Throw It Back To Your Beginning

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Sometimes listening to the music that got you making music in the first place is great inspiration to remember your home base and why you started with music to begin with.

Before we start this year dig up some tracks from back when you started playing and making music. Take it back to your beginning!

For me it all starts with KISS. The band that got me interested in music in the way I am and got me playing bass and then guitar. A classic track that still inspires me is "Got To Choose" from Hotter Than Hell, featuring a classic KISS lick, Peter Criss' instinct drumming and a hot steaming solo from Ace with his classic emotive bends and vibrato. Hotter Than Hell is KISS at their most Raw and awesome. Always my favorite band. I've heard better bands, sure, but only one can be the band that got me passionate about music to begin with.

Ac/Dc is second, the other band that always make me feel like home. I'll share "Down Payment Blues" which I've always loved for Bon's characteristic lyrics, the subtle groove of Phil Rudd (he really knew how to work the hi-hat for such simple beats) and Malcolm Young's awesome rhythm playing that is as solid as it gets. He is my favorite guitarist and my greatest guitar inspiration. He always played what the song needed and he was always perfect. I learnt guitar from playing his parts.

Van Halen rounds out my trilogy of Classic Rock bands that got me going. Recently I listened to Fair Warning again and I was absolutely blown away all over again by Eddie's playing on that record. While 1984 and 5150 are my favorite Van Halen records Fair Warning is the one where Eddie really lays it down. "Hear About It Later" is a hard hitting highlight with some insane guitar in the verse, featuring quick tap harmonics that make it difficult to play.

Share away your home base music!

I originally started singing little songs to myself when I was a small child. I quit for decades when I hit school age and people would look at me weird on the bus.

So, going to my inspiration reaches straight in to my childhood. It's a place easier re-visited in my own songs than in published music at this point.

Here's a song that a much younger me would have seen as great inspiration: (Kittens Might Want to Eat You.)

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Showing my age and sheltered childhood Smile Watching the original run of The Monkees TV show on NBC got me interested in playing guitar. The TV show theme song was the first song I wanted to learn, and was the first sheet music I ever had:

Then after a year of lessons and a few more years of noodling the guitar probably got passed along, I took a thirty something year pause in playing and got interested again in the late 2000's inspired by a long list of singer-songwriters, some are the influences listed in my profile.

"Gimme Some Lovin" with Steve Winwood on the organ. That got my blood boiling for the B3. Must have been '66 '67. Clapton and Hendrix on the guitars along with Stills and Young in the Buffalo Springfield. And of course the Beach Boys!

Hmmm, this is a really hard one! I grew up around a lot of country and bluegrass but of course rejected that until much later in life. I guess my first rock album, Machine Head by Deep Purple, was a huge influence. My guitar teacher gave me his copy of Jimi Hendix Are you Experienced and that was a huge influence. Black Sabbath Paranoid was playing almost non-stop in my car's 8-track player for over a year alternating only with T.Rex The Slider. The Beatles were a huge influence but also a lot of folk like Dylan and Cat Stevens and Ian Anderson!

IA's picture

Ohh, cool idea. Unfortunately, I started writing music when I was introduced to Iron Maiden... and I have like 50-100 tracks like Iron Maiden already. Yikes!

However, the first artist that really got me interested in music was Michael Jackson. Maybe I could try something like that. Hm, hm.

@Kurtis Kanttila, I saw Kiss in 1979 at the Siverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, and the next time I went to one of their concerts was a couple of summers ago in Saginaw, Michigan, and I couldn't believe how good they were, even though it obviously wasn't with Ace and Peter. My neighbor Jim always had to be Gene, so I got "stuck" with Ace. Cheap Trick was the warm up, and I became a much bigger CT fan... Biggrin

That’s a tough one. I wrote my first song with a childhood friend inspired by the Beatles and we called ourselves the “Screamie Birds,” based on Liverpool slang. Then I didn’t write anything original (just sang and tinkered on my keyboard) until 2014 when I enrolled in a songwriting class. But disco was huge for me in the late 70s and a big influence on me being drawn to EDM today.

Hard to say where this began. When I got my first bass our little high school band did Steve Miller and stuff from that era. Then the Clash, which was much more inspirational. I think they're on of my prototypes for sure. I learned a lot of bass off of the first REM records. But so many others.

My brother was a pianist and i found at a young age i could sing words on the fly and made up hundreds of songs before having a long long hiatus. At that early stage (8) i guess my only real influence could have been the beatles - 2 older siblings playing them non stop! Later the first few albums were Machine Head by Purple, Fog on the tyne by Lindisfarne, Paranoid -Black Sabbath ,Bursting at the seams -the Strawbs. But the moment i fell in absolute love with music the first time for myself was when I heard Metal Guru by Trex - from that day and ever since i have never been far from a device to listen to music on and its mostly been playing non stop!

