Sunday Star Times, New Zealand
The Sunday Star Times ‘Soundtrack of my life’ feature.
Could we ask Steve to write about his favourite album(s) or piece(s) of music and why?
The following is a recent example as a guide.
Sean Moore, drums/ trumpet with Welsh rock band, Manic Street Preachers:
“Like a lot of kids growing up in the Welsh valleys, I guess my first exposure to music was leafing through my dad’s records, looking for interesting bits. In my case, I found The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Glen Miller Band, and Gustav Holst’s The Planets. I was about eight, I guess. I had a next door neighbour who introduced me to 70’s rock music. He loved Black Sabbath, and had a guillotine in his room! He also introduced me to Queen, and the first first 45 I ever bought, aged nine, was We Will Rock You. But growing up in the valleys in the late 70’s, most people loved either heavy rock or disco, so the four of us were desperate to find things that were in-between those, with a point of difference. We tried to find music everyone else didn’t like, and that meant The Fall and the Velvet Underground, to be obtuse, as much as anything. Then of course, you had punk and post-punk, The Clash and so on, but really, I feel like Manic Street Preachers was as influenced by books and films and art as by music. The books we were reading, the films we watched, paintings we loved, the poetry of fellow Welshmen like Dylan Thomas, the revolutionary politics inspired by Thatcherism- these things bled into our songs, alongside that holy trinity of young Welshmen everywhere: alienation, boredom and despair.”
Manic Street Preachers play their first ever New Zealand gig at Auckland’s Vector Arena on Tuesday, July 2. Tickets via Ticketmaster…
SV: The house I grew up in was a traditional type New York Long Island Italian American home. My parents listened to polka music and comedy records. So, at the age of 9 I had to play the accordion. They also had the original sound track to “West Side Story”. That really got my interest. It had attitude, a story, love interests, gangs and historical orchestration and melody.
But then my older sister came home with Led Zeppelin II and my life took a huge turn. I listened to that record religiously and also started to save my money to buy top 20 45rpm singles at a department store up the street. Then My brother came home with “Sly and The Family Stones Greatest Hits”. Another huge millstone.
But then my friend, John Sergio, who lived a few houses away turned me onto Queen, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple Uriah Heep, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes etc. and I discovered Circus and Raves magazine.
Through all this Kiss, Bowie and Alice Cooper also held an awesome presence in my life.
The great thing about music is you can discover an old or new artist at anytime that can change the quality of your whole life.
Then the world opened up even further when my friend played me Frank Zappa. Tears of Joy filled my eyes. Then in college I got really into Al DiMeola, Mahavishnu, some jazz, Carlos, Jeff Beck, etc.
There were things I really liked and things I didn’t care for as a kid such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, The Rolling Stones but obviously later on in my life I grew to appreciate these artists, especially the Beatles.
I never gave classical music a real chance because it always seemed too predictable and nice sounding, then I discovered contemporary classical music and Stravinsky absolutely kicked my ass, and still does. Then from there is was Luciano Berio, Giorgy Ligeti, Varese, Mahler, Ravel, then ethnic music, gypsy, Bulgarian, etc.
But perhaps my favorite discovery was the music of Tom Waits when I was in my early 40’s. Imagine that. A totally new lease on a music life in your 40’s. Here was an artist that to me embodies the epitome of true artistry. He can capture atmospheres and allow you to live in them and feel them for a while. His vocal approach is different in virtually every song he sings and however he sings he is totally committed to the lyric without any excuses. When he performs he is absolutely present and in the moment of every single syllable and movement of his body. I have never seen or heard anything like it. For me It’s a treat to be alive and experience it. No other artist has ever made me cry so hard, tears of… can’t really explain what those tears are. I can only assume they are of gratitude.
And the discoveries continue. Can’t wait to see what’s up next, but unfortunately I still don’t like polka music.