Living the 90’s MTV Dream

I’m so lucky to have grown up in the 90s. Musically, that is. Probably one of the best times for music, the 90s had something for everyone. Not just quantity, but the quality of music was good too. We rocked out to Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. We got our groove on to Snoop Dogg mtvand Notorious BIG. If you were like me, you satisfied your taste for twang with Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Even experienced guys like Tom Petty, Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones were cranking out hits. No disrespect to the late 60s or early 70s—which were awesome too. But like Mary, there’s just something about the 90s.

I’ve always loved music. I think I have MTV to partially thank for that. I remember watching ‘Totally Pauly’ every day after school. During my summer breaks, I would wake up and watch music videos. (Remember the year Jason Voorhees) attacked the MTV beach house? That was awesome.) I suppose it was MTV that got me hooked on playing guitar… well, that and the kid across the street who actually owned a guitar. Jamming on Tom Petty and Johnny Cash songs, it wasn’t long until I had formed a band. Shortly after, I was playing shows with other local bands in coffee shops and computer stores (that became venues at night.)

I loved to play, so I would try to play whenever I could. But like most students, I had to go to school and then work after that. Whether I was serving fro-yo (that’s frozen yogurt), selling shoes or drafting reports on Excel spreadsheet, I was always holding down a job. I mean you have to pay for gas, right? I guess you can say music influenced me economically too. That is, I feel like I developed my work ethic from the artists I admired. Guys like Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and George Strait were all about the working class dude. Not that I didn’t like to party. But I’m talking about the guy who goes out on a weeknight, and then goes to work the next day with a hangover. That was me! Definitely not your typical musician, I could never sleep in until 2pm. I’ll admit I’ve always been jealous of those who can do that. But it’s just not me. While I have other responsibilities, I’d like to think of myself as a musician with a wide array of interests… and a clock.

That being said, I often wondered if those musicians had an edge because they had more time to write songs and promote themselves. I mean, they essentially had an 8-hour advantage, right? But then I think, maybe that’s not the case. Oak Street Blues is going strong. First of all, we have the best fans in the world. We work with top-level talent, like Warren Huart who produced bands like the Fray and Korn. He was the engineer on the last Aerosmith album and he does all the backing music for ‘The X Factor.’ Phil Allen engineered our Calico album. He won a Grammy for his work with Adele! Lastly, Guitar World interviewed me about what is means to be a “working class band.” Maybe we started a new subgenre? Maybe being a working class band was the advantage we didn’t think we had. Being more relatable definitely helps with the songwriting too. I mean, how many songs do you know about going to work with a hangover?

Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks for listening.

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