After that first listen, I hated radio. I hated everything I had heard before that cassette...it was all bullshit. I learned to care passionately about music, to have the strongest opinions...nah...convictions about music. And I learned to dig hard for music.
For years I lived on a strict diet and code of punk. I was distrustful and dismissive of what I saw as corporate industry music. I was distrustful and dismissive of music playing on the radio, and only respected the music that I had to dig for or be put on to. My saving grace was that I found punk at a time when all the subgenera of punk where fresh, still blooming, and equally valid. I got the same thing I out of the Cro Mags as I found in the Violent Femmes. I got the same satisfaction from early Sinead O'Conor as I found in Gorilla Biscuits. I listened to hard core. The East and West Coast, NoCal and Socal all had different sounds. I listened to industrial, especially Ministry and Revolting Cocks. I loved The Damned, Bauhaus, and The Cult...which at that time was goth. I loved the Cramps and Psychobilly. Social Distortion, subtly at first and eventually full throttle, opened me up to country and Americana. How do I even describe what the Sugarcubes or the B-52s opened me up to? And last but not least, I found ska and reggae! Ska and reggae...that's the first time I looked in the mirror and recognized that I was a music purist and snob. When I found ska and reggae I developed the most exacting standards of what "acceptable" ska and reggae. I liked second generation, 2 Tone ska, but I only liked 3rd generation that pursued "authentic 50s and 60s Jamaican sounds. Fishbone got a free pass because I heard and loved them even before I had found The Specials and Prince Buster...No Doubt...not so much. I didn't realize it yet...I was a music asshole.
I wouldn't say I ever broke up with punk, but we took a break from each other that started in 1994. More on that subject next time. Stay tuned.