I’m in my mid-40s, married with two kids and a dog living a comfortable life in the suburbs outside Toronto, Canada. I work for a large insurance company and teach part-time at a local college. Nothing about my appearance screams (or even whispers) “punk.” I don’t have an outlandish hair style (while I’m far from bald, I don’t have enough hair for even a half-decent mohawk), no tattoos and the only piercings I have are a couple in my ear from when I was in school but haven’t worn in about 25 years. I am known around the office as “that old guy with good taste in music.” I spend a lot of my downtime listening to records or going to shows. In 2019 I saw over 70 separate acts at about 40 shows, most in venues ranging in size from 400-1200 spectators. I’m always on the lookout for new bands and am particularly supportive of local indie and punk bands and labels.
I’ve always loved music. I never had the knack to play it well but always loved listening to it. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting in my room with a little light-blue record player listening to my parents’ albums. In those days, Robert Palmer and the Beatles got a lot of play (I had outgrown the kids records my parents had in their collection). I still remember going to the mall with my father and buying my first LP, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My first cassette was Van Halen’s 1984. I fondly recall joining Columbia House for the first time and couldn’t wait to get home to see if my music had come. At that time, I was listening to a lot of pop and new wave. When I started high school I had a collection of tapes that covered a good portion of a wall in my bedroom. In high school I discovered 70s rock and roll. My collection expanded greatly with the likes of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith.
I moved off to university with a HUGE collection of tapes and CDs. This was the early 90s and the grunge scene was just getting big. I quickly fell in love with bands such as Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Nine Inch Nails. I found the clubs playing that music and went to record stores to get whatever new albums I could. Summers I would come home and work at my family’s car part store as a courier. I spent hours in my vehicle listening to local alternative radio. The station was not far from the shop and occasionally I would go in hoping to win tickets to shows.
For the entirety of the 1990s I spent my time going back and forth between Toronto and Ottawa, the whole time listening to as much new music as I could. I loved the fresh and exciting sounds coming out of the alternative scene. By the end of the 90s I was listening to a lot of Canadian music like Our Lady Peace, The Odds and Doughboys.
In July, 2000 I moved back to Toronto for good. Around the same time the host of the morning show for the local alternative station was someone I found completely unappealing and listened to a rock station instead. During the ensuing 12-13 years I fell into what I jokingly refer to as my musical dark-ages. I barely listened to any new music. Around 2013, a new alternative station opened and the on-air talent at the other station completely changed. It was time for my musical rebirth.