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Hi-Identity: Girls Collecting Music -
Page 4

By Mary Ladd & Jo Kozlowski

Page One: The Wonder Girls; Girls Taking Off
Page Two: Girls & Mix Tapes; Girls in Record Stores
Page Three: Girls & Guilty Pleasures; Girls, Where Are You Today?
Page Four: Girls in Conclusion: How Should We Be?; Coolia Answers Our Girl Music Survey

7. Girls in Conclusion: How Should We Girls Be?

Nerdia (LA): I was at the bookstore a few weeks ago and for two seconds I was tempted to buy a pocket book listing the best Soul records ever made. No, I decided. I don’t want to follow someone else’s list. I want a snippet on TV or some clip in a movie or the radio to send me searching down a record. I want my own curiosity to lead the way.

Jo (Chicago): You go, girl! One thing the Dave Matthews Band concert brought home to me is the vital source of community music offers, the outlet for feelings and the vast resource for voicing emotions. We women may not always feel part of the "in crowd" du jour or choose to draw on the latest reservoir of expression, but we are no less drawn to music's sensuality. And that's our right. Nobody gets to determine for us what deeply subjective siren song we respond to, for whatever reason. Collecting music is a remarkable exercise in soul-awareness that no amount of criticism or macho posturing can derail. That guy I mentioned having dated once sarcastically asked me when I was going to "crack out the Janis Ian albums" to force him to share. I never did. He never earned that much of my trust.

Coolia Answers Our Music Survey

1. When did you start collecting music?
The first music I liked was 50s oldies and some country. The first records I remember being excited about were a Monster Mash album of novelty songs, the Kenny Rogers "Gambler" album and a Sha Na Na box set bought off TV.

2. What is the first music you decided to like?
I started buying 45s when I was 8 or 9. I would use my allowance and get one or two per week. My mom would take me to buy them. The very first 45 I bought was "Mickey" by Toni Basil. Other early purchases were "The Tide is High" by Blondie, "Queen of Hearts" by Juice Newton, and "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar.

4. What did others think about your early tastes? Did you ever hear flack about what you wanted to buy? How did you handle it?
I also liked the idea of KISS but I wasn’t allowed to listen to them due to parental fears of Satanism. My parents didn’t mind me having KISS toys, cards, and lunch boxes, but wouldn’t let me buy the records. A boy next door had a KISS album and I listened to it covertly. As I got older, friends were pretty dismissive of KISS, (example: a friend from New York once said in the middle of a KISS conversation, "I like real music"). Both KISS concerts I’ve gone to, I’ve gone to alone.

5. What were some of the music phases you have gone through in your life/what has been the evolution from early tastes to now? What kind of collections do you have?
From 10 - 14, I was very into British bands and teen idols like Duran Duran and Wham. I read Star Hits magazine (a British Teen Beat) and bought tapes of bands I couldn’t hear on the radio like Yazoo, Scritti Politti, and Go West. In high school, I got into alternative music and new wave. My favorites were Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure, UB40. My friend Chrissy’s sister's old boyfriend got us into some alternative stuff like Talking Heads and Ziggy Marley.

Secretly, I liked hair bands like Bon Jovi and metal bands like Guns n Roses. I started listening to college radio and learned about bands like REM and 10000 Maniacs and Camper van Beethoven and Red Hot Chile Peppers. I was usually the one to find new bands and introduce people to them. I got really into grunge. I was rarely seen without my flannel shirt.

After college, I got more into metal and somewhat into hip hop. I also developed a taste for cocktail music and male crooners. I guess my collections now would include a lot of male singers (Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Elvis), 80s music particularly new wave, mainsteam metal (particularly Ozzy, Metallica) and hard rock (KISS, Aerosmith). I’m not really a completist, but I probably have most of Ozzy, KISS, and Elvis.

6. What appeals to you about your collections? Ex: "I like my small collection of lounge singer CDs because I get to enjoy them as trendy kitsch items; but also because I love the drama of the struggling soloist laying his/her heart out on the line via inappropriate cover material."
I like that I have eclectic tastes, different music for different moods. There are certain voices I really like - Ozzy, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Elvis - and I come back to those CDs over and over. My friend Jamie introduced me to some hip hop and indie bands. My other friend Rich got me into Richard Shindell and some other folky types. Chrissy got me into U2. My Australian friends got me into aussie bands like the Whitlams and Kylie Minogue and more into dance and pop music.

