Starting Music Posts

I used to this with my old blog, and I thought it would be a great idea to bring back. I write a lot about sports and fun things like colonialism here and there, but I’m also a musician. I try not to talk about it at length with people because in a town with a musician every five feet, it can all start sounding like a broken record. I’m going to start sharing with you what I’m jamming on my way to work, play, and at home. Here we go!

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2010: Houston Sports

My two loves, music and sport, and I get to write about them in the same fucking day. Spectacular. :D

On American soil, I might be having the worst sports year I can remember. Disappointment is the cornerstone of Houston sports, with the slight foray into the champion’s spotlight in basketball,WNBA, and MLS within the past 20 years. Those are the only three major championships any teams from Houston have won in that time span. Before then. AFL championships were really the only things Houston sports fans could hang their hats on. Unfortunately, the Houston Rockets couldn’t even manage a lottery pick or a playoff spot last season. They slithered themselves into that enviable position of no future and no present. Moving Tracy McGrady proved fruitless, and as this current season continues, the team has lost Yao once more along the way for the season, and probably his career. Les has a lot of problems to address. I feel that Adelman is a great coach, but the ingredients are definitely not there.

This is the part where I talk about the Astros.

The Houston Texans have had the most disappointing season in their short history. I’m not just saying this because I’m a fan. It has to be the greatest gap between expectation and performance we have ever put together. The team [read: defense] has continually failed to prove the pundits correct. Now, at 5 – 9, the Texans’ season is essentially over. Kubiak has to go with the rest of his staff. The team has consistently showed up unprepared and unmotivated. If the Texans could play in the 1st quarter as they did in the 4th, we’d be 11-5 this season with a shot at an AFC Championship game.

Bob McNair has to strongly consider letting GM Rick Smith go. Smith left the Texans with what basically amounted to the Senior Bowl’s starting line-up as the foundation of our secondary after we let Dunta leave. We’ve relied too much on glorified linebacker Bernard Pollard to cover deep. Our corners can’t swivel their hips well enough or jump routes successfully enough to make most NFL rosters. With Josh McDaniels out of Denver, it seems likely that Gary is going to head to Denver, and Bob is going to have to get himself a coach that holds his players accountable.

Luckily, our offense is great, and will continue to be great, but as it is with most Houston teams, we can never get all facets of the game going at once. It’s either pitching or hitting. It’s either offense or defense. The Texans’ offense can’t keep this level of play up for much longer, and the young defense will probably never catch up. That’s the saddest thought of all. The country will never see what I see in the Houston Texans.

Sounds

peacock_1
"I don't like the new Brand New album as much as 'The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me'." Bullshit, peacock!

Outside of the hearing impaired, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy music or even disregards its impact on their life.  There is no way that you can trot through life or consume in our society without considering music as an integral facet in your life.  As I write this, I’m listening to Bill Evans and Stan Getz get it on… musically.

I can’t get away from music in my own life.  This is self-imposed.

Even if you didn’t listen to a death-core album a day, which is proven to keep doctors away, your ears are pummeled by sound daily.  The television/radio jingles that you hear on your way to work, the lobby playlist at your dentist’s office, the crazy man on S. Congress that frantically strums and croons at passersby, etc. are all sonic reminders of how we are connected and, at times, disconnected through music.

Forms of consumption are often used as tools for peacocking.  In my life, I have found that no one is excluded from this practice.  Many of us use the universal concept of music  to connect to the people we care to be with, to separate ourselves from the ones we feel are different and/or to grandstand as connoisseurs, civilized or fun types.

I think I’m just writing this because I read Adorno this week and feel especially cynical about certain things.

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At 11, my mother decided that it was best that I not go to Sharpstown Middle School.  The gang initiations and violence had alarmed my mother enough to request my enrollment in Paul Revere Middle School’s Magnet Program.

Before my adventures in suburban schools, I was a Latino kid who lived in the “ghetto” and loved rap music.  97.9 The Box was the only station I listened to.  My cousin Tony from Chicago introduced me to the greats.  I loved Tupac, Biggie, Bone Thugs, Easy E, Ice Cube, Cypress Hill.  If they were gangsta’ and from the 90s, I listened to them a lot.  I even remember discussing the latest Lil’ Keke album with a chum during lunch in 6th grade.  Just like Texas, Dago was from “da souf”.

The culture was different in suburban middle school.  There weren’t as many “gangstas” around and the ones that pretended were just assholes.  I needed to fit in somehow.  I was smart, but that made you the butt of a lot of jokes.  I used music as my in.  I learned so much about these alien kids and their culture through TV and the radio.  I would listen to Top 40 Radio and the Alternative station because I wanted a clue.  There kids never heard of Los Bukis and for sure didn’t actively listen to “My Ambitions As a Ridah”.  I watched Dawson’s Creek and other shows with youth-driven plots because I wanted to get to know my peers better.

I borrowed copies of Green Day’s Nimrod and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream.  I bought my own copy of Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in 7th grade–1998.  I know that’s a few years after the fact, but I was behind in the game, and the kids I loved to hang out with had older siblings that made them listen to their depressing/awesome alternative rock albums.  I was playing catch-up.

My mother and father were delighted about my new found love for music, or at least they pretended to be.  For years, I rode the wave of “alternative” rock and metal.  I loved Korn through high school, secretly through Junior and Senior year when I was in a punk band.  At 12 I had earnestly picked up guitar and learned three Korn albums in their entirety by 14 or 15.

In high school, I quickly learned that no one took you seriously if you listened to Korn. NO ONE.

Metal heads are never taken seriously because they are considered weird and focused on being strange.  This is a notion I still have today.

I had to change, and I did.  Then I changed again in college.

However, the latter was not purposeful in its progress.  It was more organic and without intent.  I listened to things I found interesting and challenging.  In my teens and early twenties, music had become my social crutch.  I used it to become more connected to the people around me.  There wasn’t necessarily a scene that I followed because, in all honesty, large gatherings always frighten me.  However, the fact remains that I used music as a means to an end and not as a leisurely activity.

I feel that a lot of us lose sight of ourselves in the selfish expectations that we create for others to consider when discussing us.  A lot of us create these images in order to fit in but only find ourselves empty down the line.  If we cut the bullshit how much more diverse could our society be?  How much harder could we make it for industry to capture demographics?

And it’s not that I don’t care what people are listening to.  I do.  No matter how much you fight the urge, you still want to peek your head out and see what the others are doing.  You want to remain socially functional in some sense.  This is the behavior that gets me in “trouble” and in possession of the new Dirty Projectors album.  I’m a hypocrite.

Fuck Dirty Projectors,

Dago

PS: Go Texans! 5 – 3, baby!