Scott Kara: Reflections of an 'old fart'

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Scott Kara isn't listening to so much Mastodon any more.  Photo / Supplied
Scott Kara isn't listening to so much Mastodon any more. Photo / Supplied

There was a time, not very long ago, when my listening pleasure was heavy metal. Metal this, metal that, metal, metal, metal. I'm talking here about my own personal man-alone listening time here, because rarely did I subject anyone else to it.

In the morning on the way to work to fire me up for the day, it was Slayer or Opeth. And after work it was Mastodon's Leviathan.

Of course, during this long metal reign, I listened to other music but the steady diet was brutal and ideally, beautifully heavy, music.

However, in the last month or so I have undergone a seismic shift in my music listening tastes. I am getting into music I haven't listened to for a long time (in some cases more than 20 years) and things I never thought I would listen to (honestly, the new Adam Lambert album is really very good).

There are a few things that have triggered this disturbance in my rock 'n' roll force, like going through many of my old CDs, their plastic covers almost fossilised in the cardboard boxes they have been stowed in for six or seven years.

And then there's the small matter of me turning 40 on Saturday. Argh. Actually, I don't mind, and it's a good excuse for an obnoxious metal-themed party.

But it was sorting out the CDs that brought back some memories. These musical relics - hundreds upon hundreds that I never thought I would listen to again - now live in our rickety old one-car garage alongside garden tools, noxious sprays and other junk we really should get rid of.

Don't get me wrong, I still love CDs and have a couple of shelves of my most coveted ones in the lounge, though these days I listen to most of my music on vinyl, or digitally.

And I guess I'll be doing more streaming these days too, now Spotify is here.

But that's a whole other story so let me continue with my old fart history lesson. The boom time for CDs was 20 years ago, which also happened to coincide with the introduction of the student loan schemes.

So in 1992, my music-loving university mates and I spent much of our, er, hard-earned loans on CDs (because the quality of vinyl was at an all-time low in the 90s).

Though for some reason I bought Pavement's 1992 classic Slanted and Enchanted on record, and it still sounds okay.

With my loan allowance I bought Ministry's brilliantly obnoxious Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed and the Way To Suck Eggs, the Jesus and Mary Chain's Honey's Dead, and Rage Against the Machine and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy's debut albums, among many others. And they were all safe and sound in those boxes in the garage.

But some of the best finds came in the form of 90s dance music. Who would have thought I'd be turning 40 and dancing round the dining room with my two little girls to 90s house music? You might think I'm a sad-ass - but I don't care - because the era when the likes of Terence Parker and Black Science Orchestra were around (the latter's Walter's Room from 1996 is a classic) was when house music was good, deep, and pumped with piano.

And don't even get me started on the 90s drum 'n' bass gems I am currently getting down to.

But oddly, and this might sound like a cliche (again, I don't care), I must finally be growing old because I'm rediscovering classical music.

Hey, at least it's not earnest and tortured alt-country singer-songwriter music.

I was never really into classical music but I took in recordings like Chopin's Preludes and Mahler's epic Symphony No. 5 by osmosis because my sister played them. I especially loved the Preludes back then and recently, during an interview I did with Kiwi musician Shayne Carter, he reminded me about my old mate Chopin.

So right then, I'm off to listen the Preludes over a sherry and a cigar and I'll let you know about my heavy metal birthday party.

And never fear, there will be a separate house music area too. Oh, and a chill-out room for all the old buggers.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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