I also like to revisit my 80s CDs quite a bit for nostalgia. I think my interest in metal has always been in me, as evidenced by my KISS lunch box in kindergarten, but I suppressed it for a long time because I didn’t know people who were into it and I thought it was "white trash" or not hip. By the time I was in my twenties, I didn’t care. I wanted to listen to what I liked. I also think the harder music helps me express anger or just "let it all hang out" in a relatively controlled way, like a mosh pit, and there were dark circumstances in my life in my 20s that I couldn’t control (ie, my mom's long illness) and this was a welcome outlet for expressing myself.

7. What kind of music do you share with your friends?
I’m definitely influenced by all my friends musical tastes and try to keep an open mind - even about Cher's Non-Comercial album!

8. Do you make mix tapes…what are the themes of some of your mix tapes?
Nerdia makes great mix tapes. I love the easy listening one she made me and also some of the Cher compilations and a comedy compilation. A couple other friends make good mixes because they are musically all over the place and schizophrenic. I was thinking of Chrissy, who could go from Harry Connick to Elvis to U2 to Lil Kim; and Nova, who can go from hip hop to reggae to punk to disco.

I do make mix tapes and CDs. I don’t download music, though, mainly because I’m lazy. I like to make compilations of favorite bands or mix tapes on themes, such as a collection of cocktail and easy listening for a 90th birthday party we threw (3 of us turned 30) or a mix of songs about California for my drive to California from NYC. I like to make mixes to educate people, such as an intro to metal mix I made for a friend who is not really into that kind of music but curious about it.

9. Do you share tapes with men? Do you think this is a girl culture phenomenon? Have male record aficionados ever tried to make you feel inferior when buying music?
I haven’t made tapes for men. Typically I don’t have the same musical tastes as my male friends or else they know way more about music than I do, so I feel humbled. I try to get my friends into metal but they resist its satanic pull.

I'm well aware that my metal tastes are not serious or hard core and that my alternative tastes were never alternative enough for most guys. So I can immediately defuse these sorts of situations by declaring, Yes, I’ve got Poison's greatest hits and I’m not ashamed. Some guys think its cool that I like metal at all, whereas most women friends disparage it.

10. Who do you think is under-rated?
I think Duran Duran is underrated. They are remembered as pretty boys and a video band but they really put out quality pop music, particularly the "Rio" album which I still listen to all the time. Every cut on that album is solid.

11. What criteria determines what live acts you go see?
I’m a concert junkie and spend way too much money on tickets. I will go see my favorite artists over and over again. I’m open to seeing new bands if friends recommend them. I prefer small club shows but lately haven’t had the time to really follow new bands, so tend to see big summer amphitheater shows. The concerts I see over and over are: Jimmy Buffett – 8 or 9 times - I like Jimmy Buffet. He’s sort of in a league of his own. To be a Buffett fan you have to embrace a whole lifestyle not just the music. I think he's a very talented songwriter and his concerts are a lot of fun; Ozzy/Black Sabbath (8 -10 times); Duran Duran (3 times); KISS (2 times); Bon Jovi (2); Rob Zombie (4); The Urge (St. Louis band - many times in small shows); Ben Folds (4); Chile Peppers (4); Hole (3); Metallica (3); Tom Jones (4); Poison (2). The worst concert was definitely that Cher concert in 1987 – only 45 minutes with too many multiple costume changes. Bo-ring!

12. What are you exploring now? What were the last 4-5 CDs you bought?
The last 4 or 5 CDs I bought were Tom Jones latest album which was a collaboration with Wyclef Jean and not released yet in the US, Shirley Bassey sings Andrew Lloyd Webber (ok, that's a guilty pleasure), a compilation of hip hop from St. Louis, an Ozzfest sampler. On my list to buy: Metallica’s St. Anger.

More music reviews

Girls, what are some of your answers to these questions? What were your experiences?



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