I’ve been trying to write for two weeks now…

and I have nothing but “fail” to put here.  Not that I feel personal failure, not really…I just have been jumping from one subject to another and can’t seem to focus on one theme.  Finally, I’ve decided that I’m not going to focus on a single theme.  We are going to do some free-form writing baby – watch out!

Let me share how excited I am to have finished Pete Townshend’s autobiography, Who I Am.  Pete Townshend, and the Who, have long been a part of my musical holy trinity (the Beatles and the Kinks round out my analogy).  This book provided an insight into the life of one of rocks most private individuals.  Reading about the man’s thoughts on how he created some of the most amazing music EVER and how he dealt with issues that haunted him throughout his life was inspiring.  A side note, it proved my paper I wrote as a freshman at UK that dealt with how Tommy was about Pete Townshend’s spiritual journey – bonus!!

I will refrain from describing how much music means to me and my family.  Instead, let this brief list give you a glimpse: my dad owns over 10 guitars, my mother plays piano, my grandmother plays piano, pipe organ, and sings, I play guitar and limited piano, my broness is a playlist master, we all – aunts, uncles and cousins included – love a variety of music and are willing to travel to watch bands/artists we love!

Whew! Can you see how music is big for me?  Back to Pete Townshend…I love him.  While the Beatles were the first band I truly felt was “my band,” it was the Who – and Pete Townshend’s songwriting talent – that gave me a voice.  One summer vacation, The Who Sell Out, became my soundtrack.   Why, you may ask, did an album strung together with fake radio ads become the background music to all of my crazy teenage emotions while at Myrtle Beach?  I cannot answer you honestly with a reason – it just did.  I loved it.  I would sit on the balcony, wishing the boy of my 17-year-old dreams would acknowledge my existence, and found comfort in the thin voice singing through my headphones “I can’t reach you…”  Townshend broke my heart and healed it at the same time.  He gave me anthems to rail at the world with.  He also gave me permission to feel just how I felt.  At the time, I didn’t realize that was what I was looking for.  Reflecting today, I can see that the anger, the longing, the hope that the Who represented throughout their music was what I needed to say what I couldn’t find the words for.  The Who became “my band” and are still “my band” to this day.

I read about the Who, I bought all of the music available to me at the local Disk Jockey (pre-iTunes people!), and every trip, every stop at a store, I looked for more about the Who.  I learned Pete Townshend respected the Kinks and Ray Davies – enter my discovery and love of the Kinks!  I learned that songs from my uncle’s VHS tape of his senior year of football had Pete Townshend’s solo work (Rough Boys) on it and that sent me on another tangent.  It drove my brother nuts because, as his main mode of transportation, I would overplay CD’s in my car.  Now, I like to think I exposed him to music he enjoys…but at the time, I may have overdone it.  Sorry Bobby, but it was for your own good.

Since that first introduction to the Who, I’ve seen them play live twice.  I’ve seen Ray Davies and shook his hand.  The amount of bands I’ve seen – bands that have grown to be a part of my constant playlist – all arise from this discovery of one band, and the bands that they were influenced by and bands that were influenced by them.

So…for two weeks I’ve been looking for something to write about.  Some artistic achievement, some event and what I’ve ended up with is the excitement of rediscovering an artist that I respect and that has helped me through some tough times by reminding me I’m not alone.  That same idea powers a lot of my writing here – especially that which deals with my busted relationship.  Another happy discovery from this autobiography: Pete Townshend jumps from one thought to another almost as quickly as I do.

It’s nice to know you aren’t alone.

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