A few weeks ago, I wrote that there is no such thing as background music in my world. I'm constantly aware of what's playing, for better or worse. When I posted the column on my Facebook page, I had two different people refer to the comment specifically.
Knowing both of the responders (it was my personal page), I immediately noted that both of them were verified music junkies. One from my hometown, and the other a customer-turned-friend.
Music junkies. Just like me.
You may have heard the term tossed around from time to time (our ASU store actually trademarked it for our frequent buyer program). I'm tossing it around, too, but I assure you, I don't use it lightly. I don't assign that designation to just anyone. You gotta really be hooked.
Am I a Music Junkie, Doctor Record Store Geek? Curious about whether you've got a music addiction? Maybe I can help you with your diagnosis.
After 25 years in the music biz, I can spot a music junkie pretty quick.
Before I elaborate, let me be clear that, in my opinion, there's a huge difference between being a music junkie and a music lover. Almost everyone is a music lover. In fact, I can't recall meeting more than a handful of music-haters in my entire life. It's like pizza-haters. There are not many.
With that said, it's sorta hard to quantify. The signs of true addiction aren't always obvious, and each patient is different, so it's hard to fit music junkies into easy-to-define categories. Like other junkies, there are lots of little quirks and oddities unique to the each individual.
Ultimately, like any addiction, it's up to you to figure it out for yourself. Once you recognize and accept it, you can properly treat your problem (be finding more and more music, etc.)
Perhaps the best I can help you search your musical psyche is to let you know some of my symptoms. Some of the things that alerted me to my addiction.
1. Telling Time with Music I tend to relate a lot of aspects of my life to music. Things like time.
It's been this way forever -- or at least since the invention of the Sony Walkman (kids, that's like an iPod, with one album on a cassette tape, the shittiest-sounding of all formats) allowed me to travel with tunes.
Ever since then, I've been keeping time with music.
It took about six albums to get from the University of North Dakota back home to see my girlfriend (and my mom, of course.) Three more songs to get from my mom's to her mom's (after I dropped off my laundry.) Six more albums to fly from Nodak to Phoenix (which signaled the end for that girlfriend.)
These days, it's still the same. The dog-walk is one album. The bike ride to Casey's is about four songs -- unless I play something extended like The Allman's "You Don't Love Me" (which I must now crank up in my headphones in the spirit of the blog). If traffic is good, I can dump my boys at their respective schools within the span of one album side.
2. A Battle with Silence I'm not a big fan of silence generally (insert smart-ass comment about me never shutting up here).
No, really. For better or worse, my consciousness seems to dig multiple things at once. Although I often add TV, movies, documentaries, and other forms of entertainment into my work mix, nothing makes its way into the mix like music (especially now that I can carry eight zillion albums in my pocket).
You don't think I'm writing this without music, do you? Not if you're one of the 12 people who have read any of my other posts, you don't. I'm currently ripping out this dribble to the sound of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
3. Strict Music Rules I've got more than one strict rule about music. I'm a record store geek. Alphabetizing, categorizing, it's all got to be a certain way.
But here's the one that makes most people crazy: I never listen to the same song twice in one day. Maddening, huh? I understand it's not normal.
You're like, "Wow, I listen to the same thing over and over."
What can I say? In my opinion, there's just too much amazing, awesome music out there to listen to the same thing over and over. I have no problem if you do it, but to me, it's the difference between being a music fan and a music junkie.
Because ultimately, once you wear out a song, it's hard to ever get it back.
4. Associating People with Albums and Artists If you're a friend of mine, or we've spent time partying together (otherwise known as quality time), chances are I relate you to music somehow. At least one specific artist or song.
If you're a relative, lifelong friend, or former female comrade, then I probably associate you with at least one specific album or artist, probably more.
If you've been one of my deepest musical influences, or my deepest loves, you are more than likely multiple artists and albums to me. (For instance, Stevie Wonder -- especially the phenomenal song in the video above -- is one of the artists that represents my amazing wife.) This level of "music honor" is only assigned to two or three of my friends from the Nodak days, a few more friends here in Arizona, and the highest level of co-record store geeks -- most of whom are also great friends -- the all-time biggest example being my old pal and business partner, Kristian.
I do the same thing with places. Cities. Events. if it happened in my reality, chances are I've got a soundtrack for it in my mind.
5. Promoting Music Without the Potential for a Sale Yes, I have been making a living selling music to people since 1987, but I've been pimping it to people for free for as long as I can remember, and I'll be doing it until I die.
In my younger days, I forced my friends to listen to new shit all the time. It used to make them nuts. Once of the other comments on my "High School Music" post was from a great friend who recalled me taking over the tunes for our entire trip home from college (that's six albums, if you recall). But hey, if she ended up making friends with even one of those albums, it was worth the push.
These days, even though I don't have an outlet to sell you a specific album, I'm posting more music than ever on my social net pages. Thanks to YouTube, it's so fuckin' easy. I just can't resist.
Because I'm not just an addict, I'm a pusher.
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And I'm always looking for more junkies to join me.