I blame it all on the Four "B"s. Beethoven. Bach. Brahms. Beatles.

My older brother brought home "Meet the Beatles" album in early 1964. I was 9 years old. I loved the music, and of course, we watched their appearance in February of that year on the Ed Sullivan Show. My parents made rude remarks ("They look like girls with that long hair"), but I shut out their comments and was so smitten with them! I asked my parents for a guitar, and they bought me a $25 one from a department store. I wanted to learn how to play and sing along with those songs. My brother and I learned to play guitar, piano and a bit of drums as well, and for a few years we recorded our own cover versions of the songs. He had a large reel to reel tape recorder, and a stereo cassette recorder, and he would bounce the tracks back and forth between the 2 machines. ...And now here I am, 55 years later!

Honestly, if I look back at my beginning I feel jaded. The first song I made was "Dab (On Dem Haterz)" and I was so proud of that song and I thought that song was gonna take me to the tippity top. Reddit told me to kill myself, people told me it was the worst song they ever heard. The FAWM crowd seemed to like it, but that's it.

It got a lot of press from music outlets, 10k views on YouTube (which isn't nothing but for your first song is pretty cool) but all of my peers told me it was garbage. So I spent a couple years trying to learn and improve. I make better stuff now I guess, but I want to go back and make that mad underground EDM style stuff like Dab (On Dem Haterz)

So if I throw it back...bad memories. Altho I do love that song. But an entire subreddit said I should literally kill myself. Shoot myself in the face, hang myself from the ceiling, drink battery acid, the detailed descriptions were all pretty vivid.

[@NuJ4X] Reddit can be filled with trolls. Like a lot of old fashioned fairy tale situations, they'll explicitly challenge a person's self-confidence. If you go looking to them for assurance that you have quality, they'll explicitly play with you to see if they can get you to give up and destroy what you have. If you follow their advice, it proves you're weak and deserve failure.

They do this in multiple subreddits. It's why the place is trash. I don't give a flying fish about trolls, and I've no interest in hanging out in troll-stink.

Oh my, [@Nuj4X] -- it sounds like you need to get off social media! I remember that song. I thought it was a blast. Anyway, your post sounds like one that could go in the "Imposter Syndrome" thread. Personally, I never feel like an imposter, and I don't worry about Dem Haterz, because I know who I am: I'm a guy who decided, deep in middle age, that he wanted to make something with the very limited skills and tools at his disposal. The feeling of rounding a song vaguely into shape, into something that I feel is 'good' (something that I like, despite the myriad flaws that I am not capable of overcoming)--well that's a feeling that can't be taken away from me. I don't know what's in anyone else's head, of course, but I really can't believe that any artist in the history of the world has felt more satisfaction than I do when the slender means at my disposal come together and become something that I recognize as art. Mozart? Picasso? Hendrix? No, No, No! So f*#k dem haterz and do your thing. There are no imposters here. Could you write me a song about the tater tot nachos at my local public house? Dem Taterz is delicious!

[@NuJ4X] That's terrible. I'm so sorry that happened to you. People can be so horrific to each other. I've never had that much success with a song and I've never experienced that much vitriol over a song. I mostly just get ignored, which I guess I shouldn't complain about.

As for my start, I've been doing music since I was a kid. I've been pretty serious about it since I was a kid. My first vocal solo was Candle on the Water from Pete's Dragon. I was maybe 9. My first instrumental solo was maybe year later. I don't have video of any of that. I was a trumpet player, so I didn't write much until grad school when I picked up a mandolin.

It's been in the last 10-15 years that I started really writing and performing as a singer/songwriter. And it's been a slow, sometimes painful process. Here's a video from 2010 (I think) performing at the NY Renaissance Faire. It's from a frustrating point of time because Kat (the other singer, I'm actually Katie) and I were being constantly criticized by our directer in this show. This was the only song she wanted to hear us sing. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with that song now.

[@NuJ4X] screw that, pardon my vulgarity, the only critic that matters is you yourself. 10K views on YouTube is outstanding.

Gosh, so many early influences.

I grew up listening to my parents' radio; Nat "King" Cole, The Mills Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, general Big Band music, stuff like that.
I continue to love that kind of music.
Then came my discovery of The Beatles when I was in Grade Five; I still never tire of listening to them.
"Classic Rock" and old-skool metal in early High School; Hendrix, Cream, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, etc. etc.
Then Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" hit me like a thunderbolt and has been my go-to influence ever since, along with other weirdo and Prog music, though I still listen to a wide variety of stuff (though I gotta say, modern pop music leaves me pretty cold).

