How Aerosmith Got Me Into Music

There’s this scene in the TV-show Freaks and Geeks where Daniel, the thoroughly charismatic high-school outcast, has one of those days in which everything seems to go wrong. After getting into fights with both his mother and his girlfriend he arrives home with his newly-acquired Damaged LP. He sits on the bedroom floor with headphones on, Black Flag’s menacing punk blasting into his ears. A zoom-in on his face reveals astonishment and excitement, like he’s finally discovered something to connect to. Something to be part of, something that he had been searching for his whole life.

The idea of rock ‘n’ roll offering escapism and comfort in one’s darkest and loneliest moments in in no way new. Some might say that’s what it’s always been about. Yet I can’t help but empathize every time I see this happen to someone – be it a famous person, a total stranger, or even a fictional character. Because it makes me instantly think of my 13-year old self going through the exact same. Now look, I’ve never considered myself to be “damaged” or an outcast – I’ve always been lucky to have a loving family and supportive friends. But at the same time, I’ve always felt like something was missing. I needed something to have on my own, to give my life a purpose.

And this is exactly where Aerosmith’s drugs-‘n’-booze-soaked arrow hit me. I remember having just moved out of the town I was attending school in and getting home taking me over an hour daily. I didn’t know anybody in this new neighborhood and I wasn’t exactly Mr. Sociable either. Music became my rescue from the insufferable boredom – in the span of a few months I had moved from listening to just contemporary hits to a whole new world of Metallicas, Guns N’ Roses and AC/DCs. Mind you I was still only familiar with their hits, but my tastes began to slowly form: I gravitated towards that rocking sound, the guitars, the attitudes, the energy. Then Aerosmith came into my life and seemed to take all of those elements to a whole new, insane level.

aerosmith

I wish I could properly put into words exactly what made me connect so much, but I don’t think that’s possible. Using phrases such as “guitar riffs” or “musicianship” to describe their music feels like cheating because I did not think like that back then. Hell, I didn’t even know the members’ names or the albums each song belonged to. But every track I could find on the internet I would listen to obsessively until it nearly became part of me. There was not a single one that I couldn’t find something to like in. Some would make me emotional. Others would make me want to become a rockstar. All of them were there with me every single day, no matter what kind of day it had been. There was nothing I loved more than just putting the headphones on and letting everything else drown out. It felt like the whole world around me would suddenly come to life once I pressed that play button. I felt both safe and alive.

I remember one day going on YouTube to see if I can find any new songs and stumbling over a “Top 50 Aerosmith Songs” kind of thing. Not knowing anybody who was even remotely as big of a fan as I was in real life, this blew my mind. I watched the top over and over again and then proceeded to do my own. I got so obsessive with these lists that I would go back to modify them daily, whenever a new song grew on me (Nobody’s Fault was almost always #1 in case you’re wondering. And it still is.) After a while I started adding short descriptions to my choices. This evolved into longer descriptions about what their music means to me. Basically, Aerosmith were not only my gateway to music, but also to writing.

To this day, I find it hard to be objective about their songs and albums. They’re such a vital part of who I am as a person and mean so much to me after all these years that it’s nearly impossible to distance myself from that. Not that I would want to – those are still some of the memories I’m most fond of. It’s a cliché to say that one never forgets their first love, but I would say the same goes for the first band you fell in love with. Aerosmith was the one for me, but what’s your story?

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Categories: Essays

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35 replies

  1. great post! I especially dig the Freaks and Geeks reference. Such a great show! And I feel the same about Jamiroquai. Discovered them at 13 and haven’t turned back since! Still need to see them live one of these days

