how i got into music

7 August 2007

I’ve written before about how I think most people are divided into two camps: you are either passionate about music (you know what you like, you’re educated about it, you can answer Jeopardy! questions about bands, etc.) or you are not (you listen to music, buy the occasional CD, and that’s that). I can attribute my passion for music to one single individual in my life, and that is my high school boyfriend (aka “my first love”). He literally changed my life by introducing me to music, and for that, I will be eternally grateful to him. This is why he’ll always have a place in my heart even though we don’t talk anymore.

So anyway, his name is John and I’ve mentioned him in passing in my older posts. Picture this: Los Angeles, spring of 1991. We met towards the end of the 8th grade; I thought he was cute so I tried to find out more information about him. He was this quiet, unassuming kid with coke-bottle thick glasses (while I had crazy octagon-shaped lenses!). This was before contacts were popular, people! Anyway, school let out, but we continued to talk over the phone. My parents hardly ever let me out, so meeting up was quite rare until later on. He and I were going to different high schools so I never thought anything would happen from our phone conversations. We became friends, then we became more. I don’t really remember how it happened but it was just decided that we were now “going out” as they say, and we were happy and made it work for a long time.

The first thing we talked about was music. I found out what kind of music he liked, at age 13 (and I was 14), he already had a great cassette tape collection going and he made me mixed tapes and copies of the albums he had. He introduced me to The Cure, The Smiths, early U2, Depeche Mode (who I already liked by the way), Joy Division, The Clash, L.A. punk music, goth…you name it. I honestly didn’t know which excited me more, him or the music. He really educated me; not only did we listen to all these bands, he knew their backgrounds, how they formed, everything.

Thanks to him, The Cure became my favorite band and not just because he liked them. It just spoke to me. The first song he played for me was Lullaby, and I had to go out and buy Disintegration right then and there. Pretty soon, I loved The Cure more than he did and he didn’t mind.

We devoted a lot of our time to music. We listened to KROQ and made fun of the people who called in “Loveline.” We stayed up all night on the phone talking and listening old and new songs. He taught me how to play guitar. We even started a band together doing cover songs. If he found something new to listen to, he’d play it for me, and vice versa. Good times, good times.

I went to my first Cure concert with him in 1992 (or was it 1993?). Our friend’s car stalled and we hitched a ride with this guy named Raoul just to get back home. Craziness. We watched a slew of other bands that played in the L.A. area (assuming we got in –we were underage, after all). We saw Bad Religion, Sonic Youth (my pick), underground punk-metal bands, stadium concerts, etc. He really opened up my world and my eyes.

I even remember the day we first heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” He recorded it off the radio and we spent an hour on the phone just to bask in its glory. And he figured out how to play it on the guitar that same day in its entirety.

We broke up in the spring of 1996 for various reasons. Mostly because I thought I outgrew him and it was time to move on; I was 19 and he was 18. By then, I had moved to New York and he flew from L.A. so we could say good-bye to each other. And that was that. 1996 was the beginning of my hip-hop phase and a whole new genre of music to discover. But I realized that my true love would always be the music he introduced me to.

The last time we spoke was in 2003. He’s with someone else now and he’s happy. He’s in a successful band, and I found out that we like the same (new) bands that are out there, like Interpol for instance.

I really have to thank him one day for introducing me to a whole new world, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance. I think that door is closed. Instead, I wrote a song about him which my band plays. It’s partly about him, and partly about how people just think back fondly of someone in their past. If you want to hear/see it, click here (it’s not a very clear version though).

So here’s a 40 for you! *pours a 40 oz. on the ground* Thanks for the memories and the music!



  1. Bravo Bravo –
    I love this blog! Here are the reasons why:

    1. I am proud of you for being open about your ex. Thanks for sharing it to just about everyone. My ex also have a place in my heart … and yes, Babs knows about him..