Bleh... I started recording stuff digitally in 1994, and didn't give up recording on tapes completely until my first FAWM in 2009 (three songs in i quickly had the realisation that you can't upload songs from a tape!). So songs from before 2004 are often lost to time.

Luckily this band i was in from 1996 to 1997 has some surviving tapes which one or two people have asked for over the years and i have resultantly digitised.
And now their only real purpose is to drag out whenever somebody mentions music from back when i started playing music! Really i started playing music years earlier, but i suppose this band is actually where my first real songwriting came out (even then, most of the tracks are by the other two guys in the band.

Anyway, i know that nobody is actually going to click through and listen to what is probably about six or seven hours of stuff recorded on a tape machine in the nineties, but if you want to, it is here:

As for musical INFLUENCES, well... it is just... music. Since i remember there were records on the whole time. Honestly, trying to figure out what few songs or bands were my key influences from the hundreds or thousands i heard and liked would be an impossible task, but it all goes into the big musical melting pot, i suppose.

And i hope you have a good 50/90 here in the new digital age!

In case anyone wants to get inspired by the first two song-type things I ever wrote/improvised (to my knowledge) as a little kid: haha

My musical taste happened in discrete phases:
-6 & under: children's shows
-ages 7-8: The Spice Girls
-ages 8-11: pop country (it's all my dad and stepmom listened to)
-ages 12-13: The Beatles
-ages 14-17: pop punk & pop rock
-ages 17-22: "real" & classic punk
-22 & up: folk punk and passionate acoustic music (but still like most of that other stuff)

And that's kind of where I landed, on the last one but influenced by all the others, well, maybe not the first few. I always wanted to be a singer since those early days of watching Barney, and literally aspired to each of those genres in turn, so I can't really narrow it down to a few songs that got me hooked.

When I was kid my mum would always have the radio on - this was 1970s UK and BBC radio one. The music that I first remember liking were the poppy glam rock singles like 'Tiger Feet' by Mud or 'Blockbuster' by Sweet. The first single I remember being enthusiastic about that was outside the influence of my parents' taste was 'Forever and Ever' by Slik. Interestingly this was also my first exposure to the voice of Midge Ure, who returned in a later phase of my musical journey as part of Ultravox.

A massive influence on my musical taste and the birth of my love of electronic music was hearing Jean-Michel Jarre's 'Oxygene IV' which was used as a TV theme tune. Already liking electronic music meant that when the first wave of synthpop bands came through '78-'82 I formed a lifelong love of synth-based music because of bands like OMD, Human League, Soft Cell, Ultravox, Japan, Depeche Mode etc.

The eclectic nature of the UK scene at that time was amazing for a teen with a growing love of music - bands like Teardrop Explodes and Icicle Works laid the foundations for the guitar based indie bands to make an impression when they came along later. All the while I started tracking influences backwards leading to The Beatles and Kinks, Bowie, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk.

In 1983 I got a Commodore 64 home computer and it was here that my first attempts at music making started - very basic sampling and tracker software was where I began. A year later I had a Casio CZ-101 (still a great synth) and a 4-track. After a few years I stopped making music and gear was sold.

But, the songwriting bug was only dormant - a few years later and it was an Amiga, Bars and Pipes for MIDI and a Roland keyboard. Again a few years and then stop.

Fast-forward to 1999/2000 and it was a pirated copy of Cubase, a PC and still that same old Roland keyboard. I still have a CD of the songs from that period and actually quite like a few of them.

The next big step was discovering Reason and with that a move to fully PC-based recording. In 2012 I discovered 50/90 and the rest is history.

These days I use Studio One and a large collection of VSTs, including the Arturia version of that first synth the CZ-101 which still makes some great bass sounds.

IA's picture

@Amanda Rose Riley That's an interesting way to approach it! Let's see what I can muster up.

Ages 7-10: I'd say I listened to a bunch of radio and that's it. So this is like 1992. Probably a bunch of Mr President, Captain Jack et al. I wasn't too concerned with what I listened to.
Ages 11-13: Michael Jackson. That's all I listened to. Had to have all the albums and videos and whatever.
Ages 14-17: Iron Maiden. That's all I listened to. Had to have all the albums and videos and whatever. LP's, cassettes, VHS, singles, T-shirts...
Ages 18-22: Dream Theater. That's all I... well, I listened to them for a while but then really got into their side-projects etc.

