On Music: Collecting It

I wanted to end this week's On Music posts with a little trip down memory lane. Remember when you used to buy CDs? I proudly owned everything from The Lion King Soundtrack to The Chronic album.

How about cassettes? Recording songs from the radio onto cassettes was my thing! If "my song" came on I basically did the hundred yard dash to press that record button on my stereo.

The most treasured form of music is probably vinyls and I had those, too. I'd listen to Boys II Men and my mom's Sade records. My favorite were the Disney stories my mom has on vinyl for me and that's probably what has fueled my love for audio-books today. 

When it came to having good music I could always count on my friend Mario. Him and I met in junior high and he'd make me CDs that were off the hook for every occasion. I'd hear his music before I'd actually see him speed around the corner of my block to swoop me and tell me when one of our favorite artists were coming to town. As time progressed so has Mario and the way he does music.

Mario's car was always overflowing with CDs but now he uses different channels to find music like iTunes Radio, SoudCloud and getting exposed to new genres and artists at dive bars like the one he went to recently in Oakland called Somar. We exchanged ideas about how good and tough times call for music and reflected on the certain phases of our lives that music wasn't as prominent. Since Mario has been traveling a lot lately (he just got back from volunteering in Ghana) he's seen how universal music is, a language that everyone understands.

He loves happy and chill music that comes in the form of neo soul and R&B over music that's derogatory and fuels hate, something he can't relate to. The foundation of our 15 year friendship (besides me being hilarious and keeping him laughing constantly) is strong because we share so much when it comes to surrounding yourself with positive things and as I sifted through his collection of CDs I was overcome with nostalgia as I remembered times that were carefree and blissful with these songs playing behind them like a soundtrack.

I also got to talking to his parents, Louie and Lisa, about their experience with music then and now. Between 1965 and the early 80's their primary sources of music came through what they were hearing on the radio and seeing on TV. KDIA and KSOL were their favorite stations in the Bay Area and they saw a lot of  music icons perform on American Bandstand and Soul Train. Louie spoke about how music traveled far and fast through word of mouth, "Even though we were old school, things spread fast without the internet."

Lisa gave us a breakdown of all the ways they collected music, "...45s, 8-tracks, cassettes, then eventually CDs," and how she and her girlfriends would head up to Berkeley to hunt for vinyls. Seeing how these two preserved their records that lined the purple wall in their living room (the original plastic on most) showed me how they, after all this time, still do music.