Welcome to Biting-Edge, a blog shared by authors and vampire experts, Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein. We’ll cover urban fantasy, vampires, pop culture, and all things Joss Whedon. Unlike other fantasy blogs, we don’t insist on body cavity searches (unless you ask politely). Snarkiness is most welcome...though we won't promise not to bite back!

Sunday, June 07, 2009
  The Sounds of Summer
Mario here:

We've been talking a lot about books and movies but nothing about that other art form: music!

Why is it we can hear a song and it takes us back to a specific time and place?

In my house, the radio was set to the Juarez station XELA so I grew up listening to Mexican tunes. It wasn't until I was in junior high that I was exposed to American pop music.


One of the first songs that wowed me was I Got A Line On You, by Spirit. A really cool tune and their only real hit. It's the kind of song that still sounds fresh though only if I listen to it every five years.

Whenever I hear Steppenwolf or Led Zeppelin it takes me back to skipping Sunday school and hanging out at my friends' house listening to the Devil's music.



Back in 1973, the year I got out of high school, I was hooked on Tubular Bells though I despised The Exorcist. Back then, the composer Mike Oldfield was hailed as the vanguard artist of a music genre so new it didn't have a name. Ten years later that genre became known as Music for a New Age and has since been re-labeled as ambient (wallpaper) music. As much as I liked Tubular Bells, I get bored whenever I listen to it now. Give me Australasia instead.


The 70s.
Bleah. REO Speedwagon. Elton John. Bread (points if you remember them) Everytime I hear BTO's Taking Care of Business, I'm back in summer army training. The humidity. The mosquitos. Raccoons finding contraband candy bars hidden in our bunks. A guy in our barracks had an 8-track player, and I must've heard that song fifty times on any given day.

The Cars. One of my all-time favorite albums. Whenever I'm blue, I put this on the play list and I'm 25 again and strolling the Monterey Bay pier.

We detour into big band. I hear Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade and it's 1979. I can hear the song cooing out the speakers of this awesome card store in Cannery Row. I'd be admiring these beautiful cards from Paper Moon Graphics (featuring work from the phenomenal airbrush artist Peter Lloyd who did this cover for Rod Stewart). The store was one of the first places to bring neon back, snazzy glowing shapes on the walls and ceiling. The music, the art, the ambience, everything seemed to fit so perfectly together. Wish the rest of my life was like that.

I can peg other moments to songs of that time. The B52s--it's 4am and I'm at the airfield in flight school. Gary Numan, Cars--Austin, TX: beer and BBQ.


The World of Private Music. Big change in my life. I'm out of the army and hooking up with artists in Dallas, TX. I was listening to this cassette while we were hanging an art show inside a warehouse.








A silly, silly tune yet it celebrates another change. I've escaped Fresno, CA, and have settled in Denver. So dance with Dee-Lite.


Groove is in the Heart - Dee-Lite
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Another album I love. Portishead's Dummy. The lyrics make little sense but who cares with Beth Gibbon's ethereal voice? These songs, plus Cake's Never There, and Falco's Der Kommisar bring back dreamy times in San Francisco.


What tunes shape your memories?




Busy weekend.

Friday. The Lighthouse Lit Fest has begun. The festivities kicked off with the kick-off party. Co-director Andrea Dupree documents my alibi.



Saturday. La Piazza chalk art festival in Larimer Square. Jennifer Mosquera hard at work bringing oohs and aahs.






Sunday. Chicago author Daniel Smith was in town, touring his book, One The Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department. Our chapter of the Mystery Writers of America hosted a party for him at Bonnie Ramthun's house. (Bonnie, left, Daniel, Chris Goff). Awesome buffet. Awesome wine. Awesome time. Funny as I can't remember any of the music.

 
Comments:
I'm going to have to give this a little thought to give it justice like you have.

But -- Mario -- it warms the cockles of my heart that you pick "Groove is in the Heart" to symbolize moving to Denver

-- I LOVE that song, I LOVE Denver --

"I couldn't dance with another."

Perfect. Couldn't put it better.
 
P.S. - I don't know what my mental dysfunction is and why I missed this weekend's parties, but they sound like they were fun.

I will be in your Thurs. night Lit Fest class (the only Lit Fest thing I think I can squeeze in.) I'm bringing a page of the NaNovel from Hell.
 
I look forward to seeing you in class. I'll be sending more info tonight.
 
Great question about music and memories. My first favorites were from the fifties and sixties. During the seventies and eighties, the music my teenage boys played exposed me to a different world. That's why a couple of my favorites are Doris Day's Secret Love (1953 or so) and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (1975).

Patricia
 
OK – here’s a passing stab:

I was born the Summer After the Summer of Love (aka 1968), however my parents were NOT hippies and didn’t like the music of the Woodstock generation. They liked torch songs, bluegrass, and big band. When I think of the music my parents listened to in our house, I think “Tuxedo Junction”, “Orange Blossom Special”, “Percalator”, a young Elvis, and Johnny Cash belting out “Ring of Fire.”

Then there’s me.

TODDLERHOOD:
I only vaguely remember, as a toddler, my love affair with the Monkees. Apparently they had a TV show and I would throw “a conniption fit” if I didn’t get to have my daily rendevous with them. The only Monkees music I remember is the theme from the show – particularly this refrain:

We're just tryin' to be friendly,
Come and watch us sing and play,
We're the young gneration,
And we've got something to say.