What I see here is some real obsession with individual artists. Nowdays I listen to so much music that I don't have time to get stuck. :0

I guess I'm one of the older FAWMers - the first piece of music I can remember hearing (at the age of 2 or 3) would have been "Telstar" by the Tornados (which was released in 1962). It was an odd-sounding instrumental that was the work of possibly the first ever "name" producer: the mighty Joe Meek. It sounded much cooler than anything else I'd heard, had a great melody, and the production was unearthly. Shortly afterward, Doctor Who started and I decided I wanted to work in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop when I grew up (it's always been about odd sounds and production for me.)

When I first heard Muse's "Knights of Cydonia" off their "Black Holes and Revelations" album, my immediate reaction was "Well, they're just ripping off Telstar with that..." And then I discovered that Matt Bellamy's father George was the guitarist in the Tornados, LOL.

I like that...

Age 8: Twisted Sister, Ac/Dc, Classic Rock
- I got into music from the Goofy Goober Rock scene in the SpongeBob movie. My Dad was like hey that was a real song and made me mixed CD's of Classic Rock. This was a phase as a kid though.

Age 11: Linkin Park, Sonic Music, Michael Jackson, songs from shows, movies & YouTubers I watched
- When "What I've Done" played at the end of Transformers my life was changed in many ways. The movie set the course for my life after and I was all about Linkin Park for a bit. I listened to a lot of music from Sonic games at this point also.

Age 12-13: KISS, Ac/Dc, W.A.S.P., Van Halen, Motley Crue
- This is when I actually got into music for real. A lot of Hair Metal which I still like though Motley Crue has fallen out of favor with me.

Age 14-15: Metallica, Megadeth, Katy Perry
- Getting a little heavier and finally admitting to myself that I can like Pop music as well. "Teenage Dream" was a vital song to my life.

Age 16-17: Anime music

Age 17-18: Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Rolling Stones, Eagles
- After high school a new phase in my music listening began with my ultimate hero Bruce. KISS is my favorite band but his music is the best I've ever heard.

Age 18-19: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth, Utada Hikaru, Seiko Oomori, My Bloody Valentine

Age 20: Post-Punk, Punk, BiSH & Alternate Idol J-Pop, Nirvana

Age 22: The Smiths, BAND-MAID
-These are really the latest two bands I've been obsessed with, lately I haven't found any groups that have hit me like that.

Well, @Calum Carlyle, I did click your link, and I'm listening to "Simple Simon" now - it rocks! I listened to a few on PCT Days, too - very cool. Listening to "Computer" now - nice guitars.
And when @Kurtis Kanttila started this thread, I had to listen to his Kiss link, and this morning I cued up the Kiss deep cuts list on Apple Music as I worked out. I love the song "Mr. Speed," which was the B side of "Hard Luck Woman." I had the 45!
Kurtis just mentioned Springsteen - a hero to me, even more than Bob Dylan. And both continue to make great and relevant music.
@atitlan - I've been binge watching old The Sweet videos on YouTube lately ("Blockbuster"!), since the band's eccentric and theatrical bass player passed away a few weeks ago. I think Desolation Boulevard was the first vinyl LP I bought with my own money.
I don't see that anyone here has mentioned Elton John - as a boy playing piano (began lessons at age 7), he was my first rock and roll hero. And for the last 35 or so years (since college), my approach to and and philosophy of music has been shaped most by the Grateful Dead.

Chris I remember Telstar as well! It was on a juke box at the local drugstore/ soda shop. I was about 12. I was fascinated with the electronic sounds. Even more so when Switched On Bach came along several years later.

Chris, I had to look up Telstar and then I recognized it immediately. It was probably one of the first instrumentals I liked, which is so ironic since I mostly do instrumentals (EDM) now.

@IA I still get obsessed with individual artists (been obsessed with Frank Turner for several years now) and don't listen to nearly enough variety. Incorporating more variety has been on my to-do list for ages because I know it will make my songwriting better, but it's hard because I always just want to go back to my favorites.

@headfirstonly and @jamkar have you seen the movie about Joe Meek? I'm sure it's full of inaccuracies but I loved it.

There's an Arena documentary and a few interviews on youtube about Joe Meek too, which I haven't watched yet.

I had the best-of LP titled "Remembering... The Tornados" as a boy, and Telstar was definitely out of this world, and really stood out. I've actually got Telstar lined up to play on my community radio show either this week or next if memory serves (it is mainly classic rock I play, though I'm going to play a ton of songs from 50/90 this summer as well).

@atitlan Tiger Feet by Mud was one of my favourites as a boy as well, I had that single plus The Cat Crept In as well.

@Calum Carlyle Oooh, will check that out. Saw the Arena documentary on Meek. He led a very sad life that came to a dreadful end...