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Soundgarden did it for me. If you feel like reading my review of Superunknown I have the story of how that happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I fell head over heels in love with Pink Floyd as a teenager. Several decades later, it’s still my all time favorite band. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Burton Cummings.
    I was living in B.C. my husband, (a musician) had passed away and I was so lost in grief and direction. Burton Cummings’ songs spoke to me, helped me see there could always be hope. I even wrote him a letter thanking him, not expecting a reply because that would make him a real person and right then I needed only the fictional image that carried me thru each day. I just wanted him to know he had touched me, helped me in a bad time.
    Then I moved across Canada to Ontario. Driving by myself with my dog named Shadow. You could say I drove across Canada just me and my Shadow 😀
    But then Burton Cummings was also there. I had no radio in my car, only a ghetto blaster and I played all Burton’s songs, but especially ‘Stand Tall’, ‘Break It To Them Gently’ and ‘Fine State of Affairs’
    What a incredible trip it was!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fun post! Ahhh, Aerosmith!! The first concert I saw at age 14. Then I passed on the tradition to my kids, each seeing Aerosmith as their first concert when they were 14. Still my favorite band all these years later.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love Aerosmith too. I liked them since I was nine. My mother was also a fan when she was a teenager.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Terrific post! I love Aerosmith in all of their iterations!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Awesome post! One of my favorite bands. Their early albums were some of the best. The 80’s were good, but the 70’s songs were something special.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent post Ovidiu – my first love was The Tragically Hip, objectivity shouldn’t be expected in any of their reviews from me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this post, Ovidiu. My first love was Guns N’ Roses. I was pretty obsessive about them… however, that love faded over the years. Still have a lot of time for Appetite For Destruction and The Spaghetti Incident?, but I moved on to Nirvana and, even at that, I don’t tend to be as crazy about them as I was. Perhaps I’m a tad fickle?

    My biggest, and lasting, love is shared by The Doors and Stone Temple Pilots. They’ve stuck with me through the hard times and the good.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Damn, you need to send this to the band. Seriously!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great post, great band … though my late-teenage focus was Led Zep, a big influence on Aerosmith.

    Like

  13. Back in the 9th grade we used to cut all of our afternoon classes and go my house to party and we listened to “Toys in the Attic” and “Rocks” all afternoon and every afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ll never forget my first Linkin Park album ‘Meteora’. I got it for free on accident, hidden behind another used CD. I’d purchased. I popped it into my walkman, and music was never the same again for me….
    It had atmosphere, overwhelming emotion, it took me on a journey.

    Meno<3

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post! And nice writing too. Aerosmith is on my concert wish-list. I listened obsessively to Get A Grip for awhile when it first came out. (I was maybe eleven or twelve at the time. That album was heavy in my Walkman rotation when my parents and I drove halfway across Canada to visit family in BC.)

    Your last paragraph is so relatable. For me it’s The Beatles. I wrote a post about it a few years ago. If you’re interested: https://soundhippy.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-beatles-my-first-true-musical-love/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Check out my band Oh Weatherly!

    Like

  17. Funny enough, Aerosmith was my first band I loved too. I was 12 or 13 around the time, and I pretty much listened to whatever was on the radio. Music hadn’t become a huge part of my life at that point.

    Then on a random shopping trip to Walmart they had a demo available of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. I had just recently bought some Guitar Hero games a couple months prior, and those really got me into rock music.

    Anyway, I was drawn in by that distinct guitar hero style, and I played the game for a good half hour, falling in love with the classics, Walk this way, Dream on, love in an elevator, and realized I loved this band.

    A few weeks later I asked my parents for an Aerosmith album, and they bought me a greatest hits album. It was the one with the plain red cover from the seventies, and only had about 12 songs that were from their seventies albums. I played that thing constantly until I decided I needed more.

    So I went and watched YouTube playlists of their other albums and greatest hits, and through them and the Guitar Hero games, I was introduced to other great bands like Nirvana, Van Halen, Metallica, and Queen.

    Years later I don’t listen to too much Aerosmith. I gravitated towards Pink Floyd, Kanye West, Radiohead, and The Doors. But I’ll be dammed if I don’t get pumped whenever I hear Last Child or Livin’ on the Edge pop up on spotify.

    Sorry this was so long, but this post really hit home with me, and reminded me of how much I love Aerosmith. And thank you for the follow!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on Amazing Albums.

    Like

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