Ramblings of A Middle-Aged Punk: My Musical Background

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.

Elliott’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

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.

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Elliott Spagat

Email: elliott.spinningthoughts@outlook.com

Twitter: @AgedPunk

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