I think the album that got me really into the music that made me what I am has to be the soundtrack for the movie Singles. I don't remember ANYTHING about the film itself, but the soundtrack contains Soundgarden, Chris Cornell, Mother Love Bone, the 2 best Pearl Jam non-album songs, the best Smashing Pumpkins song ever and "Would?" by Alice in Chains. Although I already liked music before (I listened to Bon Jovi, Guns n' Roses, Helloween and stuff), I consider this one to be my origin story.

@headfirstonly I wish I were old enough to have heard Meek's stuff when it first came out. I've got the CD of I Hear a New World that came with the book Joe Meek's Bold Techniques, which I highly recommend. He didn't have the happiest life.

@TomS That's awesome! The Dynasty tour would of been a spectacle to see. KISS still give a good stage show. I saw them in 2009, I was just happy that I could even see them at all! The show you were at in 1979 actually has a bootleg recording! The sound quality is total trash total.

@Chip Withrow Nice dude! Mr. Speed is one of my favorite KISS songs, a really awesome riff in that song. It's very fun to play. and ya Bruce is just my ultimate music hero his music just speaks to the soul. Even if he didn't live the life in his songs he had a way of becoming the people in the stories. From Born To Run to Tunnel Of Love every album was a masterpiece on a different level. Born To Run is certainly the best album I've ever heard and Jungleland is the most magnificent song ever made in my opinion.

It's been fun reading everyone's comments on this topic, a real memory lane for me. @Kurtis Kanttila, @TomS, @Chip Withrow, I have to add my two cents on Kiss. Fell in love with them in my teen years - my mom was a musician and thought they were terrible, as did my school band director who I was close to. I also become a big Rush fan at about the same time. A few friends and I had a rock trio called "Deuce" (a Kiss song title) and our repertoire was 90% Kiss & Rush, plus "Sweet Home Alabama" and some Blue Oyster Cult. Saw Kiss in concert in Wichita twice (one show had Cheap Trick as the opener) and once in Kansas City (my mom didn't want me going to KC but eventually relented). I eventually moved on to other music but did go see them again a couple years ago -- they still put on a great show! Before Kiss there was The Beatles, The Monkees, Top-40 AM & FM radio. My mom was a huge Mamas & Papas fan - I of course hated them because mom liked them! Little did I know that I would become a fan years later. While not a big Smoky Robinson fan at the time, his song "Tears of a Clown" made me feel alive and so good.

@Kurtis Kanttila that bootleg sounds about like it sounded in the Silverdome. Smile I saw quite a few events there, and it was just not good for concerts. Small trivia, one of the architects (Luckenbach) is family. I enjoyed watching the Detroit Express play there for a couple of years.

My start in music was church choir. My main inspiration for creating music ongoing is my son, Paul Otteson, who was on FAWM and 50/90 before me. He did the February Fables and Dinocore songs...for those that have been here ten years or more. He encouraged me to trust I was a songwriter. It’s people like all of you that inspire me to keep creating!

if i were to go 'way back' it would be old 45s... 'whiter shade of pale', 'so happy together', 'long and winding road' (and the b-side, 'blue for you?'), 'benny and the jets', etc.

This is a fun thread!

Ages 4-10: Started playing violin and piano so listened to a lot of classical. Lots of 90's alt-rock--Nirvana, The Presidents of the United States of America, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins. Also musical theater. Lots of musical theater.

Age 11: A friend introduced me to pop music. Britney, the Backstreet Boys, Destiny's Child, etc. I got Michelle Branch's first album "The Spirit Room" and thought "I want to do THAT."

Age 12: "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton came out. I learned the riff. I wrote my first pop song about my boyfriend because I thought he was ignoring me.

Ages 13-18: Mostly top 40 radio stuff. Green Day's American Idiot came out in 2004 and I listened to it over and over and over and saw them in concert (it was epic). Also Evanescence, Switchfoot, and Coldplay.

Ages 18-23: A college friend got me into bluegrass and I played in a local country/folk band. Also really liked Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez. I broke up with a boyfriend and went on a small girl-country excursion and listened to Miranda Lambert a lot.

Ages 24-30: More Green Day, The Offspring, Bass Drum of Death. Lately I've been listening to a lot of indie alt-rock and 60's music. The Shelters, Post Animal, Tame Impala, The Kinks, The Who, Jefferson Airplane. I also still really like Selena Gomez.

[headfirstonly] i feel we have talked about this before! Meek was a mighty man. George bellamy was the rhythm guitarist! I I have the 45 not 6 feet away from me! Telstar of course was about the first communication satelitte. then of course Heinz left the tornadoes and did that song Just like Eddie.