McHank’s Column #5 – At Least I Didn’t Get a Regrettable Tattoo McHank’s Column #5 – At Least I Didn’t Get a Regrettable Tattoo

Despite what you might think, your tastes will change, and you might not like the same bands forever.

Much how, up until my twenties, I didn’t care for tomatoes or mushrooms, I also thought I hated Fleetwood Mac and the Grateful Dead. Actually, I was in my thirties when I started liking those two bands, and that fungus.

I always had a caveat, like, “oh, I don’t like Fleetwood Mac but I like Lindsay Buckingham.” Well, as it turns out, I like it all. But you know, you hear it in the background, or see the reunion DVD at Best Buy on four hundred TVs and you think you know what they’re all about. You don’t.

It’s ok.

You don’t have to like the same things your whole life. Recorded music is static and your life is a journey. You don’t have to like an entire recorded catalog to like an artist, I can’t stand Eric Clapton, having heard most of his recorded output, but he has a very George Harrison sounding song called “Easy Now”, that I just love. Conversely, as much as you love a song you’ve heard a million times, once you delve further, you may find that the artist was a one hit wonder for a reason. It doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t have to affect your affection.

When I was in my late teens, I thought Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine and Smashing Pumpkins were going to be timeless. I would brag about having seen Rage Against the Machine open for Pearl Jam before Rage had an album out; but these days I’m just about embarrassed to say I even paid for a ticket to that show. Smashing Pumpkins, I still enjoy most of their early records, but I won’t go around arguing their virtue.

I flip-flopped through the 80’s on whether I liked The Smiths or The Cure. Or I’d nit-pick through their catalogs and like this song and that. Now I love both, pretty much the entire catalog of either is just about flawless. The music didn’t change, I did.

I’ve gone through some extreme phases of favorite bands. When I was about 8 years old, I decided that Duran Duran was my favorite band. When I was a teenager, I was kind of embarrassed about it. Well, there’s more to that story. When I was ten or eleven, I met some older kids at Great America, an amusement park near San Jose, CA. For whatever reason, to make them think I was cool, I told them that my uncle was Nick Rhoades of Duran Duran. It worked so well, the next day I told a girl I liked at school the same thing, thinking I could get her to talk to me and maybe “like” me (you know, LIKE me like me), and I had visions of us “going around”… However the plan backfired and I was stuck with that lie for a couple of years before I could admit that I was just a stupid kid and it was stupid kid logic.

In junior high, I met my best friend, Eric Powers. He and I were obsessed with all of Glenn Danzig’s bands- The Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. For The Misfits, Danzig wrote some of my favorite songs, ever. To this day, I’ll put them up to The Ramones as great, well written punk classics. But Samhain had one good song. Archangel. The rest was, more or less, crap. Didn’t matter. We loved it just as much. Then, the band, Danzig. The first album was out and we went for it, in a big way. LOVED it. Obsessed over it. Got the home video, memorized the talking parts, too. As you can imagine, not exactly a band I put on anymore.

I’m not here to just bust myself out on bands I used to like. I also didn’t used to like a lot of bands I SHOULD have. Didn’t like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, or The Ramones until at least my early twenties. I know. This is where I really need to repent (I should say, I kinda liked The Ramones, but I didn’t see what people were so crazy about. )…But I had some kind of crazy notion that something being technically easy to play, made it less good. I’ve beaten myself up over it countless times, so I’m here now to say, it’s ok.

But that’s the thing, if you’re a big music fan, and you are always sniffing something out, you’re going to come across all kinds of things, and maybe it affects you and maybe it doesn’t. But maybe you should try it again. Maybe you’ll see that the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t as cool as you thought they were. Maybe you’ll see that Minor Threat hasn’t aged a day and holds up to your memory. Maybe you’ll even find out that Electric Light Orchestra is one of the greatest bands that has ever existed. I urge you to listen to more, expand your horizons, and have a huge record collection. You’re allowed to like it all.

3 Responses about “McHank’s Column #5 – At Least I Didn’t Get a Regrettable Tattoo”

  • I would have gotten Korn lyrics tattooed on my neck if I was allowed in high school. I think everyone should get one tattoo when they are thirteen. It is hard to be intimidating when you have a quote from the Crow on your forearm or an Aerosmith logo on your lower back. Glad to hear there is another fan of the Grateful Dead. We should buy a van, some mushrooms and follow around second rate jambands with Charles, Cowboy Neil, and someone named “Anubis” that we met in the back of a Giant.

    Here I am different in this normal world
    Why did you tease me? Made me feel absurd
    Fucking stereotypes feeding their heads
    I am ugly. Please just go away

    Its cant rain all the time McHank…remember the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he was Kaiser Soze. I think that is right. Why can I not find a job? Yes, that is Johnathan Davis as a doll on my cheek.

  • Eric says:

    Amen. Still no tattoos, either.

  • Charles says:

    As a kid, I desperately wanted the cover of Dr. Feelgood tattooed on my forearm. Instead, some years later, I joined Speedo’s army.