Having spent my high school years collecting albums, I considered myself fairly well versed in just about every genre of music that mattered. In the fall of 1975 I entered college. Farmingdale was my choice. It was close to home, had turkeys and cows as part of their agricultural program. More importantly it had a bar on campus called The Rams Den that opened at 9:30 in the morning.
Spending mornings at the Rams Den gave a whole new meaning to the term “higher learning”. College kids thought they were cool and listened to sophisticated music. I ended up in a circle of friends that listened to modern jazz. Mad Jim didn’t go to college but I would always pass on my new musical discoveries to my buddy. There were no screaming guitars, but there certainly was enough technique to pique his interest, and mine.
For about 7 months, I veered away from rock music entirely and got sucked into this vortex of modern jazz. Bands like Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jean Luc Ponty, Narrada Michael Walden. I was a sophisticated snobby music listener all of a sudden. My glam, Beatles, and hard rock records collected dust during this period.
As the 70’s passed their midpoint, the music got tired. The bands that mattered a few years ago were falling apart, running out of steam or just losing their edge. Rock was suffering. I bailed.
The problem with listening to modern jazz is you are always looking for something more technically advanced. It was layers of music on top of layers of guitar solos on top of long drum solos, on a heap of crap. Quite frankly, it’s some of the most boring music ever invented.
Something started to happen. I was getting bored with music.
Suddenly, I found myself with a girlfriend. Girls have a way of fucking up your musical tastes (sorry ladies). Next thing you know I am listening to James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell (dear god) and (wait for it)…Todd Rundgren. I was getting soft (music wise..ahem)
The other problem is when you break up with your partner of the moment, those artists and songs are ruined forever. In my case, that was a good thing.
So, lost and lonely, sick of music, and stuck at The Rams Den crying in my beer. I returned to Record Stop Thursdays for some comfort and hope for the future of music.
and then….it happened…