Edition #4 – The Rolling Stones Had Me Expelled From Class At 8 Years Old

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Excerpt from Alex’s SFCC exclusive blog. Read the full version here

I always had a very particular relationship with my father, to say the least. We rarely got along, nor were we on the same page about most of every possible subject… except for music. You see, I grew up in a “radio always on” type of family – from my mother being into Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and everything rock n roll, to my father who was into Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, CCR, Neil Young, Bowie, the Stones, Pink Floyd and everything having a blues influence in their sound. My first ever real father-and-son conversation came up when I was around 8 years old and told my parents at dinner that my teacher told us that the most amazing band in the music history was The Monkees and played us one of their albums in class. My father almost choked over his meat pie “WHAT?!? She said WHAT?!?” He looked at me and said: “Ok, come with me…. NOW!!!”

So, in the middle of dinner (I thought I would be punished for whatever reason), a big man took his son to the living room of their tiny little apartment to show him everything he needed to know about life. “The Rolling Stones and the nature of true rock music”. All that, as if I wasn’t a “different” kind of kid already. My father figured it was time for me to musically become a man. The years of innocence were over. No more “mom’s rock n roll fun songs”. It was time to drop the childhood curtain for me to see the world as it is. Some people have a fishing trip story, a first beer moment, an initiation to the reasons why you should like and hate whatever team from whatever sport, an introduction to literature, philosophy, poetry, beaux-art… even faith! But for my father, taking the time to explain what he believed was the most important thing could be summed up into “The Rolling Stones”.


EDITION #3 – I Could Have Been A Brain Surgeon… But Sonic Youth Happened

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Excerpt from Alex’s SFCC exclusive blog. Read the full version here

In memory of Glenn Branca, one of the most incredible musical geniuses of all time. His loss will be greatly felt forever

There are moments in your existence that you can easily point out as the beginning of what would become a succession of very bad life decisions. And trust me, it can start earlier than we think or would like to admit. With a little bit of perspective, you can identify those moments so clearly that it’s quite difficult to see anything else when you look back for answers or clues to explain what went wrong, what could have possibility derailed the course of your already so brilliant journey. Well, if I think as my 13-year-old self was thinking back in the days… So let’s go back down memory lane, which seems to have become the mantra for “Out For a Spin” – and somehow a cheaper kind of therapy for me…! Anyway, here’s the story:

I was 13 going on 14. I was already creating trouble (and troubled). I was dealing with high school life like my friends were dealing their time in juvenile facilities. For me, school was pretty boring on the good days and awfully depressing the rest of the time. But somehow, I have always managed to be a A-grade student, which is strange by all accounts considering that I’ve had to deal with a light form of dyslexia from as far as I can remember and that I have never attended the same school for 2 years in a row until high school, sometimes having to change schools 2 or 3 times within the same year due to my folks’ financial instability. Different cities, different schools, different bullies, different worlds… Tough times for a kid trying to fit in, to blend in.

Anyhow, I always found myself being integrated into those “special” classes supposedly assembled to offer a more advanced academic program to the students who had a little more learning abilities (or more time to do their homework!) than the others. This became utterly weird for me in high school, as I was not only the sole student in those groups who didn’t understand the concept of being dressed cool, of having European summer vacations, or even what it meant for a family to have 2 cars (every car my parents owned were as different as the clothes I was wearing compared to the others… trust me!). So that was my so-called life; elementary school was being beaten up every time the last bell rang, no matter which new school I was attending, and high school was… well, complicated to say the least 😉



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Excerpt from Alex’s SFCC exclusive blog. Read the full version here

I will always remember the very first time I heard that absolutely stunning record. I was sleeping over at one of my friends’. His folks were out for the weekend, and we had the very clever idea of doing some house party. I was really enthusiastic about the prospect of seeing a girl I was fond of, who had told my friend she would come to our party… I was thrilled!

As we were very mature and serious 14-year-old party organizers (obviously), we had to keep some family furniture and other very-likely-to-be-broken stuff safe in my friend’s parents’ private room; pool table, huge TV (well… at the time, it was huge!), large speakers, a little bar (in which, to our great misfortune, all the bottles were being kept behind locked glass doors). It’s actually while looking for the bar keys that my eyes were opened by one of the most magnificent discoveries of all: a whole wall of bookshelves filled with a VERY VERY large collection of vinyls, standing there, alone, for me to lose myself in. From that moment on, every other thought I had about the party, the keys to the bar and even that wonderful girl who occupied my every thought totally disappeared, to leave place only for that newfound treasure of mine.

Standing in front of that Saint Grail, I delicately started flipping the records, picked some to look at, put aside some for further exploration… There were so many! I was totally amazed by all those albums jackets; so many artists I had never heard of, so many of my personal favorites, The Clash’s “Sandinista” triple album (What?!? Wow), the whole Rolling Stones discography, David Bowie, some punk classics, Public Image Limited’s Metal Box original (I should have stolen that one – not that I haven’t thought of it, but you’ll understand why I didn’t a little later! So keep on reading!)… My friend was laughing to see me so completely absorbed. He explained that his dad was a crazy music lover and that he was paying fortunes in special edition imports from the UK and that he was even traveling to New York City to buy some! I was in heaven…!


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Excerpt from Alex’s SFCC exclusive blog. Read the full version here

“Standing on a Beach” by The Cure was the first LP (along with London Calling by The Clash) I ever bought as a kid. It’s actually a very significant album for me, as it represents my personal musical and art type of rite of passage. Every time I listen to the record, it brings me right back to my friend’s basement on a Saturday morning, where his older brother was rehearsing with his band. It was the very first time I watched a live band. I remember my friend going out to play baseball while I stayed in order to listen to those guys play songs from The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Birthday Party and even some Sex Pistols, The Clash and the Ramones… and many more!

The rehearsal probably lasted 4 – 5 hours straight, which I believe was due to the overly appreciative presence of a young fan who kept asking them if they knew any other song almost before they could end the one they were playing. It’s special, because that moment, just like the songs they played, would eventually not only define the artist I became, but also the person I would grow into.

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