If you listen to the podcast, it’s inevitable that you’ve heard a handful of conversations that start with “how did you end up getting into music?” Often times, it was friends from high school passing around mix tapes. The digital age has certainly made finding new music easier but there’s something about sticking a cassette tape into the player of your 1980-something car, with super tinny speakers that can’t be replaced.
I wasn’t lucky enough to have friends in high school to show me the way, but I had an older brother. We grew up playing Kaboom! on Atari and got to see the first Nintendo release. The suburb we grew up in was close to a little strip mall, about a block away from Lake Erie. We could ride our bikes there, and rent our games. We’d have to take turns picking which video game we would rent that week from the Diamond Video, and I always wanted Super Mario 2. (My distaste for change started early, apparently) We eventually got a Super Nintendo and had Mario Kart races for hours, and I tried to fumble my way through Super Street Fighter II to try to keep up.
Kim and her brother, celebrating some holiday in the 80's.
My brother, being 3 years older, started getting into music, and started taking trips up to The Record Shop that was part of a strip mall in our neighborhood. I used to go and pick out the occasional Nirvana bootleg, because they were the first band that I really loved. One of the very first things I remember him bringing home that really clicked with me was …And Out Come The Wolves. To this day, that record is one of my favorites. From there, he went backwards to Let’s Go!, and then to Energy from Operation Ivy. Green Day was increasing in popularity, and MTV still showed videos, so we got Dookie. MuchMusic would show up here and there within our cable package, which is where I was introduced to Jimmy Eat World around the time Bleed American was released. I’m fairly sure that chunk of time is what set me up to be a fan of punk for life.
Eventually, he got a car and found Record Den, which was a town or two over (and is still open, just down the street from where I live now). Record Den was a goldmine for him, because they would special order anything, and would call our landline (ha!) when the CDs were in. He found the older, Metallica albums, then came home with Megadeth and Pantera, which led him even further down the rabbit hole of metal to Slayer, and Cradle of Filth, and a plethora of bands who have logos that I could never read.
By the end of his high school career, I was a painfully awkward freshman. He had started to get into the goth scene, and brought me along for the ride, quite literally. Bauhaus is one of the first goth bands that I remember hearing in the car on the way to school, since he was stuck driving me. I was not much of a fan at the time, but it did grow on me. While they never grew into a favorite of mine, the doors to that scene got blown open from the daily drive. He introduced me to the local goth club, where I spent majority of my late teens and early twenties, and stumbled into a DJ gig that I was only able to do because he taught me how to use the CD decks, because laptops were not a regular fixture in the club back then. It was there that I developed friendships that would become lifelong.
After I got married and learned that I was pregnant, I hung up my proverbial goth card and quit DJing. Without needing to pay attention to the music in the club scene, I quickly reverted to 12-year-old me, in that room, with that Nintendo and the 90s punk. For that, I am thankful because without those years, it is entirely likely that I wouldn’t have met some of the incredible people that I have in my life today, and I owe so much of it to him.