“But something stirs and something tries,
And starts to climb towards the light...”
There are friends who still ask why am I so obsessed with Rock music, and why don’t I try other genres of music. And this is the answer that I give them:
I started with the usual pop influences, and grew up thinking that Michael Jackson was actually cool, and that there was indeed something interesting about Madonna. I fed myself (or rather, was fed) on a diet of pop till my eighth or ninth grade when perhaps out of those first crushes (there were 26 guys and 20 girls in my high-school class – needless to say, everyone waited eagerly for the Biology classes, but that’s a different topic altogether), or perhaps out of my increasing appreciation for softer rhythms and somewhat meaningful lyrics, I actually started collecting Hindi film music. I would use to sit at a friend’s place for a few hours, listening to the latest numbers, and then recording the particularly mellow and lyrically sensible ones.
This mix of Hindi/English pop continued till almost the second year of my Engineering, when a friend introduced me to Pink Floyd. Their first album that I listened to, was “The Wall” and after the first hearing (and the scene is still as vivid in my memory as ever), I shut the door of my room, sat down with the lyrics and listened to the epic again, non-stop. When I opened the door after a couple of hours, I was a changed person. It was as if curtains had been pulled away, and somebody had washed the dust from the air, and my search for the perfect music was over right then and there.
With their detailed description of the strangeness of a human life – “Don’t be surprised when a crack in the ice appears under your feet...” (from “The Thin Ice”, album: “The Wall”), and with just the right mix of guitars, keyboards and percussion, the connection with Floyd was immediate. Further explorations of this band’s music opened my eyes wider to all that I had been missing till then – “You run, you run to catch up with the Sun, but it’s sinking; Racing around, to come up behind you again” (from “Time”, album: “Dark Side of the Moon”).
And then, as they say, one thing led to another and before I knew, I was deep into bands like Rush, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, and the list goes on... I had started reading up on Rock, the origins, the sub-genres, the techniques, the out-of-the-world ensemble of audio and video, and then came a stage when those 20-minute songs (with 15 minutes of music and 5 minutes of vocals) started making perfect sense. Of course, by this time I had thrown all the Whigfield and Spice Girls tapes out of the door.
And that’s where I am now, at peace when I am with the Gods, knowing that the truth is not really that far, but somewhere near, and that help is always, literally, just a song away...
“And I’ll climb the hill in my own way; Just wait a while for the right day...”
Note: The beginning quote of this post is from “Echoes” (album: “Meddle”), and the ending quote is from “Fearless” (album: “Meddle”)