As we glide into spring, I am reminded of my dad. He’s been gone since ’89 or so. Likely in the spring / summer of 1972, it was apparent that I was listening to a lot of music. Dad got a new car (probably some kind of green Ford – we had several) and he made sure to get a stereo for his car. Near our home, several new freeways had opened, so there was a ‘loop’ one could drive – the 405 to the 710 to the 91 to the 605, back to the 405.
There were quite a few times that spring that he & I made that drive, once the days got a little longer. We listened to music in the car, but we had to find stuff that both of us could stomach. Likely, it was albums by Blood Sweat & Tears, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, Chicago…that kind of stuff. I wanted to listen to The Groundhogs or Frank Zappa. Alas, it was the time of the wonderful Flo & Eddie era for Mr. Zappa & Co. I might’ve tried “Billy The Mountain” on my dad, but I doubt whether or not he would’ve dug “Fillmore East – June 1971”.
Because some of the music I wanted to hear was a bit more…extreme – or, in the case of Zappa, profane – I was definitely a pre-Walkman era headphone wearer, at home. I got a small receiver (amplifier with a radio in it) for my bedroom, that I did not have to share with anyone. I discovered the late night delights of KPFK-FM (90.7) – with The Firesign Theatre. I had a few friends at school that I could discuss The Firesign Theatre with, but…not many. At 12/13/14 – did we really get all of the jokes? Uh, probably not. There are still some references in their work I do not ‘get’.
In 1972/3, I was still in junior high school (now known as middle school). I did not start working until after I graduated from high school, so cash was hard to come by. I knew how to shop for music cheaply – the “cut-out” bin! Dad liked the cut-out bin, too. Oddly, we both liked the cut-out bin at Thrifty Drug Store. We’re talking LP’s with holes punched in the cover, or spines cut – for 50 cents - $1.98. There were also “cut-out” 8-track tapes and cassettes…but mostly, we were about LP’s.
Before I drove, my dad was who took me to record stores all over southern
Years later, in the nascent CD era, I went to
But dad never made it to CD. He actually quit listening to music at some time in the 70’s – or I quit noticing if he was listening (what with having my own stereo, and not particularly paying attention to whatever it was he was doing). But he definitely never had a CD player.