As the 80s gave way to the 90s, my childhood gave way to adolescence. Teenage years are usually when most people start to form opinions of the things they like for the rest of their lives. Music is one of them, are they going to become an avid music fan or a casual listener, are they going to like Pop or Rock music. All these decisions are mostly made with influence from family, friends and the media, although now you have the internet you can connect to almost anyone on the planet and be influenced that way to.
For a teen in the early 90s we had no such internet influences. For me it was Radio, TV and friends. My parents were not music fans.
Nirvana hit our school like a sledgehammer in 1992. Everyone was listening to them and wearing ripped jeans, doc martin boots, rock band t-shirts and army jackets with band patches on. All topped off with shoulder length hair with an undercut. The mosher/grunge era had begun.
I was there too. This was the first time I sat up and noticed music wasn’t just background noise it was front and centre and influenced everything I did. This was the first music trend of my teenage years.
For Xmas 1993 I got my first CD player. It was a Bush ghetto blaster from Argos for £100, a lot of money for a 13 year old back in the early 90s. On the same shopping trip I got my first CD album Nirvana In Utero. I’m rather proud of the fact that the first real album I bought with my own money was and still is a very decent album.
This was the start of my album collecting. I had a wealth of bands and albums to aquire from my chosen trend including: Nirvana, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Levellers, Rage Against The Machine, Cypress Hill and Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Most Saturday mornings were spent going to town with friends and heading to Margin Music, Woolworths and I think it was called AA music in the indoor market. Then it was back home in the afternoon to my bedroom with fresh CD in the player and Mega Drive/SNES game on the 13″ portable TV. Coming from a small Town this was about as good as it got at the weekends, we had a rubbish football team and a cinema that was falling to bits, what else was a teenager to do?
I look back at this as a great time of musical discovery and like most things from your past it has a tint of nostalgia to it. However a lot of the albums I listened to during this time I still have and listen to now, such greats as:
These albums and artists made me realise that people and bands created music, it didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It also made me realise there was a lot more choice out there than what was just main stream and in the charts. The trouble with pre internet times was finding an influence to show you these gems. Radio stations didn’t play them and buying a CD album of an unknown band or album was a risky business for a 13 year old with no money.
In 1994 Kurt Cobain took his life and 6 months later the mosher/grunge era was over, dance music had hit and everyone at school was buying packs of cassettes filled with DJ dance music and wearing Eclipse Jeans. Dance music was not my thing, and so stared a quiet couple of years on the album collection front. Trends come and go quick and although this one was over in just 2 years, it left a lasting impression on the music I would enjoy for the rest of my life.