Hey, hey, we're the Monkees
And people say we monkey around.
But we're too busy singing
To put anybody down.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – late 70s:
--What kid of my era doesn’t associate with Schoolhouse Rock? (“Conjunction junction, what’s your function?”) Kids today are deprived.
--I’m ashamed to admit any of these. It was the late 70s and I was just a kid:
a. Abba. “Waterloo”, ”Fernando”, etc. We’d left Germany by then and I was homesick for Europe. Abba reminds me of living in Europe.
b. John Denver. “Rocky Mountain High”, “Country Roads” For eight years of childhood exile from Colorado I listened with totally innocent ears and missed Walsenburg and grandma.
c. Shaun Cassidy. First heartthrob. Disco. “Da Doo Ron Ron”. (I’m sorry.)
d. The Osmonds. “I’m A little bit country. I’m a little bit rock and roll.” TV show.

HIGH SCHOOL – early/mid 80s:
I love the pop rock of this era. Most of it takes me back to a happy place. But here were “my bands”:
--Styx. “Crystal Ball” is my absolute favorite, but I loved it all.
--Van Halen. “Cathedral.” “Dancing in the Streets” Diver Down -- the whole damn album.
--Vivaldi’s “Spring” from The Four Seasons. My high school symphony played this in concert, and a close friend was the violin soloist. It was a sublime performance. She went on to a career in violin.

COLLEGE – late 80s:
--The Doors “The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)”. Brings back memories of me and 5 guys – all of us philosophy majors – sitting in someone’s dark room and flinging around a lot of Nietzche-babble while getting drunk.
--Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps”. I went to a performance at the DSO and it enthralled me. It still does, straight to my core.

ADULTHOOD – 90s:
--Pearl Jam “Daughter”
--Alanis Morrisette “Ironic”, “You Learn” “You Oughta Know”. The whole Jagged Little Pill album.
--Loreena McKinnett “The Mummer’s Dance” from The Book of Secrets. My #1 favorite song EVER.
--I also fell into a brief obsession with the jazz of John Coltrane. Men will do that to you. I don’t remember the specific songs, just loving the music. The man was short lived and took his CDs with him.

MORE ADULTHOOD – 00s:
During this decade I’ve gone almost entirely country. Most especially:
--Josh Turner “Long Black Train “ “Your Man” “Me and God”
--Keith Urban "Days Go By" "Better Life"
 
Among the many, the first two that came to mind right now are Metallica's The Black Album and Air's Talkie Walkie. The Black Album brings me back to that one summer where I just kept replaying that album on repeat(I'm surprised I didn't wear out the tape) 'cause I thought it was the coolest thing ever. It turned out to be even more awesome when I found out the next door neighbour's boy whom I had a crush on also liked the album. Heh heh. Talkie Walkie reminds me of a ride home with the window down on a cool breezy summer night.
 
My uncle, who's teenage years planted him firmly in the midst of the 60's, was my guiding light when it came to music. In the early/mid 70's he introduced me (even though I was just a kid) to music that is still with me today--Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Doors & more. I remember staying up late & watching Burt Sugarman's MIDNIGHT SPECIAL & Don Kirschner's ROCK CONCERT with him (that's when David Bowie introduced me to the word-androgynous). My uncle also instilled in me a love of--dare I say it-- "soft rock" (Bread, The Grass Roots, England Dan & John Ford Coley, America, Seals & Croft. etc.).

As the 70's moved on, several groups became my signature groups by which my friends & classmates knew me, and which, in addition to those mentioned above, still define me today.

Electric Light Orchestra's OUT OF THE BLUE, DISCOVERY & TIME were my favorite albums in the early years of high school. The band's "sci-fi" & "classical rock" style always had a comforting effect, as well as helping my imagination soar. Plus they had the coolest album covers.

The Cars were always in the tape deck of my car (especially THE CARS & CANDY-O). Was there really any better driving music?

Blue Oyster Cult's CULTOSAURUS ERECTUS & FIRE OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN feed the "horror" side of my personality. And like ELO, the songs were short stories told with music. BOC's "Black Blade" eventually lead me to the works of Michael Moorcock (who co-wrote the song).

Today, I still listen to these groups & now that I am old enough to truly appreciate my uncle's tastes & influence, I listen to them even more. I wish he were still here so I could thank him.
 
Tuxedo Junction. Great tune.
Blue Oyster Cult. Great band, though I'm not sure I'd like them to cover TJ.
 
Much as The beatles were to much of my generation, Simon and Garfunkle were my avatars and in many ways their works still are.

Judy Collins (there is a Denver touch), Buffy St. Marie, Joni Mitchell, CSNY. Speaking of St. Marie and Mitchell... the song "The Circle Game", and speaking of Collins and Mitchell "Both Sides Now/Clouds".

And as a apeak into my true id, Weird All Yankovic..... despite the laughter he is an amazing musician to eb able to immitate so many.

DocPhibes
 
Hi Mario!

What can I add to the list before me?

Until I went to high school, I listened to nothing but big band and country. My dad didn't believe in that new fangled rock-n-roll. But in high school, I was introduced to Kansas, David Bowie, oldies the Beach Boys and the Beatles (my mom listen to Elvis and the Beatles a little went pop wasn't home--so I already had a little exposure to them). I fell in love with Summer fun music and the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Righteous Brothers.. almost all the 50s and 60s tunage...it was great, still some of my favorites today. But then I heard Benny and the Jets by Elton John and learned to love pop music. David Bowie, Led Zepplin, and even harder music were fun to listen to. Now, my music tastes run from what popular today, the Killers, Pink, Plain White T's (odd I know), but it all seems to fit, to what I loved as a kid, I never get tried of any of it.

I love the chalk drawing btw, too cool.

Dottie :)
 
When I think of 70's music (my era as a teenager), I always think of the early years: Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Yes, and ELP. I still listen to those bands. I did like Spirit, also, especially The Twelve Dreams of Doctor Sardonicus (Nature's Way from that album got some airplay).

I hated (and still do) disco and some of the other abominations from the latter part of the decade.
 
And, oh my gosh -- Heart!
 
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