Happy Daze: Part 1
I remember that day in 1969 when I discovered rock and roll music seriously. I had listened to my older sister’s British Invasion records in the mid-60s, but it wasn’t until I discovered Chicago Transit Authority by Chicago and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Cosmo’s Factory that I was hooked. These were cassettes, but I gradually moved to vinyl LPs and 45s. I spent every bit of my allowance for working small jobs on records (and baseball cards). In my pre-teen years, I discovered the Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Bachman Turner Overdrive, The Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, Steppenwolf along with all the top 40 hits of those days. I had an impressive stack of 45s.
Fast forward to 1973. I was 15 and found Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon…a gatefold jacket, posters, stickers and incredible music. I had discovered progressive rock…Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Electric Light Orchestra and more. I always had an aptitude for math and science and prog rock seemed a natural outlet for me. I was no musical snob though, as I also liked pop, Motown, hard rock and what is now called “classic rock”. At the end of my high school years, I found that I was a pretty good keyboardist, although my musical instrument training came on the trumpet. I played along to all the hits by ear and was a real melody player. I was a regular on the new release day at Loco Records in Tucson.
When I hit college in 1976, I had really started collecting LPs. I had about 200-300 in my collection by then. Cheap Trick, Grand Funk, Alan parsons Project, Boston, Blue Oyster Cult, Ted Nugent, and Deep Purple were added to my collection among others. Following my graduation with a Physics degree in 1979, I went back and got a two-year MS degree in Systems Engineering. Still collecting. Still listening. Still discovering.
I took my first job in Aerospace in Southern California. It was there I bought my first keyboard/synthesizer, an Oberheim Ob-Xa, like the one Eddie Van Halen played on “Jump”. I found a bunch of great record stores in Orange County…. Tower Records, California Record Exchange. I was now at about 1000 albums. These were my babies and I played along with every one of them. I started buying a lot of UK and Dutch import albums and broadening my musical spectrum. I loved the music of the 60s and 70s, but being a keyboardist, I began really listening to a lot of New Wave and watching MTV in my free time. I was in musical heaven with a 20-year span of great rock and roll. I went to clubs and concerts and started playing professionally, replacing sick or injured keyboardists with some heavy hitters in the industry. I was not a road guy though. I liked being home, so I knew that was not my life and it would be almost 20 years later before I made a career in music.