Sunday, March 18, 2012

No. 809 – Spoonman

Performer: Soundgarden
Songwriter: Chris Cornell
Original Release: Superunknown
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: None

It’s funny how sometimes your mind is crystal clear on something happening and then you go back and look at documentation, and it’s totally messed up. This is one such occasion.

I was introduced to Soundgarden, like a lot of people, during the initial Seattle wave in 1992. When I joined a CD club, I bought Badmotorfinger, and I probably played it through once or twice. It wasn’t for me: too much crunch and too little melody. The same thing later with Birth Ritual on the Singles soundtrack.

So when I went to visit Scott at Ball State the spring before he graduated in 1994, and one of his buddies had Soundgarden’s new album, I wasn’t expecting much. I don’t recall that I loved it, but I know for sure that I didn’t hate it either, which was an improvement.

And because back then MTV still was a music channel, I heard this song quite a bit, and I did come to like it, so I took the plunge. And there’s a reason why Superunknown was the band’s breakout. It’s solid all the way through, but it has so many legitimately great songs that if you don’t like it, you don’t like hard rock, period.

And I did like hard rock, really always have when you get right down to it, although I wasn’t exposed to much of it when I was younger. But in the late summer of 1994, when the rift had formed between me and my dad’s side of the family, I really got into it. It made me want to listen to angrier music—that and working out three times a week with my Walkman cranked up.

I don’t know why, but when I hear this song, I think of shopping in Indianapolis. And I had written a post about putting together my dream stereo system, which I’ve mentioned before. But then while doing my taxes yesterday, I stumbled across some paperwork that proved my memory of the order of things in that regard was completely off-track.

I mentioned awhile back about how I bought the TV on the day of the first Ohio State football game in August 1994. That was absolutely, 100 percent correct. But I wrote that the TV was the final piece to the puzzle. The truth is it was the first. The stereo equipment came in the fall, and I didn’t buy an actual home-entertainment center until 1995. The last piece was a new VCR in January 1995.

Up until I had found that paperwork, I assumed that the VCR purchase came in Indianapolis in August 1994. Nope. I have a clear memory of shopping at my old college-shopping stomping grounds of Allisonville Road in Indianapolis. At least that was correct. But that day—in September—I bought a sweet Sony ProLogic receiver (one of the first that reached a more mainstream price of $500) and not the VCR. If I recall correctly—and who knows if I do—this would have been the same trip that Debbie and I took to see Eric Clapton.

Oh well. It could have been worse, I guess. In another 30 years, the memory would be that I bought my first car … in Louisville … with Beth. After enough years, all the memories start to blend together. Fortunately, now that I’m writing this stuff down, there will be a record of it—at least until some squatter takes over my site, like with BBT, of course.

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