The other day as I was trying to deal with the pain of another one of my rock heroes passing away, I was having a conversation with my father who didn’t quite understand why I was so upset over Chris Cornell’s death.
So, for the first time in my entire life, I tried to explain to my dad why music means so much to me.
My love affair with music started early; when I was 8 years old, I got a copy of my first cassette tape, Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. I remember listening to that tape like crazy. From there, I was off to the races. After I discovered Kiss and Black Sabbath, my love for rock and metal began.
By the time I was in high school, I found the sound that would change my life and shape who I am today, grunge. Back then, grunge came straight from Seattle on the wings of some incredible bands.
By the time I was 16, I was ingesting every genre of music possible from the 1950s all the way up to modern day. That has never stopped, and even today, I still keep an open mind and will listen to just about anything.
I have had a deep love affair with music my whole life and it is a big part of who I am. In regards to my father, he enjoys music though mainly music from his generation like doo-wop and a lot of what came out in the 60s.
But to say he understood me because of that isn’t the case. So as I explained to my father why I love these musicians and why I travel all over to see Pearl Jam, it made me realize that I am not alone. In fact, some of my closest friends feel the same way I do.
Music has the ability to speak to us and bring out emotions. It can teach us who we are and can help us cope with some of the worst times and help us celebrate some of the best times.
How many of you have heard a song on the radio and it brought you back to a specific moment in time in your life? A lot of people use music to psyche themselves up as they’re working out and to give themselves that extra push.
Listening to a song and finding that deeper meaning or finding a connection to something you are feeling or going through and using that song as a source of strength or inspiration is something only music can do for you.
Furthermore, the live experience is something that has no comparison when it comes to feeling the music in your soul.
There’s a reason why fans followed the Grateful Dead or today Phish, Dave Matthews Band, or Pearl Jam, because these bands found a way to connect with their fans in ways that made them such an important part of those lives. I see it with my fandom. When I go to see Pearl Jam, it’s like going to church or therapy.
I let everything inside of me out while I sing every word back to the band and feed off the energy in the crowd and off the stage. For those few hours, it’s just the band and me. Nothing else matters, and I can leave it there when the show is over. We all feel that.
When Eddie Vedder accepted his Hall of Fame award recently, he said that he realizes their responsibility to their fans and that is bigger than even the band members themselves.
Even at the times they weren’t sure if they should keep going, they did because of this responsibility. He’s a man that has realized the deep impact he has had on his fans and the way they mean so much to their fans.
Music can make you feel good, can call up a wide variety of memories, and can pick you up from the lowest of lows. Music can be a friend, a therapist, an inspiration, a time machine, a workout partner, and everything in between.
It doesn’t matter what style of music you enjoy, it’s about that connection. That connection can mean the world to you without you even knowing. Before I end this, I will leave you with these words—never take the music you love for granted.
Listen to it as much as you can and go see the artists you love live and feel their music inside of you. You never know when they may leave the stage and leave a hole in your heart.
For a deeper look into how music can impact your life, we have a recap of some of the most memorable Chris Cornell moments. To learn more about my love and connection to Pearl Jam, read about what Ten means to me.