    2. I went to the same cure concert in 1992! You guys were in the other car while our car was stopped by the cops and I got a ticket for not having a seat belt and for staying up late underage – crazy! Did you know my mom found out about it? While applying for my temporary driver’s license, the ticket showed up!!!

    3. I know the story because we were together in 8th grade hahahahaha …

    Here’s to you Katri (not Kat) – Here’s to us and to all our men before Mark and Babs.

    Karen! I think one of the reasons why I love you is because you’ve always been there (well, at least in the beginning!). I totally remember you getting pulled over (was Joey driving?) and the whole ticket thing. But we also saw the Cure a second time around! Another reason I love you is because you understand exactly how I feel.

  2. this is a very beautiful “love” story cat–be it with your first love–the bf or with music.

    Hey Mama Jo! Thanks so much for the sweet comment!

  3. hay, it got in before i managed to cancel it…i meant “kat”. sorry about the typo error…my hands and my mind lack coordination 😛

  4. sayang di kyo nagkatuluyan..swt sana ending but I know you’re happier now..so keep on rocking on a freeworld!!


    Ay naku Sam! Eh…well life has a way of working out the way it’s supposed to. But I am happy! Thanks for stopping by my blog! How’d you find me?

  5. because of his influence, you found yourself. he wasn’t meant to be your partner. he was intended to be just your mentor.

    Evi, that’s a great way to put it! Thanks for pointing that out. It would be nice, though, if we could still be friends!

  6. what a nice story 🙂 unfortunately, I don’t share the passion.. im one of those, who listen to music, buy the occasional CD, and that’s that. I guess the only band that I really made an “effort” to look into/research their history is the Corrs. If I had any frustration in life, it would be not falling in line to get thier autogaphs when they had a promo tour in one of the malls here in Manila (1998)…I was at the same mall at that time. hayy…

    btw, I tagged you for a meme. Hope you’ll join us 🙂
    Take care!

    Hey Shiena! Thanks for the tag! Will definitely work on it! And I’m glad you at least like a band out there! I’m sure you appreciate music nonetheless!

  7. I thought you love me because I am irresistibly hot … No, Joey’s older sister was driving. My mom still gives me a hard time because she thought I was with Frazier that night … hahahahahahah


  8. wow kat, your story is parang the story of my life, too. i was introduced to various genres of music by the (ehem) men in my life. i must write about that sometime, hehe.

    but i do thank your ex for introducing you to music. you (and your band) are gifts to the industry. 🙂

    Naks naman Meeya! My band is a dime a dozen! But I do love the fact that we are influenced by a lot of great bands out there, and I am so happy to have “discovered” them and explored all genres of music.

  9. This is a great post! I love that you have the feelings you do for music. I can never find ANYONE in my life that feels like I do about it, I thought I did, but I was wrong. When you find someone that feels that passionately about it, you never want to let them go. I hope I can find someone like that. Your ex did you a great service. 🙂

    Tesco, he definitely did and I really wish we could’ve stayed in touch. I really miss that music connection with someone, and like you, I can’t find anyone in my life now that feels that way. Even my bandmates and I have totally different tastes/approaches to music!

  10. good for you you can say that about your ex. some ex-es just don’t deserve to be reminisced! hahaha. (ang bitter!!)

  11. That’s a shame, I hope you find that in someone again. Fuck, I hope I do 😉

    Sorry I missed your gig, how’d it go?

    Sexy T! (uhm I can call you that, right? 😉 Would you go to one of my gigs?! It went well…we played in an abandoned building and it was a lot of fun. 8+ bands, beers, burgers, and hotddogs…what more can you ask for?

  12. nice tune and great guitar work. I can surely learn a lot from you. When are you coming over? 🙂

    Tito Rolly! It’s always a pleasure to have you stop by! I bet my guitar skills pale in comparison to yours, and I’d be happy to learn from you! We’re definitely going to visit the Philippines –but it has to be after both kids are 3 yrs old! I don’t know if I can fly with two wailing kids!

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