I am a 32 year-old Scottish male who resides in Illinois, USA. I live with my wife and two dogs. Some of my interests include writing, reading various types of books, and playing music. I’m currently helping my brother game google and promote his latest website. At times I despair at the current state of music. If you ask the average teenager today what kind of music they listen to it is often rap or pop music with little originality. Their idea of rock music is Nickleback, and at best their parents listened to a Nirvana or Beatles album they may be familiar with. It’s not their fault though. The radio is full of bad music to manipulate their minds. Whether it’s Country or Classic Rock (which in America seems to consist of Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen), or perhaps the worst of all Alternative Rock. The music that is played on your average American alternative station is appalling. Bands such as Puddle of Mud, Papa Roach, Linkin Park and Three Doors Down are revered as if they have some vast musical legacy. Green Day are worshiped as if they are musical innovators. As a music fan it saddens me to see what has happened to the popular music scene.
Growing up I was often influenced by music. I remember early musical experiences such as listening to Bruce Springsteen (don’t hate on The Boss), Stevie Wonder, and the Top Gun soundtrack as my mom drove my brother and I around in her Toyota Tercel. A little later, I would discover The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin, The Eagles, and Neil Diamond. I understand that at least two of these acts are utter crap, but these are just the musicians I was exposed to. I grew up in Scotland before moving to America, so I do feel that played a big part in my own musical tastes. Like many of my friends I was exposed to Rave Music ™ before hitting the teenage years. I didn’t mind some of it at the time, but listening to it now I can see why it was popular with people who were into mind-bending drugs.
Soon friends would expose me to other popular music at the time. I actually recall having an argument with one guy about why Guns and Roses are better than Bon Jovi, and I think my reasoning was, “Bon Jovi don’t have swearing in their album, so that makes them shit.” Other friends would go on about how wonderful Def Leppard were, and the rock brilliance of Iron Maiden. Even at that young age, I could identify musical crapness when I heard it.
Then the music scene became a little better in the early 90s. I remember hearing new bands such as Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins and thinking they were quite good compared to the other shit that had preceded them. I also grew to love Teenage Fanclub, and could never understand why they didn’t become a lot more popular. After those bands began to interrupt my musical world, I decided to begin playing the guitar. I don’t think this was a conscious decision to be in a band, as even today I still just play at home. We did have some decent musicians in my high school, but they often wanted to just form a cover band and play Oasis songs which did not appeal to me at all.
Eventually I got into more and more music, but I never did form that band. I formulated this site dedicated to Belle and Sebastian not because I’m a big fan, but because I admire their underground spirit. They don’t give a fuck what they were expected to do as a band early on, and they kept with that. It wasn’t a case of being incredibly successful for them, they just wanted to make music and create memorable moments for their fans. To me that is the most important element of being a musician. It is not about impressing people with a catchy melody or memorable chorus, it is about creating a sound scape that people can relate to. I think Belle and Sebastian have always done that and they haven’t expected everyone to like what they have done musically. For that I think they go down as an important piece of the music scene in Scotland as they continue to create their unique brand of tunes.
Helpful notes I used for the site…