The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, April 03, 2009


4-3-09 Memories

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 California, in the early 70’s. When my brother came home on leave from being in the Air Force, he would take me (as well as one of my cousins). I knew where the record stores were. For a young teenager, my scope was surprisingly wide. I can acknowledge my dad’s patience with me, at this point. I sure didn’t think he was patient at the time!

Years later, in the nascent CD era, I went to Los Angeles with my dad, and we went to what was then ONLY “CD Store” in Los Angeles – “CD Banzai” on 3rd Street, near the Beverly Center. At that time, the only other CD only store I knew of was “Boston Compact Disc” in San Francisco.

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.


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