1994 is the year I was born. Not in the traditional way you think of birth, but more in a pseudo intellectual way. It’s the year I discovered music’s true power, influence and parallel importance to my life.
Of course I’d heard music before, but I’d never truly felt it; experienced it; been taken hold of, whipped around and spit out the other side. Some people never have this experience, but for those who do, they remember it forever. They remember the exact moment, album, song, lyric that turned the light on, and for me that moment is encapsulated in ‘94.
Think about it… Beck released Mellow Gold, Bush released Sixteen Stone, Green Day released Dookie, Offspring released Smash, Everclear released So Much for the Afterglow, Weezer released The Blue Album and the list goes on.
Every one of these records became iconic albums of the 90’s and twenty years later the singles from these albums still get continuous play on major alliterative radio stations across the United States. Collectively these albums would go on to sell more than 30M records in the United States alone.
All of this was happening in the same year Nirvana released, what The Atlantic* called “…one of the greatest live albums ever”, Unplugged in New York. Only to have frontman Kurt Cobain take his own life just months after it’s release.
As an angsty pre-teen, with no cable television or real direction in life, how could I not get caught up in the all noise, guitar riffs and drama. It wasn’t as revolutionary as punk in the 70’s, or dreamy as the first British invasion, but it spoke to me. I can say without hesitation that the year 1994 has defined and molded the rest my life.
This time in my life wasn’t so important for the music itself, but for what the music propelled me to do. It made me start to think about the world outside of my block, my neighborhood, and my friends. I would go on to discover so many other sounds and genres including street punk, straight edge hardcore, indie college rock, west coast hip-hop, techno, etc. and each time I’ve gotten lost in a new genre, I would discover new; cultures, people, viewpoints, sexuality, and ideas. My classroom was the record store. I learned politics from Bad Religion, civil rights from Public Enemy, and lost my virginity to the Smashing Pumpkins.
These artists were the catalyst for me to discover my inner self and develop my own views and ideas. Music is never just about the music, it’s about experiences and storytelling.
Music became my vehicle to discover life. It wasn’t so important what vehicle I chose, but that I made a conscience choice to take the ride.
This article was written by FIVE THOT's own, Dan Dupree. When you need to know anything about the next music festival, the finer points of techno, or anything social media you talk to Dan Dupree. Dan is a native to the Bay Area and contains a formidable depth of knowledge on rad things to do in San Francisco.
SEATTLE, WA – DECEMBER 7: Rock Band Cage the Elephant lead singer dives into a sold out crowd at Key Arena during the Deck the Hall Ball in Seattle, WA on December 7, 2011 image courtesy of Shutterstock.