player, quite possibly the best investment I have ever made. I began to recall songs and albums that I truly liked all along. I bought a CD here, another one there. Slowly, the collection grew--most of the time revisiting 80s bands like U2 and INXS. My most important disc, though, was Rush's Grace Under Pressure. We had this on vinyl when I was growing up, but my brother sold it. I was furious because I loved that album, and he never consulted me about selling it. Well, I was the bratty little brother--why would he consult me? To make a long story short (too late!), Rush became my favorite band.

My collection grew in high school--as much as it could with what limited stock we had in Cheyenne CD stores. The real shopping insanity began in college. When I arrived in Denver, I was ecstatic to be around stores that had infinitely more selection than Cheyenne. The Internet also was getting going at this time, so I found out about other progressive rock bands. I hardly ever drank in college, so my disposable income had to go somewhere else--CDs. Instead of getting hammered at the frat houses on Friday nights, I was down at any number of music stores, investing in sound. It got out of hand.

So, here I am, years later with an obscenely large music library. My tastes have expanded considerably, which makes things even harder on the wallet, but I still do love listening to some old Rush. Now, though, I may listen to Vivaldi, then REM, then Miles Davis, then Swedish death metal, then folk music. You just never know with me. What can I say? I love it all.

Peter Gabriel--Up.......Strange, extraordinary alterna-pop
Sigur Ros--( )Wild atmospheric Icelandic rock
Buckethead--Electric Tears.....Somber and powerful guitar work
The Flaming Lips--Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.....Bizarre / fantastic!
Sixteen Horsepower--Folklore......I'm sticking with my "gothic bluegrass" description
Twinemen--Twinemen.....The remnants of Morphine keep the spirit alive
Woven Hand--Woven Hand....David Edwards is one of the most important songwriters in America
Porcupine Tree--In Absentia.....The waves of British prog rock continue to roll
Lacuna Coil--Comalies.....Melodic metal with gorgeous vocal work
Opeth--Deliverance......Here's that Swedish death metal I was talking about
Peter Murphy--Dust....The goth pioneer releases a mellow, ambient gem
Queens of the Stone Age--Songs for the Deaf....Try playing "6 degrees of QOTSA," it's fun!
Chevelle--Wonder What's Next....Great sophomore effort in the same vein as Helmet

Tool--Lateralus.....Dark, brilliant, and arty--too bad they're so damned popular
....Yes, the got even weirder--I love it!
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds--No More Shall We Part....Mr. Cave turns in another great disc
Anathema--A Fine Day to Exit.....Gets further away from death metal, and closer to Jeff Buckley
The Waterboys--A Rock in the Weary Land......Part folk, part myth, part sensible rock recording

P.J. Harvey--Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea....Hands down, the best of the year
Sixteen Horsepower--Secret South....They just can't make a bad album
Radiohead--Kid A.....The weirdness starts spiraling out of control
A Perfect Circle--Mer de Noms.....A great disc as Maynard's side project
The Smashing Pumpkins--MACHINA: The Machines of God....Worth it just for the artwork
Fates Warning--Disconnected....Prog metal--self-indulgent to some, delicious to me

King Crimson
Sixteen Horsepower
King's X
Porcupine Tree
Herbie Hancock

Second Spin--THE source for used music and movies

FYE--A good site with tons of music

HMV--A Canadian store, eh

Sister Ray--My favorite CD shop in London. They always have what I want

"Acrobat," U2, from Achtung Baby
And I must be an acrobat, to talk like this and act like that...don't let the bastards grind you down. This one had so much heart and so much meaning for me in the trying adolescent years.

"Open Secrets," Rush, from Hold Your Fire
I guess we all have these feelings, we can't leave unreconciled
Another anthem for my high school days

"Apollo," Hum, from Downward is Heavenward
The incredibly cryptic I'm thinking of a number between everything and two, plus the simple guitar and drums, keeps me coming back to it again and again.

"Whitewash," Buckethead, from Colma
Completely instrumental and not overly complex, but it is loaded with emotion.

"Cigarettes," King's X, from Dogman
Have you gotten any cigarettes? And did you get anything for me? I no longer know just what I'm saying; is this how I'm supposed to be? It's a good thing that CDs don't wear out, because I would have gone through about eight of these discs.

"Leave," REM, from New Adventures in Hi-Fi
I know where I marked the signs; suffer the dreams of a world gone mad; I like it like that and I know it; I know it well, ugly and sweet; a temper man who said believe in dream.
This song is actually known to bring me to tears.

Rush--Grace Under Pressure....Got me into progressive rock and provided a bridge between childhood and adulthood
Marillion--Clutching at Straws....Just an amazing album with so many mneumonic associations to London for me
Moby--Play....Gave me new vitality and empowerment to make my own music
U2--Achtung Baby.....So many anthems for my high school years
Morphine--Cure for Pain.....Opened up new combinations for instruments
Sixteen Horsepower--Sackcloth and Ashes....Soulful, harmonic, dark folk music
Art of Noise--Below the Waste.....Absolutely mind-blowing mixes of styles and samples from all over the world
King's X--Faith, Hope, Love.....This album sounded so different than anything I was hearing at the time


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